Robert A. Brown
Source: The United States Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men, Missouri Volume. New York, Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City: United States Biographical Publishing Company. 1878, pages 272-275.

Robert Allison Brown, Harrisonville, was born in Roane county, East Tennessee, February 8, 1808, near the town of Kingston. He was the son of General John Brown and Mary M. Brown, whose maiden name was Allison.

General Brown was born in Greene county, North Carolina, September 15, 1779. When only seven years of age, his widowed mother with himself, three brothers and two sisters, removed to Roane county, East Tennessee. He was married January 13, 1805, to Miss Mary Moore Allison, by Rev. John Winton. On the organization of Roane county he was a farmer, but was elected sheriff, which position he filled twenty-four successive years, and then resigned. He was a colonel in the Creek war under General Andrew Jackson; at the close of the war he returned home and was elected brigadier-general of the State Militia of East Tennessee. He died in Roane county, September 10, 1846. His wife was born February 1, 1774. She was the daughter of Robert Allison, and died October 13, 1827, in Roane county, having been a member of the Methodist Episcopal church from early childhood.

General John Brown and wife had the following children: Sarah Tarver Brown, born September 14, 1806; Robert Allison Brown, (the subject of this sketch,) February 8, 1808; Thomas Albert Brown, February 10, 1810; John W. Brown, Jr., September 18, 1813; Mary Brown, November 27, 1815; William L. Brown, November 29, 1818; Susan Howard Brown, May 4, 1820.

Sarah Tarver Brown married Rev. Nathaniel R. Jarratt, of Wilson county, Tennessee, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal church. They removed to Mississippi, near Holly Springs, where, after raising a large family, both died. Thomas Albert Brown married Miss Edna F. A. Trower, only daughter of Rev. Thomas Trower, of Sullivan county, East Tennessee, and they now reside in Chattanooga, in that state. John Brown Jr., married Miss Matlock, who died within a year; John Brown died March 16, 1878. Mary Brown married Dr. John W. Westen, of Kingston, East Tennessee, where they both died. William Brown married a daughter of General James Gamble, of Monroe county, East Tennessee, and died when quite young, leaving an only son, also named William. Susan Howard Brown married Dr. Davis, of South Carolina, and both died about the year 1861, leaving two children, John B. Davis, and Jennie M. Davis, since married to A. G. Deacon, of Harrisonville, Missouri.

General John Brown, after the death of his first wife, married Nancy C. Allison, November 21, 1830, and they had the following children Benjamin Tarver Brown, born August 21, 1831; Rachel Jackson Brown, August 1, 1834; Jane Eliza Brown, October 11, 1836; George Brown, June 20, 1839.

General John Brown was the son of John Brown, Sr., who died in Dobbs county, North Carolina; he had four brothers — Henry, William, Benjamin and Samuel. John Brown, Sr., was the son of William Brown, who was married in Culpepper county, Virginia, to Sarah Long; his brothers were Samuel, William, John, Henry, Benjamin, Beverly and Robert; he married Mary Little Tarver, daughter of Thomas Tarver, of North Hampton county, Virginia. The father of William Brown was the son of Edwin Brown, who emigrated from Wales to England, where he was raised and whence he emigrated to Virginia.

The great-great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch, on the Tarver side, was Benjamin Tarver, who emigrated from Wales to England and thence to Virginia, and who was poisoned by the Nodaway Indians on the river of that name. He left seven sons—Thomas, Samuel, Andrew, William, James, Robert and Benjamin. The last named died in Wilson county, Tennessee; Robert was killed at the battle of Guilford, North Carolina. They had one sister, who married John Oakes. Most of the Tarvers emigrated to Georgia. Samuel and Jacob Tarver were brothers to the grandmother, named Brown, of R. A. Brown.

General John Brown had three brothers and two sisters; Robert T. Brown, Thomas Brown and William Brown, Rebecca and Mary Brown. Robert T. Brown emigrated in 1806 to Southeast Missouri probably to Ste. Genevieve county - and afterwards married Miss Valle, a French lady. They raised about ten sons and two daughters; their eldest son, John, was deaf and dumb; the other sons, so far as remembered, were named William, Robert, Valle, Walter and Zeno. Robert T. Brown was one of the first members of the convention which framed the first Constitution of Missouri; he died many years ago. Thomas Brown had two sons and one daughter — William Franklin, John Smith T. and Mary Caroline. William F. Brown married Miss Renfrow, raised a large family and died in Roane county, East Tennessee. John Smith Brown married Miss Elizabeth Tarver, of Alabama, and died leaving a son named Thomas and one daughter. Mary Caroline Brown married Elbridge G. Sevier; they raised a large family, and he died in Roane county, East Tennessee. William Brown married Sarah Kimbrough, but both died without issue. Rebecca F. Brown married Robert Taylor, raised a large family, and emigrated South from Roane county. Mary Brown, youngest sister of John Brown, married Zaccheus Ayer, and there were born to them the following children: Alexander Outlaw Ayer, who married Hester A. Johnson, of Blunt county, Tennessee, and moved to Red Banks, Kentucky; Alpha K. Ayer, who removed to the State of Georgia, married and died there; William and Zaccheus Ayer never married so far as known; Sophia E. Ayer, was married to Rev. Samuel Harwell, of Roane county, Tennessee, both of whom died leaving a large family.

Robert Allison, father of Mary M. Allison, mother of our subject, was raised in North Carolina, near King’s Mountain. He was a soldier in the Revolutionury war, fought at King’s Mountain, Guilford, Cowpens, Charleston and many other of the battles of that struggle. He and his wife both died in Roane county about fifty years ago. His wife, grandmother of R. A. Brown, was Jane Moore, daughter of William or Alexander Moore. She had a sister Peggy who married William Black, another who married Mr. McFarland, another named Amy who married Matthew Leeper, removed to Kentucky and there died. John Adair, of Kentucky, was a cousin of Jane (Moore) Allison.

Mary Moore Allison had two brothers: Colonel Uriah Allison, who was an officer throughout the Canada war, married Nancy Cox, of East Tennessee, and raised three daughters—Maria, married George Nicholdson; Katharine, who married Dr. John W. Westen; and Mary, who married Mr. Doss. Colonel Allison died in Roane county. The other brother, Robert Allison, Jr., married Nancy Bird, by whom he raised a large family before she died, and still lives in Kingston, East Tennessee.

Jane (Moore) Allison had other daughters, namely; Amy, who married James Craig, moved to middle Tennessee or Alabama; Jane, who married James Preston, and Margaret, who married Moses Preston—both of whom raised large families, moved to St Clair county, Missouri, and died there; Susan, who married Isaac Council, raised a large family and died in Knox county, East Tennessee.

R. A. Brown, the subject of this sketch, was educated at Kingston, East Tennessee, at Rittenhouse Academy, under Rev. William Eagleton, a Presbyterian divine. He was brought up on a farm near Kingston, and in the fall of 1842 removed to Van Buren, now Cass county, Missouri, locating on a farm near Harrisonville, where he still resides. He became an extensive land owner and farmer, owning twenty-five hundred acres of land near his county seat, and, prior to the late war, owned a large number of slaves—and to those slaves he was known to be ever indulgent and kind.

Mr. Brown was a Whig in politics until the disorganization of that party, since which he has been a strict adherent and supporter of Democracy. While taking a lively interest in political affairs, his own extensive business demanded his whole time, and farming and retirement were more to his tastes and inclinations. Hence, although repeatedly solicited to become a candidate for both state and county offices, he invariably refused, until in the fall of 1861 he was prevailed upon to become a candidate for a seat in the convention called to consider the relations of Missouri to the Federal Union. He was elected by a large majority as delegate from the district comprising the counties of Cass, Jackson and Bates. He served in two sessions of that convention, discharging his duties satisfactorily to his constituents. At the time of his election, he was a supporter of the “Crittenden Compromise Measures“—being neither a Secessionist nor a Coercionist.; but when the great question came up in the convention, Mr. Brown voted that Missouri should not dissolve her connection with the Federal Union. About May 21, 1863, he resigned his seat; being induced thereto by the clamors of his constituents who were in favor of the adoption of an emancipation ordinance. Feeling that he was not elected for such a purpose, and rather than violate his conscientious convictions of right, he preferred to resign and allow the people of his district to elect a new member in his place. Throughout the war he was opposed to the policy of coercion.

None but the denizens of that section of Missouri will ever fully know the dangers which surrounded them in 1863. No one felt safe away from military posts. Mr. Brown resided three miles from Harrisonville—the nearest military post—and Captain Blake, the commandant, had authorized him to arm himself for protection against the thieves and plunderers who infested that region. One night, about twelve o’clock, a band of these marauders sought to gain admittance to his house, and, failing in this, commenced firing into the buildings and making fiendish threats. Mr. Brown, single-handed, killed three of the assassins, when they retired. He surrendered himself to the military authorities, asking the fullest investigation. Captain Blake made a searching investigation of the facts in the case and acquitted him of all blame, justifying him in all his acts. The case was afterward taken before General Thomas Ewing, at Kansas City—then commanding that military district—who not only justified Mr. Brown but applauded his course in the whole affair.

This was not the only time in those dark days when Mr. Brown was forced to defend himself and family against midnight robbers and assassins.

He has been a communicant in the Methodist church since 1837, and is still an official member. He has contributed liberally toward the enterprises of his church, in one instance himself mostly paying for a church building, Ministers have ever found his hospitable mansion an asylum and a home. He is a practical giver to the poor, a friend to the widow and orphan and to struggling young men starting in business. in his seventieth year, Mr. Brown is erect, hale and strong. But few persons so old are so well preserved and bear better evidence of a life of sobriety and strict temperance. It may be truthfully said of him what very few can claim: he was never known to be intoxicated, to use profane language, take a chew of tobacco or smoke a pipe or cigar; he never bet on any game of hazard, never danced, and never left a promise unfulfilled if there was any earthly power to comply.

R. A. Brown was married October 27, 1836, to Mary J. R. Gillenwaters, in Rhea county, East Tennessee, by Rev. John Hennegar. She was the daughter of William T. and Elizabeth Gillenwaters, and was born in Rhea county, East Tennessee, December 30, 1819. She was educated in her native state at the Academies, of Knoxville and Athens, receiving a thorough classical training, and is a lady of far more than ordinary intelligence and of wonderful energy. Her father, William T. Gillenwaters, was born April 30, 1795, in Sparklinburg district, South Carolina, and was partly raised in Hawkins county, East Tennessee, near Rodgersville. He went to Florida as a soldier in the war of 1812, when but seventeen years old, returned to Rodgersville and began business with John Rodgers, from whom the place was named. He married and settled in Rhea county, where he remained doing business as a merchant and farmer. He held the office of postmaster for twenty-five successive years, when he resigned. He acquired considerable property and removed to Cass county, Missouri, in the fall of 1842, and died June 18, 1865. He was the son of Thomas Gillenwaters who lived and died near Rodgersville, East Tennessee.

Elizabeth, wife of William T. Gillenwaters was born in Jefferson county, East Tennessee, October 18, 1778, and died January 27, 1851, in Cass county, Missouri. She was the eldest child of Jesse Roddye, who was born January 18, 1775, and settled in Rhea county in 1806, where he raised ten children, all of whom married into good families. He died February 16, 1862, on the farm where he first settled. He has but one son living, David M. Roddye, now living within a mile of his father’s old homestead. The wife of Jesse Roddye was Jane Mahaffa, who was born in 1774. Her father was killed by Tories during the Revolution, and she was raised by an aunt named Horner, in Charleston, South Carolina.

Jesse Roddye was the son of Colonel James Roddye, who emigrated from England to America long prior to the Revolution. His first wife was said to have been a sister of Daniel Boone, by whom he had ten children; his second wife was a Russell, from Virginia. Most of his children moved South; one son and two daughters settled in New Orleans; both daughters married Lees, of Virginia. Colonel James Roddye was a Whig and received his title as an officer in the Revolutionary war; he was also a member of the state Constitutional convention of Virginia, and died in 1824.

There have been born to Robert A. and Mary J. R. Brown the following children: William Gillenwaters, born in Rhea county, East Tennessee, April 11, 1838, who married Mary, only daughter of Judge H. G. Glean, of Cass county, Missouri, and he is now residing in that county; John Brown, born in Rhea county, March 29, 1840, and died in Dallas county, Texas, March 4, 1864, of heart disease; Thomas, born in Rhea county, March 24, 1842, and died April 18, 1862, having been taken prisoner at the battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, and taken to Alton, Illinois, where he died; Robert A., born in Cass county, Missouri, December 3, 1844, who resides there, having married Mary Agnes, a daughter of Judge Benjamin Stephens, former representative in the Missouri legislature from Cass county; Elizabeth G., born in the same county, October 25, 1867, and married to H. C. Daniel, Esq., an attorney at law, of Mexico, Missouri; Samuel Eskridge, born in the same county, February 1, 1850, and married Zada Robinson, the daughter of Mrs. Samantha Robinson, a native of Canada, and a widow, whose husband, a native of Maryland, died near Hannibal, Missouri, many years ago; Walter R., born in Cass county July 18, 1853, resides in Cass, and unmarried.

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