Bio of Philip Henry Brown


A Collection of Biographical Sketches.

Prepaired under the direction of Henry Chase
Portland, ME.
The Lakeside Press, Publisher

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PHILIP HENRY BROWN was born in Portland, Me., October 16, 1831. He was the eldest son of John Bundy and Ann Matilda (Greely) Brown. His early education was obtained at private schools and at the Portland Academy. He entered Bowdoin College in the class of 1851, his cleverness enabling him to dispense with the Freshman year and to join his class as a Sophomore. He took the honors in his Junior year, and graduated at the head of his class. Subsequently he pursued a course of study at the Lawrence Scientific School, at Cambridge, making a specialty of chemistry. He then returned to Portland and associated himself with his father in the development of the Portland Sugar Company. It was largely through the suggestions and assistance of Mr. Philip Henry Brown that this company became one of the most important manufacturing houses of the country, employing at one time nearly a thousand people, turning out five hundred barrels of sugar a day, and distributing its product to all parts of the United States.

After a decade of busy years, devoted to the interests of the Sugar Company, Mr. Brown enlarged his business operations by becoming a founder of the West India house of Churchill, Browns & Manson. Upon the dissolution of this firm and the closing of the Sugar Company's manufactory, -- owing to the introduction of new methods which rendered the older process of sugar-making unprofitable, -- the firm of J. B. Brown & Sons established a banking business, and Mr. Philip Henry Brown assumed the general direction of its affairs. These were both important and successful. Amongst other large operations, the firm purchased the entire issue of the first mortgage bonds of the Portland & Ogdensburg Railroad Company, thus materially aiding its development, and later rendered valuable assistance in the re-organization of the Maine Central Railroad Company by the purchase of its consolidated bonds.

Mr. Brown was a man of unusual quickness and accuracy of judgment in financial affairs, and a wise and conservative adviser. His tastes were for a retired life, and he shrank from the publicity of political office. But he was a staunch and thorough American. It was always a matter of regret to him that he was too closely identified with an important business enterprise to be able to enter the army during the Civil War: and he contributed largely with his pen, with his means, and with his personal interest to the welfare of those who were able to go. His greatest pleasures were found in the society of his family and his intimate friends, and amongst his books and flowers. His literary tastes were of a high order, his library, doubtless, the finest private collection of books in Maine. Both in French and English his reading was very extensive, and he wrote fluently in a pure and attractive style. Many of his letters and sketches have been published in Portland newspapers. His love for flowers was one of his most characteristic traits. He devoted much of his leisure to their study and care, and he had a wide knowledge of them.

But his time was mainly given to the necessary routine of his business. How closely allied he was with the interests of Portland may be inferred from a list of some of the offices in business enterprises which he held at one time or another-most of them at the time of his death. He had been President of the Portland Rolling Mills, the Ligonia Iron Company, the Canal Land and Wharf Company, and the Atwood Lead Company; VicePresident of the Atlantic & St. Lawrence Railroad Company; Director of the Portland Sugar Company. the Dirigo Insurance Company, the Portland Glass Company, the Portland Kerosene Oil Company, the Green Point Sugar Company, the Portland Dry Dock Company, the Portland Safe Deposit Company, the First National Bank, the Portland & Ogdensburg Railroad Company, and the Portland Company; Treasurer of the Maine Historical Society and the Longfellow Statue Association; Corporator of the Portland Savings Bank; Trustee of the Portland Public Library, the Brown Estate, the Lamoille Vallay Railroad Company, the Toledo, Peoria & Western Railroad Company. He was one of the Corporators aud Directors of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument Association, did much to sustain the enterprise when it appeared to be languishing, and contributed liberally to its funds. Throughout his life he retained a lively interest in his alma mater. He founded a scholarship at Bowdoin for excellence in extemporaneous English composition, and for a long period was President of the Bowdoin Alumni Association of Portland.

Mr. Brown's geniality, kindliness, and modesty made him extremely liked by his associates, and he was a social leader. He was a member of the Cumberland and Fraternity Clubs of Portland, of the Union Club of Boston, and of the Union League and Reform Clubs of New York. He was also a member of Atlantic Lodge of Masons and Portland Commandery Knights Templar. He was a regular attendant at High Street Church and a prominent member of the society.

In 1854 Mr. Brown married Fanny, second daughter of the late Justice Nathan Clifford of the United States Supreme Court. He died suddenly, of disease of the heart, on October 25, 1893. He is survived by his wife and six children, Philip Greely, Nathan Clifford, and Helen Clifford Brown and Mrs. Frank D. True of Portand, and Mrs. Linzee Prescott and John Clifford Brown of New York.

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