Brown, Samuel H., Major
as found in
HISTORY OF
BENNINGTON COUNTY, VT


WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AND BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES
OF SOME OF ITS PROMINENT MEN AND PIONEERS.

EDITED BY
LEWIS CASS ALDRICH
1889

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BROWN, SAMUEL H., MAJOR. In the township of Bennington there was probably no man longer engaged in business pursuits, or who had a more extended and favorable acquaintance throughout the vicinity than Major Brown; for, during the better part of sixty years he was in a greater or less degree directly interested in mercantile or manufacturing enterprises in the town; and during all his long and varied business life and intercourse with his fellow men no man ever had just cause to doubt his honor and probity. Although he began life with not limited means, his prudent habits, excellent judgment, and firm adherence to the rule that "whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well," brought to him most gratifying success and enabled him to accumulate a comfortable fortune Of quiet disposition, kind of heirt, and generous to all good causes, he won .the respect and esteem of all to whom he was known. But in no way did the qualities of the man appear so strongly as in the citizen, friend, and neighbor, in the more private walks in life, and as the parent and husband within the sacred precincts of home. His commanding personal appearance, agreeable manners, and scrupulous attention to the common civilities of life, endeared him alike to old and young.

Such were the characteristics of Major Samuel H. Brown, who, after an exemplary life of eighty-three years, changed the mortal for immortality, and was laid at rest on the 1st day of June, in the year 1887.

Samuel Hinman Brown was born in the town of Bennington on the 2d day of May, in the year 1804, and was the son of Samuel and Betsey Brown. Very early in life was be deprived of a mother's tender love and care, for she was stricken and died when Samuel was but seven years old; and eight years later be was left an orphan through the death of his father. But kind friends interposed, and young Samuel, under the guardianship of Captain Jonathan Norton, was placed in the family of Dr. Noadiah Swift, with whom be lived most of the time till his majority was reached. He then formed a partnership with Benjamin Fay, and commenced mercantile business at Bennington Cen-. ter, as successors to General Henry Robinson, but in 1829 the partner retired, and the business was continued by Mr. Brown for some time longer, when, having acquired an interest in a tin business at East Bennington, he again took a partner, Ray R. Sanford, a relative of the family.

It would indeed be difficult to follow the many and varied business enterprises in which our subject was from time to time engaged after his first venture in partnership with Mr. Fay and his successor, Mr. Sanford, until his final retirement in 1870; but there may properly be made, as a part of this sketch, some mention of the leading of these enterprises as they are noted in the obituary, written soon after Mr. Brown's death and published: "Major Brown was interested in two cotton - mills here. The first stood upon the site of the Stewart block, and the other on the site of the present novelty works and known as the Doolittle factory. About 1838 be sold out his store at the Center, and entered the bank of Bennington as cashier, remaining there four years. After leaving the bank he exchanged his farm for business property in Troy, and came to East Bennington to reside in 1842. He engaged in the grocery trade in Troy, but not liking it there returned to Bennington and built the stone grist-mill on North street, which he furnished with fine machineiy and conducted for about twenty-five years. A foundery was also run in connection with the other business. This foundery was the Aaron Grover Works, and was purchased about 1846.

From this time Major Brown became prominently identified with the iron interests of the county. The iron mines east of the village were worked, and this business was a leading industry of Western Vermont at the time. One of his partners in this business was Resolvy Gage, now a resident of East Boston, Mass. In 1860 Olin Scott succeeded Mr. Gage.

In 1867 Mr. Brown sold his grist- mill and appurtenances to Henry W. Putnam, and began work on his Troy property, which occupied his attention for about two years. In 1870 he retired from active participation in business pursuits, and devoted himself to the management of his investments.

In his daily meeting with friends and fellow townsmen Mr. Brown was generally addressed as "Major." This title became his by virtue of his appointment in 1829 as brigade major ana inspector of the second division of Vermont militia, and by it was he ever afterward designated. Besides this Major Brown was variously honored with offices, the gift of the electors of the town and county, but he was by no means an office-seeker; and whatever of political holdings were his the duties of office were faithfully and honestly administered. In 1853 he was elected associate judge of the County Court of Bennington county, and served in that capacity two terms.

An event that proved an important factor in Major Brown's success in life was the faithful and devoted companionship of a most estimable wife, the sharer of his fortunes and reverses in business, and who survived him at the time of his death in 1887. Samuel Hinman Brown and Sarah Maria Brown, the latter formerly of Southbury, Conn., were united in marriage on the ioth day of October, 1826. Of this marriage five children were born, as follows: Hintnan Samuel, now of Bennington; Sarah Maria, who died at the age of twenty-five years; Francis Raymond, who died at the age of twenty-seven years; Helen Elizabeth, who became the wife of William E. Hawks, and Cordelia, who died an infant of one year and eleven months.

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