Browning, William A. MAGA 2000-2011
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By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

Page 652

WILLIAM A. BROWNING. - William A. Browning, now deceased, was a member of an old and prominent family of Springfield and was but fifteen years of age when his parents removed to this city. He was born in Newark, Ohio, April 21, 1825, a son of Oliver W. and Amelia (Boyer) Browning, both of whom were natives of Virginia, whence they removed to Newark, Ohio, in an early day. The father was a tanner and worked at that trade in Ohio until 1840, when he removed with his family to Springfield and here engaged in tanning for several years. He also followed school teaching and was known as the old Market House master, and was afterward chosen city treasurer of Springfield, holding that office for several years. Subsequent to that time he lived retired until his death, which occurred March 21, 1880. His wife passed away January 26, 1878, but three of their children are now living: Mrs. Lucy Camp, of Buffalo, Illinois; and Mrs. Carrie Vlerebome, of Dayton, Ohio.

William A. Browning acquired his education in the public schools of his native city and afterward coming to Springfield, Illinois, learned the cabinet-maker's trade, which he followed here for many years, being connected with that pursuit until 1870. He then removed to Pana, Illinois, where he established a grocery store, which he conducted for six years, but that venture did not prove profitable and he returned to Sangamon county, settling on a farm just north of Springfield in Springfield Township near the state fair grounds. He resided thereon for a brief period and then again took up his abode in the city of Springfield, where he lived retired.

On the 5th of June, 1848, Mr. Browning was married to Miss Margaret Carpenter, who was born in Springfield, February 7, 1830, and is a daughter of William and Margaret (Pence) Carpenter, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of Virginia. Removing to Ohio, they resided in that state until 1820, which year witnessed their arrival in Springfield. They were among its first settlers, the capital at that time being but a mere hamlet inconsequential and unimportant, giving little promise of future development or progress. Mr. Carpenter engaged in farming there a short time and afterward turned his attention to the grocery business, while subsequently he became postmaster of the city, acting in that capacity for a few years. At a later date he built and operated what is now known as the old Carpenter mill and continued in that line for several years, after which he lived retired until his death. His wife also passed away in Springfield. By the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Browning ten children were born: Amelia E., the wife of R. F. Gailey, a resident of Springfield; Susanna Catherine and Emma C., who died in infancy; Eva O., wife of George E. Smith, a wagon maker of Springfield, Missouri; Margaret L., the wife of George W. Browning, of Greenfield, Ohio; Jennie, who resides with her mother; William O., who married Emma Rogers, and is living in Springfield; Leona B., the wife of John G. Huntington, of Seattle, Washington; George, who died in infancy; and Flora M., who resides with her mother.

Mr. Browning was a Democrat in his political affiliations and served as township assessor for several years. He belonged to the Masonic fraternity in Springfield and both he and his wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. There are no other families better known as pioneers than the Browning and Carpenter families and Mr. Browning was a man who possessed many sterling traits of character and gained the confidence and good will of all with whom he was associated. He died March 27, 1895, and his death was the occasion of sincere regret and sorrow among his many friends, as well as in his immediate family. Mrs. Browning and her two daughters reside at No. 1030 North Fourth street, and she has eighty acres of land just north of the city in Springfield township.

1904 Index