Austin D. Brown is the proprietor of a
furniture and undertaking establishment at Manchester, where his enterprise
and initiative have gained him recognition as a leading business man. He was
born in Coffins Grove township, this county, August 23, 1862. His father,
Andrew J. Brown, was born March 12, 1840, in Birmingham, Ohio, and in the
early '50s, probably in 1854, arrived in Iowa, where he spent the summers at
work upon the farm, while in the winter seasons he attended school. He had
reached the age of twenty two years when in 1862 he enlisted for service in
the Twenty seventh Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He lost an arm while at the front
and then returned to Coffins Grove township, where he took up the profession
of teaching. Later he was elected county clerk and filled that position for
four years. He remained one of the respected residents of the county to the
time of his death, which occurred November 22, 1912. In early manhood he
wedded Emily E. Smith, who was born in Indiana, June 14, 1845, and who died at
the comparatively early age of twenty seven years. She was a daughter of Frank
K. Smith, one of the pioneer settlers of Coffins Grove township. Mr. and Mrs.
Andrew J. Brown were the parents of four children, of whom a daughter died in
infancy, the others being: Austin D.; Merton K., who has also passed away; and
Wade A., of Los Angeles, California.
Reared under the parental roof, Austin D. Brown acquired his
early education in the public schools of the county and subsequently pursued a
course in the Manchester Academy. Previously he had entered the office of the
Manchester Democrat, in which he served as "devil" for a year. He then went
with the Press, remaining in that office until he entered the academy. When
his textbooks were put aside he became driver of a wagon for the Ford Brothers
and later entered their grocery store as a clerk, remaining with them until
the fall of 1883, when he secured a position in the hardware store of Lawrence
& Lister, continuing with that house until January, 1887, when he went upon
the road for a wholesale hardware house, covering central Iowa. He was thus
engaged until March 20, 1895, when he purchased the furniture and undertaking
business of H. C. Smith, of Manchester, and has since been numbered among the
enterprising and progressive merchants of the city. He carries a large and
well selected line of goods, is thoroughly reliable in his business methods,
systematic in management and unfaltering in enterprise. As a result of these
qualities his business has increased fourfold.
On the 1st of October, 1885, Mr. Brown was joined in wedlock
to Miss Anna O. Wooldridge, a daughter of the Rev. Lucian P. arid Mildred A.
(Mills) Wooldridge, of Macon, Missouri, both of whom are deceased. Mr. and
Mrs. Brown became the parents of four children: Lucian W., now deceased;
Mildred A., who married Dr. Edwin Cobb of Marshalltown; Clarence A., a senior
in the high school; and a daughter who died in infancy. Ever interested in the
cause of education, they have given their children good opportunities in that
direction and for four years prior to her marriage Mrs. Cobb attended Oberlin
College and Conservatory at Oberlin, Ohio.
In politics Mr. Brown is a republican and is proud of the
fact that his last presidential ballot was cast for William Howard Taft, for
he firmly believes in the principles of the party. He holds membership in the
Congregational church and is prominently known in Masonic circles, having
membership in Manchester Lodge, No. 165, A. F. & A. M.; Olive Branch Chapter,
No. 48, R. A. M.; Elam Council, R. & S. M.; Nazareth Commandery, No. 33, K.
T.; De Molay Consistory, No. 1, A. A. S. R.; and El Kahir Temple, A. A. O. N.
M. S., of which he served for two years as illustrious potentate and for four
terms as representative to the imperial council for North America. He is also
a member of Hyperion Lodge, Knights of Pythias. His Masonic connections have
made him widely known throughout the state, while his laudable ambition and
indefatigable energy have won him a creditable place as one of the merchants