Mary Brown

1844 - 1934

In the year 1867 Colonel Brown was united in marriage to Miss Mary Morse, who has indeed been to him a faithful companion and helpmate on life’s journey. They have become parents of three sons. Marshall Brown, now residing in Sioux Falls, is a representative of the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company. He married Miss Eloise Ashley, of Lincoln county. He is a very prominent Mason, was the first Master of Unity Lodge and has been deputy grand master.  Oscar A. Brown, the second son, living in Sioux Falls, married Miss Hattie Kincade and is the auditor of the McKenna Hospital, of which his father is the president. Harry T. Brown, the youngest son married Kate Gander, of Owatonna, Minnesota, where they now reside.

While he has made for himself a most creditable and enviable position in business circles, Colonel Brown ranks equally high in other connections. He has been and still is one of the most prominent Masons in the state. He organized the first Lodge in his county and served as its master for six years. Moreover, he was the first grand master of the Grand Lodge of Dakota territory and a few years later he was again chosen to that position of high honor while away from home. His entire life has been an exposition on the beneficent spirit and purpose of the craft. He has likewise taken an active interest in educational matters. He was the first chairman of the school board and the first president of the board of education and in office ever exercised his official prerogatives in support of progressive measures.

Colonel Brown took an active part in securing for Sioux Falls the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern Railroad and has since served as one of its directors. His efforts for the material benefit and improvement of Sioux Falls have been far-reaching and beneficial. It was he who was instrumental in instituting the paving of the city and also establishing the new lighting system. Previous to that time Sioux Falls has poor roads and was badly lighted, but it is now illuminated with an arc light system that is thoroughly adequate. He was not only the strong active force in bringing about those improvements but also organized the Property Owners Association for the purpose of improving Phillips Avenue. A meeting was called and a committee on paving was appointed, of which Colonel Brown was made chairman. He made examinations all over the country before beginning the work and selected the kind of paving which he regarded as most desirable. This was the initial step in continued work of that character. Each avenue of the city followed the lead of Phillips avenue and organized for paving and other improvements, the work being carried on according to the theory that “those who pay should be the ones to say,” the kind of paving to be used. Many other interests have profited by the efforts, business enterprise and public spirit of Colonel Brown, whose worth to the city is widely acknowledged. His prominence as a citizen of the state is indicated in the fact that he was one of the commissioners of South Dakota at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and served as executive officer of the commission, while Mrs. Brown acted as hostess at the South Dakota building during the progress of the fair.

Mrs. Brown, like her husband, has been a leader in many public activities. She is prominently known throughout South Dakota for her active work in the Eastern Star and in the Women’s Relief Corps, in both of which she has held high official positions. For fourteen years she was president of the Relief Corps and has taken great interest in the work of that organization; in fact, has been the most active woman in that line of work in the state. The corps of which she is a member is the largest in South Dakota and is the auxiliary to the largest post. She has been department president and grand matron and is now past grand matron and past department president. She has ever been a most gracious hostess, combining tact with kindliness and good cheer, and thus she has the faculty of placing all at ease in her presence. Both Colonel and Mrs. Brown have been most active citizens of South Dakota and there are no residents of Sioux Falls who are more widely or favorably known. They arrived in the city when it contained but a few white families. All around them stretched a broad and largely unsettled prairie and the most farsighted could not have dreamed of the changes that were soon to be wrought. With every movement that has had a beneficial effect upon the community and the upbuilding of their section of the state Colonel and Mrs. Brown have been identified and their reward has come to them in the high regard and esteem in which they are universally held, for there is no citizen of Sioux Falls or of that section of the state who is not proud to call them friends.”

Kingsbury, George W. History of Dakota Territory. Chicago: S. J. Clarke, 1915,
V. pp. 1054 – 1056.

Colonel Brown lived until 84 years of age and was buried on January 23, 1922. His wife, Mary, lived on until the age of 90 years and was buried on September 24, 1934. They rest in the family spaces in Block 16, Lot 9 of the Cemetery. This Lot is adjacent to that of Dr. Josiah L. Phillips and his family. The Brown Lot is also the resting place of Colonel Brown's mother, Isabela, along with two of his son’s, Marshall and Oscar, as well as an infant child and grandchild.