DR. JOHN P. BROWN. Prominent among the professional men of Benton, Illinois, is Dr. John P. Brown, one of the best known medical advisers in this part of the state, who for many years has ministered to the physical ailments of the people of this community.
Dr. John P. Brown was born in Pinckneyville, Illinois, on January 4, 1843. His grandfather on his father's side of the house was a native of North Carolina, who afterwards removed to Kentucky, in which state he lived the remainder of his life. He was a soldier in the war of 1812 and met a tragic death while on duty when a horse stumbled and fell upon him. Doctor Brown's maternal grandfather was Alexander Clark, a native of Ohio, who settled on land near Pinckneyville, Illinois, in 1810, continuing to live upon the farm until the time of his death. The parents of Dr. Brown were Hugh M. and Nancy (Clark) Brown. The father was born in Kentucky, on February 10, 1810. In 1828, when but eighteen years of age, he set his face toward the land of the setting sun and migrated to Perry county, Illinois. The location pleased him and he accordingly decided to settle down there. Selecting a fine piece of land then owned by the Government, he filed upon it and thus became one of the earliest settlers in the vicinity of Pinckneyville. For sixty years Mr. Brown continued to engage in agriculture, but in his more feeble years made his home with his son, the Doctor, in Benton, remaining there until his death occurred in 1899. Both he and his wife were devout members of the Presbyterian church. He was interested in all matters of public import but never aspired to official life of any kind. Politically he was an advocate of Republican principles.
Doctor Brown has lived through some of the most stirring periods of our national existence and has had an interesting life. Before his early school education was completed the Civil war broke out and although he was but a youth of eighteen years, fired with patriotic enthusiasm he forsook the schoolroom and offered his services to the Northern cause. His enlistment dated 1861, when he was assigned to duty as a member of Company A, Eighteenth Illinois Infantry. During his participation in the conflict extending over a period of two and a half years he had part in a number of important engagements, including the battles of Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Shiloh and the siege of Corinth. Physical disability caused his honorable discharge from the army before the close of the war.
After returning from the field of battle Mr. Brown returned to Pinckneyville and began the study of medicine under Dr. Carter, of that place. Subsequently he attended a school at Keokuk, Iowa, for a short time, then finished reading medicine with Dr. Burns and became a practitioner in Perry county, Illinois, continuing for ten years. Dr. Brown was not wholly satisfied with his education in medical science, however, and accordingly decided to enter the Missouri Medical College at St.
Louis, Missouri, and he later graduated from that institution with the best possible educational equipment for the prosecution of his profession.
In 1881 Dr. Brown opened his office at Benton and has since that date engaged continuously in medical practice here. There is but one physician who has practiced for a longer period than he in Franklin county, while at one time Dr. Brown was the only man with requisite skill to perform surgical operations in the county.
Dr. Brown is a man of progressive instincts and keeps himself closely abreast of the latest developments in the science of medicine and surgery, holds membership in both local and state medical associations, and takes an active part in their meetings and deliberations. While he devotes his energies exclusively to his practice, so far as applies to business and professional activities, he does not forget his duty as a citizen and a social factor and is at all times ready to lend the weight of his influence to the improvement of conditions in the community in which he lives. In politics he is a believer in Republican principles. He belongs to the Elks and the Odd Fellows fraternal orders, has passed through all of the chairs of the latter and represented his lodge in Grand Lodge meetings.
In 1862 Dr. Brown was united in marriage to Mary V. Coleman, daughter of Lemuel Coleman, a native of Maryland. Two daughters were born of this union, Addie M., who married Jackson McClelland, and Mary V., the deceased wife of Arthur Scott. Mrs. Brown died in 1867, and in 1868 Dr. Brown again married, Nancy A. Burns becoming his wife. She is a daughter of Dr. Burns, for years a prominent physician of DuBois, and later of Benton, at which latter place he continued his practice until his death. Dr. and Mrs. Brown became the parents of four children: Effie, who married Frank Topping; Pearl, who married Frank Mills; Harry, who is a rural route mail carrier residing in Benton; and Stanley, engaged in railroad work at Centralia, Illinois. The family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church and take an active interest in the leading social and religious affairs of the community.