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John Brown, well known in southern Ohio as General Brown,” son of Captain Benjamin Brown, one of the pioneers of Ames, was born in Rowe, Massachusetts, December 1, 1785. In 1787, his father’s family moved to Hartford, Washington county, New York, and in 1796, with several other families seeking homes in the west, came to the Forks of Yoh, on the Monongahela, three miles above Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Here they remained till February, 1797, building a boat during the winter, in which they completed their journey and arrived at Marietta, February 11, 1797. Of the twenty-three persons of various ages who descended the river in this boat, there are but four now living, viz : Samuel and John Brown, Mrs. Aphia Hamilton, and Mrs. Phebe Sprague. As elsewhere stated, Captain Brown’s family came out to Ames township in the spring of 1799, moving their household effects by canoes down the Ohio, and up the Hockhocking and Federal creek-the members of the family not required to work the canoes, coming across the country.
In 1811, Mr. Brown married Sophia Walker, daughter of Dr. Ezra Walker, and continued to live in Ames township till 1817, when he removed to the town of Athens, where he still resides. On coming to Athens, he kept a public house one year at the Zadoc Foster house (on the south end of the lot now owned and occupied by Judge Barker), when he bought the corner property in front of the university, and built and kept the Brown House,” so long known to the public, and so kindly remembered by his hosts of friends. He kept this house till December, 1865, a period of fortyseven years.
In 1808, Mr. Brown was elected captain in the militia, and was subsequently made major and colonel, and in 1817 was elected brigadier general. He was county auditor from 1822 to 1827, and has been treasurer of the Ohio university from 1824 to the present time. He was also mayor of Athens for several years, and coroner for two terms. He is, in every good sense, one of the village fathers who has “come down to us from a former generation.” Possessed of sound judgment, a kind heart, sterling integrity, and unfailing humor, General Brown has for fifty years had the respect and affectionate regard of this community. His genial wit still oft enlivens the social circle, and his venerable form is recognized with pleasure by all, on the streets of the town where he has lived so long and where, without an enemy in the world, hews cheerfully approaching the end of his journey. He reared here a family of six sons and two daughters; four of the sons graduated at the Ohio university, and three survive, viz: Oscar W., William Loring, and Archibald Douglas; the latter is cashier of a bank in Pomeroy, Ohio. One of the daughters, Mrs. Hannah Pratt, lives in Illinois, and the other, Mrs. Lucy Hey, in Cincinnati, Ohio.