W. R. BROWN GRAVESTONE PHOTO
South Kansas Tribune , Wednesday, March 25, 1891:
Brigadier General W. R. Brown
Entered Into Rest
For several months our distinguished citizen, Gen. W. R. Brown, has been in failing health, suffering from a disease of the heart. He had recovered from this, and about ten days ago was able to ride up town. But with the changing weather he took cold, resulting in the dread pneumonia, which baffled all skill and resulted in his death last evening at 5 o’clock, at the age of 65 years and five months.
Gen. Brown was living in Ohio at the outbreak of the rebellion, and largely engaged in manufacturing. But his country was above his private interests, and leaving wife, children, home and business, he offered his life on his country’s alter. The quota of Ohio was full and he crossed the line and enlisted in West Virginia, was elected Captain and assigned to the 4th regiment. Afterwards, for bravery, he was promoted to Colonel of the 13th West Virginia, and afterwards breveted Brigadier General for distinguished services. He took part in many of the hardest fought Virginia campaigns and was brigaded with and became a great favorite with Gen. R. B. Hayes, afterwards President Hayes, and was with Sheridan’s forces at the time of the great Winchester ride. In this county Gen. Brown has endeared himself to a wide circle of acquaintances, and been called to serve our people as Commissioner and later as Judge of the Probate Court. In recent years he was converted and united with the Congregational church, and has been living life of a Christian soldier. A good man has gone to his reward, full of years and crowned with honors. The funeral will probably be tomorrow afternoon, but will depend on the arrival of son, H.G. Brown of Texas.
The Star and Kansan, Friday, March 27 1891:
At 5 o’clock p.m., on Tuesday of this week, Gen. W. R. Brown, died at his residence just east of this city, from a severe attack of pneumonia, aged sixty five years and nine months. Gen. Brown was a native of Pennsylvania, and from the time he was a mere boy, earned his livelihood. He was in every sense of the word a self-made man, and possessed all those sterling virtues which characterize a man, who from his boyhood wins his way to fame and fortune by hard licks. He was quick to recognize his duty to society and humanity, and rigorously performed it. At the breaking out of the war he occupied a lucrative position as foreman in large machine shops at Pomery, O. As his state’s quota was full, he took a company of men from the shops and went over into West Virginia and enlisted. He was made captain of the company, but later, on account of his distinguished services, was promoted to colonel of the 13th West Virginia infantry, which was a regiment of the brigade of Gen. R. B. Hayes. When Mr. Hayes was elected to congress, Mr. Brown was promoted to the command of the brigade with the rank of brevet brigadier general, a position he held until the war ended.
Gen. Brown came to this county in 1874, and was well and favorably known throughout the county. He has served the people with ability and honesty as county commissioner, probate judge, and at the time of his death was a member of the board of education. The same scrupulous regard for right and justice that characterized his private life marked all his acts as a public official. Although but within a few years the member of any church organization, his whole life was that of a Christian man. Always willing to lend a helping hand to the unfortunate, and never turning a deaf ear to the story of distress, he ever followed the teachings of the Savior of mankind, to do unto others as you have them do unto you. The terrible sorrow that now afflicts the heart of the wife, who has shared his life’s joy and regrets, and the children who have grown to manhood, guided by his gentle hand, may find some mitigation in the thought that the heartfelt sympathy that goes out from this whole community, as if it were an individual, is real and genuine, made the stronger by the sorrow felt over the loss of one of its most honored and respected citizens.
Gen. Brown was a partisan and believed in the cardinal principles of democracy; but he believed in fairness and honesty in political warfare. When Gen. Hayes was a candidate for president and his military record was assailed by the opposition, although Gen. Brown desired his defeat, he came promptly to the front and strongly defended his old comrade’s reputation against false accusations. Such acts were consistent with his character; and it was because his life was one of kind and generous deeds, noble and courageous acts, and unyielding devotion to right, that his death is so deeply mourned.
The funeral takes place from the Congregational church at 10 o’clock this morning. Rev. Harry C. Vrooman will preach the funeral sermon, he having returned from Kansas City for this purpose, in accordance with a promise he had previously made.
Contributed by Mrs. Maryann Johnson a Civil war researcher and a volunteer in the Kansas Room of the Independence Public Library, Independence, Kansas.