William D. Brown

WILLIAM D. BROWN, who probably owns the best home in Neosho township, Cherokee County, and for many years has enjoyed easy circumstances, has seen many trials and hardships since he first came to this locality. He was born in Montgomery County, Indiana, September 19, 1846, and is a son of Matthew and James[sic] (Graves) Brown.

Matthew Brown was born in Kentucky, July 3, 1812, and died in Kansas at the age of 74 years. He accompanied his parents when 15 ears old, to Indiana, where he followed merchandising and stock dealing, and continued his after moving to Marion County, Iowa. He was very successful and possessed considerable capital which he invested in property in Cherokee County. Kansas. in 1871. He was a Republican in politics, and fraternally was a Mason. He married Jane Graves, who was born in Randolph County. North Carolina, October 29, 1819, and still survives, making her home with the subject of this sketch. This venerable lady is probably one of the oldest residents of the county. She was the mother of 10 children, William D. being the only surviving son. Two of his sisters were killed in a cyclone, soon after the family settled in Kansas.

Mr. Brown remained with his parents in Iowa until he enlisted for service in the Civil War. In the spring of 1864, he entered Company A, 33rd Reg. Iowa Vol. Inf., and served under Captain Price and Colonel Mackey, participating in the battles of Saline River, Arkansas; and Mobile, Alabama. The rest of his term was taken up in scouting expeditions, in which he took part in a great deal of skirmishing. On two occasions he was sent to the hospital, spending about six months there in all, and was finally honorably discharged on September 19, 1865, from the 34th Iowa Regiment, to which he had been transferred.

In 1871 Mr. Brown accompanied his parents from Marion County, Iowa, where he had lived since he was six years old, to Cherokee County, Kansas, driving the whole distance, which consumed four weeks. The father took the large family, plenty of household goods and seven of his fine horses with him, one of the latter being valued in Iowa at $500. A small frame house was hastily built on the tract of 160 acres of government land first secured, and for a time prospects seemed encouraging. Then came the grasshoppers and the chinchbugs, and all the growing crops were totally destroyed; five of the fine Iowa horses died, and, worse than all, a terrific cyclone blew down the house and in its wreck killed two of the children. It required courage, indeed, to retrieve these losses, and to discern any hope in the future.

Mr. Brown has made all the improvements on his present farm in section 1, township 34, range 22, which he operates as a stock farm, and on which he keeps 60 head of fine grade cattle. This place is well known and universally admired. Mr. Brown has set out orchards and shade trees of all kinds and, under changed climatic conditions, it is but remotely possible that the disasters of the past could be repeated here.

On March 6, 1890, Mr. Brown was married to Nora Tetrick, who was born in Kansas. They have one son,—William Lloyd. Mr. Brown is one of the leading members of the Republican party in his township, and is now serving his fifth term as trustee. For the past 29 years, he has been a member of the School Board, and takes an interest in all public affairs. He belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias, the Grand Army of the Republic and the Anti-Horse Thief Association.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by Carolyn Ward, instructor from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 3/16/97.


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