Biography of John R. Brown
Henry County, VA Biographies

John R. Brown of Martineville, Va., was born Jan. 14, 1842, In Franklin Co., Va. His family is American in all its branches. He Is a descendant of the distinguished families of Elves and Spotawood of Colonial and Revolutionary fame.

Frederick Brown, the founder of the branch in America, of which he is a descendant, reached here from Eng, and In 1745. He was a gallant soldier in the War of the Revolution. The subject of this sketch, at the age of nineteen, entered the Confederate Army, Company D, 24th Virginia Volunteers. He was married in 1862 to Miss Anne Eliza Vial. Of this union there were ten children.

He came too Martinsville, with his father Frederick Rives Brown In 1882, both having previously built their homes, and at once erected a large place for the manufacture of tobacco under the old firm name of J. R. & F. R. Brown. They also built a splendid and commodious warehouse for the sale of leaf tobacco.

He organized the first bank in Martinsville, known as the Henry County Bank and was engaged in the mercantile business for several years. At that time Martinsville had only two or three stores: Messrs. J. B. Lavinder, Thomas Green Penn and C. A. Hamilton.

He was elected Mayor of Martinaville in 1884. He is a prominent Mason, having been an active member of this order over sIxty years and Master of the Lodge soon after moving to Martinaville. He is public spirited and exceedingly popular, easily making friends, always ready to lend a helping hand In any movenment to advance the Interest of the town. He became an active leader in politics and a lifelong republican. He was elected to the 50th Congress from the 5th Virginia District, receiving 12,778 votes against 9,614 for Col. George C. Cabell, democrat.

He Is now one of Martinaville's oldest and most honored citizens celebrated his 82nd birthday January 14th, 1924. He has always been a great reader and still takes a lively interest in current events and political news of the day. We predict that he will live to see Martinsville the greatest city in this section of Virginia.

A History of Henry County, Virginia
By: Judith Parks Anerica Hill
Martinsville, Virginia 1925

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