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One of the oldest settlers in Western Ontario, now living, is JamEs Brown, the first Mayor of Kincardine. He was born in Nova Scotia, October 15, 1797, and hence is in his 83rd year. His father, Alexander Brown, came from the City of Perth, Scotland, and was at one time chief engineer of the King’s Works at Halifax, dying when James was three years old.
In 1811 our subject, in company with four families, started for Upper Canada, going by boat from Maine to New York; and drove a team for Elias Moore from Elizabethtown, New Jersey, to the County of Norfolk, in this Province. There were three other teams, and he led the van through the Grand River Swamp, the first team that ever went through after the brush was cleared away. The party reached Norfolk county in July. He was engaged in farming in the township of Norwich, until 1818, when he removed with Mr. Moore to Yarmouth, then in the County of Middlesex, now Elgin, where he continued to farm until 1862, when he sold out, and the next year settled in Kincardine, where he was the means of getting the first salt well under way. Latterly he has done little more than work his garden, simply for exercise and health. He was mayor in 1875, and made an excellent chief magistrate.
Mr. Brown is a Baptist in religious belief, and was for many years a member of such church; but on settling in Kincardine, there being then no organization here of that name, he joined the English church. He is much esteemed for his exemplary christian character, and his good qualities as a citizen.
May 19, 1829, he married Miss Lydia Carpenter Kipp, a native of New York State, and of eight children, resulting from this union, only five, all sons, are now living. John K., the eldest son, is a banker at Jackson, Minnesota; James Hiram is in California; George Fox is in a store at Honeoye Falls, N. Y.; William Penn is a lawyer in Kincardine (sketched on another page), and Granville is a physician in New York city.
Though past his four score years, Mr. Brown stands erect, is active for a man of that age, and has a wonderful grasp of memory. His conversation in regard to pioneer life in Canada, and indeed regarding all his early experiences, hardships and adventures, is decidedly entertaining. No man in Kincardine is held in higher esteem.