Joseph Emerson Brown Family papers

Joseph Emerson Brown Family papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Title: Joseph Emerson Brown Family papers
Dates: Bulk, 1850-1900
Dates: 1829-1980
Quantity: 5.9 Linear feet (10 document boxes, 1 half box, 1 flat box, 1 ledger)
Coll. Number: ms3630

Biographical/Historical Note

Joseph Emerson Brown (1821-1894) was the 42nd Governor of Georgia, leading the state before and during the Civil War from 1857 to 1865. Brown was born in South Carolina and raised in the North Georgia mountains, but left the farm at age nineteen to seek an education at an academy near Anderson, South Carolina. In 1844 Brown returned to Georgia to become headmaster of an academy in Canton, spending the following year at Yale University studying law. He was successful as a lawyer and businessman and in 1849 was elected State Senator for Georgia. A leader in the Democratic party, Brown was elected state circuit court judge in 1855 and governor in 1857. As governor, he diverted state railroad profits to Georgia's public schools. He became a strong supporter of secession from the United States after Lincoln's election and South Carolina's secession in 1860.

Always suspicious of centralized federal government, be it in Washington D.C. or Richmond, Virginia, Brown clashed mightily with Jefferson Davis regarding expansion of the Confederate central government's powers and opposed military conscription by the Confederacy. Upon the loss of Atlanta, Brown withdrew the state's militia from the Confederate forces, and called for an end to the war after Sherman's march through Georgia destroyed much of the state.

At the conclusion of the war Brown was briefly held as a political prisoner, but then served as chief justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia from 1865 to 1870. He resigned to run the Western and Atlantic Railroad. During this time he supported the idea of Reconstruction, even becoming a Republican "scalawag." Brown soon returned to the Democratic party, however, and as elected to the U.S. Senate in 1880. He served until 1891, when poor health forced him to retire. He died in Atlanta in 1894.

Joseph Emerson Brown's son, Joseph Mackey Brown, would go on to become a two-term governor of Georgia. Build in 1932, Joseph E. Brown Hall on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens is named in his honor.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of materials documenting the family relations of noted Civil War Georgia Governor Joseph Emerson Brown. Series 1. Genealogy includes genealogy materials that cover the 18th and 19th centuries, and regard the Brown family directly as well as dozens of related families. Series 2. Correspondence consists of over a century of letters between family members of different generations, which discuss typical family business for the time, though the correspondents are not always well identified. Included with the correspondence in Box 7 are typed transcripts of Joseph E. Brown's 1865 letter to Andrew Johnson requesting release from prison, as well as his sworn agreement not to bear arms against the United States government. Series 3. Writings contains mainly women's diaries, the bulk being the European travel journals of Sally Eugenia Brown (Joseph E. Brown's daughter) from 1895-1896. Series 4. Financial papers contains a varied but small amount of family financial material such as account books and land documents, as well as stock certificates for a company named posthumously for Joseph E. Brown. Finally, Series 5. Printed material and photographs contains miscellaneous printed matter, including clippings and a speech to the Georgia Assembly that son Joseph M. Brown gave as governor in 1912, and photographs of a few later relatives of the family.


Arranged into five series: Series 1. Genealogy; Series 2. Correspondence; Series 3. Writings; Series 4. Financial papers; Series 5. Printed material and photographs.

Index Terms

Brown family
Brown, Joseph E., (Joseph Emerson), 1821-1894
Europe--Description and travel.
Family papers.
Georgia. Governor (1857-1865 : Brown).

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation note

Joseph Emerson Brown Family papers, MS 3630. Hargrett Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, University of Georgia Libraries.

Related Material

See also the John C. Reese Collection of Joseph M. Brown materials in the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies at the University of Georgia Libraries.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing


Series 1: Genealogy

11Joseph Brown (1731-1815) and Mary Porter
2Joseph Brown (1760-1800) and Jemima Broyles
3James Brown (1763-1829) and Nancy Burdine
4-6Violet Brown (1768-1858) and William Reed/Reid
7Elizabeth Brown (1770-1843) and James Reese
8Mary Brown (1774-1822) and James Duff
9George Brown (b. 1779) and Mary Bell
10James Brown (1733-1788) and Jane Gillespie
11Mackey Brown (1797-1874) and Sally Rice
121Mackey Brown (1797-1874) and Sally Rice
112Joseph Emerson Brown (1821-1894) and Elizabeth Grisham
122Joseph Emerson Brown (1821-1894)
3Mary Virginia Brown (1850-1927) and E.L. Connelly
113Cora McCord Brown (b. 1895) and Daniel McLeod
21Acker family
2Baxter family
3Bennett family
4Blackburn family
5Boston family
6Broil/Broyles family
7-8Jacob A. Broil family
9-10Broil/Horton families
11Clement family
12Copeland/Sturges families
13Garr family
15-17Gresham/Grisham family
31-3Halbert family
4Hammond family
5Hentz family
6-8Hill family
9Green Hill family
10Hill/Yarborough families
11Hollingsworth family
12Houston family
13Hoyt/Haight/Hight families
41-2Looney family
3Love family
4McBride/Flournoy families
5Nelson family
6Patterson family
7Porter family
8Reese family
9Rice family
10Steele family
11Telford family
12Turner family
13Venable family
14Willis family
15Woolverton family
16Genealogy notebook A-W
17Various families
51Scrapbook – Sally Eugenia Brown - letters and notes regarding genealogy, 1902-1909

Series 2: Correspondence

61Letterbook – Joseph Emerson Brown, 1859-1861
51865-1870 ( (Transcripts Only) )
71891 January
81891 February
91891 March-April
101891 May-August
141924-1931, 1944
15Charles Brockman, 1949, 1973, 1980
16Undated and empty envelopes

Series 3: Writings

81Diary – Elizabeth Grisham Brown, 1853-1857
2English composition – Mary Brown, 1912
3-4Chemistry notebook – Mary Brown, 1914-1915
5Various writers
6Scrapbook – Sally Eugenia Brown – notes and pictures
91Travel journal – Sally Eugenia Brown – Europe, 1895 June 6-August 28
2Travel journal – Sally Eugenia Brown – Europe, 1895 August 27-October 10
3Travel journal – Sally Eugenia Brown – Europe, 1895 October 10-November16
101Travel journal – Sally Eugenia Brown – Europe, 1896 February 11-March 16
2Travel journal – Sally Eugenia Brown – Europe, 1896 May 4-July 26
3Travel journal – Sally Eugenia Brown – Europe, 1896 July 27-August 18
4Travel journal – Sally Eugenia Brown – Europe, 1896 August 20-September12
111Scrapbook – Martha Fort Brown – hotel labels from travel in Europe and Georgia, 1893-1905

Series 4: Financial papers

112Financial papers, 1829-1931
3Financial papers – account book, 1856-1865
4Financial papers – land documents, 1906-1927
1The Joseph E. Brown Company stock certificates, 1913 ( (298 certificates printed with images of Joseph E. and Elizabeth Brown , 54 of which are signed by purchasers) )

Series 5: Printed material and photographs

115Printed material
6Printed material – “Message of Governor Joseph M. Brown to the General Assembly of Georgia”, 1912
7Printed material – clippings, 1887-1923
8Photographs – Joseph Brown Connally & unidentified