NIU Libraries Digitization Projects
Lincoln/Net Prairie Fire Illinois During the Civil War Illinois During the Gilded Age Mark Twain's Mississippi Back to Digitization Projects Contact Us
BACK

Edwards, Richard; Hopewell, M.; Ashley, William; Barry, James G.; Belt and Priest; Casey, John; Hall, W.; Labaum, Louis A.; Leduc, Mary Philip; Lisa, Manuel; O'Fallon, Benjamin; Piernas; Port Folio; Risley, W.; Stoddard, Amos; Williams, Henry W.; Yore, John E. Edwards's Great West and Her Commercial Metropolis, Embracing a General View of the West, and a Complete History of St. Louis, from the Landing of Ligueste, in 1764, to the Present Time; with Portraits and Biographies of Some of the Old Settlers, and Many of the Most Prominent Buisiness Men . St. Louis: Office of Edwards's Monthly, A Journal of Progress, 1860. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; letter; narrative]. Permission: St. Louis Mercantile Library
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=edwards.html


Previous section

Next section

John A. Brownlee, President of the Merchants' Bank.

JOHN A. BROWNLEE was born May 8th, 1819, at Basking Ridge, state of New Jersey. His father, the Rev. William C. Brownlee, D. D., was an eminent Divine, and a most accomplished scholar, being a graduate of the University at Glasgow, Scotland, and, immediately on entering the ministry, removed to this country, and first commenced his ministerial labors in the state of Pennsylvania, as a Presbyterian minister. His thorough and varied learning, and the earnest devotion to the sect whose creed he had chosen to follow and advocate, soon gave him distinction in the literary world, and made him the champion of his religious order.

Besides filling with distinction various posts in his ministerial calling, the Rev. Dr. Brownlee was distinguished as an author in various departments of learning, and, at one time, was the President of Rutger's College, New Brunswick, of which the Hon. Theodore Frelinghuysen is now the head. Dr. Brownlee removed to New York in 1825, and became one of the associate ministers of the Reformed Dutch Church, and was considered the ablest pulpit orator of the day. It was while he was pastor of the Presbyterian church at Basking Ridge, that his son, John A. Brownlee, the subject of this memoir, was born.

As far as social position, paternal influence, and the well-wishes of troops of friends could subserve him, John A. Brownlee was born under the most favorable auspices. The position of his father gave him every opportunity of early improving his mind, and storing it with knowledge that might fit him for future usefulness. After receiving a liberal education, young Brownlee selected commercial pursuits as his business calling in life, and went to New York city, where he was engaged in the extensive wholesale silk house kept by Throckmorton & Co., and there remained for three years. Being of an aspiring disposition, which prompted him to be at the head of the avocation he had chosen, he determined to remove from New York and seek in the West a more favorable field, where to found his fortune and gratify his ambition.

Chicago, the Queen City of the lakes, had just commenced to attract attention, and John A. Brownlee removed to the then embryo city, where he remained one year, and then went to St. Louis, in 1839, where he believed the business inducements to be greatest. In St. Louis he commenced as dry goods clerk in the house of P. E. Blow, which soon after became known as the firm of Blow & Labaume.

By his business capacity, his integrity, and successful management, Mr. Brownlee soon won the respect and confidence of his employers, and by degrees passed through all the progressive stages of advancement until he became a partner in the establishment he entered as clerk, and the firm was conducted by him and his associate, Mr. L. B. Shaw; nearly at this time he was joined in marriage to Miss Ridgely, of Baltimore. At the death of Mr. Shaw, the entire business was purchased by Mr. Brownlee,

-- 220 --

which he conducted solely for some time, until the present firm of Brownlee, Homer & Company was organized.

The ruling desire of Mr. Brownlee's life appears to have been to gain the highest round of usefulness in business life; and his present position his wealth, integrity, and influence, show how well he has accomplished his wishes. He is President of the Millers & Manufacturers' Insurance Company, and is the head of one of the most respectable moneyed institutions in the state, being President of the Merchants' Bank. He has never wished to stray from the business orbit; has never sought the uncertain honors which belong to political controversy; and only on one occasion do we find that he took an active part in the turbulent scenes of party faction, and that was when he was president of the state council of the American party. His sphere in life has been of a quiet and useful nature, and he is well and honorably known in the city of his adoption. His high moral worth, connected with his business capacity and rare intelligence, has given him an influence among all classes of citizens, who yield to his opinions, and readily submit to his judgment.

John A. Brownlee is only at the meridian of life, and with his mind stored with information, and rich in experience, and possessing a constitution vigorous and healthful, he has the promise of a long future of usefulness.

-- 223 --

Previous section

Next section


Edwards, Richard; Hopewell, M.; Ashley, William; Barry, James G.; Belt and Priest; Casey, John; Hall, W.; Labaum, Louis A.; Leduc, Mary Philip; Lisa, Manuel; O'Fallon, Benjamin; Piernas; Port Folio; Risley, W.; Stoddard, Amos; Williams, Henry W.; Yore, John E. Edwards's Great West and Her Commercial Metropolis, Embracing a General View of the West, and a Complete History of St. Louis, from the Landing of Ligueste, in 1764, to the Present Time; with Portraits and Biographies of Some of the Old Settlers, and Many of the Most Prominent Buisiness Men . St. Louis: Office of Edwards's Monthly, A Journal of Progress, 1860. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; letter; narrative]. Permission: St. Louis Mercantile Library
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=edwards.html
Powered by PhiloLogic