Lee County Illinois Biography


James Brown, honored as one of our most worthy citizens, came to Lee County many years ago, cast in his fortunes with its pioneers, and was of much assistance in developing the agricultural resources of this region. He was greatly prospered in his work, and was enabled to retire from active business ere old age came upon him, to a pleasant home in the pretty village of Ashton, where he is enjoying life at his leisure, freed from the necessity of labor by the possession of an ample competence. Mr. Brown was born in Ireland, October 15, 1819. He was almost eight years old when his father, Thomas Brown, emigrated with his family to the New World, and thereafter made his home in Canada, both he and his wife dying there. They were the parents of eight children, seven sons and one daughter, whom they reared to habits of usefulness.

Our subject grew to a vigorous manhood in Canada, and was a resident of that country until 1852, when he came to Illinois, and made a permanent settlement in this county. He bought land in Ashton Township, in time transformed it into a valuable farm, with a good class of improvements, and its two hundred and sixty acres were placed under excellent cultivation. He made money by his farming operations, as he attended strictly to his business, was shrewd, keen and discriminating in his dealings, and at the same time had a well-earned reputation for truthfulness and honesty, his word always passing current. In the spring of 1876, he abandoned farming, disposing of his farm at a good price, and since then has lived retired in the village of Ashton. Mr. Brown did not have to struggle alone with the adversities of pioneer life when he came to Illinois to found a home in a newly settled country, but by his side was the young wife whom he had married in Canada, who was willing to brave any hardship and privation that might fall to their lot for his sake, and to her cheerful co-operation he owes much. Mrs. Brown, whose maiden name was Jane Walker, is also, like her husband, of Irish birth, and was born July 12, 1831. Much joy has fallen to our subject and his estimable wife in their wedded life, and among their blessings are the children spared to comfort them as the shadows of life lengthen towards sunset. Their eldest daughter, Elizabeth, is the wife of James W. Parsons; their daughter Victoria is the wife of Dr. Thomas Taylor, of Ashton, who is represented elsewhere in this volume, and their only living son married Miss Susie Ghana. Mr. and Mrs. Brown have felt the chastening hand of sorrow in the death of four of their beloved children: James A., who died at the age of thirty-two years; Mary E., who married Frederick Gooch, and died when twenty-four years old; George, who died in childhood, and Sarah, who died in infancy.

Our subject's every-day life bears testimony to the inherent uprightness of his character, and his neighbors know full well that they can look to him for kindness, charity and helpfulness when­ever they are in trouble or need assistance. He and his wife and all their children are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and have contributed their quota to the advancement of religion in their community. Mr. Brown is unwavering in his loyalty to the Republican party, and firmly believes that its policy in regard to all the great public questions of the day is for the best interests of the country.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892

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