CHARLES BROWN. One of the finest farms in Jackson County lies on section 16,
Degognia Township. The owner, a progressive agriculturist, is a native of
Randolph County this state, having been born near Shiloh Hill, March 17, 1853,
on the old homestead, where his father, a retired river engineer, was residing
at that time. For further details pertaining to the family history the reader is
referred to the biographical sketch of H. C. Brown on another page of this
When our subject was a child, his father, James Brown, sold his section of land lying near Shiloh Hill for $12,000, which in those days was considered a large sum for a farm. The family then moved to Rockwood, where the father took a prominent part in the building of a large mill at that place. Attending school at Rockwood until the spring of 1869, Charles then entered the Southern Illinois College, at Carbondale, and was present at the laying of the corner-stone of the Southern Illinois Normal School. In the fall of 1869 he entered the Christian Brothers' College in St. Louis, but at the end of the first month returned home. A week or two later he went back to St. Louis and took a course in Bryant & Stratton's Business College, where he continued until the spring of 1870.
Immediately upon his return to Rockwood, Mr. Brown began farming, and, although he was not yet of age, he has since been self-supporting and independent. Inheriting a fine tract of land from his father, he now has a magnificent farm of two hundred and sixty-two acres lying in the bottoms of Degognia Township, Jackson County, one of the richest bodies of land on the continent. From the bluffs along which the farm lies a beautiful view may be had of the river, to which the estate extends. Wheat, corn and potatoes are the principal crops, the last-named being especially profitable owing to the extreme richness of the soil. The farm is stocked with a fine grade of Holstein and Jersey cattle, Poland-China hogs and Cotswold sheep. One of the curiosities of the place is an old stone watering trough that has stood the frosts of at least ninety winters, and in all probability has been there for a much longer period. When purchased by the father of our subject, many years ago, it was then quite old. Several Indian mounds on the place, from which have been turned up many flint tools and Indian grave stones, are also of interest.
July 2, 1884, Charles Brown married Miss Belle P., daughter of Benjamin and Margaret A. (Clendenin) Richards, the former a native of Staffordshire, England, and the latter of Randolph County, Ill. The maternal grandparents of Mrs. Brown were John H. and Mary Clendenin, early settlers of Randolph County, who came hither from Kentucky. Benjamin Richards was born July 8, 1828, and came to America about 1840. On the 14th of September, 1858, he married Miss Clendenin, who was born April 29, 1842. In June, 1886, he moved with his family to Delphos, Kan., where he now resides. He and his wife were the parents of twelve children, six sons and six daughters, of whom the following survive: Cora, Belle, William S., John H., Nettie, Bertha, Lottie and Joseph B. Mrs. Brown, the second in order of birth, was born December 16, 1862, and by her marriage has become the mother of one child, Cora, born February 5, 1889.
In politics a Republican, Mr. Brown is now serving his second term as Supervisor of Degognia Township, and for more than five years has been School Trustee. He is not an office-seeker, but the offices in this case have sought the man. In politics the four brothers of the family are strangely divided, one being a Prohibitionist, another a Democrat, the third a Republican, and the fourth a "Wheeler," as the Populists are called in Arkansas. Socially, our subject is a leading member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and served as a delegate to the last two state conventions of that fraternity in Springfield, and will officiate in the same capacity in the fall of 1894. He affiliates with Rockwood Lodge No. 351. With his wife, he enjoys the respect of all who know him, and is regarded as a progressive farmer and public-spirited citizen.
Extracted 01 Aug 2020 by Norma Hass from 1894 Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry, and Monroe Counties, Illinois, pages 669-672.
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