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James Brown
Born 25 July 1810


There are in every community men of great force of character and exceptional ability who by reason of their capacity for leadership in one or other ways, become recognized as foremost citizens and are called upon to bear an important part in public affairs. Such a man is James Brown, who has the distinction of being the wealthiest man of Jackson township and who has won his prosperity through natural sagacity, industry and good investments.
He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, September 27, 1842, being a son of John and Margaret (Lockie) Brown, natives of Berwickshire, Scotland, where he was born July 25, 1810, and his wife August 17, 1812. They were married in 1837. In 1838, they became residents of Cincinnati, Ohio, and in 1844 removed to Davenport, Iowa. Not being suited with the place in two weeks they left it for Galena, Illinois, where they remained about ten years, and finally came to Jones county, Iowa, settling near the present farm of James Brown on section 11, but the house now stands on section 2, Jackson township. Here the father died October 10, 1891, while his wife preceded him, having passed away February 28, 1989. In their family were the following children: Margaret, who died in Galena, Illinois, aged six years; Janette, who died in Galena when three years old; George, who died when eleven years two months and twenty-two days old, in August, 1865; James, who was the fourth in order of birth; John who owns two hundred acres in Jones county, Iowa, but lives in Los Angeles, California; and two children who died in Cincinnati.
On March 20, 1884, James Brown married Mary McBride, who was born in Pennsylvania, and was brought to Jones county, Iowa, by her parents, John and Isabella Jane (Craig) McBride. She died May 27, 1888, at the age of thirty-five years two months and twenty-one days, leaving two children; Margaret Janette and John N. In 1891 Mr. Brown married Minnie Ahlrich who was born in Oldenberg, Germany, in August, 1863, and was brought to Jones county by her parents John and Katherine Ahlrich when she was twenty years of age. By this marriage there were two children: James George, who was born April 3, 1892, and died January 17, 1909; and Katherine Elizabeth, born August 24, 1900.
Mr. Brown owns two hundred and sixty-eight acres of rich farming land on sections 2 and 11, Jackson township. At one time he had ninety acres more but disposed of it. In addition he owns nine hundred and sixty acres of land in Nueces and Starr counties, Texas, in partnership with his son. He has other investments which pay well and he enjoys a large income annually. It has always been his practice to live economically, to save a portion of his earnings and to invest them wisely, and thus it is that his holdings have increased to their present proportions. In politics he is a republican and he was elected school director when twenty-one years of age, which office he held for a number of years. His religious affiliations are with the United Presbyterian church. Such men as Mr. Brown are a credit to any community and he can always be depended upon for a sound, conservative judgment upon matters of public import.
In the early years of his residence here Mr. Brown has seen as many as forty deer in one herd in Jackson township as the country was then wild and unimproved, the prairie grasses being higher than a man's head when on horseback. In 1854 he once started out on foot to hunt his cows which had strayed from his home one mile west of Center Junction and before finding them walked four or five miles northwest of that town, traveling about four miles before he came to a fence of any kind. In the work of development and progress he has ever borne his part and is recognized as one of the honored early settlers of the county.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 376.


Gravestone of George C. Brown, brother of James, who died at age 11. Photo courtesy Jim Christianson

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