Joseph Brown

 

Joseph Brown

Term: 1871 - 1875
Party: War Democrat
Born: 1823
Jedburg, Scotland
Died: December 3, 1899
St. Louis, Missouri
 
Joseph Brown (Mayor 1871-1875)-Background
Mayor (1871-1875). Joseph Brown was born in Jedburg, Scotland, in 1823. He came to St. Louis with his parents at the age of eight. The family later moved to Alton, Illinois. He had a good academic education and a college course partially completed when he left school at the age of 18 to go to work in the milling business. In 1854 he married Miss Virginia Keach. They had two daughters.

Mr. Brown was the second St. Louis Mayor who had previously experienced responsibilities as the head of a City government. He, like Mayor Krum, had served as Mayor of Alton, Illinois before becoming Mayor of St. Louis. While Mayor there he led a successful campaign to bring the Chicago and Alton Railroad to that city.

Mr. Brown was identified with the early river traffic of this period. He had a number of large fast steamers, most of which were built under his own direction.

Joseph Brown retired from the river business at the start of the Civil War and came to St. Louis. Here he engaged in real estate operations for many years. He was a strong unionist during the Civil War and assisted in the construction of ironclad ships and gunboats for the United States Navy. In 1868 he was elected to the Missouri State Senate as a War Democrat from St. Louis. In 1871 he was made president of the Missouri Pacific Railroad.

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Joseph Brown (Mayor 1871-1875)-Administration
In 1871 Joseph Brown became the twenty-fifth Mayor of St. Louis.

During Joseph Brown's administration a group of citizens backed proposals for new City Parks. In 1874 the Missouri Legislature passed three laws creating Forest Park, O'Fallon, and Carondlet Park. In 1872 the City erected a temporary City Hall on the site of the present Civil Courts Building. Completion of Eads Bridge was celebrated on July 4, 1874. The Taxpayers' League was organized in 1872. Its purpose was 'to aid in securing honesty, economy and efficiency in the administration of municipal affairs and public business'. The League carried on a campaign which led to the separation of the City and County. During the depression of 1873 the City issued $300,00 worth of tax certificates, popularly known as 'Brown Backs', and they were passed as currency throughout the country. To back them, Mayor Brown pledged his own credit as well as that of the City. It was during this panic that he ran a soup house that fed as many as 1200 people at day, at no City expense.

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Joseph Brown (Mayor 1871-1875)-Post-Administration
Joseph Brown died in St. Louis on December 3, 1899. Burial was at Grandview Cemetery in Alton, Illinois.

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