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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Brown, John

by Sarah E. Holeman, 1979


See also: Hamilton Brown, son.

John Brown, Revolutionary War officer and state legislator, was born in County Derry, Ireland. He migrated to Lancaster County, Pa., and taught school there for a while. He married Jane McDowell (1750–1838), the sister of Gen. Joseph McDowell and Maj. Charles McDowell. In 1772 they moved to Quaker Meadows, Burke County, with the McDowells; and soon afterward they moved to a farm on the north side of the Yadkin River, about four miles west of Wilkesboro.

Brown served under Col. Benjamin Cleveland in the Revolutionary army at King's Mountain, probably holding the rank of captain. After the war he was among the first board of magistrates when Wilkes became a county in 1778. The first Wilkes County Court was held at Brown's place near the bend of the Yadkin River. He became Wilkes County register of deeds in 1778 and served on a jury designated to lay out roads in the county. He represented Wilkes County in the North Carolina House of Commons for three years and also at the constitutional convention in Hillsborough in 1788. He was a prominent Mason.

Brown had eleven children, eight sons and three daughters. Two of his sons resided in Wilkes County, although he and the remaining six moved to Maury County, Tenn., where he obtained large land grants in the Duck River Valley in payment for negotiating treaties with the Indians.

Brown died in Wilkes County.


Lyman C. Draper, Kings Mountain and Its Heroes (1929).

Thomas Felix Hickerson, Happy Valley (1940).

Additional Resources:

Hamilton Brown Papers, 1752-1907 (collection no. 01090). The Southern Historical Collection. Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.,Hamilton.html (accessed April 17, 2013).

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