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John Brown

BROWN, John, senator, be in Staunton, Virginia, 12 September, 1757; died in Frankfort, Kentucky, 29 August, 1837. He was a student at Princeton when the revolutionary army retreated through New Jersey, and at once enlisted, serving until the close of the war, after which he continued his education at Washington College, Lexington, Virginia, and then taught school while studying law. In 1782 he was admitted to the bar and began practice at Frankfort, Kentucky. He was elected a member of the legislature of Virginia from the district of Kentucky, and was also a delegate from the same district to the continental congress in 1787-'8. Later he was elected to congress from this section of Virginia, serving from 4 March, 1789, till 5 November, 1792, when he became the first United States senator from Kentucky, serving from 5 November, 1792, till 3 March, 1805. Senator Brown took a prominent part in the Indian warfare of his time, in the admission of Kentucky into the union, and in securing for the west the navigation of the Mississippi. He was the first member of congress from the Mississippi valley, and the last survivor of the continental congress.--His brother, James, senator, born near Staunton, Virginia, 11 September, 1766; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 7 April, 1835. He received a classical education at Washington College, Lexington, Virginia, studied law, was admitted to the bar, and began practice in Frankfort, Kentucky. In 1791 he commanded a company of sharpshooters in an expedition against the Indians, and in 1792 became secretary to Governor Isaac Shelby, of Kentucky. Soon after the cession of Louisiana he removed to New Orleans, and for a time assisted Edward Livingston in compiling the Louisiana code.

Later he was appointed secretary of the territory, and in 1804 became United States judge for that territory. In 1812 he was elected to the United States senate from Louisiana, serving' from 5 February, 1811, till 3 March, 1819. He was again elected, and served from 6 December, 1819, till 10 December, 1823, when he was appointed minister to France, where he remained until 1 July, 1829. On his return to the United States he settled in Philadelphia.--Another brother, Samuel, physician, born in Rock-bridge county, Virginia, 30 January, 1769; died in Alabama, 12 January, 1830, graduated at Dickinson College, Pennsylvania, in 1789, studied medicine under Dr. Rush in Philadelphia, and took the degree of M. D. at Aberdeen, Scotland. He practiced a while near the present site of Washington City, settled in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1797, and in 1806 in New Orleans, whence he removed to Natchez, where he married Miss Catharine Percy in 1808, after which he resided on a plantation in the vicinity of that place, and after her death settled on a plantation near Huntsville, Alabama. From 1819 till 1825 he was professor of the theory and practice of medicine at Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky. He had intended to found a medical school in Cincinnati, Ohio, in association with Dr. Drake; but at the solicitation of the trustees of the University in Lexington he began the enterprise in that City, where Dr. Drake joined him, who in 1825 succeeded him as head of the school. Besides attending to an extensive practice and devoting himself to medical and scientific instruction, Dr. Brown introduced various improvements in agricultural and industrial processes.

He first suggested the method that came into general use for clarifying ginseng for the Chinese market. He invented the process of using steam instead of the direct heat of the fire in the distillation of spirits. He united with his brothers John and James Brown and Henry Clay, in 1799, when an election for a constitutional convention was pending in Kentucky, in advocating the abolition of slavery in that state and the gradual emancipation of thee slaves; but the majority of the delegates were opposed to the project. In medical practice Dr. Brown was instrumental in introducing in the United States the process of lithotrity shortly after its first successful application by French surgeons. He established a medical society in Lexington, and framed for it a code of medical ethics. His body, at first a secret society, was the original of the medical associations of Philadelphia, New York, and Baltimore. He contributed to the "Transactions" of the philosophical society a paper entitled "A Description of a Cave on Crooked Creek, with Observations on Nitre and Gunpowder," and was also a contributor to the New York "Medical Repository."--John's son, Mason, jurist, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 10 November, 1799; died in Frankfort, Kentucky, 27 January, 1817 was graduated at Yale in 1820, and entered the law office of John J. Crittenden, of Frankfort, Kentucky, completing his studies in the Lexington law-school. Entering upon the practice of his profession in Frankfort, he became, after a few years, a partner of Governor Charles S. Morehead, with whom he compiled the valuable digest of the state laws, known as "Morehead and Brown's Digest." He was judge of the circuit court of his district for many years, and from 1855 till 1859, during the administration of Gov. Morehead, he was secretary of state. To his public spirit Frankfort was largely indebted for works of public utility and ornament.--Mason's son, Benjamin Gratz, lawyer, born in Lexington, Kentucky, 28 May, 1826; died in St. Louis, Missouri, 13 December, 1885, was graduated at Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky, in 1845, and at Yale in 1847, was admitted to the bar in Louisville, Kentucky, and soon afterward settled in St. Louis. He was a member of the Missouri legislature from 1852 till 1859, and in 1857 made there a remarkable anti-slavery speech, which is said to have been the beginning of the free-soil movement in that state. He edited the "Missouri Democrat," a journal of radical republican principles, which had for its most violent political opponent "The Missouri Republican," a democratic sheet of the most uncompromising character. For five years (1854-'9) he constantly opposed the pro-slavery party, and was often threatened with personal violence, on one occasion being wounded by a pistol-shot. In 1857 he was the free-soil candidate for governor, and came within 500 votes of election. At the beginning of the civil war, in 1861, he gave all his influence to the support of the union, and was in close consultation with Gen. Lyon when he planned the capture of Camp Jackson and broke up the first secessmn movement in St. Louis. Brown commanded a regiment of militia on that occasion, and afterward, during the invasion of the state by Price and Van Dorn, commanded a brigade. He was a member of the United States senate from 1863 till 1867, and lent his powerful influence in 1864 to favor the passage of the ordinance of emancipation by the Missouri state convention. In 1871 he was elected governor of Missouri, on the liberal republican ticket, by a majority of 40,000. In 1872 he was the candidate for vice-president on the democratic ticket with Horace Greeley, and after the election, which resulted in the defeat of the democrats and the election of the republican candidate, General Grant, he resumed his law practice.

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