Henry Brown was seventy-five years of age when he left this earth
in 1895. Like so many other men who came to Texas, Brown led a colorful
life filled with excitement and success.
In her piece that appears in The Handbook of Texas, Erma Baker
writes that John Henry Brown was born in Missouri. His father Henry
S. Brown had moved to Texas, leaving his family behind in Missouri
- the elder Brown was active in Texas politics until he died in 1834.
The young John Henry was already working in a printing office at the
age of twelve and was on the way to a career in the newspaper business.
Although he didn't have much schooling, the youth worked for several
However, the young man decided to move to Texas in 1837 and live with
his uncle John Kerr on land near the Lavaca River. But it seems that
John Henry Brown became bored with rural life and moved to Austin
where he could once again work as a newspaperman.
In 1840, hostile Indians were threatening the frontier, and being
a somewhat adventurous youth Brown decided to try his hand at Indian
fighting - he was a private in the militia and participated in the
Plum Creek. He must have been a good soldier because a year later
he was promoted to sergeant.
Brown's newspaper career had to stay on hold due to another attempted
invasion into Texas by the Mexican army. He became a member of John
C. Hays' company after the Battle
of Salado Creek. He also took part in the Somervell
Expedition before returning to San
April of 1843 would find Henry Brown back in Missouri where he married
Marion Mary F. Mitchel on July 9. After two years in Missouri, Brown
decided to bring his wife and return to Texas. They lived in Rock
Spring and then Victoria
where he went to work for the Victoria Advocate.
Always willing to defend his home, he became a major in the state
militia. By 1848, the Brown family included two sons and they moved
where John Henry founded and edited the Indianola Bulletin.
By 1854, Brown was working in Galveston
for the Civilian and Galveston Gazette. He was a popular man
in the island city - he was elected to the state legislature and then
to the mayor of Galveston. He was editor of several more Texas newspapers
during his life.
When the Civil War came along, John Henry joined the Confederate army
- he served on Brig. Gen. Benjamin McCulloch's staff. Later he was
a member of the staff of Gen. Henry E. McCulloch until he became ill
in 1863 and returned home. But always the patriot, Brown continued
to serve with the Texas militia.
After the South surrendered, Brown and his family emigrated to Mexico
where they settled in the Tuxpan River valley. While in Mexico he
was once again in politics serving under the government of Maximilian.
The family returned to Texas in 1871 and by that time three more children
had been added to the group. Brown would continue to work for newspapers
after he settled in Dallas
and as always, he stayed involved in politics.
Brown served as a state commissioner for locating school lands. He
was a Dallas alderman and became mayor of that city from 1885 to 1887.
He was also a justice of the peace.
Before he died in 1895, Brown wrote the following books: The History
of Dallas County; The Life and Times of Henry Smith; Indian Wars and
Pioneers of Texas; The History of Texas from 1685 to 1892.
John Henry Brown joins a long list of people who came to Texas for
a new beginning, and their accomplishments created an unsurpassed
legacy in the history of the Lone Star State.