Ephraim E. Brown
EPHRAIM E. BROWN, one of the most prosperous and best-known farmers and fruit-growers of Plainfield township, Kent county, Mich., is a native of Otto, Cattaraugus county, N. Y., and was born March 10th, 1844, the eldest child of John and Lucinda (Morris) Brown; the second born was named Charles D., but is now deceased, and the third is Dora, who is married to W. V. Munger, a street railway conductor in Grand Rapids. John Brown, father of Ephraim E., was born in I812, and was the first white child born at Otto, N. Y. The father of John, Ephraim Brown, was the first settler in the township, where he secured a tract of land that belonged to the government, as did all other lands for miles around. He made a clearing and called it "home." He died when John was but thirteen years of age, and the young man continued to clear up the land and improve the homestead, married, and had born to him the small family spoken of above. His death took place in I866. His wife was also a native of Otto, was born in 1824, and is still living. She is a lady of unusual literary tastes and takes an active interest in political movements. Ephraim E. Brown was educated at North East, Pa., and while still engaged at his studies the tocsin of war alarmed the nation.
He at once returned to Otto, N. Y., enlisted December 7, 1861, in defense of his country's flag, and was sent thence to Elmira, where he was mustered in as a member of company C, Sixty-fourth New York volunteer infantry, and after four days' drill was sent with the regiment to Washington, D. C. For three weeks the regiment had quarters at Camp R. E. Fenton, near the capitol grounds, whence it was forwarded to Alexandria, Va., where it remained until it was ordered into active service. Without attempting to mention all the marches, skirmishes and battles in which Mr. Brown participated, it will suffice to say that in twenty-six of the most severe battles he manifested the most unflinching courage; at Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, in the Wilderness and at Spottsylvania he sustained several wounds, and for this gallant service his grateful country now allows him the paltry pension of $10 per month. After the war had closed, Mr. Brown returned to his home in New York and employed himself in farming until the fall of 1867, when he came to Michigan and purchased his present farm in section No. 6, in Plainfield township, Kent county. This farm, or tract of land, rather, was then nothing but a dense wilderness, upon which not a tree had yet been felled. But in this desolate region he set himself manfully to work, made a clearing, erected a small shanty, and shortly afterward found that he was prepared to take unto himself a wife. Accordingly, March Io, I869, Mr. Brown was united in marriage, at Centreville, Mich.,. with Miss Matilda Peterson. This lady was born in Sweden, and was brought to America by her parents in I852. The family located in Buffalo, N. Y., where the parents died during a cholera epidemic in the same year, and Matilda and her three sisters were left unprotected among strangers. She, how ever, found a good home with a family named Hoag, with which she remained until eighteen years of age. When fourteen she accompanied them to Michigan. They located in St. Joseph county, where she secured an education which qualified her for teaching. It was just after having successfully taught one term in Branch county that she became Mrs. Brown. They have ever since resided on his present farm of 163 acres, ninety-three of which are devoted to the raising of the finest varieties of fruit to be found in Kent county. This orchard contains about i5,ooo trees, of which 5,ooo are peach, 4,000 plum, 1.500 pear, 500 cherry, IOO quince, twenty-five apricot, and the remainder apple. The farm is intersected with gravel driveways, and in the center stands a tower, or balcony, thirty-five feet high, from which a birds eye view may be had of the surrounding country. Contrast this pleasant state of affairs with the condition of things when Mr. Brown took possession of his land in the winter of I867, and some idea may be formed of his indefatigable industry and his superior skill as a farmer and horticulturist. In politics Mr. Brown's predilections are toward republicanism. He cast his first presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln, but he has not been in any sense a partisan, nor has he sought public office, preferring to devote his attention to his farm. He and wife stand deservedly high in the esteem of the people of Plainfield, who have every reason to congratulate themselves on having so worthy a couple in their midst.
Created: 29 May 2009