JOHN M. BROWN. Probably there is no better known family in Johnson county than that of Brown, which was established here as early as the year 1820, and members of which have been prominently identified with the agricultural and political life of Southern Illinois for many years. It traces its ancestry back to the time when the county included the greater part of Southern Illinois, and its founder, James Brown, was in all probability the first sheriff of this section. One of the worthy representatives of this old and honored family is found in the person of John M. Brown, one of the leading farmers and stockmen of Cache township, who owns an excellent tract of farming land two miles west of the city of Vienna. He was born on a farm in the western part of Johnson county, near the Union county line, September 21, 1867, and is a son of Samuel T. and Amanda (Dubois) Brown.
James Brown, the grandfather of John M., was born in 1784, in the state of North Carolina, and in 1820 migrated to Johnson county and became one of the earliest settlers here. He took up a tract of Government land, cleared and cultivated it in pioneer fashion, and rose to a prominent position among his fellows, being elected sheriff of Johnson county. He maintained headquarters at Kaskaskia, and during the years that he held his official position his duties caused him to travel on horseback all over the southern part of the state. His death occurred in 1861. James Brown married Betty Carter, a native of Orange county, North Carolina, and among their children was Samuel T. Brown, the father of John M., of Cache township. Samuel T. Brown was born June 29, 1825, and like his father he became a successful agriculturist and well-known public official. He accumulated a vast property, but during his later years retired from active pursuits, and at the time of his death, September 25, 1897, had disposed of all of his land except one hundred and twenty acres. A man who was held in high esteem by his fellow-townsmen, he served for more than forty years as a justice of the peace, and in every walk of life was known as a man of strict honesty and sterling integrity. From his boyhood he was a faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and was always an active participant in all of its work. Mr. Brown was married to Miss Amanda Dubois, who was born in Madison county, Illinois, March 1, 1830, daughter of Joel Dubois. Mr. Dubois, who was a native of Tennessee, migrated to Madison county at an early date, but while making a trip to Tennessee by flat-boat was murdered in a tavern on the Mississippi river, when Mrs. Brown was a child. She died in November, 1907, having been the mother of eleven children, of whom one died in infancy, while the others were as follows: Mrs. Nancy J. Mulkey; James M., who resides at Mount Vernon; W. J., a resident of Carbondale; Wilson B., baggage master at the Cairo railroad depot; Mary A., the widow of James Enos; Samuel T., Jr., who is engaged in farming in West Vienna; Mrs. Amanda J. Jones; John M.; Alonzo V., who lives at Cypress; and Mrs. Ella Wilhelm.
John M. Brown was given the best of educational advantages, attending first the common schools, and later the Southern Illinois Normal University at Carbondale, Illinois. In 1885, when only eighteen years of age, he began teaching school, his first charge being at Moscow, in Union county. During the nine years that followed he taught in Union, Pulaski and Johnson counties, and followed farming during vacations. The first land of his own, a tract of eight acres which he purchased in 1892, was located near the old homestead, and when he was married he erected a home thereon. In 1895 Mr. Brown gave up teaching in order to give his whole time and attention to agricultural pursuits, and in that year sold his first small farm and purchased seventy acres situated some distance north of his present place. An enterprising and energetic farmer, Mr. Brown invested his earnings in more property, and he is now the owner of four hundred and twenty-six acres of land. The present home place, a tract of eighty acres, was purchased by him in 1908, and during the following year he erected a handsome residence, which is modern in every respect. Since then he has built substantial barns and outbuildings and a fine silo, and has improved his property in many ways. Mr. Brown has always been a successful stock-raiser, and since 1907 has given the greater part of his time to specializing in Angus cattle, having an excellent herd of forty-five head, and for five years has been a large buyer and shipper of corn and hay. Most of his shipping is done from West Vienna, and his product is about ten carloads of hay and fifty of corn annually. Scientific methods in both tilling the soil and breeding cattle have always found a stanch adherent in Mr. Brown. He has devoted a great deal of study to soil and climatic conditions, his land is well drained and tiled, and he makes a regular practice of crop rotation, while among his neighbors he is acknowledged to be an excellent judge of registered stock. Although his operations have been so extensive as to make him a remarkably busy man, he has found leisure to participate in events of a social nature, and is a popular member of the Knights of Pythias, the Modern Brotherhood, the Modern Woodmen of America and the Royal Neighbors, being affiliated with the lodges of these orders at Vienna. He and his family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church.
Mr. Brown was married (first) in 1892 to Miss Ellen Enos, daughter of James Enos, and she died in January, 1901, leaving two children: Edith, who is fifteen years of age; and Blanche, who has reached her eleventh year. On December 2, 1906, Mr. Brown took for his second wife Miss Leila Mackey, daughter of John C. Mackey, and to this union there has been born one child: Waldron M., who was born December 9, 1907.
Extracted from A History of Southern Illinois, 1912, Volume 2, page 630-631