HENRY CLAY BROWN. The gentleman whose name introduces this personal notice is a modest though successful farmer whose seventeen years as a citizen of Montague county have made him widely and favorably known, not strictly because of his vocation, but because of his public service rendered in one of the important offices in the gift of the voters of his county. He is a gentleman of admitted business capacity and of demonstrated integrity, and is has been for the well-being of Montague county to have him her citizen. Mr. Brown has resided in the Lone Star State since 1883. He first settled in Ellis county on a farm but in 1888 sought out and purchased land in Montague county, four miles east of Bowie, where since the work of home improvement and soil cultivation has been carried on. He came to Texas from Nevada county, Arkansas, but was reared in Clark county, that state. At the age of seven years his parents migrated thither from Henderson county, Tennessee, where he was born April 22, 1846.
A glance at the family history shows our subject to be a son of William Brown, a native of Greenville district, South Carolina, born July 4, 1806. He grew up there on his father’s plantation along with his brothers, Jackson and Thomas, and acquired a fair education in the schools common to his day and time. His wife was Rebecca Fowler, who died at the home of her son, our subject, in the fall of 1890. In 1853 William Brown became a settler in Clark county, Arkansas. He left South Carolina about 1832 and lived in west Tennessee some twenty-one years. During the rebellion he served in the Home Guard in Arkansas and was in a couple of small engagements. He was a man of positive convictions on public policies and was a Whig prior to the war. He was elected treasurer of Nevada county, Arkansas, and served four years, showing him to have been a citizen of high standing in his county. He came to Texas in 1884 and followed the meanderings of his son into Montague county, dying at the latter’s home in March, 1890. He was a Master Mason and a Christian, worshiping with the Baptist denomination. His children were: Emily, of Sevier county, Arkansas, wife of A. J. Marsh; Ellen, who married A. J. Cole and is a patient in the Little Rock Asylum; Cynthia, wife of Thomas Cook, of Montague county; Henry C., our subject; Neal S., who died in Ellis county, Texas; William C. P., of Jasper county, Texas; and Winfield S., of Hill county.
Henry Clay Brown grew up amid rural surroundings chiefly and acquired the elementary principles of an education. When his education should have been in process he was fighting for the independence of the Confederacy and after the war the business of bread winning was too urgent to permit him to again attend school. He enlisted in the spring of 1862 in Company H, Twenty-third Arkansas Infantry, Captain A. A. Pennington and Colonel O. P. Lile, and was sent to the front at once, taking part in the battles of Corinth and Iuka. In the engagement at Port Hudson in 1863 he was captured and paroled. Two weeks after his return home he went into the state troops, having become accustomed to a life of excitement and high tension, his company being Colonel Crockett’s regiment. This was a cavalry regiment and it served in the Trans-Mississippi Department where Mr. Brown was in the fights at Mount Elbe, Prairie Dien and Mark’s Mill. At the close of the war he was discharged at Marshall, Texas, and resumed civil pursuits on the farm.
In January, 1869, in Clark county, Arkansas, Mr. Brown married Miss Fanny Lawley, a daughter of Elijah and Mary (Brownlee) Lawley. The Lawley children were: William, of Weleetka, Indian Territory; John and Robert who died in the Indian Territory, leaving families; Mrs. Brown; Alfred and Emma, of Clark county, Arkansas, the latter the wife of James Ayres. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Brown are: William E., of Hobart, Oklahoma, is married to Maggie Garrett; Emma, wife of Nathan Norman, of Ellis county, Texas; Miss Kate, a teacher in Montague county, and her twin sister, Kalie, wife of W. A. Davis, of Ellis county, Texas; Ella, wife of Ed. Chandler, of Montague county; T. Jack, who married Addie Bruce and resides on the old homestead; Etta, who married Richmond Wynn and is a teacher of the county; and Miss Myrtle, still with the parental home.
Mr. Brown approached manhood during the stormy days and years of American politics and when conditions warranted all white men in uniting in the support of the same principles and he became a Democrat. He was ever acted with that party and came to be active in its affairs after he established himself in Montague county. He was named for county commissioner of precinct No. 2 in the fall of 1902 and was elected without serious opposition. Beyond the routine work of the board a little bridge-building occupied its attention and Mr. Brown closed his term in November, 1904, with a creditable two years’ work. He is a member of the Missionary Baptist church and is a gentleman with sincere and friendly impulses. He is easily approachable, has a kindly and entertaining manner and seems at peace with all the world. He believes in higher education for the youth, and in his own family he has shown his faith by his works.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 157-158.