Brown, George T.

Born: 1820-01-26 Scotland, United Kingdom

Died: 1880-06-10 Alton, Illinois

George T. Brown emigrated with his father’s family to Canada in the early 1830s. As a youth, he learned the printing trade, after which he studied law. He moved to Alton, Illinois in 1834, where he continued the study of law with Lyman Trumbull, eventually establishing his own law practice. In 1846, Brown won election as mayor of Alton, and one year later, served in the Illinois Constitutional Convention. In 1850, Brown was practicing law in Alton and owned $25,000 in real estate. In 1852, he lost the nomination for lieutenant governor to Gustavus P. Koerner in the Democratic state convention. That same year, he established and began publishing the Alton Daily Morning Courier, a venture he continued until selling the paper in 1860. After the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, Brown became a Free-Soiler and later a Republican. In 1855, he served as secretary in the Illinois State Senate. In 1860, Brown listed his occupation as editor, and he owned $3,000 in real and personal property. During the Civil War, Brown was a prominent official in Washington, DC, where he yielded great power and influence and was the depositary of state secrets. Brown also had charge of the funeral train which transported Abraham Lincoln’s remains from Washington to Springfield, Illinois in April 1865.

W. T. Norton, ed., Centennial History of Madison County, Illinois and Its People 1812 to 1912 (Chicago: Lewis, 1912), 1:113-14; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Alton, Madison County, IL, 352; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Ward 3, Alton, Madison County, IL, 115; Franklin William Scott, Newspapers and Periodicals of Illinois, 1814-1879, vol. 6 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1910), 7; Alton Daily Telegraph (IL), 10 June 1880, 3:3.