|EMERSON E. BROWN, farmer, Clay Twp., Sec. 31; P.O. Onslow; was born in Springfield, Vt., March 30, 1828; when 22 years of age, he went to California, where he remained three years, returning to Vermont in May, 1853; he came to Jones Co. in the fall of that year. He was married to Gratia Allbee; they have eight children—Forest W. (who married Miss Flora E. Lawton), Prairie F. (married Mary E. Barnhill), Mary L., Ada L., Leverett E., Carlton E., Gratia S. and Susie H. Mr. Brown has held various township offices—Trustee, Assessor, County Supervisor, etc. Has a finely improved farm of 270 acres.
Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1879, page 702.
About twenty years ago E. E. Brown relinquished the heavy cares of an agricultural life and retired to the village of Onslow. His has been a life of many varied experiences for he was one of the young men whose ambitions were fired by the report of the finding of gold in California and who left their New England homes confident that in a few months they could make more in the west land than through a lifetime of toil upon the farm. He was born in Springfield, Vermont, March 30, 1828, and is a son of Enos and Hannah (Griswold) Brown. Both his paternal and maternal grandfathers had fought for the independence of the colonies in the American Revolution so that the stories of that conflict which people of today accept unthinkingly as a part of the history of the world, had for him a meaning closely connected with the memories of his childhood. His parents were natives of Vermont and died in that state, having reared a family of eight children, only four of whom now survive: Samuel, who lives in Vermont; E. E., the subject of this sketch; Leverett, who is residing in Dallas county, Iowa; and Helen, who is the widow of A. L. Robinson and is now living in Los Angeles, California.
Until he was twenty-one years of age E. E. Brown remained at home, working with his father upon the farm, and then in the city of Springfield learned the trade of a molder, at which he worked for one year. About that time, the rumor of the discovery of gold in California reached his home and with seven other young men he embarked upon a steamship which would carry them to the new country. On the 13th of April, 1850, the vessel put out to sea and in September arrived in the port of San Francisco, having taken one hundred and forty-two days to make the journey. They had counted on requiring only forty days and had accordingly provisioned for sixty days from Panama to San Francisco, but they were delayed by bad weather and head winds, so that their eatables had been exhausted for some time ere they reached their destination and an almost starved band of men set foot on the western shore of this continent. Immediately upon his arrival Mr. Brown began prospecting for gold, with such success that during the two years and eight months he remained there he accumulated twenty-five hundred dollars. With this he returned to Vermont and, after spending the summer with his parents, started west to look for a home. He left Vermont August 28, 1853, made his way across the country to Kane county, Illinois, stopping for a short time in St. Charles, where he had some friends. Next he went to Springfield, that state, then after a few days to Alton, whence he took a boat for Dubuque, Iowa. From there he came to Jones county, locating upon a farm in Clay township. It consisted of two hundred and sixty acres and was at that time in the first stages of its development, for the only building upon it was a log house, the home of its previous owner. It was also the abode of Mr. Brown for about three years, when he built the frame house in which he lived until 1875. Then he erected the fine brick residence in which he looked forward to spending the remaining years of his life, but in 1889 he decided to give up the active pursuit of farming and to retire to Onslow, where he had put up a fine house in which he has since lived.
After the inauguration of the Civil war Mr. Brown enlisted in Company H, Second Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He served one year in the conflict, participating in the battle of Bentonville, North Carolina, and several skirmishes, but he remembers most distinctly his experiences as a member of Sherman's army on its historic march to the sea.
On the 7th of November, 1853, Mr. Brown wedded Miss Gracia Allbee, who was born in Vermont and was a daughter of William and Lucretia (Johnson) Allbee, both natives of that New England state and both now deceased. Eight children have been born to this union: Forrest W., who is living in Nebraska; Prairie E., a resident of Garnett, Kansas; Mary E., and Ada L., deceased; Leverett E., of Jones county; Carlton E., of Chicago, Illinois; Gracia S., deceased; and Jessie Helen, who lives at home.
Mr. and Mrs. Brown are active members of the Methodist Episcopal church. Politically he affiliates with the republicans, the patty which supported the nation in her hour of need and has been well known in the public affairs of this township, for he served as trustee for five years, acted as assessor for nine years, and for five years was the county supervisor. In short, in looking over the record of his life, it is seen that he is a man who has ever been on the alert to distinguish himself, from the days of his youth when he sought to find a fortune in the west, during the war when he sought for an occasion to prove his patriotism and then in the arts of peace, in which he won a reputation as a successful tiller of the soil. He is a member of the Grand Army Post at Wyoming, Iowa, and for twenty years his wife has been prominently connected with the Relief Corps, having served as vice president of the organization. They have a wide circle of friends and acquaintances in Jones county.
Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 506.