PA Civil War > Biography > Brown

Peter Brown

PETER BROWN - For more than thirty years Peter Brown has been engaged in agricultural pursuits in Sullivan county, and is numbered among the leading and influential farmers of that locality. He is also one of the veterans of the Civil war, and through days of peace as well as days of strife is a loyal, patriotic citizen, giving his support to all measures and movements which he believes will prove of public benefit.

A native of Fox township, Sullivan county, Mr. Brown was born on the 14th of April, 1841, and is a representative of one of the pioneer families of the community. The Browns are of English descent, and the first American ancestors arrived in this country at an early period in American history. The grandfather of our subject was Aaron Brown, who, in order to make his home in a settlement that was unmolested by Indians, came to Sullivan county, where both he and his wife spent their remaining days .Their graves were made in the Brown cemetery, in Fox township where Mrs. Luce, the mother of Mrs. Aaron Brown, was also buried. The father of our subject, Archelaus Luce Brown, was born near New Albany, Bradford county, Pennsylvania, and on arriving at years of maturity married Miss Sarah Harris, daughter of Peter and Hannah (Battin) Harris, of Lycoming county. He became one of the pioneers of Fox township, Sullivan county, where he secured his land by patent from the government .He then developed the wild tract into a richly cultivated farm and carried on agricultural pursuits until his death, which occurred in 1889. His wife passed away in 1893. In his political views he was a Democrat, but he was never an aspirant for office. He was the father of seventeen children, fourteen of whom are yet living, namely: Peter, Hannah, William, George, Sylvester, Maria, Reuben, Rosetta, Chandler, Rosilla, Almeda, Salome, Murray and Judson. Annetta died at the age of four years, and two died in infancy.

On his father's farm in Fox township, Peter Brown spent his childhood days and aided in the labors of field and meadow. At the age of twenty-one, on the 24th of October, 1862, he was drafted to serve in the civil war as a member of Company C, One Hundred and Seventy-first Regiment of Pennsylvania Drafted Militia, 171st PA regiment, under Capt. Clinton E. Woods, and was stationed at Newbern, North Carolina, his command being attached to the Eighteenth Army Corps under General Foster. Later they were sent on transports up the Pamlico river and by sound to Washington, North Carolina, the journey occupying seven days. At Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Mr. Brown received an honorable discharge, and on the 8th of August, 1863, returned to his home. Months passed and the war still continued. There was an urgent call for troops from time to time, and on the 15th of March, 1865, Mr. Brown enlisted, joining Company H, Fifteenth New York Regiment of Volunteer Engineers, under Captain Andrew Nauger, in which command he served until the close of hostilities, when he was honorably discharge by special order of the government. During his second term of service he was stationed at City Point, Virginia, for a time, and afterward took part in the campaign against General Lee in Virginia --- a campaign which resulted in the surrender of Lee and the downfall of the Southern Confederacy. Mr. Brown then went to Berksville, thence to Clover Station and on to Washington by way of Richmond. He participated in the grand review at Washington, the most brilliant military pageant ever seen on the western hem isphere, and then making his way to the north received his discharge papers in Elmira, New York.

The country no longer needing his services on the battle field, Mr. Brown returned to his home in Sullivan county once more to take up the pursuits of civil life. He was a brave and loyal soldier, always found at his post of duty, and well deserves the gratitude and praise of the nation which he helped to preserve intact.

On the 28th of May, 1863, F. B. Spinola, brigadier general, commanding the Keystone Brigade to which Mr. Brown belonged, addressed the brigade as follows:

"I avail myself of this opportunity of saying to the officers and men of the Keystone Brigade that the time has arrived for me to take my leave of you, and, as your term of service will soon expire, many of you, I presume, will abandon the scenes and excitement of the battlefield again to resume your usual pursuits of industry. In parting allow me to assure you that I entertain an exalted opinion of you both as officers and soldiers; and, in my official character, I thank you for the prompt and cheerful manner in which you have ever performed your arduous and dangerous duties, and I shall always look back upon my association with you as among the pleasantest hours of my life. You were put under my command at the time when you were fresh from your native state, and, with a few exceptions, entirely unacquainted with the toils and dangers of war; you were placed in no 'school of instruction,' but marched directly to the front, where you have remained performing your duty in a manner reflecting great credit on yourself and great honor on your state.

"Your march from Suffolk, Virginia, to Newbern, North Carolina, has no equal since the war began, except in General Banks' retreat from Winchester, and that differed from yours in this important particular --- yours was toward the enemy and his was from them. Your conduct at Mill creek and White Oak river was equal to that of veteran troops; your march to Pollocksville, for the purpose of encompassing the enemy at the second battle of Newbern, developed your powers of endurance and at once gave you a prominent place among the best troops in the service. While aboard of the transports in front of the rebel batteries on the Pamlico river you were both willing and anxious to incur any risk or to encounter any danger necessary to relieve the beleaguered city of Washington, North Carolina, and no troops in the army could have manifested greater willingness to make any necessary sacrifice to reinforce the garrison and to relieve it from the perils which surrounded it; but authority higher either than you or me checked your patriotic desires. Your conduct at Blount’s creek fully developed your impetuous desires to encounter the enemy, and no soldier ever retired from the battlefield with greater reluctance after it had been demonstrated that the column could not advance, owing to the destruction of the bridges which crossed the stream. Your reconnaissance to New Hope school-house was all that could have been asked of any troops; it was a success in every particular. Your march to, and occupancy of, Swift Creek village, with its accompanying sharp skirmishing as you approached the place and drove the rebels from it in precipitate flight at the dead hour of night, were worthy of the 'Old Guard' of Napoleon.

"Your conduct throughout has been of a character that has placed the brigade in an enviable position; intemperance and immoral practices, as well as vice in its various forms, have been strangers to the officers and soldiers of the Keystone brigade. Instead of participating and indulging in the practices which are so prevalent and demoralizing among soldiers, you have invariably been found on the Sabbath day joining with each other in prayer and uniting your voices in singing praises to the Great Ruler of all.

"No cause can fail, my countrymen, when supported by such men as constitute the Keystone Brigade! You have done your whole duty to your country, to your state, and to your families in a manner that no man among you need be ashamed to acknowledge that he is one of the Keystone Brigade, while the authorities of your state can, with pride, point to you as an emulation for others who are to follow you to the field!

"We are all called upon to make some sacrifices in times like the present, but the American, who would not obey the call of his country in her hour of peril, is unworthy of enjoying the benefits and blessings of a free government, which cost many lives and much treasure to establish. No army ever suffered like that of Washington! No men ever bore their sufferings with less murmuring than the brave patriots who pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor that you and I might enjoy civil and religious liberty! You need go no farther than your own home to find the spot that gave shelter to the Father of His Country, together with the eleven thousand famishing patriots who wintered at Valley Forge, to which place they were traced by the blood which oozed from their unshod feet!

"At the expiration of your term of service it is fair to presume that many of you, from age and other causes, will not again enter it; but in the name of liberty and a bleeding country, I not only appeal to the young men of the brigade to enlist again, but I implore you, in the name of the men who suffered every conceivable hardship and privation in order to show to the despots of the world that man is capable of self-government, that you will prove yourselves the proud representatives of the patriots of '76, and never quit the field until this diabolical attempt to destroy the government which Washington and his associates gave us has been plowed out by the roots."

It was in 1867 that Peter Brown located upon the farm in Fox township, which he now owns and occupies, and since that time he has carried on agricultural pursuits, meeting with good success in his undertakings. His early boyhood training well fitted him for the work. He has upon his place a large and substantial residence, good barns and other necessary outbuildings, and an orchard which yields choice fruits in season. He manifests both industry and progressiveness in the management of his property, and is therefore deriving therefrom a good income.

On the 12th of March, 1865, Mr. Brown was united in marriage to Miss Susan Mills, who was born in Towanda, Bradford county, Pennsylvania, and prior to her marriage was a successful teacher. She is a daughter of Joseph and Mary (Savacool) Mills. Her father was born in Sussex county, New Jersey and was descended from New England ancestry. He first married Sophia Savacool, and they had three children - Mary A., Dorinda and Martha. By his second marriage, to Mary Savacool, there were eight children, of whom four are living: Ambrose Abbott, Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Amanda Griswold and Mrs. Cythera Black. Four of the children died in infancy. The father of these children, a farmer and carpenter by occupation, died in Leroy, Bradford county, Pennsylvania, at the age of fifty-two years. His wife died in Madison county, New York, near Oneida, in 1898, at the age of seventy-eight years. They were faithful members of the Methodist church. Mrs. Brown is an accomplished and cultured lady and has been to her husband a faithful helpmeet. To them have been born three children, but Scott, the only son, died in childhood .The daughters are Frances Martha and Edyth Evelyn; the former is the wife of R. T. Beers, and the latter the wife of W. H. Salisbury, of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, by whom she has one child, Monna Larue. During his early business career he was for twelve or fifteen years employed as traveling salesman by the White Sewing Machine Company, and was quite successful in that line of business.

Mr. Brown usually gives his political support to the Republican party, but does not consider himself bound by party ties .He has filled nearly all of the township offices, and is ever faithful and conscientious in the discharge of his duties. He gave to his daughters good educational privileges - Frances Martha having finished an excellent education at the Dover Institution, Dover, New Jersey, and Edith Evelyn having graduated at the State Normal school, at Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, in the class of 1893. Both were numbered among the most successful teachers of Sullivan and adjoining counties. To all movements and interests calculated to prove of public benefit Mr. Brown lends his aid and influence, and is widely recognized as a valued citizen and a man of sterling worth, straightforward in business and reliable at all times.

Source: History of Sullivan County, Pennsylvania; Ingham, Thomas; Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1899.