Crawford County, Iowa, IAGenWeb


Thomas Brown

One of the honored and highly esteemed citizens of Denison township, now living retired, is Thomas Brown who was born on Pinchbeck Fen, twenty miles from Great Spolden, in Lincolnshire, England, his natal day being August 25, 1818.

His parents, Thomas and Anne (Bauchenburg) Brown, were also natives of Lincolnshire. At the age of twenty-one years the father enlisted in the English service, taking part in the war with France in 1812. At the battle of Moscow he and a comrade, Jack Rehms, had the distinction of holding alternately the young Napoleon III in their arms, the child and his mother having been taken prisoners there.

He participated in the battle of Waterloo and for . his services received a medal from the English government inscribed as follows: "Victoria San Sebastian St. John Toulouse," and under this was inscribed the names of the three battles in which he engaged: "Bayonne, Toulouse, Waterloo." On the other side of the medal are the emblems, the cross cannon, several flags, the anchor, and the date, 1812. This medal was of silver-hued composition metal, being but slightly larger than our silver dollar but weighing about twice as much. While a resident of Troy, New York, the father's home and all its contents were destroyed by fire, but the medal was finally found in the debris and after being polished looked as well as previously. During his military career Mr. Brown was wounded in the battle of the Isle of Wight.

In 1832, when a boy of fourteen years, our subject left home, and, going to Liverpool, embarked for the United States. The next day his father and mother, with the remainder of their family, also started for Liverpool en route for the new world. Neither knew of the others intention until they met on the out-going boat. They continued their journey together and finally arrived in Troy, New York, where the parents spent the remainder of their lives.

In the family were twelve children, namely: Susan, who died in England; Mary, also deceased; one who died in infancy; Elizabeth, still a resident of Troy, New York; Thomas, of this review; Anne, Jeremiah and Sallie, also deceased; and four others who died in infancy.

Mr. Brown of this review is a self-educated man, having but limited opportunities during his boyhood and youth. He remained a resident of Troy, New York, until 1865, in the meantime being employed in a slaughterhouse. He then went to Illinois, first locating near Morris, in Grundy county, where he followed farming until 1867 and then removed to Crawford county, Iowa, locating three miles west of Denison.

Upon that place he made his home for three years and then located on a farm of one hundred and twenty acres in Denison township, which he still owns and occupies. Energetic, enterprising and industrious, he made a success of his chosen calling and about five years ago practically retired from active farming. He is still hale and hearty, however, and although ninety-two years of age at times does considerable work upon the farm, and when visited by our representative, December 3, 1910, was found shucking corn. Since the age of five years he has used tobacco, but his outdoor life and activity has kept him in perfect health.

In 1856 Mr. Brown was united in marriage to Miss Lizzie Iler, a native of Germany, and they became the parents of four children, two of whom died in infancy, while Seraphina is also deceased. Thomas P., born in Troy, New York, April 29 1860, was educated in the schools of Morris, Illinois, and, like his father, followed farming as a life work, also operating a threshing machine for some years. He was a member of the Catholic church by conversion and was a stanch supporter of the republican party.

In 1888 he married Miss Margaret Hughes, a native of New York city and a daughter of Edward and Jane (Newton) Hughes, both of whom were born in Ireland. This union was blessed by eight children, namely: Jane E., Thomas M. and Margaret A.; Edward John, deceased; and Mary P., William Francis, Catherine Anna and Emma Cecelia, all at home.

At an early age Mr. Brown united with the Church of the Holy Cross in England and since becoming an American citizen has cast his ballot with the republican party. He is a man of exceptional ability who has usually carried forward to successful completion whatever he has undertaken, and his life has been such as to command the confidence and high regard of all with whom he has been brought in contact either in business or social life. His is an honored old age and he has countless friends in and around Denison.

Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.