Hiram N. Brown was born June 7, 1812, in New London, Conn., not far from the Waterford town line, a son of David and Lydia (Stebbins) Brown, natives of the same locality. David Brown was a grocery merchant for many years in New London, and a well-known citizen throughout that section of country, being prominent as a Mason. He believed in the precepts of the Golden Rule and endeavored in his daily life to keep them before him as a guide. Late in life, owing to failing health, he sought another climate, removing to Utica, N.Y., where he died and was buried. His wife, who was a member of the M.E. Church in New London, was a good Christian woman and a devoted wife and mother. Her death occurred at the home of a daughter in Woodstock, Conn., where her remains rest. Ten children were born to this couple, as follows:
- Peter, the eldest, who died at Charleston, South Carolina;
- Charles, who died at Utica, New York;
- William, who died on Staten Island;
- Isaac, who died in 1899, a resident of the State of Wisconsin;
- Sarah M.;
- Eliza, who married Jonah Gates and died in Woodstock, Conn.;
- Hiram N.;
- Mary Ann, who died and was buried on Staten Island;
- George, who died in New London; and
- Emma Eunice, who married Benjamin Putnam and died in Woodstock.
In childhood Hiram N. Brown attended a school taught by the then well-known master, Dow, in New London. At an early age he learned the tailor’s trade with Joshua Hamilton, of New London, and in 1834 located at West Woodstock, Conn., where for twenty years he followed his trade. In 1854 he removed to Putnam, where, associated with Andrew Leavens, he opened a store for general merchandise. Two years later Mr. Brown withdrew and established the tailoring and clothing business in which he continued throughout the rest of his active business life, retiring from there in 1888 with a comfortable competence. While retired from business, Mr. Brown is by no means an idle man, for even at ninety he believes in being occupied, and when not busy in his garden he is active in other lines about the premises and in his home. He is a wonderfully well-preserved man for one of his years, is in possession of all of his faculties, almost unimpaired, and one would judge him to be a much younger man.At the age of twenty, and while yet at home, young Brown, along with a number of other boys of like age, formed a temperance society, which was one of the first organizations of its kind in the State. To its principles Mr. Brown had adhered throughout his long life and to the avoidance of stimulants and tobacco, along with food properly cooked, he attributes his longevity and good health. He has been a staunch advocate of temperance all his life and has done not a little toward the uplifting of those addicted to the habit of drink, and to the elevation of the morals of humanity. On removing to West Woodstock he was the means of bringing thither lecturers on temperance, paying them out of his own pocket. This resulted in a great temperance movement in which hundreds of men signed the pledge and led temperate lives. For many years, too, Mr. Brown was a worker in the church and Sunday-school of the several localities in which he lived, being a teacher in the latter. Many years ago he united with the Congregational Church at Putnam.Mr. Brown’s political affiliations have been with both the Democratic and Republican parties, although a Republican continually since the organization of that party in 1856, casting his first Republican vote for John C. Fremont, and his last for the lamented William McKinley. His first vote was cast for Andrew Jackson for President. While a resident of Woodstock, Mr. Brown, in 1853, represented that town in the General Assembly of the State, and he has held every office in the town excepting that of selectmen. In Putnam also, he has been active and prominent in public affairs, and has held all of the local offices in the town. He served seven years as postmaster of Putnam, having been appointed after the election of Abraham Lincoln as President. In fact Mr. Brown has been an all-round good and useful citizen. He has never been a member of any secret organization. He is truly a connecting link between the past and the present, being full of reminiscences, and recalls with vivid recollection early events of the nineteenth century, among them the visit of Gen. LaFayette to New London.On Jan. 14, 1838, Mr. Brown was married at Dighton, Massachusetts, to Harriet Hathaway, born Nov. 13, 1814, at Dighton, a daughter of Ebenezer Hathaway, and to the union came children as follows: Henry Newton, born Jan. 30, 1839, in Woodstock, who married Delia Ann Fisher, and died Feb. 18, 1890, at Woonsocket, R.I., where he had been engaged in a wood and coal business; Charles Hathaway, born Oct. 21, 1842, in Woodstock; Harriet Louise, born Jan. 20, 1848, who died June 29, 1854, in Putnam, and is buried there; Emma Adelphine, born Nov. 19, 1854, who married may 11, 1881, Elmer G. Tucker, of Worcester, Mass. The mother of these children died May 21, 1868, and Mr. Brown was married (second) at Pomfret, Conn., Aug. 11, 1869, to Maria S. Tucker of that town. The second Mrs. Brown was educated in the schools of Pomfret and the New Britain Normal School. For some eight years she taught school in her home town and in Woodstock, and is now one of the valued teachers in the infant class of the Sunday-school of the Putnam Congregational Church.
Source: Commemorative Biographical Record of Tolland and Windham Counties Connecticut; J.H.Beers & Co., Chicago; 1903.