DAVID L. BROWN.
It has often been said that death is no respecter of persons, but when the aged are called, although regret is
often felt at their passing, it yet seems to be in the course of nature. When the young are called, however, no
such feeling palliates the deep grief that comes to those who are left behind and there must ever remain a feeling
of sorrow that a career is thus cut short. Many of the older citizens of Jefferson county remember with pleasure
their acquaintance with David L. Brown, who was identified with the coal mining interests of Coalport before the
Civil war and again from the time he returned, a wounded soldier, until death claimed him in 1869.
He was born in Clinton, Pennsylvania, October 25, 1840, his parents being John B. and Jane (Dalton) Brown, the
former a native of Scotland and the latter of the Keystone state. On coming to the new world John B. Brown settled
in Pennsylvania, where he resided until 1849, when, attracted by the discovery of gold in California and the opportunities
there offered, in a business way, he went to the Pacific coast, where he remained until 1859. In that year he retraced
his steps as far as Jefferson county, Iowa, where he took up his abode, turning his attention to the coal mining
business at Comport. He was thus engaged throughout the remainder of his life and both he and his wife passed away
in this county.
David L. Brown was a little lad of eight years when the long journey was made to California, and was a youth of
nineteen when the family came to Jefferson county. His education, which was begun in the schools of the Golden
state, was continued after he reached Iowa and his home training stimulated in him habits of industry and resolute
purpose. On August 9, 1862, he enlisted for service as a member of Company G, Thirtieth Iowa Infantry, and served
until the charge on Vicksburg, when he was seriously wounded and because of his condition was forced to return
home. For a year thereafter he was obliged to go about on crutches. On again coming to Jefferson county he reentered
the coal business, in which he had previously engaged, and on the death of his father in 1865 took charge of his
coal interests at Coalport. He found, however, that the heavy work was more than he could stand and the drain upon
his strength and vitality was such that his health became undermined and he passed away on the 29th of April, 1869.
Mr. Brown left a young widow, having been married on the 10th of December, 1867, to Miss Mary U. Hopkirk, whose
parents were William and Jane (Redpath) Hopkirk, natives of Scotland. About 1834 they left the land of hills and
heather and came to the United States, settling first in New York, where the father followed the trade of dyeing
for several years, having previously acquainted himself with the business when in Scotland. He afterward went to
Ohio but a few years later came to Jefferson county, settling here in 1842. That the district was still sparsely
settled is indicated by the fact that there was land yet unclaimed and he entered a tract from the government.
The state, too, had not been admitted into the Union and there were many evidences of frontier life on all sides.
Mr. Hopkirk took up the arduous task of developing a new farm and built thereon a log house and barn and year by
year continued the cultivation of his place until it became one of the well improved farms of Lockridge township.
His labors enhanced its productiveness and therefore its value and the excellent work which he did in the cultivation
of the fields furnished an object lesson that others might well follow. Moreover, he became to a considerable extent
a director of public opinion and during his residence on the farm he was called to represent his district in the
fifteenth general assembly, where he made such a creditable record that he received public indorsement in a reelection
to the sixteenth assembly. He gave careful consideration to each question which came up for settlement and he at
all times enjoyed the confidence and respect of his colleagues in the assembly. He likewise filled various local
offices in the township and county and acted as justice of the peace, holding court in his own home. His official
service was ever characterized by a loyal devotion to duty that none questioned. Born in 1811, he was eighty one
years of age, when, in 1892, he was called to his final rest, and his wife, who was born in 1813, reached the age
of fifty six years, her death occurring in 1869. In their family were eleven children, six of whom are deceased.
Of the others, two are residing in Fairfield, one in Lockridge township, one in California, and another in the
state of Washington.
Of this family Mrs. Brown was born in West Virginia, on the 25th of February, 1842, and was brought to Iowa by
her parents when three months old. Her girlhood days were spent under the parental roof and she was carefully trained
in the work of the household, so that she was well qualified to take care of a home of her own at the time of her
marriage. To Mr. and Mrs. Brown was born one child, Mary J., born November 21, 1868; she graduated from the Fairfield
high school in 1888 and has taught school for twenty years; she is now a teacher in the Logan school at Fairfield.
Mr. Brown and his wife attended the Methodist church, but Mrs. Brown later on joined the Baptist denomination in
Lockridge and about 1887 she and her daughter became members of the Methodist church here. His political belief
Mr. Brown accorded the republican party. His was regarded as a most untimely death, for he had not yet passed the
twenty eighth milestone on life's journey. He was laid to rest with full military honors and is yet remembered
by many of the older settlers as a young man of good business ability, whose sterling qualities were such as to
gain for him the admiration and the friendship of many. His associates and friends all mourned his death but the
loss came with greatest force to his little family and though more than forty years have come and gone since he
was laid to rest, his widow yet remains true to his memory.
History of Jefferson County, Iowa
A Record of Settlement, Organizatin,
Progress and Achievement
BY: Charles J. Fulton
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Jefferson County, IA
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