ANTRIM C. BROWN. - - Antrim C. Brown, a seed merchant and florist, has throughout the period of his business career been a representative of trade interests of Springfield, his native city. He was born here June 24, 1861, and is a son of James and Sarah Julia (Martin) Brown. On both sides he comes of English ancestry and is a representative of a long-lived race of people. His paternal grandfather, James Brown, was a colonel in the Maryland Volunteers during the war of 1812 and was a prominent and influential resident of that state, at one time serving as speaker of the house of delegates of Maryland. The family were given a grant of land by Lord Baltimore, on which was built the old manor house, and representatives of the name served as registrates to his majesty previous to the Revolutionary war.
James Brown, the father of our subject, was born in Queen Anne county, Maryland, in 1805, and enjoyed the advantages of education in academies of both Baltimore and Washington. As a young man he was connected with the postoffice department and was appointed a special postoffice inspector over Illinois and parts of Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Missouri, continuing in that position for a number of years. It was in 1833 that he came to Springfield, Illinois, spending the succeeding winter here, after which he returned to Maryland and with his family in 1837 he again came to this place. He had purchased land seven miles southwest of the city, a prairie tract on which he embarked in agricultural pursuits. He carried on farming on an extensive scale. He was also a well-known hunter, very fond of the sport and kept his guns and dogs. In 1858 he removed to the city from his farm and engaged in the lumber business in partnership with Antrim Campbell. The following year he purchased a home on Walnut street, remodeled the house and there resided until his death, devoting his attention to fruit growing, and also supervising his other interests in Sangamon county. He made two additions to the city and was a public spirited and progressive man always deeply and actively interested in the welfare of Springfield and doing everything in his power to promote public interests. In politics he was a stanch Democrat, but never an aspirant for political honors. He held membership in the Episcopal church, being a vestryman of St. Paul's church. At his home on Walnut street he passed away in July, 1883. He was twice married and by his first union had one son, Sherman P. Brown, who now resides in Seattle, Washington. For his second wife he chose Miss Sarah Julia Martin, who was born in Talbot county, Maryland, in 1825 and who survived her husband eight years, passing away in 1891. She was a lady of superior culture, refinement and education. Unto this marriage were born nine children, four of whom died in childhood, while those who reached mature years were James T., who died in Springfield at the age of twenty-one years; John H., who is connected with steamship transportation lines in Seattle, Washington, is married and has a son, Arthur C.; Lida May, the wife of George E. Copeland, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by whom she has three children, Clara Mae, Stuart and James H.; Mary Anna, who died in Springfield at the age of twenty-nine years, and Antrim Campbell, who is the only living representative of the family in Sangamon county.
Antrim C. Brown is indebted to the public school system of Sangamon county for the educational privileges which he enjoyed. He became interested in the cultivation of small fruits and vegetables, building a greenhouse in order to grow lettuce, embarking in this business in 1884. Gradually he extended the scope of his labors until he had become a florist, controlling an extensive business. In 1887 he admitted Arthur C. Canfield to a partnership, this relation being maintained until July, 1902, since which time Mr. Brown has been alone in the business. He is largely engaged in the production of flowers and was the first to introduce into Springfield the American beauty and the La France roses, making a specialty of roses for a number of years. In 1893 he opened a store in the Young Men's Christian Association building for the sale of flower seeds and plants, and in addition to carrying on a retail trade in order to supply the home market, he is doing a wholesale business in grass seeds, clovers and garden seeds at No. 217 South Fifth street. At that place he occupies three stories of the building and has an excellent plant equipped with electric power for cleaning seeds. In addition to these he has warehouse and storage rooms and at his home on Walnut street his extensive green houses include thirty thousand square feet of glass. Since the death of his father Mr. Brown has platted a portion of the original ten acres as an addition to the city, but the major part of this tract is retained by him for greenhouses and residence.
Politically Mr. Brown is a stanch Democrat and socially he is connected with Navarre Lodge, Knights of Pythias. He belongs to St. Paul's Episcopal church and is a liberal contributor to charitable and benevolent objects. As the result of his keen sagacity and strong executive force his business has continually expanded and he is now controlling a large trade, which is conducted on straight commercial lines.