For other people with the same name, see John Brown.
John Brown (September 12, 1757 - August 29, 1837) was an American lawyer and statesman who was very involved with creating the State of Kentucky. Before Kentucky's statehood, he represented Virginia in the Continental Congress (1777–1778) and the United States House of Representatives (1789–1791). While in Congress he introduced the bill granting statehood to Kentucky. Once that was accomplished, he was appointed a U.S. Senator by the Kentucky state legislature.
Brown was born in Staunton, Virginia to Rev. John and Margaret Brown. His father was a Presbyterian minister who had immigrated from Ireland. He had a good formal education, but in small pieces as it was interrupted by periods of military service in the Revolutionary War. He first attended the Augusta Academy (now Washington and Lee University) in nearby Lexington, then began a course of study at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). He left there in 1778 when the college closed due to the war. In the spring of 1780 he started at William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, but left there in the fall when the British invaded Virginia.
After another brief period of military service, Brown completed his education by reading law in an office maintained by Thomas Jefferson in Charlottesville. Once admitted to the bar he moved to Danville in Virginia's Kentucky County and began his practice.
Brown became politically active, and was elected to the Virginia state Senate, where he served from 1783 to 1788. The Virginia legislature sent him as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1787 and 1788. When the United States Constitution became effective, he was twice elected to the House of Representatives, serving from 1789 to 1792.
As a Virginia Congressman he introduced the petition for Kentucky's statehood. When Kentucky became a state in 1792, he resigned from the House on June 1, 1792. On June 18, Kentucky appointed him to the United States Senate for a term ending in 1793. He was re-appointed twice and served until 1805. He was President pro tem during the Eighth Congress.
During Brown's Senate service he moved to Frankfort, Kentucky. Afterwards, he resumed the practice of law there. He remained active in local civic affairs, and also served briefly as sheriff of Franklin County. He served on the board to oversee the construction of Kentucky's Capitol Building. In 1836 he chaired the organizing meeting of the Kentucky Historical Society.
Brown died on August 29, 1837 in Lexington, Kentucky and was brought home to Frankfort for burial. In 1847 he was re-interred in the Frankfort Cemetery. The home he occupied in his later years is preserved as Liberty Hall historic site on Wilkinson street in Frankfort, and is operated as a museum, open to the public.
- Brown's Congressional biography (http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=B000929)
- Liberty Hall web site (http://www.libertyhall.org/index.htm)