Biography of William B. Brown

William B. Brown. By a residence of fifty-seven years in Champaign County there is no place in the world so dear to William B. Brown as this picturesque and beautiful section of eastern Illinois. His successes have been gained here, he reared his family on his farm, and practically all the associations of a long life have been found here.

Mr. Brown was born in Monroe County, Indiana, September 22, 1854. He was the only son in a family of three children born to Milton Monroe and Sarah (Houston) Brown. His two sisters are Mary Jane and Eliza E. Mary Jane is the wife of C. T. Langwell, b. farmer at Reynolds, Indiana. Mrs. Langwell was educated in the common schools and is a member of the Christian Church. Eliza is the wife of A. H. Dellman, also of Reynolds, Indiana.

Milton M. Brown was born in Monroe County, Indiana, October 25, 1829, and spent his life as a farmer. He was educated in one of the log cabin schoolhouses with its slab benches and its restricted curriculum. About 1855 he came out to Eastern Illinois, making the journey in pioneer style with wagons and teams. He bought land in Brown Township, but subsequently returned to his native county. A few years later he located in Champaign County, Illinois, and at the time of his death was the owner of 280 acres of this rich soil. He was a Democrat in politics. His first wife died when William B. Brown was four years old, on December 25, 1858. She is buried in the Devore cemetery, where a monument marks her last resting place. The father married for his second wife Rosa Torpy, and of their three children all are now deceased. The lineage of the Brown family goes back to England.

William B. Brown grew up in Champaign County, attended the common schools here, and early learned the lessons set for him in the fields and the meadows and the other workshops of his father’s farm. When he left home it was as a wage earner and farm hand at a salary of $20 a month. In that way he continued working for six years, and he began truly at the bottom round of the ladder and steadily climbed by his own exertions by a strictly honorable relationship in all his dealings.

The first land he secured for himself was eighty acres three miles southeast of his present estate. He went in debt for most of the purchase price, having only $400 in capital at his command. For the balance he paid seven per cent interest. He made that purchase in 1880 and sold it in 1901 in order to buy his present farm of 160 acres, 140 acres being situated in section 10 and the remaining twenty in section 3. Every acre of the land is tillable, and altogether it makes a magnificent farming estate.

On January 1, 1880, Mr. Brown was united in marriage with Miss Amanda C. Blake. Seven children were the fruit of their union, four sons and three daughters. Only two are now living. Cynthia Ann is the wife of Frank Wilson. They lived at Foosland in this county until 1909, when they removed to North Dakota and they now have a fine farm of 320 acres at Fairdale in that state. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson have two children: Hazel, now attending the fifth grade of the public schools, and Bessie B., who is also in school. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church while they lived at Foosland.

Robert C., the only living son of Mr. Brown, was educated in the common schools, has proved himself a practicable and thoroughly progressive farmer, and has active charge of his father’s estate. He married Miss Pearl Zimmerman. Their two sons are Warren B. and Sherrill H., both of whom are in school and are noted for their excellence in their studies. Miss Pearl Zimmerman was born in Harper County, Kansas, on October 20, 1888, but when she was three years of age her parents came to Champaign County, where she attended the common schools. She and her husband are active members of the” Christian Church. Her mother is now living with Mr. and Mrs. Robert Brown. She was one of six children, and three are now living, her two sisters being: Alta O., wife of J. A. Selberg, a successful stock buyer in Minnesota, and they have two sons; and Fannie M., wife of J. W. Way, a farmer at Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and they are the parents of six children, three sons and three daughters.

Mrs. Robert Brown’s father, Mr. Zimmerman, was born in Germany and after coming to America located on a farm in Ford County, Illinois. He was a Democrat in politics.

William B. Brown and his son Robert are both members of the Democratic party. The senior Mr. Brown has served as tax collector two different terms and has been director of the local schools. His son has passed all the chairs in Lodge fto. 842 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.



Stewart, J. R. A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York. 1918.

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