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Bureau,Marshall,Putnam Biographical Records 1896 > Joseph H. Brown

The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois 1896

p. 379

Joseph Hamilton Brown, dealer in lumber and coal at Princeton, Illinois, is in every sense of the word a self-made man and one of the enterprising men of the city. He is a native of Bureau county, born in Ohio township September 3, 1851. His parents, John W. and Rachel (Ross) Brown, came to Bureau county from  Tuscarawas county, Ohio, in April, 1851, locating on a farm of one hundred and sixty acres, where they resided three years. Selling the farm, his father removed with his family to Malden, Berling township, and there engaged in the mercantile business for three years. He was not successful in this venture, and in 1857, removed to princeton, where he spent the remainder of his life, principally as a salesman. His death occurred March 9, 1891, at the age of sixty-six years. His widow yet resides in Princeton where she is well-known and universally respected.

Our subject was but six years of age when he came to Princeton with his parents. His education was received in the public schools of the city, finishing his literary course in the high school. However, he was not permitted uninterruptedly to attend school, but at the age of eleven was clerk in a general store, and from that time until he attained his majority alternated his time in the store and in school, having been required all this time by the necessity of the case to care for himself.

  After arriving at legal age, Mr. Brown commenced farming, in which business he continued two years, but having no taste for farm life he went to Ohio, Bureau county, Illinois, and accepted a position in a lumber yard. Later he went to Walnut, and for six years was a sales man in a lumber yard at that place, and was then made a partner in the concern, which was owned by Mr. C. Bruce. He put no capital into the business, but simply put his time against the capital furnished by Mr. Bruce, the latter gentleman then residing in Chicago. Mr. Brown had full control of the business and made money from the start.

Two years later, Mr. Brown sold his interest at Walnut and in February, 1882, he removed to Princeton, and under the firm name of Cone, Brown & Company, continued in the same line of business, the company buying out two old and well established yards, those of William Miles and L. I. Davis & Company. At Princeton, Mr. Brown had the general management of the business, the company operating at Henry, and later at other points. For six years they did an agricultural implement business, in connection with their lumber trade. After five years, Mr. Ross, the junior member of the firm withdrew and Mr. Cone dying, Mr. Brown succeeded to the business, and since 1891, has conducted it alone. The business has been a growing one with very satisfactory results and our subject has always given it his close personal attention. The average stock in the yards approximates some sixteen thousand dollars.On the 16th of March, 1876, Mr. Brown was united in marriage with Miss Eliza Plummerr, of Kewanee, Henry county, Illinois, and by this union seven sons have been born - Joseph Harry, Frank, Louie, Lester, John Richard, Ralph Plummer and Edgar Allen. The three first named are now attending the Princeton high school.

Politically, Mr. Brown is a republican, and has always taken an interest in political affairs, though never seeking office for h himself, but often assisting others. He frequently attends the conventions of his party, and thus sets a good example to others. He served for a time as a member of the  county board of supervisors, and for three years was a member of the  high school board, accepting the latter position as an evidence of his interest in the public schools. Fraternally he is a member of the Beansant Lodge, No. 41, K. P.

Mr. Brown is a lover of a good horse, and has several good drivers in his stable, but it is in poultry that he takes the greatest delight, and shows the greatest interest outside of his regular and legitimate business. For about eighteen years he has been engaged in breeding Plymouth Rocks and other fine grades of poultry, and his spare moments have been usually given to poultry literature. At present he is president of the North Central Poultry association.

In all matters pertaining to the business interests of Princeton, Mr. Brown is at the front and gives much of his time and money. He has been a director in the Princeton Business Men's association. Starting in life without a dollar, by close and careful attention to business, and doing all things well, whether as an employer or as an employee, he has won the confidence of his fellow men and has been reasonably successful in life.



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