Biography of Henry Newton Brown

Henry Newton Brown, son of Hiram N. Brown, brother of Charles Hathaway Brown, was born Jan. 30, 1839, in Woodstock, Conn., and secured his education in the public schools of Putnam and at Wilbraham Academy. Beginning his business life as a clerk in Putnam, he established himself in the dry-goods business, later confining himself through several years to a shoe business and still later operating a coal and wood business. After his removal to Rhode Island, he engaged extensively in a lumber business and died at Woonsocket, in that State, Feb. 18, 1890; he was interred in the Putnam cemetery. His political identification was with the Republican party. Mr. Brown was one of the leading and most useful members of the Congregational Church. His marriage to Delia Ann Fisher, Oct. 9, 1861, resulted in the birth of two children, namely: Edward, who died in Putnam; and Louise, who married Kendall Castle, of Rochester, New York. Their two children are: Newton Brown and Kendall Brooks. Henry N. Brown was a member of the Masonic fraternity in Putnam. His standing as a man and citizen may be judged by an article which appeared in the columns of the Patriot, at Putnam, at the time of his decease. So well does it express the general feelings of friends, acquaintances and fellow-citizens, that the biographer gives the entire article from the pen of Rev. C. S. Brooks, one who knew him well. Mr. Brooks says:

“I very much regretted that it was impracticable for me to comply with the request to officiate at the funeral of Mr. H. Newton Brown. Since I was prevented from performing that office, allow me through the Patriot, to lay upon his casket my very affectionate and sad tribute of appreciation and respect. I found him when I came to Putnam, one of the positive, enterprising and aggressive men who had given the brave, growing town a type of its own, and a type both heroic and worthy it was. Mr. Brown was one of the prominent representatives of both the daring and the honor which composed the type. His aspiration, alertness, vivacity and enthusiasm set him well toward the front of the pushing and courageous body of men that were fashioning this rising township. I question whether there was a single movement that looked toward the solid progress of the place which did not have his sympathy and alliance. And it is very much to take a community when everything is in the crude state, and have faith in the future of it, and then to proceed and plan and fashion that future. You say, now, that he is dead. But as you look about you, he lives and speaks in the fine facilities and appointments which on so many sides make up this body public.

“As a husband, father, son and brother, only they can tell adequately what he was whose desolation in this bereavement is unspeakable. He was a man, not merely with a fertile mind and active hand, but he was emphatically a man with a heart. A heart with the strength of a man and the tenderness and warmth of a woman, a heart such as God makes when he creates a whole man. We rejoice to sit in the light and heat of its gladness and glow, and wherever it goes, it carries summertime. May that circle of kindred who in expressible anguish will miss his genial presence and cheer, be compensated and upborne by the Almighty Father and Elder Brother. ‘My grace shall be sufficient for thee, My strength shall be made perfect in weakness.”

One less at home — The charmed circle broken; a dear face Missed day by day from its accustomed place; But cleansed and saved and perfected by grace, One more in Heaven.

One less at home — A sense of loss that meets us at the gate; Within, a place unfilled and desolate; And far away our coming to await, One more in Heaven.

“As we pause reverently by his bier, we should take note, and take to heart, that he was pre-eminently a Christian man. Boldly and unswervingly he stood shoulder to shoulder with other citizens on the temperance issue in town when it was anything but a holiday matter to do it. Squarely and manfully he met the question. Religion was a part of his life. It was no cant with him, no conventional thing, nothing that he put on upon occasion; but he wore it as he wore his face. I have known scarcely any man who could speak on personal religion with an un-Christian man more naturally, normally than he. Many is the man, I doubt not, who can recall the frank, manly words he has spoken to them about being a Christian. He had that tact and open heart that made him an apt servant of his Lord. He has won, I trust, in his wayside work gems for his crown which will make it resplendent in the day of Jesus Christ. He has been called in at noon, to lay down pen and sickle and assume, we trust, some of the high tasks of Heaven. As we gaze up after him through the parted heavens, in affectionate remembrance, may the gracious lessons of his life inspire us to prompt, devout and abundant labor for the same Lord.”

Source: Commemorative Biographical Record of Tolland and Windham Counties Connecticut; J.H.Beers & Co., Chicago; 1903.

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