The Chariton Leader, Chariton, Iowa Thursday, May 31, 1906
JOHN LEE BROWN was born in Essex County, N.Y., Oct. 30, 1838, coming to Hendricks County, Indiana, with his parents in 1848. He came to Iowa in 1856, afterwards returning to Indiana where he enlisted July 21, 1862 in Co. A. 70th Indiana Infantry, his Colonel being the late Benj. Harrison, afterwards President of the United States. MR. BROWN was wounded at Resacca, May 15, 1864, losing his arm, and was discharged in March, 1865 on account of this disability.
He followed teaching school in his earlier manhood and was Recorder of Deeds of Hendricks County, Indiana, four years. He returned to Iowa in 1870 and was elected County Auditor in 1875 and held that office until he was elected Auditor of State, holding that position two consecutive terms. All will remember this career. During the administration of Gov. Buren R. Sherman friction arose between the executive and Auditor BROWN and he was ordered to vacate the office, which he refused to do. The Governor had the doors bursted in with sledge hammers and MR. BROWN forcibly ejected. Long impeachment proceedings followed but afterwards the ejected official was reinstated by Gov. Larrabee. This is too well known, especially in Lucas County, to elaborate on.
After his term of office had expired he purchased the Chariton Herald and for twelve years conducted it as a Republican paper. After disposing of it he got control of the Ottumwa Democrat, but his health was not such that he could endure the strain of hard mental work. Later he sold it, purchased a farm in Cedar Township and resided there until his death.
In character he was a man of strong traits, firm convictions and never yielded a point for policy sake -- in fact he compromised on nothing. This made him enemies as well as friends. He was a fighter in every sense of the word and a man of many admirable qualities, having a mind of unusual strength, with a faculty of forcible expression.
His death occurred at his Cedar Township home last Thursday, after four days' illness of pneumonia. He was 63 years of age and leaves a wife and nine children. His remains were brought to Chariton for burial. Services were held on Sunday afternoon in the M.E. Church, of which denomination he had been a member from early manhood. Col. O.A. Bartholomew preceded the sermon with an address appropriate to the memory of the departed. They had known each other in youth, had served together in the Nation's conflict, turned westward together, neighbored during all the intervening years and paid a befitting tribute to the man of iron who is now stilled in death. Rev. Nathan Evans, his pastor, followed with a sermon devoid of fulsome eulogy, but full of pathos, measuring well that character so well known to the citizens of Chariton, rendering to him in words the credit due for his fidelity of purpose and loyalty in execution in the affairs of life. The G.A.R. Post and I.O.O.F., of which orders he was a member, took prominent part in the ceremonies. Truly JOHN LEE BROWN is one man who has left his foot prints on the sands of time.