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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 1092~


Charles Randolph Brown


Back to sterling English stock the ancestry of Charles Randolph Brown, late a well known citizen of Fayette county, Iowa, is traced, and the biographer find that each successive generation of this name has added luster to an escutcheon of which anyone might well be proud. The gentleman whose name forms the caption of this sketch was born in York, Livingston county, New York, July 12, 1848. He was the son of George W. and Mary (McLean) Brown, the former the son of Ralph Brown, who came from England about 1807 and settled in Livingston county, The family history may be traced back to Darlington, England, where their ancestors, the Bartons and the Olivers, were people of high standing and prominence.  George W. Brown was born in Livingston county, New York, in 1818. He was married to Mary A. McLean, of that county in 1843. In 1855 he entered eighteen hundred acres of government land in Iowa and in 1868 he came to Fayette county to live. Mary (McLean) Brown, mother of Charles R. Brown, was born in 1822 and her death occurred on September 4, 1856. In 1858 George W. Brown married Antoinette Hitt, who was born in Delaware county, New York, in 1830.


George W. Brown was a leader in his community and he was frequently called upon to serve his fellow citizens in positions of public trust, and he very ably filled the offices of township treasurer, road supervisor and sub-director of schools for several terms. He was a successful business man and became the owner of nine hundred acres of improved farming land, and he was also extensively engaged in breeding fine stock --- horses, shorthorn cattle, hogs and sheep. Being a fancier of such stock, he raised them more for pleasure than for profit. His death occurred in San Antonio, Texas, in 1885.


Charles R. Brown, of this review, was the only son of George W. Brown. The former grew to maturity in Livingston county, New York, and attended the public schools there, where he laid a good foundation and later took a course in the Genesee Academy, also attended college at Brockport. After finishing school, he came west with his father to Fayette county, Iowa, in 1868. They located about four miles northeast of Oelwein and soon had a substantial foothold in the new territory where they found everything markedly different from their old home in the East.


Mr. Brown was married in May, 1870, to Rachael Burch, daughter of Elder J. B. Burch, the first settler of Oelwein, of whom more is given elsewhere in this work. Three children graced this union, namely: George H., Ray H. and Antoinette. The last named was a young lady who was very highly esteemed owing to her many praiseworthy attributes, and popular with a large circle of friends; she was called to her rest on February 18, 1899. The two sons are living in Oelwein, and are young men to whom the future promises much in a business way. The father of these children died on February 27, 1909, and it was generally felt that in his death the community suffered a distinct loss.


After their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Brown moved about a mile north of Oelwein, where they resided until the death of Mr. Brown's father in 1885, when they returned to the old home, four miles from Oelwein, where Mr. Brown continued farming and raising fancy stock as his father had done. Stock raising has been a feature of this family's work through many generations, and it is known that away back in England some of the members of this family were early recognized breeders of shorthorn cattle, and from them has descended to the present family a valued set a five volumes of the original edition giving the registered pedigree of that stock of cattle from the beginning.


In 1893 Mr. Brown moved into Oelwein, after which time he brought and sold real estate and made loans, having built up quite an extensive business. After coming here he figured prominently in business circles. He was part owner of the Temple block and had other valuable property on Frederick street and on First avenue.  He was also the owner of three hundred acres of fine land in Smithfield township.  In political life he was an active Democrat, and his influence was long strongly felt in local official positions, and during 1901 and 1902 he filled the office of Mayor of Oelwein, during which time the interests of the city were carefully conserved and his administration met the hearty approval of all concerned. The Brown family are members of the Presbyterian church, and are highly esteemed in all circles. 


~transcribed by CMD for Fayette County IAGenWeb


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