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Biographical History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa

OSCAR H. BROWN, one of the most prominent business men of Council Bluffs, was born near Biggsville, Henderson County, Illinois, September 28, 1855, the first born in the family of Clinton W. and Louisa (Short) Brown.  The other children were:  Fannie Alice, born May 20, 1857; Anna May, born October 31 1858, and married E. C. Brown; William R., born June 18, 1863; Elva C., born October 15, 1865; Stewart C., born January 3, 1868, and died March 26, 1889.  Mr. Clinton W. Brown was born near Gallatin, Sumner County, Tennessee, April 28, 1882 [believe this is should be 1832 based on dates below] the youngest in a family of four of Reuben S. and Keziah (Sarver) Brown.  The other children were: Henry P. M., born April 8, 1824; Marian L., born March 25, 1826; Julia Ann, born July 30, 1828, and married H. W. Crossthwait; Reuben S. Brown was born in Rockingham County, Virginia, August 5, 1799, and was taken by his parents to Tennessee in their change of residence to that State, settling in Sumner County about 1822 or 1823.  He inherited no property and commenced married life without means; was Colonel of the State militia for a few years, and October 10, 1838, with all his household goods in a covered wagon, drawn by horses, he moved to Knox County, Illinois, which section of country he had previously visited, receiving favorable impressions of the fertility of the soil and congenial sentiments of the people concerning slavery; though a Southerner by birth he was a strong Abolitionist.  Hew was eight weeks on the journey, having to ford most of the streams and suffer many privations.  Settling at Cherry Grove, Knox County Illinois, he remained there until the fall of 1850, when he located upon a farm in the vicinity of Biggsville, Henderson County, same State.  During Grant's administration he was Postmaster at Biggsville.  In 1876 he removed to a point near Piper City, Central Illinois, where he lived until the fall of 1879, and then he came to Council Bluffs, and spent the winter with his son on C street.  In the spring of 1880 he went to Imogene, Iowa, where his daughter, Mrs. Crossthwait, had located, and where he passed the remainder of his life, dying January 21, 1890, at the advanced age of ninety-one years.  His first vote for president of the United States was cast for General Jackson in 1828, but he afterward became a Whig and supported Henry Clay.  From the time he became of age he cast his vote at every presidential election during his life.  He was a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln, and wept like a child when that great and good man was assassinated; was an ardent supporter of the Union cause during the war, and was always a strong advocate of temperance; was a zealous student of State and national politics, and a man of remarkable memory, which remained unimpaired until his death, and was generous, even to a fault, in all his dealings.  His life companion, a native of North Carolina, died only four years previously, February 2, 1886, at her daughter's home.  She was a devoted wife and mother and a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  Her death was the first that occurred in the family.

Mr. Clinton W. Brown was married September 15, 1853, but being the youngest of his father's family, he remained with his parents until the fall of 1854, when he purchased a farm near by, in what was afterward Oquawka Township, file miles from Oquawka, the county-seat of Henderson County, Illinois.  He remained there until the autumn of 1863, making many improvements and placing the land in a State of fine cultivation.  He then sold out and moved with his family to Montgomery County, Iowa, rented a farm nine miles from Red Oak, at a point now called Climax, remained there until the spring of 1870, and then removed to Pottawattamie County, buying an unimproved piece of land in Washington Township.  He erected some buildings, planted a wind-break and an orchard and made other improvements.  In March, 1877, he rented this farm and moved into the city of Council Bluffs, and owing to the poor health of his wife he never returned to the farm, which he consequently sold in 1882, buy property in the city.  Here he has been engaged in buying and selling real estate and farm machinery and in building.  He has been Justice of the Peace, Township Clerk and Treasurer of the School Board for a number of years.  Is a prohibition Republican and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which society he is a class-leader, trustee and steward.  He is a gentleman who enjoys the confidence and respect of the community in which he has been identified with all the moral, social and material interests.  His wife was born in Henderson County, Illinois, August 11, 1835, a daughter of Abner Short, who was a native of Kentucky, a pioneer of the "Prairie State," married Hirana Ewing in Indiana, and moved to Henderson County, Illinois, where he continued to reside during the remainder of his life.  Mrs. Brown was brought up a Presbyterian, but a few years before her death she united with the Methodist Episcopal Church.  She was a woman of sympathetic nature, a devoted wife and mother, and admired by all who knew her.  She died in Council Bluffs, July 20, 1870, and was buried in Fairview Cemetery.

The early life of Mr. O. H. Brown, whose name heads this biography, was spent on a farm and in school.  At the age of twenty years he began teaching school, in his native county, and continued that vocation till the spring of 1878, when he entered the employ of Harle & McKune, wholesale and retail druggists, and served two years as an apprentice without pay.  The firm then employed him as a traveling salesman for five years, and as a "knight of the grip" he was decidedly successful, though not one of the "boys."  By strict attention to business and the practice of economy he saved enough to buy out the retail department of his employers, and opened a first-class drugstore, comprising also toilet and fancy articles, at 527 Main street, his present location, and he enjoys the confidence and esteem of a large patronage.  He also owns a beautiful residence on Tenth avenue.  Thus in his short business career, and while yet in the morning of life he has established a financial standing and business reputation that is indeed enviable.  The many traits of character that are essential to the establishment of friendships and a successful career in the social and business world, he possesses to a marked degree.  Step by step he has ascended the ladder of prosperity until to-day he ranks among the leading business men of the city.  In his political sympathies he affiliates with the Republican party, though he takes no active part in party councils.

September 12, 1889, he married Miss Mamie Sherlock, of Auburn, New York, a lady of many personal charms and accomplishments.  Mr. Brown is a member of the A. O. U. W., in which order he has held the responsible position of Financier for two terms.

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