John Brown

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John Brown
United States Senator from Kentucky
In office
June 18, 1792–March 4, 1805
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Buckner Thruston
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1789–June 1, 1792
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Andrew Moore
Member of the Virginia Senate
In office
Preceded by William Christian
Succeeded by William Russell
In office
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Succeeded by {{{4thofficesucceeded}}}
In office
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Succeeded by {{{5thofficesucceeded}}}
In office
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In office
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In office
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Personal details
Born September 12, 1757
  Augusta County, Virginia
Died August 29, 1837 (aged 79)
  Lexington, Kentucky
Resting place Frankfort, Kentucky
Alma mater College of William and Mary
College of New Jersey
Profession Politician
Spouse(s) Margaretta Mason
Known for
Signature [[File:{{{signature}}}|left|200px]]

John Brown (1757 – 1837), Kentucky statesman, was born in Staunton, Virginia.[1] He was the brother of James Brown, United States Senator for Louisiana, and related to the Clay and Breckinridge families.[2] Brown's father, a distinguished Presbyterian minister, provided his early education.[3] Brown attended Princeton College, but his education was interrupted when the school closed due to the hostilities of the American Revolution.[4] He joined Washington’s forces and later served under Lafayette.[5] After his service, Brown resumed his education at William & Mary.[6]

In the winter of 1780, Brown attended George Wythe’s law lectures at William & Mary, despite financial difficulties that led him to drop other courses. [7] While at the school, Brown participated in Wythe’s newly created moot court and moot legislature, finding that "[t]hese exercises serve not only as the best amusements after severer studies, but are very useful & attended with many important advantages." [8] At William & Mary, he was also a member of the parent chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.[9]

After completing his education, Brown settled in Kentucky in 1782 and became one of the state's preeminent leaders and a leading statehood proponent.[10] In 1787, he had discussions with Spain in which the Spanish minister agreed to provide Kentucky free navigation of the Mississippi if Kentucky became independent of the United States.[11] Nevertheless, in 1787, Brown represented Kentucky in the Virginia legislature and the following year was elected a delegate to the Kentucky Constitutional Convention.[12] He was also elected a delegate to the Virginia Convention where his Jeffersonian leanings led him to vote against ratifying the federal Constitution.[13] In 1792, when Kentucky entered the Union, Brown became a United States Senator for the new state, a position he held until 1805.[14] Brown died in his home in Frankfort, Kentucky, in 1837.[15]

See also


  1. Ellis Merton Coulter, "John Brown" in Dictionary of American Biography ed. Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1958), 2, pt.1:130.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Lyon G. Tyler, "Glimpses of Old College Life," William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine 9, no. 1 (July 1900): 19.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ellis Merton Coulter, "John Brown," 131.
  6. Ibid.
  7. "Glimpses of Old College Life," William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine 9, no. 2 (October 1900), 76.
  8. Ibid., 80
  9. Tyler, "Glimpses of Old College Life," 19.
  10. Coulter, "John Brown," 131.
  11. Ibid.
  12. Ibid.
  13. Ibid.
  14. Ibid.
  15. Lewis Collins, Historical Sketches of Kentucky (Cincinnati, OH: J.A. & U.P. James, 1848), 308-309.