J. Kelley
Brown


 

J. KELLEY BROWN was born in New Jersey on November 15, 1835 to Benjamin and Lydia Brown. The "J" stood for John. The family was living in Camden's South Ward when the 1850 Census was enumerated. Benjamin Brown had mastered the skill of operating steam equipment and worked as an engineer. J. Kelley Brown was working on a farm, but had found the time to become literate, not at all a given in those times. He was the oldest child at home, coming before Emma, Daniel, and Elvina Brown. 

J. Kelley Brown had been active in civic affairs in Camden as early as 1860. He was employed as a census taker in Camden's South Ward in 1860.

When the Civil War came, J. Kelley Brown answered his nation's call. On April 25, 1861 he enlisted in the Union Army as a Sergeant. He was assigned to Company G, Fourth Infantry Regiment New Jersey on April 27, 1861. 

The Fourth Regiment--Militia, was commanded by Colonel Matthew Miller, Jr., serving under him were Lieutenant Colonel Simpson R. Stroud and Major Robert C. Johnson. This regiment was mustered into the U. S. service at Trenton, April 27, 1861, to serve for three months, and left the state for Washington, D. C., on May 3, with 37 commissioned officers and 743 non-commissioned officers and privates, a total of 777. On the evening of May 5 it reached the capital, and on the 9th it was ordered to go into camp at Meridian hill, where, within a few days the entire brigade was encamped, and where, on the 12th, it was honored by a visit from the president, who warmly complimented the appearance of the troops. On the evening of May 23 it joined the 2nd and 3d regiments and about midnight took up the line of march in silence for the bridge that spanned the Potomac. This bridge was crossed at 2 o'clock on the morning of the 24th, the 2nd was posted at Roach's spring, and the 3d and 4th about half a mile beyond on the Alexandria 
road. On July 16, a guard was detailed from the 4th for a section of the Orange & Alexandria railroad, which it was important to hold; one company from the regiment guarded the Long bridge; still another was on duty at Arlington mills; and the remainder of the regiment, together with the 2nd, was ordered to proceed to Alexandria. On July 24, the term of service having expired, the 4th returned to New Jersey and was mustered out at Trenton, July 31, 1861. The total strength of the regiment was 783, and it lost by discharge 6, by promotion 2, by death 2 and by desertion 7, mustered out, 766.

J. Kelley Brown was among those who mustered out with Company G, Fourth Infantry Regiment New Jersey on July 31, 1861 at Trenton, NJ. 

Several men who served with Company G, Fourth New Jersey became members of the Camden Fire Department after it was founded in 1869, including William Mines, Benjamin Cavanaugh, Henry F. Surault, Edward Mead, William Cox, James M. Lane, and William Gleason. Other Fourth Infantry men who served included Theodore A. Zimmerman, Charles G. Zimmerman, William C. Lee, George B. Anderson, Jesse Chew, William H.H. Clark, Cornelius M. Brown, John J. Brown, Benjamin Connelly, and G. Rudolph Tenner. Several other Fourth Infantry veterans played significant roles in Camden in the ensuing years.

J. Kelley Brown re-enlisted as a Major with the 25th New Jersey Infantry, a 9-months regiment, on September 24, 1862, and received his commission two days later. 

The Twenty-fifth New Jersey Infantry was led by Colonel Andrew Derrom, assisted by Lieutenant Colonel Enoch J. Ayres and Major John Kelley Brown. Among the 9-months regiments sent to the field from New Jersey, few performed more signal service or made a finer record than the 25th. The regiment, composed about equally of citizens of the northern and southern sections of the state, was fortunate in securing as its commander a man of thorough soldierly qualifications, 
combined with great energy and force of character, whose heart was in the work in which he was engaged, and who, enjoying the entire confidence of his command, was able to make it, in the 
highest degree, useful and efficient. Moreover, the men composing the regiment were of the best class, whether as to intelligence or personal physique, and adapted themselves readily and cheerfully to all the requirements of the service. 

The regiment left its camp at Beverly on Oct. 10, 1862, and arrived at Washington on the following day. Going into camp at Capitol Hill, it was assigned to the 2nd brigade of Casey's 
division, consisting of the 27th N. J., 12th and 13th Vermont, and 12th Massachusetts Artillery, Colonel Derrom being placed in temporary command of the brigade. Acquia creek was reached on December 8, the regiment crossing the Potomac in transports from Liverpool Point, and on the following day proceeding directly to Falmouth, where it was assigned to the 1st brigade, 3d 
division, 9th army corps. It took a conspicuous part in the battle of Fredericksburg and met with a loss in the conflict of 9 killed, 58 wounded and 18 missing. It also participated in an engagement near Suffolk in May, 1863, in which the behavior of the men was most admirable, the loss of the regiment being 2 killed and 9 wounded. That was the last fight in which the 25th was engaged. On June 4 it was ordered to proceed to Portsmouth and take transportation for New Jersey, and four 
days later reached Camp Cadwallader at Beverly, where on June 20 it was mustered out of the service. The total strength of the regiment was 1,019, and it lost during its term of service, 
by resignation 11, by discharge 92, by promotion 13, by transfer 3, by death 57, by desertion 18, by dismissal 1, not accounted for 5, mustered out, 819.

Major Brown was among those who mustered out with the 25th New Jersey regiment on June 20, 1863 at Beverly, New Jersey.

J. Kelley Brown married Adeline Locke in September of 1863. The July 1870 Census states that he was living in Camden's South Ward with his wife Adaline and children Andrew, Mary and Florence. On March 31, of that year he had been elected president of the newly-formed South Ward Republican Association. 

In the years before the Civil War J. Kelley Brown became active as a volunteer firefighter with Independence Fire Company No. 1. George Reeser Prowell wrote about the two companies in his History of Camden County, New Jersey which was published in 1886.

The Independence Fire Company No. 1, organized with Lambert F. Beatty, president; William S. Frazer, secretary ; and Joseph Wagner, treasurer. Among the early members were Jacob Prettyman, David Page, Thomas Stites, Andrew Stilwell, Francis E. Harpel, Restore Cook, John Wallace, Claudius W. Bradshaw, William H. Hawkins, Christopher J. Mines, Henry Bradshaw, William E. Walls, William Howard, Albert Dennis, Elwood Bounds, Samuel H. Stilwell, Albert V. Mills, Robert S. Bender, Lewis Yeager, Thomas McCowan and William W. Mines. The company met in a building at Third Street and Cherry for a year, when it was burned. Lewis Yeager gave the company free use of a lot on Third Street, above Cherry, where an engine-house of slabs, donated by Charles Stockham, was built. In 1853 a lot on Cherry Street, above Third, was purchased and on it a frame house was built. This was used until 1859, when, owing to a defect in the title, the sheriff advertised the property for sale. When he reached the ground on the day of the sale he found the house, with its contents, and a number of the members of the company, on an adjoining lot belonging to James B. Dayton, who permitted the action. The following year, 1860, they bought and built, on the north side of Pine Street, above Fourth, a three-story brick, then the most complete fire-engine house in Camden, and which was sold for four thousand five hundred dollars to the city. The Independence was a hose company until June 4, 1864, when they secured an Amoskeag engine, being the first fire-engine in use by the fire companies of Camden. Early in 1869 they  purchased a larger engine and when the volunteer firemen were scattered, in the latter part of that year, they sold the Amoskeag to Millville, and the later purchase was kept until 1874, when it was sold to the city. Lambert F. Beatty, John Wallace, William H. Hawkins, J. Kelley Brown, William W. Mines and Edward Gilbert were presidents of the Independence, while its secretaries have been William L. Frazer, William W. Mines, Mortimer C. Wilson and Thomas McCowan ; and the treasurers Joseph Wagner and Robert S. Bender, who, elected in 1854, served until October 13, 1874, when, with a roll of sixty members, they met. President Gilbert in the chair, paid all claims against them and formally disbanded.

J. Kelley Brown was appointed to the Camden Fire Department to replace Jesse Chew as an extra man with Engine Company 1, who resigned January 3, 1871. He had previously worked as a tobacconist, and was making his home at 402 Plum Street, the southeast corner of North 4th Street and Plum Street. Plum Street was later renamed Arch Street. On July 18, 1871 J. Kelley Brown was transferred to Engine Company 2. He resigned October 9, 1872.

When the 1880 Census was taken, J. Kelley Brown and his family were living at 310 Mickle Street. Children at home at the time were Mary, Howard, Florence, Lucinda, Sadie and Cassandra Brown. He was then operating a store. He was still there in 1887, then engaged in the insurance business. 

Adaline Locke Brown passed away in September of 1895 and was buried at Evergreen Cemetery. The Browns were still at 310 Mickle Street when the 1890 City Directory was compiled. That directory states that J. Kelley Brown had secured a position as a letter carrier. He remained at that job through the summer of 1900. 

The 1900 Census shows J. Kelley Brown, then a widower, living at 427 Benson Street with three of his adult children, Howard H. Brown, Adeline V. Brown, and Sarah K. Brown. He was still at that address in 1910. Then living with him were his daughter Lucinda and her husband Daniel Corson, and their daughter Catherine Corson. J. Kelley Brown had by then retired. J. Kelley Brown passed away on July 16, 1913 and was buried at Evergreen Cemetery next to his wife.

J. Kelley Brown was a member of the Thomas M.K. Lee Post 5 of the G.A.R, the Grand Army of the Republic, which was the largest and most influential of organizations of Union Civil War veterans.


Philadelphia Public Ledger - March 31, 1870
J. Kelley Brown - James H. Townsend - Samuel M. Gaul
William Wiatt - John Stevens - Charles P. Capewell - J.H. Morris
Thomas A. Wilson -
Christopher J. Mines Jr. - Henry S. Bender
A.J. Morris - James R. Kerns - Charles Wood - A.D. Nichols
Edward Cline - George G. Bundick

The New Republic
Camden, New Jersey
April 2, 1870

J. Kelley Brown - James H. Townsend
Samuel M. Gaul - William Wiatt - John Stevens
J. Harned Morris - Thomas A. Wilson
Christopher J. Mines Jr. - Henry S. Bender
A.J. Morris - James R. Kerns - Charles Wood
A.D. Nichols - Edward Cline - George G. Bundick Richard Perks -
H.B. Wilson - John Osler
John W. Campbell - Charles Parker Jr.
Anthony Kobus



Philadelphia Inquirer
May 31, 1890
Thomas M.K. Lee  No. 5 - General William P. Robeson Post No. 51 - William B. Hatch Post No. 37
General John A. Logan Post No. 102 - Livingston Allen - J. Kelley Brown - John F. Cassman
Arthur Stanley - Harry Franks


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