Members of the Brown family, of which Henry C. Brown of Houstonia is a representative, have been prominent in the industrial and civic affairs of Pettis County for 40 years. They came from North Carolina and have been substantial additions to this county in many ways. Mr. Brown was born on April 9, 1854, in Davidson County, N. C. He is the son of Haley Brown, who was born in 1805 and died in 1866. His mother was Jane Emily (Spurgeon) Brown, who was born in 1813 and departed this life in 1895. Henry C Brown was one of nine children born to his parents: John, Joseph A. C., Phebe Jane, William, Dempsey S., David F., Sarah, George.
Dr. Joseph A C Brown was born in Davidson County N C received a classical education in Trinity and Emory and Henry colleges, graduated from the State University in 1858 studied medicine at Jamestown, NC and graduated from the Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia and went to Texas in 1860. He served in the Confederate Army under Stonewall Jackson and after the close of the war, in 1865 he located at Dresden, where he practiced medicine until 1877. He then served as county collector of Pettis County until 1881, after which he looked after his farming interests in Dresden township until his death, December 7, 1888. Phebe Jane Brown lived and died in North Carolina. William Brown died in Texas, where he made his home, after leaving his native State. Dempsey S. Brown was born in Davidson County N C in 1843 and died in Pettis County Dec 28 1915. He first came to Pettis County in 1865 and became engaged in farming and stock raising. He was joined by his brother, Henry C Brown of this review in about 1875, and the brothers were in partnership forty years, during which the best of amity prevailed. They prospered and owned and operated one of the large stock farms of Pettis County until Mr. Brown's death in 1915. Daniel F Brown was educated and fitted himself for the practice of medicine. He was born Oct. 27, 1845, and died March 16, 1902. He practiced his profession for many years in Dresden township and was widely and favorable known. Sarah Brown died in North Carolina at the age of 22 years. George Brown, next to the youngest son of the family, died in Pettis County at the age of 22 years. Four of the sons of this family, Dempsey S., George, Joseph A C, and David F., came to Pettis County in 1865.
Henry C. Brown came to this county in 1866 but returned to North Carolina in the spring of 1867 and attended school in his native county. The mother came to Pettis County in 1872 and made her home with Dr. David H Brown in Dresden. In 1874 Henry C Brown returned to Pettis County and joined his brother Dempsey S in his farming operations in Blackwater township. Dempsey S. Brown in 1867 had become associated with Dr. L H Williams who owned a large farm in Blackwater township and was practicing medicine in the neighborhood. He and Dr. Williams were partners until the latter's death. Then Dempsey S. and Henry C. Brown formed a partnership. Brown Brothers fed from 100-200 head of cattle yearly and operated over 1000 acres of rich prairie land. They built up a splendid farm and resided on the place until 1903, when Mr. Brown removed to Houstonia. During the past few years he has disposed of a considerable part of his land holdings because of poor health.
Mr. Brown was married on Dec 16, 1877, to Mrs. Nannie (Berry) Williams, widow of Dr. L H Williams and a daughter of the Rev Tyree Berry an early Missouri Pioneer. Dr. Williams died Feb 22, 1875, as a result of injuries received during the cyclone which swept Houstonia and this section of Pettis County in Feb of 1875. The building in which the doctor was then located was torn to pieces and the wreckage of the building which then formed the business section of the town was strewn far and wide. Dempsey Brown was in town on that day and he was knocked down and bruised but not seriously hurt. Dr. Williams was a native of North Carolina and came to Pettis County in 1847 and located on a farm, three miles west of Houstonia. Two of his brothers crossed the plains to the gold fields of California in 1849. Of the six children born to Dr. L H and Nannie Williams, one is living: F S Williams a merchant in the Imperial Valley of California. One child was born to the marriage of Henry C. and Nannie Brown namely: Dempsey, wife of O C Horine, living in Houstonia with the subject of this review.
Mr. Brown is a Democrat. He and his family are members of the Baptist Church. He is a modest unassuming gentleman whose standing in the community of which he has long been a resident is a substantial and highly respected one.
Source: McGruder, Mark A. History of Pettis County, Missouri (Topeka: Historical Publishing Company, 1919)
Submitter: Laura Paxton