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THE PARSONS SUN, 20 October 1925
Obituary of A. O. BROWN, Sr.
A.O. Brown, Sr., Parsons pioneer and veteran railroad man, died at his home, 1600 Broadway, at 2:45 o'clock this afternoon from bronchial pneumonia. Mr. Brown took a cold Friday but was continued to his bed only since Sunday morning. 
Mr. Brown, who was 91 years old, was born in Oswega, N. Y., where he lived until 16 years of age. His father was a practicing physician and when but a few years old, Mr. Brown drank some caustic poisoning. After many days' battle, his father saved the child's life, but there were a number of years he was forced to live on liquid foods. Unable to attend school, his father kept him out of doors to keep up his health. 
Father's Fortune Swept Away.
When 16 years old, Mr. Brown's father signed the note of the first man who tried to build a canal and put in a turbine at Niagara falls. The man failed, and the doctor's fortune was swept away. 
Mr. Brown went to Detroit where he worked for a wholesale dry goods firm. Anxious for an education, he slept in the store, studied late at night and spent his earnings on books. 
Saved from the Noose.
Later he went into railroad work. While working out of Memphis in the fall of 1860 he was arrested for saying that he would have voted for Abe Lincoln for president had he been up North. Indigent citizens, in mob action, had a noose around his neck and were ready to hang him when someone interceded for him. 
Mr. Brown left for the north immediately and got a job with the Illinois 
Central. During the Civil War he worked on the railroad, hauling northern soldiers. 
To Kansas in 1869.
In 1869 he came to Ft. Scott where he worked as a yardmaster for the Katy and in 1871 ran the first construction train into Parsons from Ft. Scott. A short time later he was conductor on the first train which ran from Sedalia into Parsons. 
Retired From Katy.
He remained with the Katy until 1884 when he retired. Mr. Brown is a charter member of the order of Railroad Conductors, Lodge No. 1 
which was organized at Ambory, IL, while Mr. Brown was working on the Illinois Central. The night of the installation, Mr. Brown was on the road, but he was initiated at the next meeting and was considered as a charter member as he was one of the men who signed up for such an organization. 
Believed in Parsons.
Coming here when the town was organized, Mr. Brown never doubted the future of the city. He believed in the future of Parsons and was one of the first men to invest heavily in buildings in this city. He built the Brown block at the corner of Central and Broadway. 
Always interested in the welfare of the city he served as councilman and in 1884 was mayor of Parsons. Mr. Brown gave liberally to charity although he never made any splurge about it. When he saw a person who was needy, he assisted him, and few people ever knew of his many charitable acts. 
A Mason.
One of this venerable pioneer's interests was Masonary and he was a member of branches of York Rite Masonry and maintained an active interest in the Couer de Lion commandery in the last. He was a member of the Ararat Shrine temple at Kansas City. 
Surviving him are his wife and son, A. O. Brown, Jr., of the home address, and two nieces. Mrs. George M. King of Lake Charles, La., and Mrs. William Lee of Spokane, Wash. Mr. Brown reared Mrs. King and she was married to Mr. King in the Brown home. 
No funeral arrangements have been made, although the Masons will have charge of the services. In compliance with the wishes of Mr. Brown, expressed many times before his death, the family are requesting that friends do not send flowers.
Transcribed and Contributed by:
Elizabeth Brown (ec-brown@home.com)

Last Updated:  Thursday, April 18, 2002 19:58:53

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