William M. Brown, son of Isaac S. and Catharine (Hay) Brown was born 29 November 1840 in Carrollton, Greene County, Illinois. He married Alice Strawn, daughter of Alvis and Joanna Strawn, on 2 December 1868. William M. Brown died in 1917 and is buried in French Cemetery next to his wife Alice (Strawn) Brown.
Children of William M. and Alice (Strawn) Brown:
1. William Edmund Brown
2. Fred S. Brown
3. Helen A. Brown
The history of commercial progress in Milton would be incomplete without mention of William M. Brown, a leading and prominent merchant of that city. He was born November 29, 1840, in Carrollton, Greene county, Illinois, his parents Isaac S. and Catharine (Hay) Brown, who became early residents of Pike county, where they took up their abode in March, 1850. The father purchased a farm a mile and a half south and a half mile east of Milton and upon that place William M. Brown was reared, having been a youth of nine years at the time of the removal to the old homestead. He acquired his education in the district schools near by and he still owns the farm which comprises one hundred and and twenty acres of as rich soil as can be found in the state of Illinois. During periods of vacation he aided in the work of the fields and remained upon the old homestead until nineteen years of age, when he went to California by way of the Isthmus of Panama. The journey consumed twenty-four days from the time he left New York city until his arrival at San Francisco in March, 1859. He remained upon the Pacific coast for three years engaged in mining and ranching and he was fairly successful in his work, but lost much of what he possessed in his first mining ventures in prospecting for greater results at a later date. In 1863 he returned to the old homestead near Milton, Illinois, and leased the farm from his father in connection with his brother, James A. The father went to the war, becoming a member of a company of the Ninety-ninth Illinois Regiment commanded by Captain J. G. Johnson. He served for three years as wagon master and was killed in the siege of Vicksburg on the 22nd of May, 1863. There was a very sad incident in connection with his death. In the heat of battle he heard the Masonic cry for help from one of his comrades and facing almost certain death amidst a hail of bullets, he picked up his comrade and while carrying him off the field away from danger a bullet passed through his comrade’s body, killing him, and entered Mr. Brown’s thumb, passing out through the hand. This occasioned blood poisoning, which caused Mr. Brown’s death a few days later. At his request his remains were interred upon the battle-field but were afterward removed to the National Soldier’s Cemetery at Vicksburg. In March, 1869, William M. Brown, accompanied by his mother, made a pilgrimage to Vicksburg to discover his father’s grave and place a monument over it. They had no trouble in finding the place of interment, which was on the topmost circle, he being the eighth soldier buried in the beautiful Union Soldier’s National Cemetery at that place. The monument was erected according to the plans and after performing this act of love and duty over the grave of husband and father they returned home.
On the 2d of December, 1868, Mr. Brown was married to Miss Alice Strawn, a daughter of Alvis and Joanna Strawn. Unto them were born three children, two sons and a daughter. William Edmund, born December 13, 1869, died March 26, 1870. Fred S., born in Milton, April 2, 1873, is now a physcian and druggist of Wichita, Kansas. Helen A., born December 25, 1887, in Milton, is at home.
Mr. Brown is a member of the Modern Woodmen camp, No. 922, and in his political view he is a liberal republican. He has been associated with business interests in Milton through a long period and is a self-made man, whose prosperity has resulted entirely from his enterprise and capable efforts.[Source: Past and Present of Pike County, ILL by M.D. Massie]
Census Records of William M. and Alice (Strawn) Brown:
26 July 1870, Montezuma Twp., Pike Co., IL, P.O.: Milton, p. 239:
Brown, William 30 M W Farmer $15,000-500 b. IL
-----Alice 20 F W b. IL
Barber, Joanna 41 F W K.H. $800-100 b. KY
-----Joel 16 Farm hand b. IL
16 June 1880, Milton, Pike Co., IL, p. 550:
Brown, William 40 W M Farmer b. IL fb. KY mb. NY
-----Alice 30 W F Wife b. IL fb. NC mb. KY
-----Frederick 7 W M Son b. IL fb. IL mb. IL
Barber, Joel C. 26 W M b. IL fb. NY mb. KY
June 1900, Milton Village, Montezuma Twp., Pike Co.IL, p. 187:
283 - 286
Brown, William M. Head W M Nov 1840 59 M-31 b. IL fb. KY mb. NY
-----Alice Wife W F Dec 1849 50 M-31 b. NC fb. NC mb. KY
-----Helen A. Dau W F Dec 1887 12 S b. IL fb. IL mb. IL