|ALRED FANNING BROWN, of Jewett
City, dealer in newspapers, periodicals, notions, and jewelry, was born
in the town of Lisbon, February 17, 1822, his parents being John H. and
Emmeline (Freeman) Brown. His paternal grandfather, who was a sea captain
born in England, died in middle life, leaving two sons — John H. and Abijah
— and two daughters. John H. Brown was born in Warwick, R.I., in 1800,
and died in Jewett City in 1859. He came to this place in 1828, moving
into a new house he had built, and in which he lived up to the time of
his death. This house is now owned by Alfred F. Brown, who has rebuilt
and repaired it, and leases it to tenants. John H. Brown was a shoemaker
by trade, and was known as conscientious and faithful in the performance
of all life's duties. His wife, Emmeline, who survived him eighteen years,
dying in 1878, was the daughter of a French gentleman who came to America
with General Lafayette, and fought for American independence. He married
a lady of American birth. John and Emmeline Brown, who were within three
months of the same age, were married young, and reared a family of eleven
children. The eldest, John H. Brown, Jr., born in August, 1820, was eighteen
months older than Alfred F. All of this family are now deceased except
Alfred F., Charles W. (the third child), and Mary, who is the wife of Washington
Smith, of Canterbury, Conn.
Alfred F. Brown received his elementary education
in the public schools, and subsequently attended a select school for two
terms. He taught during three winters, beginning when only fifteen years
old. At ten years of age he began to work out by the month, receiving three
dollars per month for seven months, and bringing home twenty-one dollars.
He continued working out summers for nine years, receiving five dollars
per month the second season, seven dollars the third, and for the last
two seasons twelve dollars per month. At twenty years of age, in 1842,
he entered the employ of the Slater Mill Company as overseer and loom fixer.
Ten years later he caught the "gold fever," and went to California, sailing
round the Horn in the new clipper ship "North America," with five hundred
passengers, and being five months on the passage from New York to San Francisco.
In 1855 he returned home, but in four months went back to California, where
he remained seven years longer. During the ten years of his residence there,
he mined for gold on his own account in all kinds of diggings. He made
no big strikes, but came home with more than he had when he went away.
He has been engaged in business at his present stand for thirty years.
At the age of twenty years Mr. Brown was
united in marriage with Abigail Mason, of Jewett City, who bore him two
children — Abby E. and Mary B. Abby is the wife of Denison J. Champlin,
the jailer of Norwich. Mary died in middle life, the wife of Alonzo Alien.
Mr. Brown married for his second wife, in 1865, Betsey E. Brown; and by
this union there is one son, Alfred Fanning Brown, Jr. For nineteen years
Mr. Brown served his fellow-townsmen as Postmaster, the only public position
he has held, as, although a royal Republican and actively interested in
town affairs, he has not generally cared to be a candidate.
Biographical Review Volume
Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens
of New London County Connecticut
Biographical Review Publishing Company
pgs 473 - 474