Biography of Clarence Brown
Lucas County, OH Biographies

Clarence Brown, whose entire career reflected credit and honor upon the bar of Ohio during the long years of his practice in Toledo, was born in Massilion, Ohio, February 17, 1852, and was a son of Isaac H. and Elizabeth (Wheeler) Brown. He received his early education in the public schools of his native city and at the ageof twenty years began the study of law in the offices of Scribner & Hurd at Toledo. Two years later he was admitted to the bar and then began, in 1874, the practice of law in this city, continuing as a distinguished and representative member of the bar here to the time of his death, which occurred July 30, 1918.

In the year 1879 Mr. Brown was married to Miss Carrie Luce, a daughter of the late Hon. Charles L. Luce of Toledo, who survives him.

Mr. Brown was frequently called to public office in connection with the profession. He served for four years, from 1875 until 1879, as assistant city solicitor under Hon. Frank Hurd and General J. Kent Hamilton, successively. In 1881 he was elected city solicitor and made a most creditable record in that position, faithfully defending the interests of the municipality in every way. For several years he was lecturer upon medical jurisprudence in the Northwestern Ohio Medical College and proved a most capable educator through the readiness and clearness with which he imparted to others the knowledge that he had acquired. A brilliant and illuminating orator, a keen logician, an effective persuader and therefore a leader; imbued with high ideals, a most vigorous hater of shams and hypocrisies, and a consummate master of every subject upon which he consented to speak, he was in great demand for addresses and arguments upon a vast variety of topics.

Mr. Brown was an eminently accomplished and successful advocate, an expert examiner and a master of cross examination. Having a thorough knowledge of his own case and an instant appreciation of every weak development in that of his adversary, his conduct of a trial was always masterly and his arguments, whether to judge or jury, were splendidly effective. He often boldly disregarded conventional methods, as when in a crim. con. trial, in which he represented the plaintiff, he called as his first witness and at great length examined the defendant himself, an innovation amply justified by the result.

In 1885 Mr. Brown was retained as counsel for a committee of bondholders, who thereafter purchased what has since been familiarly known as the Clover Leaf Railroad, extending from Toledo to St. Louis, and from that time until his death he was the general solicitor of the successive corporations owning and general counsel for the receivers operating that railway. In such capacities he conducted, to the entire satisfaction of his clients, a vast variety of involved litigation. His logical mind, profound knowledge of legal principles and instant application of them to novel conditions, made him singularly happy in making first impressions. Such actions, of vital importance, arose in the construction of the Manufacturers and Toledo Terminal Railways, in the acquisition by the Hocking Valley Railroad of extensive terminals in East Toledo, and in contests over property rights in subterranean streams, and over the powers of a municipality to build lines for piping natural gas from productive fields and to assess upon abutting properties the damages awarded its owners, either upon a change of a Street grade or for opening, and extending a street. Some of such actions received very wide attention and brought from attorneys in different parts of the country many requests for Mr. Brown's briefs.

It was, however, as counsel that Mr. Brown achieved his greatest though less conspicuous success. During his later years he appeared very rarely in the courts. He was a safe and sane adviser, keeping clients out of litigation. Moreover, he had executive and financial ability of a very high order. At the time of his demise he was president of The Owens Bottle Machine Company and president of the Toledo Times Publishing Company. He was also vice president of the Toledo Glass Company, the Libbey Owens Sheet Glass Company and the Owens European Bottle Machine Company, as well as a director of the Hocking Valley Railway and also of the Ohio State Telephone Company. Outside of the domain of business Mr. Brown had many and varied interests. He was a trustee of the Toledo Museum of Art, a member of the advisory committee of the Toledo Hospital, a director of the Castalia Trout Club and the Toledo Riding Club and a member of many other clubs, including the Toledo, Toledo Country, Commerce and Yacht clubs, the Columbus Club and the Ottawa Shooting Club.

An active member of the republican party, he served as one of the early presidents of the Ohio League and was a delegate to the republican national convention in 1888. Mr. Brown traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe and South America. His favorite sport was fishing and he was often active at the Castalia Trout Club and fished many trout streams. He was one of three lessees of a salmon stream in eastern Quebec, visiting it each year for a few weeks, and he also made annual trips to Florida for tarpon fishing.

He contributed largely, often in the name of others and often anonymously, to public and private charities. The wide scope of his sympathies is to some extent indicated by his will, in which, after making ample provision for Mrs. Brown, he bequeathed sums ranging from five hundred to fifty thousand dollars to thirty six individuals, including relatives, partners, friends and employes, and the residue of his estate, estimated at one million dollars, in trust, the income to be paid to Mrs. Brown during her lifetime and the capital to be, after her death, paid in various proportions to the Toledo, St. Vincent's, Mercy, Maternity and Children's Hospitals. the Toledo Museum of Art, the local Young Men's and Young Women's Christian Associations, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Flower Deaconess Home, the Toledo Newsboys Association, the Old Ladies' Home, the District Nurses Association, the Federation of Jewish Charities, the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Colored Working Girls Home, the Old Adams Street City Mission, the North Toledo Settlement, the Florence Crittenden Home, the Luella Cummings Home and the Thalian Society. Thus his good works follow him and those who are benefiting by his benef actions rise up and call him blessed.

Toledo and Lucas County, Ohio
BY: John M. Killits, A.M., LL.D.
S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago and Toledo

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