Back to biography index
Click on name to display photograph

John C Brownlee and Mary A Brownlee

Mrs. Mary A. Brownlee has been a resident of Davenport for fifty-five years. She is the widow of John C. Brownlee, who was born in Canada, near Port Sarnia, May 13, 1846. His life record covered the intervening years to the 11th of January 1909, when he passed away, honored and respected by all who knew him. His parents were William and Christina Brownlee, who came from Canada to Scott County when their son, John C. Brownlee, was but three years of age.

They settled at Long Grove and the father purchased a tract of land near age. They settled at Long Grove and the father purchased a tract of land near there, comprising one hundred and sixty acres. Upon that place the family took up their abode and their labors constituted the source of development and improvement for the farm. Their first home was a log cabin, which they occupied for a number of years. It was an arduous task to develop new land but with characteristic energy the work was undertaken and William Brownlee continued to carefully till the soil until his death, which occurred when his son, John C., was about eight years of age. He left a widow and eight children, the eldest being then a lad of but eleven years. John C. Brownlee spent the greater part of his life in the district of Long Grove. He attended the district schools and also a business college at Davenport and throughout his entire life engaged in farming. When his careful expenditure and industry had brought him sufficient capital to enable him to purchase a farm he made investment in land and with characteristic energy began to develop it. The results of his labors were soon seen in carefully cultivated fields and as the years passed on he gathered rich and bounteous harvests as the reward of his diligence and care. He continued to reside upon his original farm until about 1874, when he purchased a farm near Davenport and made it his home for about eight years. He then retired and removed to the city, spending his remaining days in the enjoyment of well-earned rest. In addition to his farming interests Mr. Brownlee was one of the stockholders of the Davenport Live Stock Company of New Mexico and acted as manager of that company for two years. On the 7th of December 1865, Mr. Brownlee was married to Miss Mary A. Roberts, a native of Derbyshire, England, and a daughter of Edward and Jane Roberts, who came to the United States with their family in 1855. They landed at Davenport about the 15th of May, and the father, who was a gardener, rented land and later purchased a small farm near Davenport, whereon he engaged in the cultivation of fruit and vegetables. He lived a life of unremitting diligence and industry and passed away in 1887, at the age of seventy-two years. His wife survived until 1890 and passed away at the age of seventy-seven. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Brownlee were born six children:

Eva M, the wife of Dr. Samuel J. Evans, of Davenport, by whom she has four children, J. La Verne, Harold J., Leroy J. and Dorothy Edna; Minnie B., the wife of Dr. William Jay, of Nashua, Iowa, by whom she ahs one child, Marion; John E., who married Adelia Helbig, by whom he has two children, Helen and John R., and was at one time for a number of years connected with the Citizens Trust & Savings Bank of Davenport but is now cashier of the Bettendorf Bank at Bettendorf; Jennie B., the wife of Otis C. Jackson, of Chicago, Illinois; Luella, the wife of Frank N. Harn, of St. Louis; and Cora E., who died at the age of ten years. The death of the husband and father occurred January 11, 1909. He had in many ways proven himself a good citizen and faithful friend and a devoted husband and father. While living on the farm he served as justice of the peace for a number of years and was also constable and school director. He held membership in the Christian church and took active part in the church work. He served as one of the church deacons and did everything in his power to promote the growth and extend the influence of the denomination with which he was connected. His life was at all times in harmony with its principles and he lived so that at his death none had aught for him but good words and kindly remembrance.

From "History of Davenport and Scott County" Vol. II by Harry E. Downer - S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910 Chicago.

Transcribed by Elaine Rathmann