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John Brown (Kentucky): Wikis


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Senator John Brown Kentucky.jpg

John Brown (September 12, 1757 – August 29, 1837) was an American lawyer and statesman heavily involved with creating the State of Kentucky.

Brown represented Virginia in the Continental Congress (1777–1778) and the U.S. Congress (1789–1791). While in Congress, he introduced the bill granting Statehood to Kentucky. Once that was accomplished, he was elected a U.S. Senator for Kentucky.


Early life

John Brown was born in Staunton, Virginia on September 12, 1757 to Rev. John and Margaret Brown. His father was a Presbyterian minister who had immigrated from Ireland. He had a good formal education, though it was interrupted by periods of military service in the Revolutionary War. Brown first attended the Augusta Academy (now Washington and Lee University) in nearby Lexington (Virginia), then began a course of study at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University).

Brown left the College of New Jersey in 1778 when the college closed due to the war. In the spring of 1780 he started at William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, but left there in the fall when the British invaded Virginia. After another brief period of military service, John completed his education by reading law in an office maintained by Thomas Jefferson in Charlottesville. Once admitted to the bar he moved to Danville (which at the time was in Kentucky County, Virginia) and began his law practice.

Family life

He was married to Margaretta Mason on February 21, 1799.

They had five children; two lived to adulthood. Mason Brown (November 10, 1799 - January 27, 1867) was born in Philadelphia. Orlando (September 26, 1801 - July 26, 1867) was born at Liberty Hall. Alfred was born at Liberty Hall on February 23, 1803 and died less than a year later on January 29, 1804. John and Margaretta had another son named Alfred that was born on May 9, 1804 and died on July 30, 1805. Their last child and only daughter named Euphemia Helen was born May 24, 1807 and died from a calomel overdose on October 1, 1814.



Virginia legislature

Brown became politically active after being admitted to the bar, and was elected to the Virginia state Senate, where he served from 1783 to 1788. The Virginia legislature sent him as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1787 and 1788. When the U.S. Constitution became effective, he was twice elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, serving from 1789 to 1792.

Kentucky statehood

As a Virginia Congressman, Brown introduced the petition for Kentucky Statehood. When Kentucky became a state in 1792, he resigned from the House on June 1, 1792. On June 18, Kentucky elected him to the United States Senate for a term ending in 1793. He was re-elected twice and served until 1805. He was President pro tem during the Eighth Congress. During Brown's Senate service, he moved to Frankfort, Kentucky.

Other works

After leaving the Senate, Brown resumed the practice of law in his new home of Frankfort. He remained active in local civic affairs, and also served briefly as sheriff of Franklin County. He served on the board to oversee the construction of Kentucky's Capitol Building. In 1836, Brown chaired the organizing meeting of the Kentucky Historical Society. He was a cousin of John Breckinridge.

Liberty Hall

John Brown died on August 29, 1837 in Lexington, Kentucky and was brought home to Frankfort for burial. In 1847, he was re-interred in the Frankfort Cemetery. The home he occupied in his later years is preserved as Liberty Hall Historic Site located at 202 Wilkinson Street in Frankfort, Kentucky. The site contains two houses: Liberty Hall (1796) built by John Brown, and the Orlando Brown House (1835), designed by Gideon Shryock, and owned by Senator Brown's second son. Liberty Hall is operated as a museum and is open to the public. Liberty Hall Historic Site is a 501(c)3 organization owned and operated by Liberty Hall, Inc., and The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
None; first in line
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia

March 4, 1789 – June 1, 1792
Succeeded by
None; district inactive
United States Senate
Preceded by
None; first in line
United States Senator (Class 2) from Kentucky
Served alongside: John Edwards, Humphrey Marshall, John Breckinridge
Succeeded by
Buckner Thruston
Political offices
Preceded by
Stephen R. Bradley
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
December 14, 1802–October 16, 1803
Succeeded by
Jesse Franklin


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