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Virgil A. Brown

V. A. Brown, a retired farmer with residence in Concordia, is one of the pioneers of Kansas. He first settled in Waubaunsee county, where he farmed rented land and the following year, 1867, removed to Cloud county and settled on Wolf creek, in Buffalo township, three and one-half miles southeast of Concordia, when he and Phillip Kiser were the only settlers on that creek, and when the buffalo appeared in numbers like a living, surging mass of animal life. In 1868 they were the most numerous, often covering a surface of four or five square miles, huddled closely together.

Mr. Brown witnessed the killing of Mr. White by the Indians August 13, 1868, and he was a member of the militia formed to protect the settlers from the Indian uprisings. This company of militia were disbanded but never discharged. Mr. Brown has seen the country develop from its primitive days down to the present. He homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres, pre-empted one hundred and sixty, and bought a soldier's right to forty acres of land. In 1878 he traded two hundred acres of this land for two valley farms, consisting of one hundred and sixty acres each, two and one-half miles west of Ames. The same year he bought one hundred and sixty acres on the Republican and later another tract of one hundred and thirteen acres. He now owns a total of seven hundred and fifty-three acres of land. Mr. Brown has dealt largely in stock; raising, feeding and shipping. In 1891 he retired from active farm life and established a residence in Concordia and was one of the original organizers of that city. During the grasshopper and drouth years Mr. Brown became discouraged, but never lost faith in the ultimate greatness of Kansas.

Mr. Brown is a native of Columbus, Ohio, born in 1844. His parents died when he was a youth and he was reared in the home of an aunt, his father's sister. He was an only child. In August, 1861, he enlisted in the Sixth Indiana. The state had five regiments in the Mexican war and when, organizing companies for the Civil war they began numbering at six. This regiment was commanded by Colonel Crittenden, who was promoted to general. They operated in Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi and on the Cumberland. They were of the Fourth Corps. The history of the regiment gives nineteen hard battles and numerous skirmishes. They were in all the battles of the Atlantic slope, Chickamauga, Kenesaw Mountain, Missionary Ridge, etc. Mr. Brown received five slight wounds. He was in active service the entire three years and one month he served in the army. His immediate company served with distinction. Over two hundred of the one thousand men in his regiment were killed.

Mr. Brown received a limited common school education, having enlisted in the United States service when only sixteen years of age. After the war he returned to the home of his uncle and in March, 1866, was married to Catherine McGaw, of Pennsylvania, and the same year emigrated to Kansas. Mrs. Brown was deceased in April, 1901. To this union were born eight children, four of whom died in infancy.

Those living are: Florence Allen, wife of L. G. Pearson, a Cloud county farmer; Elva, wife of W. L. Acton, an extensive stockman of Decatur county, Kansas: Cora Eunice, wife of C. G. Ross, head clerk in Bolinger's clothing store of Concordia; James W., a resident of Kansas City, foreman of Chamberlain's Weather Strip Company. Mr. Brown's daughters are all talented in music and are educated and refined women.

Mrs. Pearson was a teacher of Cloud county for several years. She received her education in the Concordia schools and in the Agricultural College at Manhattan. The son, James, graduated from the Concordia high school and from the Gem City Business College of Quincy, Illinois.

Mr. Brown and his family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. Politically he is a Republican. Mr. Brown is another one of those reliable self-made men and owns some of the best property in Cloud county. His farm is under a high state of improvement, commodious farm house with driveways of cottonwoods and many evergreens, making it one of the most beautiful country places in the county.

Source: Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas: biographies of representative citizens; published 1903, 915 pgs.

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