Robert Brown. Shelby county was very young, in fact had scarcely been organized when the
first Brown entered her borders. Robert Brown, a native of North [?-RW] Carolina, was taken to Ohio by his parents
in the early decades of the last century. After he grew up, he met Catherine Cotton, also
of North Carolina, a girl about his own age and of just the type to make a good wife for a pioneer. They were married
in Ohio in the twenties; came to Shelby County where they figured among the very first settlers of the northwestern
tier of Townships. Robert Brown helped to lay off and build the original Shelbyville, when it's site presented
the appearance of an irredeemable swamp. He took part in blazing the trail between Shelbyville and Rushville, through
what would look to a "tenderfoot" as an impenetrable forest. As prime mover in driving stock and hauling
produce to Lawrenceburg, he became a figure of importance for those days of long distances and poor transportation.
The heavy hauling was done with ox teams and it took a week or more to make the trip to Cinncinati, which is now
covered in an hour or two. Shortly after Robert Brown had made his appearance, his parents followed him into Shelby
County, and there was quite a colony of new arrivals along the Little Blue River's banks, in Union Township. It
included the Browns, old and young, the Cottons, and the Wickers. These three families were the first who
located in that part of the county. It kept them all busy as bees to do the hard and exhaustive work that lasted
for many years, and was a condition precedent to the later development which has given Shelby county such high
rank in the agricultural world. By commanding a company of Home Guards, Robert Brown acquired the title of Captain,
and rose to a position of considerable prominence in the community. All in all, he was fairly successful in a financial
way; reared a large family successfully; and after a long and useful life was gathered to his fathers at the ripe
old age of ninty-six. His wife was about eighty years old when she closed her eyes to this world and she was a
fine type of the pioneer mother. The children of this worthy couple were: Nancy, Elizabeth,
John W., Jane, Catherine, Mathew C., and William W., all dead
but the last named.
Chadwick's History of Shelby County, IN, p 366-367
1. Robert Brown was born at Laurens Co, SC and Elizabeth Cotton is believed to have been born in KY.
2. Mathew Brown, the father of Robert, moved from SC to Hamilton County, OH in 1803. There is a record that Mathew bought land in Union County, IN in 1817, but it is not known whether he lived in Union County. There is a record of Mathew buying land in Shelby County, IN, in 1824 and it is believed that he moved to Union Twp. at that time.
Submitted by Richard Weightman