|Title:||Joseph Emerson Brown Family papers|
|Quantity:||5.4 Linear feet (9 document boxes, 1 half box, 1 flat box, 1 ledger)|
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.
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.
Joseph Emerson Brown Family papers, MS 3630. Hargrett Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, University of Georgia Libraries.
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.