Biography - Peter M. Brown

PETER MONTGUE BROWN, the eldest of a family of seven children, was born in Cumberland county, Virginia, Dec. 16th, 1806. His father, Wilson Brown, was a native of Cumberland county, and of Irish parentage. His mother's maiden name was Cynthia Montague, and was a daughter of Peter Montague, who lived near Cartersville, Cumberland county. Mr. Montague was of Scotch descent, and his wife was a French extraction. Wilson Brown was a soldier during the war of 1812. In 1835 he became a resident of Greene county, Illinois, where he spent the remainder of his days. He was a member of the Christian Church, while his wife and family belonged to the Baptist Church.

The subject of this sketch received his early education in his native county, and in early manhood became an apprentice to the carpenter's trade. In 1828, he left the scenes of his early boyhood, and started west, traveling through Tennessee, stopping a few days at Nashville, and from thence went to what was locally known as "Jackson's Purchase," where he tarried a short time. In November, 1828, he arrived at the then village of St. Louis, where he followed his trade about eighteen months, and in April, 1830, settled in Carrollton, where he carried on carpentering until 1836. He then bought a stock of goods of Shackelford, Hodges & Co., and commenced mercantile business, in which he continued about two years, when, proving unsuccessful, he discontinued business.

On the 19th of December, 1830, Mr. Brown was married to Miss Asenath Crane, daughter of Rev. Sears Crane, a minister of the Baptist denomination. He was a native of New Jersey, and a gentleman of sound practical views. Mr. and Mrs. Brown had a family of ten children, of whom eight are yet living – five married and comfortably settled in life.

After he quit merchandising, Mr. Brown engaged in trading in cattle and hogs, and driving them to the St. Louis markets, which soon enabled him to retrieve his losses. On the breaking out of the Blackhawk war, in 1831, he volunteered in Captain John Lorton's company, in the regiment commanded by Colonel Fry. The regiment marched to Rock Island, where, soon after, a treaty was effected with the Indians, and the troops were paid off and disbanded. About the only sign of a fight at Rock Island was between Captain Smith and Mr. Brown, but friends interfered and prevented a serious rupture. Mr. Brown and three others (one of whom was Edward Baker, who afterwards became eminent), sold their horses and bought an Indian canoe, with which they proceeded down the river, and such was their skill in managing the frail bark, that they kept ahead of a steamboat going in the same direction. Their first stopping place was at Hannibal, where they landed and partook of a sumptuous supper, after which they proceeded on their way down the river to Mosier's Point, where they disembarked, and made their way across Calhoun county to their friends in Greene, being the first to report the treaty.

In 1833, Mr. Brown entered a portion of the land on which he now resides. He commenced life with small means, but, by perseverance and well directed industry, has succeeded in accumulating a comfortable competence.

In politics, Mr. B. early became identified with the democratic party, to which he has always strictly adhered. He cast his first vote for General Jackson, and during the campaign of 1860 he made several effective speeches for Stephen A. Douglass. About the year 1834, he became a member of the Baptist church. He is a man of remarkable health, never having been confined to a sick-bed a single day of his life. Success has generally attended his various efforts; and now he is living at his residence, surrounded by an interesting family, and enjoying the fruits of a well-spent life.

Extracted 11 Jul 2018 by Norma Hass from Atlas Map of Greene County Illinois, 1873, page 43

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