I would like to let people know about the existence of an e-book I came across, which appears to be a digitization of a book published by the New York Tribune in 1896. The book is America's
Successful Men of Affairs
An Encyclopedia of Contemporaneous Biography
EDITED BY HENRY HALL
Here is the link: http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/henry-hall/americas-successful-men-of-affairs-an-encyclopedia-of-contemporaneous-biograph-hci.shtml
On page 17 of Volume 2 you will find this sketch of someone born in Belmont County:
HENRY CORDES BROWN, contractor and financier, Denver, Colo., was born
Nov. 18, 1820, near St. Clairsville, O. Samuel Brown, his father, a Scot by descent,
fought at Bunker Hill in the American Revolution, bore arms also in the War of 1812,
and died when Henry was seven years old. The boy had previously, at the age of two,
lost his mother, a member of the Newkirk family and of German descent. At work
on a farm near St. Clairsville, until sixteen, Henry C. Brown spent the $150 he had
acquired by inheritance of ten acres of land from his father, upon a year's tuition at
Brooks Seminary. He then learned the carpenter's trade and during 1844-52 worked
partly with his brother, Isaac H. Brown, a prominent builder and contractor in St.
Louis, Mo., and in part for himself, and in 1852, crossed the plains to California with
an ox team, the trip from St. Joseph, Mo., consuming one hundred and ten days.
Building operations in Placerville, Cala., Portland, Or., and Olympia, Wash., and a
lumber business at the mouth of the Whatcom river, occupied him for a while, and he
then sailed for San Francisco, where he built under contract a number of cottages,
houses and fine business buildings, including General Sherman's fire-proof bank.
General Sherman and he were warm friends. While in St. Louis, Mr. Brown had
received $1.50 per day for his services, but in San Francisco earned $10 a day.
The panic of 1854 cost Mr. Brown the $50,000 he had then saved, but by building
labors in Oroville, Lynchburg and Marysville, Cala., he soon saved $6,000, and in
December, 1857, sailed for Callao, Peru, and there engaged in a commission and ship
chandlery business. The country did not suit him over well, and coming home via
Hampton Roads, he reached St. Louis in May, 1858, and in the construction of a hotel
at a point sixty miles above Omaha, lost all his money again, the owners not keeping
their contract. Reaching St. Louis with sixty cents in his pocket, fifty of which went
for a breakfast and the other ten for an apple, Mr. Brown resumed his trade there and
at Decatur, 111., and in 1860, arrived in Denver, the possessor of $2,500. In Denver
he ever afterward remained, growing rich by building contracts and operations in lands
and mines. In the Spring of 1864, he took up a homestead claim of one hundred and
sixty acres, at $2. 50 per acre. The property is now worth millions. He was one of the
builders of the Denver street railroad, and built and owned Brown's Palace Hotel,
which cost $1,600,000. Among his other properties are four hundred acres of mineral
land in Gilpin county, Colo. ; two hundred acres in Pueblo, Colo. , eighty acres lying in
the heart of the present city; mines in Summit, Boulder and El Paso counties and the
Cripple Creek region, and much other realty. April 16, 1875, Mr. Brown gave ten
acres for a site for the Capitol of Colorado. So large and valuable were his holdings
that the taxes upon his real estate now amount to more than $350,000 a year.
In August, 1859, Mr. Brown married Miss Jane Thompson, who died in San Diego,
Cala., Feb. n, 1893. May 2, 1895, he married Miss Mary Matthews. His children
are James H. Brown, lawyer; Caroline M., wife of R. T. Cassell; and Sherman Brown.
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