Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sunday's Obituary ~ James J. H. Brown, d. 1912

To follow up on my post from earlier this week about using newspapers to confirm my 4th great-grandfather's death date and burial location, here is an obituary that provides a great deal of information.
"Capt. Brown's Death Hard Blow." The Buffalo Courier, 12 June 1912, online archives
( accessed 6 November 2016, page 6, columns 2-3.

Capt. Brown's Death Hard Blow
Citizens Lament Passing of Veteran Expert in Great Lakes Commerce.
  In the opinion of Buffalo's most active citizens Buffalo has lost a public spirited man and the commerce of the great lakes an able and consistent champion in the death of Capt. James J. H. Brown, which occurred at the family home, No. 141 Lancaster avenue, five minutes before midnight Monday [June 10, 1912]. Death is attributed to heart trouble. Capt. Brown was president of the Lake Carriers' association in  1896-7, and in 1904 was chosen president of the Chamber of Commerce. At the time of his death he was chairman of the harbor and river committee of that body. He had been ill five weeks.
  William Livingstone, president of the Lake Carriers' association, last evening, on learning of the demise of the veteran captain, who was a member of the executive committee of that organization, wired Edwin T. Douglass, general manager of the Western Transit company in this city: "Have issued orders to all Lake Carriers' vessels to fly their flags at half-mast Thursday in honor of the late Capt. J. J. H. Brown."
  James J. H. Brown was the son of John Brown and Barbara Freeland Brown, who came to this country from their native Scotland and settled in Cleveland, where James was born, February 9, 1838. Twelve years later, when his widowed mother became the wife of Capt. Christopher Goulder of the Forest City, young Brown yielding to the lure of the sea, ran from home, and shipped with a merchant vessel which took him round the world. After several years' experience with ocean-going vessels and whalers, he returned to his native city and betook himself to the lakes.
  In the course of a checkered career he was in a vessel which was wrecked off Long Point. Then he was master of the Newsboy, Annie Sherwood and Scotia. In 1873 the Scotia was accounted the largest vessel on fresh water, and the young captain, despite many doleful predictions, navigated her successfully. About 1879 Capt. Brown established a vessel agency in Buffalo in partnership with Capt. Daniel Rogers. In 1885 Edward Smith was admitted and the firm name was changed to Brown & Co., which was continued successfully until the time of the senior member's death. As head of the firm of Brown & Co., and intimately associated with the Douglass as well as the Brown steamship line, Capt. Brown as a power in marine circles, when in 1904 he was chosen president of the CHamber of Commerce.
  His interest in the port of Buffalo and the commerce of the lakes was keen, and his knowledge of conditions unexcelled.
  He was the pioneer in the Black Rock harbor improvement, which is now one of the live questions, and he was foremost in the fight for the improvement of Buffalo river, the seawall and Hamburg turnpike, better terminals, the barge canal, and other large enterprises looking to the making of a greater Buffalo. Not only was he a leader in all that pertained to harbor and river improvements, but, during his administration as president of the chamber, he was the advocate of such improvements as the extension of Elmwood avenue, better postal facilities, and manual training in the public schools.
  Capt. Brown was a Democrat but he was so busy attending to his marine business and to the commercial needs of the port of Buffalo that he was unable to spare time for active participation in politics, and he never aspired to political honors. He gave of his time freely and unselfishly to the public interests. He was a member of DeMolay Lodge, F. & A. M. The survivors are his wife, Mrs. Ida M. Brown, and four children by his first wife, who was Miss Annie Johnston of Chicago, viz.: Harvey L. Brown, a lawyer of this city, and three daughters, Mrs. Edward H. Maytham, Mrs. S. H. Worcester of Cleveland, and Miss Laura A. Brown, who is a teacher in the Central high school. Another daughter, Mrs. Charles K. Darrow, died several years ago.
  The funeral will take place from the family home tomorrow afternoon at 4 o'clock. The officiating clergyman will be the Rev. Carl D. Case of the Delaware avenue Baptist church. The interment will be at Forest lawn.

James J. H. Brown is my first cousin 4x removed.


  1. What a dramatic life your cousin led. My husband's tree has a Freeland in-law but he was born in Indiana, later moved to NYC. Doubt there's any connection, but...he was James Freeland (1838-1920), son of John Freeland and Sarah Ray Longacre.

    1. This is a wonderful obituary.

      It's possible that your James Freeland is distantly related to my Freelands if you can trace him back to Lancashire, Scotland, but if it's a distant in-law, then I can see you might not want to bother tracing his ancestry.

      Thanks for the comment.

  2. I am trying to figure out why Joseph Rodgers' still born child is buried in my third g-grandmother's plot according to Forest Lawn's Cemetery. Therefore I have been doing research on Joseph B Rodgers and he is the only Jospeh Rodgers in the City Directories and he died in 1930 and is buried in Forest Lawn as well. I looked for his obituary and found it on Old Fulton and it turns out that James Brown is his uncle and that before Joseph started his own vessel agency that he worked for his uncle James. I have the obituaries or I am sure you know how to navigate Old Fulton and can get them yourself. I just thought you might find it interesting as I found blog this when I Googled James H Brown. Best Jen

    1. Of course now I'm curious to see how your Joseph Rodgers is related ;-) I don't see Rodgers in my tree, so perhaps it's through one of James J. H. Brown's wives?
      Thanks for reading and commenting!