WILLIAM H. BROWN, who is regarded as one of the most prominent and well-to-do farmers of Benton County, was born in Sandusky County, Ohio, June 15, 1842. His parents were Freeborn G. and Keziah (Becker) Brown, the former a native of Licking County. Ohio, and the latter of Pennsylvania. When a small lad William H. went with his parents to Porter County, Ind., where, in the common schools, he received his education. In May, 1857, the family pushed farther westward, being accompanied by our subject, and located in Benton County, and were among the earliest pioneers of Bruce Township. The county at that time was a wilderness, there being but a few settlers, even along the timber section. There were only three families between where they located and Vinton. Our subject diligently engaged in assisting his father in clearing and cultivating the land they had secured.
Early in the great civil strife William H. Brown, then a vigorous young man of twenty years, enrolled his name upon the roster of Co. D. 28th Iowa Vol. Inf. His enlistment was made in August. 1862. He was immediately put to the front and saw active service. His first engagement was at Oakland, Miss., in the fall of 1862, being on a detail to destroy railroads. Then came the expedition up White River to Duval's Bluff and St. Charles, taking both places. The detachment returned to Helena, Ark., and he then participated in the Vicksburg campaign; was at Yazo Pass, Port Gibson, Champion Hills, siege and capture of Vicksburg, followed up Gen. Jackson into Mississippi, returned to Natchez, and then went to New Orleans. The following spring he participated in the Red River expedition, and the battle of Sabine Cross Roads, where the command received their first defeat. He returned to New Orleans, and from there shipped to Washington, where he remained two weeks, when he was assigned to Gen. Phil. Sheridan's command at Maryland Heights. His next engagement was at Winchester. He was at the battle of Cedar Creek, and saw "Little Phil" when he came in on his twenty-mile ride. Mr. Brown was away from the field four miles on an ambulance, having been wounded that morning by a minie-ball passing through his left thigh. He was sent to Winchester, where he lay in a hospital, or rather in an old church used for that purpose, for four weeks; he was then taken to Jarvis Hospital, Baltimore, where he remained six weeks; then to Cyler Hospital at Germantown, Pa., where he remained until March 12, 1865, when he was sent to Newton, N. C., and joined his command. His wound troubled him so badly that he was assigned to special detail duty, as guard of the camp-house. He was there when Sherman and Johnston came after the surrender of the latter. He was then sent to Augusta, Ga., the command being divided up, and took charge of Government stores. He was mustered out with his command at Savannah, Ga., July 31, 1865, and received a final discharge at Davenport, Iowa, Aug. 10, the same year.
After the close of a long and eventful military service, Mr. Brown returned to his home in Benton County, and Jan. 7, 1866, was married to Miss Susan C., daughter of Rev. J. G. Stewart, of Vinton. She was born in Virginia, July 13, 1840. By this union four children have been born — Charles D., Loveria E., William A. and Franklin P.
Mr. Brown is a member of the Benton County Veteran Association, and on account of his wounds is drawing a small pension. In political sentiment he is a Republican, and has held some of the local offices of his township. He has a good farm of 160 acres, and has been identified with the development of the county for over twenty years, and during that time has seen the wild prairie transformed into fine farms, and the rude log cabin give place to beautiful homes. He and his wife are members of the United Brethren Church.
Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies" [database online] Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <http://iagenweb.org/benton/>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 188-189.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on January 28th, 2009. Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.