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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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John Junius Brown, M. D.

Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record - Published 1894 by Excelsior Publishing Co., Chicago" Pages 226 & 227

John Junius Brown, M.D., is a pioneer settler of Sheboygan, who through his persistent and well-directed efforts in scientific researches has made for himself an imperishable name and won rare honors for his adopted county. The family of Dr. Brown is a member was established in America, soon after the landing of the Pilgrim's Fathers, by Thomas Brown, who came from England and located in Massachusetts. From this gentleman the doctor removed six generations. The father of the subject of this article, John Brown, who was an architect by profession and a man well educated for that day, was a native of the old Bay State, which has been the birthplace of the family for generations. When a young man he went to Toronto, Canada, where he met and married Miss Mary Skeldon, a native of England. While residing in that city there was born to them, June 24, 1819, a son, whom they named John Junius. Some three years later the family removed to Lockport, N. Y., and about 1824 to Buffalo.

When thirteen years of age Dr. Brown went to live with his parental grandfather on a farm in Alexander Township, Genesee County, N. Y., where, in connection with farm labors, he attended a district school. Subsequently he returned to Buffalo and there went to school for a time. Farm life being well suited to his tastes, he spent several seasons with his cousin, David Ney, of Genesee County, working in the fields and going to the district schools by turns. Desiring to follow agriculture for a livelihood, a farm of two hundred acres was purchased for him by his father, situated just west of Long's Corners, Genesee County, to which place his parents moved about 1835, and there spent the remainder of their lives. But the boys was not so taken up with farm work that he neglected books and reading. Among the books he read was the life of Franklin, which filled him with aspirations to become a printer, thus learn all about what was going on in the world. He accordingly secured a place on the Whig and Journal of Buffalo. When he found that to become an expert type-setter one must direct his attention to that, and know little or nothing about the subject matter of the article set up, printing lost its charm for him. Returning home, he had the chief management of the farm. Later, to better prepare himself for life's battle, he entered Alexander Academy, but lung trouble, resulting from cold, caused him to leave school, and so he traveled, going down the Ohio River, up the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers to the village of Chicago and by the Lakes home again. In the fall of 1840, Dr. Brown taught school some twelve miles back from Mt. Pleasant, Ohio, Rev. Henry Ward Beecher being a member of the examining board that gave him a license. The spring following he dropped down the rivers to New Orleans, visited the island of Cuba, and returned home by way of New York City.

Infatuated with the study of physiology, Dr. Brown entered the office of Dr. Aaron Long, a physician of Long's Corners, N. Y., where he made a special study subject. The following winter he attended Geneva {N. Y.} Medical College, and then read a year with Dr. Burwell, of Buffalo, N.Y. Soon after he became assistant in the office of Dr. Parsell, of Akron, N. Y. In January, 1845, he graduated from Geneva Medical College. Returning home the same spring, he married a girl he had learned to love when a farmer boy, Miss Miranda Hadley, sister of Jackson Hadley, of Milwaukee. As the doctor had prepared himself for the medical profession, his young wife was anxious that he should practice for a time, though he took more naturally to farming. The year 1846 witnessed the arrival of Dr. Brown in Sheboygan. Though he bought a farm near town, he pursued his chosen profession, until after the breaking out of the war. In raising troops for service he took an active part, and in recognition of his service was commissioned, October 20, 1862, by Gov. Salomon as Lieutenant-Colonel of the twenty-seventh Wisconsin Infantry. He served with his command until disabled by sunstroke at Vicksburg, which has finally resulted in severe paralysis.

Since the war Dr. Brown has given his attention largely to scientific work, in one branch of which, conchology, he has won a world-wide reputation. In his visits to the West India Islands and adjacent countries he began a collection of shells that is acknowledged to be the finest in the Western States. So fruitful have been his researches in this field that a number bear his name as the original discoverer. In 1891 his collection was removed to Lawrence University, at Appleton, Wis., where it will remain a permanent possession. Besides Dr. Brown has given considerable attention to collecting mineral, botanical and ornithological specimens.

In political sentiment he is a stanch Republican, and, though not an office-seeker, has twice been chosen as Superintendent of the Sheboygan schools. Dr. Brown does not consider himself a popular man in the common acceptance of that word, as his pronounced views in regard to temperance and the right of American ideas and institutions to predominate in America have met with some opposition. But his opponents in these matters acknowledge that he is right, and aside from these disagreements Dr. Brown is held in high esteem by his fellow-citizens, who have known him for nearly half-century.

In 1868, he was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who left four children, namely: Sarah Uran, wife of A. M. Van Valkenburg, of Nebraska; Frank H., a druggist of Chicago; John R., a druggist of Berlin, Wis.; and Mary E., at home; Dr. Brown was again married, wedding Harriet Gallup in 1871.

For forty-seven years Dr. Brown has been a resident of Sheboygan, and these years have not been spent in money-getting, though he is blessed with a sufficiency, but rather in studying the thoughts of the Creator as they are revealed in the varied forms of nature, and in completing a life work that shall be helpful to those who may seek knowledge in the same fields over which he has passed.


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