The oldest member of the Rock Island County Bar, a lawyer of ripe learninig and wide experience, who has now retired from the active practice of his profession, is the Honorable John T. Browning, of Moline.
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He was born in Genesee County, New York, June 11, 1830, his parents being John L. and Lucy (Tillotson) Browning. He received an academic education at Rochester, where later he was admitted to the bar in the Autumn of 1858. He came west in December of that same year and located at Moline, where he immediately engaged in the practice of law, being that city’s first City Attorney. Of course one of his duties in this position was to compile and arrange a code of ordinances governing the affairs of the City, and this work was done in a highly creditable and systematic manner. In 1876 he formed a law partnership with Mr. Entriken, the well known Moline attorney who has served this County as State’s Attorney and Master in Chancery, the firm being known as Browning & Entriken. Two years previous to the formation of this partnership Mr. Browning had been elected to represent this Senatorial District in the Illinois General Assembly. He was re-elected in 1876 and served through another session of the Legislature.
During Mr. Browning’s young manhood he entertained very pronounced anti-slavery views and was in fact an ardent Abolitionist. Upon the formation of the Republican party in 1856 he immediately allied himself with that organization and was earnest in his support of Fremont and Dayton. Since that time he has continued in his allegiance to the Republican party and while zealous in its support and a firm believer in its policies he has always been conservative, considering the welfare of the country and the cause of good government of far greater importance than mere party success.
He was engaged in the famous controversy between the river and railroad interests over the construction of the bridge across the Mississippi here at Rock Island. In this controversy some of the most eminent legal talent in Illinois .participated, among whom was Abraham Lincoln.
Mr. Browning, as has been stated, has now retired from active practice of law. He now makes his home on a fine farm that he owns outside the City of Moline. He still takes an active interest in public affairs and is an extremely well informed man upon all the pertinent questions of the day. He has, during his professional career, been a great student, and as a counselor he had no superior in Moline. It was to this branch of legal work that he gave his chief attention, rather than to the more exciting life of a trial lawyer. Mr. Browning has always been a liberal and generous contributor to charitable and philanthropic movements, and as a man and a lawyer he is held in high esteem by all who know him.