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Below is a family biography included in Book of Biographies: Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens, Cortland County, New York published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1898.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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DAVID H. BROWN of Cortland village is the junior member of the Cortland Harness and Carriage Goods Co., and gives his especial attention to the management of the mechanical department of this industrial establishment, which ranks among the first in Cortland County in the amount of business done and the number of men employed. In the line of goods that this enterprising company puts upon the market, it ranks as the first in the United States; its specialties are steel and leather-covered bow sockets for carriage tops, though all manner of carriage trimmings are made up. The business was started in 1880 by E. H. Brewer, who soon after associated with him our subject, Mr. Brown, whose practical knowledge of carriage building and trimming is far above that of the ordinary workman, and embraces all the branches.

Our subject was born in Sheshequin, Bradford County, Pa., June 15, 1836, and was a son of David and Eleanor (Ferry) Brown, who were born in Groton, Conn., and Springfield, Mass., respectively. David Brown, Sr., was a farmer, and settled in Bradford County, Pa., about 1820, and lived there until 1840, when he moved to Groton, N. Y., and there spent the remainder of his life, passing away from mortal scenes at the age of eighty-four. His wife lived to enjoy eighty years. David H. Brown followed farming with his father until he was sixteen years of age, when he commenced work in Adin Morton’s carriage factory, and there learned all his master could teach him in the carriage trimming trade. When he had served his apprenticeship, he worked there for several years, and at various places in this and other states. He then came to Cortland, and began his labors with the Cortland Wagon Co.’s plant, where he was employed some six years. He then entered into a partnership with E. H. Brewer, and these two gentlemen have developed an industry that is a marvel in its extent; the plant is now housed in a large four-story factory building, erected in 1891, with dimensions on the ground of 201 and 50 feet; it is most thoroughly equipped with all the latest improvements and modern conveniences, and has a full complement of labor-saving machinery. This building was designed by Mr. Brewer, and all those who are familiar in the least with the best factory construction say that it cannot be improved in any important feature; especial attention was given to the securing of adequate light and ventilation, and the result is highly satisfactory. The building being of slow-burning construction with three-inch floors, and of the most modern construction, it is in great part fire-proof, but these safe-guards against the dread, devouring element are supplemented by a complete sprinkler system and the best fire extinguishers. There are several annexes that add to the facilities the firm enjoys for getting out a large product, as follows: japanning and separating rooms, each about 40x20; dipping room of the same dimensions; steam oven 20x20; seven hot air ovens, each 10x14; an engine room 60x35; and a forging shop, originally 50x75, but to which has since been added a building 50x80. The plant is lighted by electricity, and heated by the exhaust steam from a magnificent two hundred horse-power Corliss engine, built by the celebrated Edward P. Allis Co. of Milwaukee, Wis. This gigantic engine, in addition to supplying motive power to the diversified machinery of the factory and heating the buildings, also supplies power for the company’s own electric light plant. Much of the machinery is of the company’s own design, and was built for their special purposes. They plan to manufacture from raw material every item that is used in their finished product, even to the extent of making their own packing-cases, in which the goods are shipped. Besides being the heaviest manufacturers of bow sockets in the country, the company is second to but few concerns in the quantity and quality of harness they put out, which runs in quality from the lightest driving harness to the heaviest coach or truck rig, with prices ranging from $3.00 to $500.00 per set. Their large line of specialties in carriage hardware and findings and in the line of harness fittings are unexcelled by those of any other similar establishment, for they are the owners of many valuable patents, and therefore the sole makers of such article or articles. The business has experienced a marvelous growth since its inception in 1880 and has been of incalculable good to Cortland and the surrounding country, for the number of hands employed often runs to 175.

Mr. Brown married Martha Watrous, daughter of Jason Watrous of Groton; the marriage was blessed with the following children: May, who married F. Lomburd of Cortland village; Wendell, who died at the age of three years; David, who is the foreman in the trimming department of the Binghamton Wagon Works; Jason, who is foreman in the machine department of the Cortland Harness and Carriage Goods Co.; Rose, who died, aged five months; Julia, who was drowned at Moravia, aged 2 years; and William N., who is still in school. In his political views, Mr. Brown is a strong Republican. Socially, he belongs to the Tioughnioga Club of Cortland. Mr. Brown is an ardent worker in the interests of Cortland, and is always ready to give substantial aid to any worthy enterprise that has in view the advancement of the interests of the village. He is responsive to charitable appeals, and occupies an important position as a man of standing in the community. His has been an industrious, useful, and eminently successful life, unsullied by deeds of wrong or oppression.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in Book of Biographies: Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens, Cortland County, New York published in 1898. 

View additional Cortland County, New York family biographies here: Cortland County, New York Biographies

View a map of 1897 Cortland County, New York here: Cortland County, New York Map

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