Robert Morrow Brown

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie Crook
September 19, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 253
Hancock County

HON. ROBERT MORROW BROWN. For several decades Hon.
Robert Morrow Brown has been a progressive, and for
much of that period a prominent, factor in the business,
journalistic, political and public activities of New Cumber-
land. His standing as a citizen is firm and broad and as
a leader of the republican party his reputation has extended
into state-wide influence. Mr. Brown was born at New
Cumberland, Hancock County, West Virginia, November 21,
1877, and is a son of Adrian Wilmer and Mary Virginia
(Morrow) Brown.

Adrian Wilmer Brown was born at Wellsburg, Brooke
County, Ohio. in 1854, his parents being John Danforth and
Lucie (Hewlett) Brown. John D. Brown, who was born
in what is now West Virginia, was a merchant for some
years at Wellsburg, where he died aged thirty-nine years,
while his wife. who survived him to the age of sixty-three
years; was born at Richmond, Virginia. Adrian W. Brown
passed his boyhood at Wellsburg, where he received a pub-
lic school education and as a young man secured a posi-
tion with the Wellsburg Herald. In 1877 he came to New
Cumberland, where he founded the New Cumberland Inde-
pendent, the first issue of which appeared January 10th
of that year, from the same building in which it is now
published. This republican weekly, published on an old-
fashioned Washington hand press, at once gained a good
circulation, due to its general worth and excellence and
to its championing of all worthy movements in the way
of modern progress and advancement. Mr. Brown remained
as editor of this newspaper until 1903, when he retired from
active affairs and turned its management over to his son.
He died three years later, greatly mourned by those who
had come to know his numerous fine qualities of mind and
heart. Mr. Brown was circuit clerk for Hancock County
from 1890 to 1896. He was a member of the Episcopal
Church at Wellsburg, and services were held in his own
home at New Cumberland once a month. At Pughtown Mr.
Brown was united in marriage with Miss Mary Virginia
Morrow, daughter of Alexander and Sarah (Wilson) Mor-
row, of Pughtown, Mr. Morrow having been proprietor of
the old Virginia House at that place when it was the county
seat. He was also a justice of the peace for many years.
Mrs. Brown died in 1890, leaving two children: Robert
Morrow; and Lucie, now the wife of N. W. Ballantyne, a
sketch of whose career appears elsewhere in this work.
Later Mr. Brown married Ola M. Moore, who survives him,
but they had no children.

Bobert Morrow Brown attended the public schools of New
Cumberland, and after hs graduation from the high school
enrolled as a student at the West Virginia University, where
he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1902 and his
Bachelor of Laws degree one year later. Previous to this
he had seen service on a daily paper at East Liverpool, and
had also been on a paper at Morgantown, so that he was
not without experience when he took charge of the Inde-
pendent at the time of his father’s retirement in 1903. The
old hand press of former days has gone with other things
of its kind, and the office is now electrically equipped
throughout, with modern linotype machines and a Babcock
press, which has a capacity of from 1,500 to 2,000 per hour.
The paper circulates freely, not only in the immediate vicin-
ity of New Cumberland, but into sections of Pennsylvania
and Ohio. It is in high favor with its readers because of
its practical, well-written and timely editorials, its authentic
news features and its various interesting departments, and
because it has ever maintained the policy of its founder
in supporting all movements promising for advancement and
progress along all material and moral lines.

In addition to his newspaper activities Mr. Brown has
been engaged in the practice of law, having a large and
lucrative practice in all the courts. In 1905 he was elected
on the republican ticket as prosecuting attorney, an office
in which he served with an excellent record until 1909.
In 1912 President Taft appointed him postmaster of New
Cumberland, and this office he also held for four years.
During the World war period he was exceptionally active,
serving on the county committee in the Liberty Loan drives
and the Red Cross, and it is to be noted as a significant
fact that Hancock always stood high among the counties
when the final returns were in. In November, 1920, Mr.
Brown was elected to the State Legislature for Hancock
County, and during his term was a member of the follow-
ing committees: Judiciary, Rules, Printing, Forestry and
Conservation, Mines and Mining Labor, Medicine and Sani-
tation and Redistricting. His record was a worthy one, of
much value to his constituency and his state. For the past
eight years Mr. Brown has been chairman of the Hancock
County Republican Committee. He was in attendance at
the national convention that nominated Warren G. Harding
for the presidency. As a fraternalist Mr. Brown holds mem-
bership in the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks,
the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of
Pythias, and he is also a member of the Kiwanis Club, and
Phi Kappa Psi College fraternity. He and his family are
entitled to membership in the Sons of the American Revolu-
tion and the Daughters of the American Revolution through
the service of one of his direct ancestors, Capt. Oliver
Brown, buried at Wellsburg, who participated in the win-
ning of American independence.

Mr. Brown married Miss Leora Scott, of Somerset, Penn-
sylvania, and to their union there has been born one son,
John Scott.