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David Henry Brown.

David Henry Brown was born in Raymond, New Hampshire, August 17, 1836, and died at his home in West Medford, on February 21, 1908. He was the second son of Joseph and Elvira (Howard) Brown, and was descended from many of the founders of New England, among whom were, on the paternal side, Rev. Stephen Bachiler, Thomas Webster, Hon. Samuel Dalton and other founders of Hampton, New Hampshire, and Hon. John Gilman, of Exeter, New Hampshire, and, on the maternal side, Gov. Thomas Hinckley, of the Plymouth Colony, Rev. John Mayo, first pastor of the Second Church of Boston, and Rev. William Walton, one of the founders of Marblehead.

Born on a New Hampshire farm in the first half of the last century, he knew from experience what a life of plain living and high thinking was. His mother was ambitious that her boys should have a good education, and although she died when her son David was fourteen, her wish had been impressed on her children, three of whom went to college.

After leaving the district school in Raymond, Mr. Brown attended Hampton, New Hampshire, Academy in the fall of 1853, and then went to Phillips Andover Academy to fit for college. He entered Dartmouth in the fall of 1857, graduating in 1861, in the same class with President Tucker. It is worthy of note and showed his characteristic persistence, that he persuaded one of his boyhood friends who had left college on account of ill health to return and finish his course. Mr. Brown [p. 68] taught school in the long winter vacations to earn money for his expenses, and after graduating from college he taught two and a half years as principal of high schools, first at South Abington, now Whitman, and then at Stoneham, Mass. He was a clerk in the quartermaster's department at Nashville, Tennessee, in 1864 and 1865. On returning to Boston, he entered the educational department of Taggard & Thompson, publishers and stationers. On the retirement of Mr. Taggard, in 1869, he became a member of the firm, and continued the business, the firm name soon becoming Thompson, Brown & Co. Among the most noted books which bore their imprint, were ‘Cushing's Manual of Parliamentary Practice,’ ‘Eaton & Bradbury's Mathematical Series,’ and ‘Meservey's Book-keeping.’

At his death, he was one of the oldest publishers in the country, and his firm, through all the vicissitudes of business and of keen competition, bore a reputation for honorable dealings.

In 1869 Mr. Brown married Abby Dudley Tucker, daughter of General Henry and Nancy (Dudley) Tucker, of Raymond, New Hampshire, a lineal descendant of Gov. Thomas Dudley, of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He is survived by his wife and three sons, Henry Tucker Brown, of New York City, Howard Dudley Brown, of Arlington, Massachusetts, and Edward Bangs Brown, of Cleveland, Ohio, and two grandchildren, Elizabeth, daughter of his son Howard, and Barbara, daughter of his son Edward.

In 1871 Mr. Brown came to Medford to live in the house on Allston street, which was ever after his home. West Medford was then a little village, with no church and only some twenty-five houses on the west of the railroad. Many changes took place in the thirty-seven years of his residence here, and he took a prominent and active part in all that promoted the welfare of the community. He never held public office, nor was a candidate for office, but he was a public spirited citizen, [p. 69] anxious to see progress in all local affairs, and not afraid to give his opinion, even when it opposed the wishes of others.

In 1872 a movement was started to organize a Congregational Church in West Medford, and in this Mr. Brown took a foremost part, being a charter member, serving as the first clerk of the church, the first treasurer of the society, as a member of the subscription committee for the first church building, and as superintendent of the Sunday-school in 1875 and 1876. In 1897, at the celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the church, Mr. Brown gave the historical address. When the present edifice at the corner of High and Allston streets was built, Mr. Brown was chairman of the committee on plans, and took part in the ceremonies at the laying of the corner stone. He was one of the trustees of the Barnes fund from the time it came into the possession of the parish until his death.

He was one of the organizers and the first president of the West Medford Village Improvement Society, through whose efforts many improvements in that part of the town were secured. He took the leading part in the organization of the West Medford Reading Club, which celebrated its thirtieth anniversary last December, on which occasion Mr. Brown read an historical sketch of the club. He was the secretary and treasurer at the time of his death, having filled the office for four years.

He was a life member of the New England Historic-Genealogical Society, a member of the committee on papers and addresses from 1900 to 1907, and he wrote the notices for the Historical and Genealogical Register of at least fifteen of its members. In genealogical matters he had more than a local reputation, being considered an authority on genealogical research. His account of the first three generations of Simon and Joan Stone, from whom he was descended, has been commended as a model genealogical sketch.

For the Old Home Week celebration of his native [p. 70] town, Raymond, New Hampshire, in 1901, Mr. Brown wrote some delightful reminiscences, giving a vivid picture of New England country life sixty years ago.

From the organization of the Medford Historical Society, in which he took an active part, to the day of his death, his work for it and his interest in it never ceased. He was always willing to do whatever needed to be done. He was the first chairman of the committee on papers and addresses, serving for ten years. During this time, he planned work covering the local field, and secured also many speakers from other places. He was president for four years, from 1903 to 1907. As a member of the publication committee he was deeply interested in the success and continuance of the Medford Historical Register, getting many new subscribers for it. On more than one occasion, when the society was in debt for the Register, he procured funds so that its publication could be continued. He was the editor at the time of his death.

The celebration of the two hundred and seventy-fifth anniversary of the settlement of the town of Medford was due to his initiative and untiring effort. At the time of the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary Mr. Brown had been very urgent that it should be observed, but nothing was done. When, twenty-five years later, a fitting time for a celebration came again, he spared no effort to make it a success. At the literary exercises Judge Wait paid him a well-deserved tribute, saying, ‘He was a man not himself a native of Medford, but for more than thirty years her good citizen . . . the man whose courage in the face of difficulties, whose enthusiasm in the midst of indifference, whose persistence in spite of discouragements, and, above all, whose faith in spite of disappointments have made this celebration possible and inevitable.’

Simple and unostentatious in his life, he did not forget that ‘poverty and riches are of the spirit,’ and he surely had the riches of the spirit. He was kindly in his judgments of others, never suspicious of men's motives, and persistent in whatever he undertook. He has left on [p. 71] record his conception of what a man should be, an ideal to which he himself was true. ‘It must be recognized that the power and influence of the church depends on the power and influence and personal character of its individual members. If we love God we shall love our neighbor and try to be good citizens. It seems to me we should be ready to do the things that ought to be done, laying out work for ourselves as well as for others.’

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