Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BROWN, Alexander, born in Ballymena, county Antrim, Ireland, 17 November, 1764; died in Baltimore, Maryland, 6 April, 1834. He came to the United States in 1800, settling as a general merchant in Baltimore, and subsequently associated his four sons with him under the firm-name of Alexander Brown & Sons.--His eldest son, William, born in Ballymena, 30 May, 1784; died in Liverpool, England, 3 March, 1864, accompanied the family to Baltimore in 1800, received his commercial education in his father's counting-room, and early in life became a member of the firm. In 1809 he returned to England and established a branch house in Liverpool, where he extended the business, which gradually became general, and ultimately developed into the transmission of money on public account between the two hemispheres. The firm became known later as Brown, Shipley & county Mr. Brown was prominent in public affairs, and represented South Lancashire in parliament from 1846 till 1859. He erected the free public library and Derby museum in Liverpool at a cost of £40,000, and in 1863 was created a baronet.--The second son, George, born in Ballymena, 17 April, 1787; died in Baltimore, Maryland, 26 August, 1859, continued his residence in Baltimore, and later succeeded to the head of that branch of the business which was carried on under the old firm-name of Alexander Brown & Sons: Having amassed a large fortune, he withdrew from active connection with the firm in 1838.--The third son, John Alexander, born in Ballymena, 21 May, 1788; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 31 December, 1872, was educated in Baltimore, and became associated in business with his brother. In 1818 a branch house was opened in Philadelphia, which John A. Brown managed until 1838, when he gave up his active interest in the firm. He attained a leading position in the business community, and was elected a director of the old United States bank under the presidency of Nicholas Biddle. He acquired a large fortune, and gave more than $500,000 to benevolent objects. The Presbyterian hospital of Philadelphia received a donation of $300,000.--The fourth son. James, born in Ballymena, 4 February, 1791; died in New York City, 1 November, 1877, established the New York branch of the banking-house in 1825. Later he became the head of the great banking firm of Brown Brothers & county, and was the American representative of the Liverpool house. Like his brother John, he contributed large sums to various charities connected with the Presbyterian church.
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