Biography of William Wallace Brown
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William Wallace Brown, general attorney at Parsons for the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway and a director in that railway company, is one of Kansas’ prominent lawyers with many well earned distinctions in the profession. The secret of his success has been hard work. He began practice only after a thorough preliminary training of self reliance and after getting his professional education through his own earnings and efforts.
A native of Kansas, he represents a pioneer family. Mr. Brown was born in Coffey County July 29, 1868. He is of English ancestry. His grandfather Robert Brown was born in England, brought his family to America in 1845, and became a contractor and builder in the State of Iowa. While still at work in his business he was struck by a beam and that caused his death about 1857. He died in Iowa.
Charles Brown, father of W. W. Brown, was born at Beverly, Yorkshire, England, November 14, 1832. He was thirteen years of age when he came to America and he grew up at Maquoketa, Iowa. After finishing his education he became a farmer. In 1857 at the age of twenty-five he moved from Maquoketa, Iowa, to Kansas, and was one of the early settlers in the territory. His permanent home was on a farm along the line between Anderson and Coffey counties. A few years after coming to Kansas he enlisted in the Tenth Kansas Regiment of Infantry, and was in active service during the war, principally in Missouri, Arkansas and Indian Territory. He was in the battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas, and served with the Kansas troops in repelling Price’s raid. After the war he homesteaded eighty acres and was married in 1865. He then settled down to farming and proved a man of unusual energy and success in that business. He was both a farmer and stock raiser and eventually he had fully 400 acres of land in his possession. In the early days he was actively identified with the Grange or Patrons of Husbandry, but in later years became somewhat dissatisfied with its management and methods. In his home community he was always active and influential. He served seven years as county commissioner and held all the township offices. He was a prominent republican, and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. After a life filled with usefulness he died at his home in Coffey County February 10, 1915, in his eighty-third year. Charles Brown married Miss Mary Isabelle Hinde. She was born in Cattaraugus County, New York, in 1842 and her death occurred on the homestead farm in Coffey County, Kansas, in 1892. Mr. W. W. Brown was the oldest of their four children. The next younger, Louie Grace died in Coffey County in 1895 as the wife of William Sharp, who is now living in Los Angeles, California. Maggie Amanda married H. A. Striegel, and they now live on their farm forty miles west of Wichita near Murdock, Kansas. Fred E., the youngest of the family, now occupies the old homestead in Coffey County.
Though reared on a farm the ambitions of William Wallace Brown early pointed to a professional career. He attended the district schools of Coffey County, the high school at Burlington, and then entered the University of Kansas where he completed the classical course and received the degree A. B. in 1892. The following two years were spent in a schoolroom as teacher, and he was principal of the high school at Abilene, Kansas. Mr. Brown devoted several attentive years to the study of law in a law office at Burlington, Kansas, and in 1896, gained the coveted goal of admission to the bar.
The twenty years since his admission have been years of growing experience and increasing ability in his profession. He practiced at Burlington until 1902, then at Emporia until April, 1905, and came to Parsons as assistant general attorney of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad Company. In July, 1913, he was advanced to the position of general attorney, and now fills one of the most prized positions in the legal profession in the state. He is widely known as a railroad lawyer throughout the west. His offices are in the General Office Building of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad at Parsons. Besides his position as legal adviser to the company he is also one of the directors.
Mr. Brown is a successful business man. He owns considerable real estate in Parsons, has a fine farm of 160 acres on the Neosho River near Burlington, and is president of the Burlington Lumber Company. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church, is past master of Emporia Lodge No. 12, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and a member of Emporia Chapter No. 12, Royal Arch Masons, Parsons Council, Royal and Select Masters. He is also identified with the Parsons Chamber of Commerce and belongs to the Labette County, the State and the American Bar associations.
In 1906 at Emporia he married Miss Frances Evans. She is a daughter of Judge E. N. Evans, a prominent attorney of Emporia, who has filled the positions of both probate and district judge there.