Jabez Norton Brown Biography

This biography was found in the "History of Randolph & Macon Counties, Missouri" (1884).
Submitted by Sean Drury spdrury@earthlink.net

Noted the following errors:
1.  Jabez & Sophia (Babcock) Brown were natives of Connecticut.
2.  JN Brown studied under Timothy Jenkins, attorney and Whig congressman.
3.  Hamilton College has no record of JN Brown studying there, but Clinton Normal School shows he was a student there in 1835.

From History of Randolph & Macon Counties, Missouri
p. 1168

J. NORTON BROWN (Attorney at Law, Macon City)  Mr. Brown is the oldest living member of the Macon county bar, and one of the oldest attorneys in duration of practice in the circuit.  He was born in Westmoreland, Oneida county, N.Y., February 22, 1812.  He was educated at Hamilton College, and took a course in the classics.  When 21 years of age he began the study of law in Oneida county under Timothy Jinkins, Esq., and was admitted at Utica in 1836.  After practicing in Oneida county for about four years he came West and located at Liberty, in Clay county, but in 1841 removed to Bloomington, in this county, and began his career here as a member of the Macon county bar.  For a period of  20 years Mr. Brown continued the practice in the courts of Macon and adjoining counties with uninterrupted success, and built up a large practice.  He was not only successful in the courts but also in the accumulation of property, and became comfortably situated.  He was a large stockholder in the bank at Bloomington, and was president of that institution.  He was also a partner in the mercantile firm of Tobin & Co. at that place, and was one of its most public-spirited and influential citizens.  He was one of the leaders against the removal of the county seat to Macon City, and contributed both his time and means liberally and zealously to maintain the right.  However, still residing at Bloomington during the progress of the war, times became so critical that neither life nor property was safe in this section of the State.  In 1864, fearing that the bank at Bloomington would be robbed, he took a large part of its funds, about $50,000, to St. Louis for safe keeping; and sure enough three weeks afterwards the bank was robbed, Mr. Brown losing $2,600 of his own money.  He now decided to remove to St. Louis, on account of the unsettled condition of affairs in the country, and in order not to be idle, having of course no professional clientage in that city, he engaged in merchandising there.  But he was unfortunate in his business, and lost about $20,000.  In 1868 he returned to Macon county and resumed the practice of law, locating at Macon City.  For about seven years he and B.I. Dysart, Esq., were in partnership in the practice.  He continued the practice, doing a strictly professional business up to about two years ago, since which he has been living in retirement.  Mr. Brown was once a candidate for circuit judge against Judge Henry, now of the Supreme Court, but was defeated.  Otherwise than this he has had but little to do with public affairs, so far as elections are concerned.  He has served several terms as county attorney, but has filled no other official position to speak of.  Before the war he was a Whig in politics, but since the demise of that party has acted with the Democrats.  October 9, 1849, he was married to Miss Elizabeth Sheckells, of Randolph county, a daughter of Peter and Elizabeth (Harris) Sheckells, originally of Frederick county, Va., but who came to Missouri in 1836, locating, first, at Palmyra, then at Shelbyville, but finally in Randolph county, near Huntsville, where the father died in 1849.  Mr. Brown and his wife were married at her father's death-bed a few hours before his demise.  She was born June 4, 1826.  Mr. and Mrs. Brown have reared a family of four children:  Walter, now engaged in the abstract business at Macon City; Lillie, a teacher at Shelbyville, Ky., and Eddie and George, at home.  No man in the county is more highly respected and esteemed than Mr. Brown.  His parents were Jabez and Sophia (Babcock) Brown, both natives of New York State.