Biography of Judge Austin Brown

JUDGE AUSTIN BROWN. The object of this sketch is to place before the public the record of a well-spent life, abounding in useful and charitable deeds. Mr. Brown was born in Ray County, Missouri, in April, 1835.

His parents being William M. and Sidney (Cravens) Brown, who were born in Culpeper County, Virginia, where they were reared, educated and married. About 1830 they removed to the then far West Ray County, Missouri, but eight years later settled in Taney County, Missouri, where the mother died the following year. Mr. Brown was thus left with a family of small children, and he soon after removed to Stoddard County, Missouri, where he was called from life about 1845, having followed the occupation of farming with considerable success for some years, although he was a shoemaker by trade. He had three brothers and one sister: John, who is supposed to have died in Virginia when quite advanced in years; George, who died in South Carolina; Thomas, who died in Ray County, Missouri; and Mrs. Allison, who died in Dade County, Missouri. Their father, William Brown, who was of English origin, was an early emigrant to America, and was a soldier in the Colonial Army during the Revolution. To William M. and Sidney Brown the following children were born: Eliza, who died in Texas, was the wife of Bolter Teague; Lucinda died in Taney County, where Andrew and Matilda also died; Andrew Martin died at Little Rock, Arkansas, while serving in the Confederate Army; Daniel, a prominent farmer of Caldwell County, Missouri, was a soldier in the East Missouri Militia, and was wounded at Albany, Missouri, when the notorious Bill Anderson was killed; and Jackson, who went to Oregon before the war and is a miner there.

Judge Brown was left an orphan at the age of ten years and was then thrown upon his own resources. As he had never seen a school house or had any educational instruction, he found it very hard for some time to make a living. For two years after the death of his father he made his home with a Mr. Rogers, a farmer in Stoddard County, Missouri, and for five subsequent years he made his home with a Mr. Harty, of the same county. By this time he began to realize the disadvantages of not having an education, and he at once began the study of such books as came in his way, improving every opportunity that presented itself, through which means he became possessed of a general education considerably above the average working man of his day, and which he found to be of great help to him in his subsequent career. From Stoddard County he went to Springfield, Missouri, where he spent about one year in a mill, at the end of which time he drifted back to Taney County, the home of his boyhood, where he spent about five years in a saw mill with Dr. Augustus Layton, father of A. L. Layton, the banker of Yellville. From this time on Judge Brown followed milling for a good many years in Taney and Marion Counties.

In 1857 was married in the former county to Margaret, daughter of Henry Breedlove, which family came to this section from Illinois, the father dying in Marion County and the mother in St. Louis. Mrs. Brown was born in Missouri and died near Yellville, Marion County, Arkansas, in 1861, leaving two children: Mary, who became the wife of John Fee, and is now deceased; and Henry, of Franklin County, Arkansas After the death of his wife Judge Brown left his children with their step grandmother, and joined Capt. Dowd’s company of the Fourteenth Arkansas Infantry as a private soldier and fought at Wilson’s Creek, Oak Hill and many minor battles in Missouri and Arkansas.

an active service of two years for the cause of the Confederacy he went home to look after his children, and in 1863 married Sarah Wilson, a native of Kentucky. In 1864 he removed to Ray County, Missouri, the place of his birth, and here he successfully followed milling until 1868, when he returned to Taney County, where his wife died in the early part of 1869, leaving two children: John A., of Logan County, Arkansas; and Thomas Jackson, of Marion County. In the latter part of 1869 the Judge married Mary Wilson, a niece of his second wife, and by her he has two children: Joseph Daniel and Baxter Chapman, both of Marion County. In 1869 Judge Brown located near Yellville, where he followed milling until 1870, when he located where he now resides. In 1884 he engaged in the mercantile business on his farm and the same year was granted a post office there provided he would carry the mail without compensation. This he did once a week for some time, then a carrier was put on the road twice a week, then three times a week, and now there is a daily mail with the exception of Sundays. The office was named in honor of the then Congressman Peel, and Judge Brown has since been its efficient postmaster. He is the owner of a fine bottom farm of 140 acres on White River, has been successful as a man of business and is now in good circumstances financially. In 1874 he was appointed one of the three county supervisors of Marion County, of which body he was made chairman, and in 1876, the law having been changed, he was elected county and probate judge, the first Democrat to be elected after the war, and was honored by a reelection in 1878. He has also been justice of the peace for some years. He was formerly a member of the A. F. & A. M., Lodge No. I17, of Yellville, but is now a member of Polar Star Lodge No. 224, of Lead Hill. He is a member of the Christian Church, and politically has always been a Democrat, his first presidential vote being cast for Buchanan in 1856.


A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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