Thursday, July 7, 2011

EmigranThursday - Matthew Brown

Matthew Brown & Family, 1870 Census
Welcome to this week’s EmigranThursday featuring Matthew Brown and Sons of Salineville, Columbiana County, Ohio. His biography appeared on pages 296-297 of Brant and Fuller’s History of the Upper Ohio Valley with Historical Account of Columbiana County, Ohio published in 1891. Additional sources from and

  • Matthew Brown, Sr, late owner and manager of the Brown coal mine near Salineville, was a native of Scotland and the son of John and Margaret Brown. He was born in 1827 and at 10 or 12 he began working in the mines and did so until 1852 when he came to the US. He worked at different occupations in various parts of the country until he settled in Salineville in 1854 and after working in the mines a few years was promoted to the responsible position of superintendent of the Hayes mine, which he held until 1860. He then accepted a similar position in one of the mines of the Cleveland Rolling Mill Company, which he purchased six years later, and which he operated very successfully the remainder of his life. In 1855 he married Frances M. Powell, the daughter of John Y. Powell. Matthew and Frances had seven children, four of whom are living: John C., Rhoda M, William E. and Tena M. Mr. Brown was one of the enterprising citizens of Salineville, and a man in whom the people reposed great confidence. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church, as was his wife and belonged to the International Order of Odd Fellows. He died in 1888.
  • John C. Brown, a prominent business man of Salineville and senior member of the firm of Brown Brothers, coal operators, was born in Salineville in 1855, the son of Matthew Brown & Frances Powell. In 1877 he married Miss Mary A Lewis, the daughter of Daniel Lewis and they had one child, Med E. They were members of the Presbyterian Church.
  • William E, Brown, brother of John C. was born March 12, 1855. He worked with his father in the mining business until 1885. In 1887, in partnership with his brother, John C, he assisted in organizing the “well-known” firm of Brown Bros, and together they purchased the Anderson Mine and in December of the same year leased the mine which they now hold and operate. “These two mines comprise the richest and most valuable mining properties in Columbiana County, and the firm has much more than a local reputation in business.” William married Miss Sarah Raffle, the daughter of Robert Raffle in 1885. They had two children, one still living, James A. Brown. Mr. Brown belongs to the Junior Order of the American Mechanics. The family are Presbyterians.

Not surprisingly, I was unable to track down Matthew Brown in Scotland or in the passenger lists. There were not enough clues in the biography and there are too many Browns in Scotland. I did find Matthew Brown in the 1860 and 1870 censuses. In 1870 Matthew (30) was a “boss miner” with personal and real estate valued at $700 each. Also in the household was wife Frances (25), their three eldest children John (5), William (2) and Rhody (6 months), and Samantha Leonard (14). In the 1870 census Matthew Brown (43) had amassed real estate valued at $15,000; but his personal estate was just $1000. In the household were Frances (35), John (14), Rhoda (9), William (5) and Martha (3) and Mary Snider (30) a domestic. According to an obituary abstract on, Matthew Brown was born in 1827 and died 26 July 1889.
Columbiana County continued to attract emigrants from Scotland well into the second half of the nineteenth century. However, these later emigrants appear to have been drawn to the work in the coal mines and perhaps the potteries in East Liverpool. The earlier emigrants, like those in Scotch Settlement, were mostly drawn to farming. Matthew Brown seems to fit this trend and his sons continued his success. Miners from the British Isles were in demand in the United States because of their experience working in this field. While doing my dissertation research I did find one book which examined Scottish colliers on both sides of the Atlantic, Nature's Noblemen: The Fortunes of the Independent Collier in Scotland and the American Midwest, 1855-1889, which might be useful for those of you interested in learning more about the migration of Scottish coal miners to the United States.

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