(abt 1772-1832)

John Brown -- Early Settler of America

John Brown remembered hearing the cannons roar when Generals, Nathaniel Greene and Lord Cornwallis, were contending at the battle of Guilford Court House in North Carolina. He was twelve years old at the close of the Revolutionary War.

In the "Autobiography of John Brown", Pioneer John Brown (Jr.) tells of his father, John Brown, and family life:

"Concerning my forefathers I know but little. My father, whose name was John, was brought up in the State of North Carolina to which place my grandfather, whose name was Samuel, emigrated from Ireland in an early day. He died before the American Revolution... As near as I have been able to learn, my father had four brothers and one sister, whose names were Benjamin, who served as a soldier seven years in the army of Independence under Washington; Alexander, also in the army and died in the service; James, and Samuel. His sister named Abigail was married to a man by the name of Watson."

"My father was the youngest--was twelve years old at the close of the Revolution. About the year 1795 he came to Tennessee, which at that time was a wilderness country, and soon after, my mother, whose name was Martha Chapman, came to Tennessee also. She was brought up in the State of Virginia. My father and mother were married about the year 1800."

"They were very poor, having almost nothing to begin with. My father had not the advantages of an education such as was desirable. He sought an honest living by cultivating the earth and raising stock and through his industry and economy was soon enabled to purchase a small tract of land upon which he resided twenty-four years."

The Brown family had 14 children - nine daughters and five sons. All were born in Sumner County, Tennessee. "The country soon became thickly settled and my father's family became so large that the small tract of land, which consisted of one hundred acres, was too small for them to dwell on; consequently, he concluded to move to a new country."

"He (John Brown, Sr.) journeyed to the west and selected a location in the southern part of the State of Illinois, in Perry County, to which he moved all of his family in 1829. He purchased a tract of land in the west edge of the southend of what is called the Four Mile Prairie*, consisting of 640 acres upon which we all went to open a farm."

"We had not been in the new country long before my sister Margaret died--September 1, 1830. She was the wife of Daniel Malone, left no heirs, was buried on the land that my father had purchased in the west edge of the Prairie, where a number of the family were afterward buried, my father and mother among them. Father died April 18, 1832. After my father's death my brother, James, took the oversight of the family until his death, which occurred on the 6th day of September 1834. Paulina died December 29th, 1835, and the next day my brother, Samuel died, and the 11th of January 1836 my brother William died, and in two years more, all of my brothers and sisters that were living were married and moved off to themselves."

Life on the frontier took a great toll on this family and in just a few short years it left just John Jr. and his aging mother living alone.


"Autobiography of pioneer John Brown, 1820-1896"
(genealogy at end of book - "Pioneer John Brown's genealogy, prepared for publication by his daughter, Rose B. Hayes" p. 431-468)

Locations in Perry County at one time were referenced by prairies, such as Paradise, Johnson's, Hutching's, Round, Mud, Holt's, Four Mile, Six Mile, Nine Mile, Galum, Conant's, Eaton's, Lost, Brush, Burnt and Grand Cote.  After the county was organized it was divided into districts with supervision for each district. (

*Following is a map of the Four Mile Post Office once located in Perry County Illinois near the now defunct community of Pennyville:




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