Charles H. Browne

CHARLES H. BROWNE is proprietor and editor of, the Horton Headlight-Commercial, now the only Journal published in that enterprising and flourishing city of Brown County. Mr. Browne has been largely identified with newspaper work since he left school, and is a vigorous type of citizen and easily a leader in any community. For a number of years he has been connected with the National Guard of Kansas and has been especially active in recent events in which the country has been involved in trouble, first with Mexico and later with Germany.

The Horton Headlight-Commercial is a consolidation of half a dozen different Horton newspapers. As reported in the "History of Kansas Newspapers," issued by the Kansas State Historical Society, the Headlight-Commercial is a continuation of the Horton Headlight, founded in 1886 by Harley W. Brundige and Samuel Baer. In 1901 it was consolidated with the Leader, which had been founded in 1899 by Johnson & Law. The name was changed to Horton Headlight-Leader, Johnson & Law editors and publishers. But the name was soon changed to Headlight, and this newspaper Mr. Browne purchased in 1906. In 1911 it consolidated with the Commercial under the name Headlight-Commercial, with Mr. Browne as editor and published. The Horton Commercial was founded in 1887 by John S. Sherdeman. At different times in its history the Headlight has had daily issues.

Mr. Charles H. Browne was born at St. Joseph, Missouri, July 6, 1881, and is the son of an old and prominent railway man in Kansas. He is the only son and child of the late Charles H. Browne, Sr., who was born in New York City in 1849. The grandfather was James Browne, who was born in County Mayo, Ireland, and after his marriage came to America and located in New York City. He was a quarryman and finally removed to the Province of Ontario, where he died. Charles H. Browne, Sr., grew up in New York City and in the Province of Ontario across from Niagara Falls, and when a young man removed to St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1868. He was connected with the old Hannibal and St. Joseph Railway Company and later with the St. Joseph and Grand Island Company. He rose to the position of passenger conductor, and in 1894 was made trainmaster of the Missouri Pacific Railway at Council Grove, Kansas. He removed his home to Kansas City, Missouri, in 1887, went to Topeka in 1896, to Hiawatha in 1898, and he died in that city in 1899, as a result of injury received during service. He was a democrat in politics. He married Katherine G. Herbert, who was born in New Salem, Pennsylvania, in 1855 and is now living with her son in Horton. She is a sister of Ewing Herbert, of Hiawatha.

Charles H. Browne, Jr., was educated in the public schools of Kansas City, Missouri, and for two years attended the academic department of Washburn College at Topeka. His first experiences as a newspaper man were at Hiawatha in 1898, where he became associated with Mr. Ewing Herbert on the Hiawatha World. He was connected with that journal until December, 1906, when he removed to Horton and bought the Horton Headlight, which has been published under his name continuously since that date. He acquired the old Horton Commercial in 1911 and in 1914 the Horton News, and having consolidated these various papers he now has the only journal published in the city. The Headlight-Commercial is independent in politics and undoubtedly wields an influence over Brown and surrounding counties second to no other newspaper. The plant and offices are situated on West Front Street and besides the publication of the paper Mr. Browne does a large business in general printing.

Something should next be said in line with the importance of Mr. Browne's connection with the Kansas National Guard. He first enlisted in 1899, in Company F of the First Regiment at Hiawatha. He served as corporal and sergeant in that company. Later he was drum major of the First Regiment Band. On April 1, 1914, Company B of the First Kansas Regiment was organized and Mr. Browne again enlisted and served as sergeant. In August, 1914 he was made battalion sergeant-major of the first battalion, and on October 7, 1915, was commissioned second lieutenant and became battalion quartermaster and commissary. Mr. Browne was called out with the rest of the regiment by President Wilson on June 19, 1916, and was mustered into the Federal service at Fort Riley, Kansas, June 26th. He was assigned to duty with the Machine Gun Company of the First Regiment, with the rank of senior second lieutenant. This company was stationed at Eagle Pass, Texas, until September 6th, was then transferred to San Antonio at Fort Sam Houston and left there October 13, 1916, to return to Fort Riley, where he and his comrades were mustered out October 30th. On February 1, 1917, Mr. Browne was assigned to Company B, First Kansas Infantry, located at Horton. As recruiting officer for that company he was active in bringing it promptly to war strength of 150, the Horton organization being the second company in Kansas to reach full strength after President Wilson's call. On June 9, 1917, Mr. Browne was commissioned captain and placed in command of Company H, Third Kansas Infantry, at Abilene, Kansas.

In politics Mr. Browne is a republican. He has served as a member of the school board at Horton. His home, which he owns, is on East Mina Street. Mr. Browne is well known in fraternal circles. He is affiliated with Horton Lodge No 326, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Horton Chapter No. 76, Royal Arch Masons, Horton Commandery No. 36, Knights Templar, of which he is past eminent commander, Moila Temple of the Mytic Shrine at St. Joseph, Missouri, and is president of the Abdallah Shrine Club at Horton. He also belongs to Horton Lodge No. 165, Knights of Pythias, Horton Company No. 36 of Uniform Rank Knights of Pythias, Horton Lodge No. 241, Ancient Order of United Workmen, Magic City Camp No. 535, Modern Woodmen of America, to Horton Council No. 37, Knights and Ladies of Security, and Kickapoo Tribe No. 28, Improved Order of Red Men. Mr. Browne has served as president and is an active member of the Horton Commercial Club.

On June 19, 1903, at Independence, Missouri, he married Miss Mary E. Seburn, daughter of Dr. Harvey and Maria (Klinefelter) Seburn. Her mother is now residing at Hiawatha. Her father, deceased, was one of the prominent pioneers of Brown County, Kansas, where he located in 1857. During the Civil war he served as a surgeon under Major Morrill, who afterwards became governor of the State of Kansas. Mr. and Mrs. Browne have three children: Mary Elizabeth, born September 19, 1907; Charles Harvey, born December 5, 19O9; and Jessie Virginia, born February 12, 1913.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.
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