CHARLES BROWN. Energetic, public-spirited and progressive, Charles Brown, postmaster at Cora City and one of the leading agriculturists of this section of Illinois, is a man of integrity and honor, well worthy of the high regard in which he is held throughout the community in which he lives and toward the advancement and prosperity of which he is ever ready to lend a helping hand. A son of James M. Brown, he was born in Randolph county, Illinois, March 17, 1853, of pioneer stock.
Born in Virginia, May 26, 1811, James M. Brown was brought up in Kentucky, where his parents settled when he was a small child. As a boy he began work in a humble capacity on a river steamboat, and gradually worked his way upward until becoming engineer on one of the old line Mississippi river steamers. In 1840, while thus employed, his boat froze in the ice, and he made his way to the shore fully determined to give up life on the river. Buying a section of land lying on the line between Randolph and Jackson counties, he built Liberty mill, at Liberty, now Rockwood, Illinois, putting up what was at the time of the Civil war the largest milling plant in Southern Illinois. After the war he devoted his time entirely to the management of the farm which he improved, residing upon it until his death, January 14, 1874. He was a man of strong individuality, and was very prominent in promoting the upbuilding and growth of the town of Randolph. He was identified with the Democratic party throughout his life, and faithfully performed the duties devolving upon him as a citizen of worth. He married, in 1841, in Saint Louis, Missouri, Rebecca Simons, a daughter of Edward Simons, a cooper in Saint Louis, and to them six children were born, as follows: F. M., deputy postmaster at Cora, Illinois; S. D., of Pocahontas, Arkansas; H. C., of Cora; Charles, the special subject of this brief biographical sketch; Mrs. Mollie G. Dean, deceased; and a child that died in infancy.
Charles Brown spent his early life in this part of Southern Illinois, around "Degogina Bridge," obtaining his education in the district schools. During the spring of 1869 he attended the old Southern Illinois College, and in 1871 pursued a course of study at Bryant & Stratton's Business College, in Saint Louis. He obtained a thorough knowledge of agriculture on the parental homestead, and still retains his interest in the old home farm, which has increased in value hundreds and hundreds of per cent, its original cost having been but four dollars an acre, while at the present time a hundred dollars per acre would be a modest price. Mr. Brown is an influential member of the Republican party, and in addition to having served as township supervisor for ten years has been postmaster at Cora City for eight years, having held
the position since 1903, a record of service bespeaking his ability, fidelity and efficiency. Fraternally he belongs to Murphysboro Lodge, No. 442, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Mr. Brown's brother, F. M. Brown, a veteran of the Civil war, is assistant postmaster.
On July 2, 1884, Mr. Brown was united in marriage with Bella P. Richards, of Rockwwod, Illinois, a daughter of Benjamin and Margaret A. Richards, and their only child, Cora, is the wife of Ralph Rollo, city engineer of Murphysboro, Illinois.