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Brown, Willis
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Brown, Willis
Contributed by Barbara
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Source: Past and Present of Pike County, Page 677-678


Willis Brown, who since 1877 has resided in Pike county, was born in Hardin county, Kentucky, on the 2d of September, 1827. He was brought by his parents to this state, the family home being established in Atlas township on a farm now owned by Charles Dustin, but which is better known as the old Brown homestead. He is a son of Isaac and Susan (Snodgrass) Brown. The father was born in Virginia and was a planter there. He removed from the Old Dominion to Hardin county, Kentucky, where he again conducted a plantation and in the latter state he was married. He lived in Kentucky until there were eight children in the family and he and his wife, with their children, then came to Pike county, Illinois, settling in Atlas township upon what is now the Dustin farm. There he carried on general agricultural pursuits, being identified with the tilling of the soil up to the time of his death, which occurred on the old homestead in 1848, while his wife passed away two years later. Their graves were made on the old home farm. In their family were thirteen children, namely: Maria, Mahala, Squire, Owen, Hardin, John, Willis, James, Isaac, Susan, Jane, Benjamin and Norman W. All are now deceased with the exception of four. Isaac died in infancy and was buried by the side of his parents, where also lie the remains of Hardin and John, while Susan, Mahala and Benjamin were buried in California, and Owen near Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.

Willis Brown received but limited educational privileges as the schools of Atlas township were not in very good condition at that day. He was reared on the old homestead and early became familiar with the labors of field and meadow. After his father's death he took entire management of the farm for his brothers had learned trades and had left the old homestead. He then conducted the property for about six years, subsequent to his mother's death, when it was sold to Charles Dustin and the proceeds of the sale were divided among the heirs. Willis Brown then purchased a farm of one hundred and sixty acres, which was covered with forest trees. It was situated on section 25, Atlas township, and here he took up his abode and began to clear and cultivate the property. He has since made extensive improvements and now has an excellent farm, the fields being rich and productive, so that he annually harvests good crops.

In 1874 Mr. Brown was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Worley, a daughter of Elias and Elizabeth Worley, and they have become the parents of eight children, Byron, Meyer, Malinda, Guy, Nettie, Sadie, Charley and Bessie. Of these Charley, Sadie, Bessie and Guy are all now sleeping in the Ball Bluff cemetery near Atlas. In 1861 Mr. Brown went to California, where he engaged in farm work for two years, returning to Pike county in 1863. In his political affiliation Mr. Brown is a stalwart republican and has always supported the party. He and his wife still reside upon the home farm in the midst of children and grandchildren. Mr. Brown is a self-made man, owing his success entirely to his own labors and during the years he has wrought earnestly to acquire a competence and provide a good living for his family.

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Submitted: 07/02/09

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