My Genealogy Hound

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.

* * * *

ISAAC W. BROWN, an ex-sheriff of Cortland County, and a respected citizen of Cortland village, was born March 28, 1826, in Herkimer County, N. Y. He is a son of Alanson Brown and grandson of Isaac W. Brown.

Our subject’s grandfather was a seaman and sailed before the mast for ten years, after which he settled in Madison County, N. Y., and engaged in farming. A few years later he removed to Homer, Cortland County, where he followed the same pursuit all his life, and died in that town in 1837, at the age of eighty-six. Although he never received much education, he was a great reader, and thus became a well informed man. He was an active member of the Baptist Church. He reared a family of four children: two sons and two daughters.

Alanson Brown, the father of our subject, received a limited education. Being reared on a farm, he determined to make the tilling of the soil his life vocation. His early life was spent in Herkimer County and most of his business career in Homer, Cortland County. About 1880 he retired and went to Richmond, Ill., where he died in 1889. He married Jane Thomas, and their union was blessed by the birth of eleven children. Alanson Brown was a member and deacon of the Baptist Church, and his political favors were cast with the Whig party at first and later with the Republican organization.

Isaac W., the subject of this sketch, was the eighth child born to his parents. It was his lot to receive a common school education, and at an early age to begin life’s battle in earnest. A self-made man was the result. His first business engagement was that of a clerk in Oswego County, N. Y., which position he held for eight years and gave up only on account of poor health. It being necessary for him to have plenty of fresh air, he decided to engage in farming, and accordingly he bought a farm in the town of Homer in 1854.

In 1868 Mr. Brown was elected sheriff of Cortland County, in which capacity he efficiently served for one term. This was not his first public office, however, as he had served his county for eighteen years as deputy sheriff and constable, also fourteen years as assessor. All this he has done in the interests of the Republican party. He now lives in Cortland village, still in public office, being truant officer of the public schools. His pleasing manner and kind heart have won for him the good will of all the children.

Mr. Brown was married September 10, 1853, to Mary Ann Harvey, daughter of Charles Harvey. The family favors the Baptist Church, and Mr. Brown has served as trustee for several years. During the construction of the new church he was a member of the building committee. He has been a Free Mason for thirty-two years and has advanced to the degree of Knight Templar. Two children have been reared in his family: Mary, deceased, and Charles, a leading druggist of Cortland village.

* * * *

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

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.