MICHAEL BROWN was born Michael Cianfrani in Pennsylvania around 1887, the son of Italian immigrants. He eventually moved to Camden NJ, settling in Camden's 8th Ward. Known popularly as "Mikey" Brown, he became involved in local politics, he served as a ward leader at one time or another for both the Republican and Democrat Parties.
Politics in the Eighth Ward in Mikey Brown's time was a contact sport, and the ward was know as "the bloody Eighth" for good reason. Joseph 'Mose’ Flannery, sometimes an ally and sometimes an opponent of Brown, was gunned down at a Kaighn Avenue saloon in September of 1928. A victory parade after a May 1934 primary election ended in a riot at outside William Tansky's saloon South 6th and Viola Streets. Brown himself was charge with assaulting an election official in 1931. In May of 1933 he ran for office as Republican County Committeeman for the Eight Ward, but was defeated by four votes in an election that may well have been rigged. In August of 1933 two shots were fired through the window of Brown's neighbor and fellow saloon owner, Thomas "Bluch" Golding, at 650 Central Avenue.
Mikey Brown had come to Camden by the end of 1919. He was in business for himself, buying and selling horses. By 1927 he had purchased the bar at 629 Ferry Avenue, which operated under a soft drink license, allowing the sale of near beer. He also operated a stable nearby. The 1930 Census shows him living on premises with his wife Louise, brothers Angelo and Thomas, and his Uncle Edward. Angelo also worked in the business as a bartender, before passing in the 1930s. Michael Brown operated this saloon as late as 1931. Michael Brown operated different saloons in the city before he moved to Runnemede NJ, around 1935, where he engaged in the fertilizer business. He had returned to Camden before Pearl Harbor was attacked in December of 1941. He lived at 1745 Van Buren Street, where he had a stable up until about the time of World War II. Camden still had milkmen using horse-drawn carts till around 1950. He was still living at the Van Buren Street address as late as 1947, and may have kept an interest in the stable for a few years thereafter.
Michael Brown subsequently moved to the Hilltop section of Gloucester Township NJ, where he sold used trucks and cars. His brother Thomas passed in the middle 1950s. Louise Brown died in June of 1959. Michael Brown passed away in November of 1962.
Michael Brown was second cousin the late Henry J. "Buddy" Cianfrani of South Philadelphia, who was prominent in state and local politics.
Camden Courier - January 25, 1925
Evening Courier - January 24, 1928
SUPPORT FOR SUPPORT FOR BILL NO. 10
Camden may well be proud of its showing in Trenton yesterday.
Camden showed the rest of the State that its
leading citizens are intensely interested in civic affairs.
did not two busloads of them journey up to the State capitol to attend
the hearing on Senator
Bill No. 10?
by that outstanding civic leader, “Mikey”
Brown, of the Eighth Ward the flower of Camden’s patriotic
citizenry, invaded the Senate gallery, and showed their intense
interest by cheering or jeering every speaker for or against the bill.
one of Mr. Brown’s
cohorts described it to the editor of The Courier:
we give them Simple Service guys the raspberry—and how.”
to think I might of missed the whole jamboree if I hadn’t bumped into Mikey
at Jones soft drink, emporium
when I was getting my morning glass of buttermilk.
Foghorn,” says Mikey.
“Ain’t you the guy what used to holler ‘Rags-any-old-rags’?
How’s the old pipes today?”
good as ever when I keeps ‘em moist, but very poor when, they’re
dry,” I tells Mikey.
along and we’ll keep ‘em moist,” says me friend Mickey.
that was the way I got in on the party.
ask me what it was all about. Gosh, you’re ignorant for an editor.
Simple Service bill to make it simpler to get jobs for guys what do
their bit on election day?.
The Courier congratulates Senator Forsyth on the enlightened support which his bill has evoked..
Camden Courier-Post * May 6, 1930
DePalo - Michael
Brown - Samuel
M. Shay - Samuel Ungaro
Camden Courier-Post - December 1, 1930
629 Ferry Avenue
This was Mikey Brown's saloon and home address at the time of this incident
Camden Courier-Post * February 1932
BROWN TRIAL DELAYED TO FEB 14
The third trial of Mikey Brown on election violation charges, originally scheduled for today, has been postponed until February 14, It was announced Saturday by Prosecutor Clifford A. Baldwin.
The prosecutor stated that when he set Monday as date of trial, he did not know Judge Samuel M. Shay would conduct naturalization court on that day and would hear Orphans Court matters during the remainder of the week.
Criminal court sessions are usually begun on Monday, but Joseph Dillon, U. S. naturalization examiner, will interrogate 84 aliens before Judge Shay today. The jurist stated he has urgent Orphans Court matters which will require hearing on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week, so that the first available day for the Brown trial will be Tuesday of next week, as Monday will be the legal observation of Lincoln's birthday anniversary. The Eighth Ward Republican leader has twice been acquitted by criminal court juries of charges growing out of the 1931 primary election. The remaining indictment charges that he interfered with and prevented a legal election from being held in the Second precinct of his ward in the general election on November 3, 1931. The indictment, returned by the grand jury on December 1, 1931, also contains a count against Brown of assault and battery upon John F. McGuire, Democratic election officer. Prosecutor Baldwin stated he has two North Jersey attorneys who claim to have witnessed the alleged assault.
Baldwin announced that at the conclusion of the Brown case, he will immediately move for trial the murder indictment against Peter DeVito, alleged slayer of Justice of the Peace Giuseppe Pirella..
Camden Evening Courier * March 28, 1932
26 MEN AND 6 WOMEN ARE ARRESTED IN RAID
Lieutenant Herbert Anderson and patrolmen of the Fourth district, raided a house at 1812 Mulford Street early yesterday, held Hobart White, 27, colored, of that address, as the alleged proprietor, and 25 men and 6 women as material witnesses for hearing today.
White was released in $500 bail and the others in $100 bail, which was furnished by Mikey Brown and Jake Foos.
Camden Evening Courier - June 2, 1933
JURY PROBES 8TH
investigation into the mysteries of Eighth Ward elections was begun
yesterday when the April grand jury probed ballot-box stuffing in the
Fifth District at the May 16, primary.
Clifford A. Baldwin requested the investigation after he "couldn't
make head nor tail" of the fact that 25 ballots remained in the box
even after 232 Republican ballots the number of persons of that party
recorded as voting had been counted.
is understood the prosecutor pointed out that the ballots were in
bundles of five or six, and apparently had not been cast singly.
learned that the extra ballots were not counted by the election board,
each member of which was called to the grand jury room yesterday
afternoon. All expressed ignorance of how the ballots could have been
placed in the box, it is understood.
Baldwin was informed of the mystery he personally inspected the box,
which has been impounded in the office of City Clerk Frank
"I couldn't make head nor tail of it, so I presented the case to the grand jury," Baldwin said. He refused to comment further.
Camden Evening Courier - June 3, 1933
Brown Says Jury Has Plenty To Probe In Eighth Ward Voting
prosecutor and the grand jury have plenty to investigate in this ward
concerning the last primary election."
central figure in many Eighth Ward election squabbles
and thrice accused in election irregularities, had that to say yesterday
when informed that Prosecutor Clifford A. Baldwin and the April grand
jury is investigating alleged ballot box stuffing in the ward at the
last primary, May 16.
of ballot box stuffing in the Fifth precinct of the ward, which the
prosecutor said he asked the grand jury investigate was followed by
reports yesterday that similar irregularities
prevailed in the First precinct at the primary, and possibly in other
extending his probe of ward political
conditions, Baldwin said he is checking reports that a Brown
challenger at the May election had refused to let the First precinct
election board count what he declared were "stuffed ballots."
challenger is reported at close of the polling place to have said as he
lifted a ballot box for the election board and spectators to see:
are ballots in this box that don't belong there. They cannot be counted.
I won't permit it. And remember, Mikey Brown
didn't stuff this box today, as he had been accused
falsely of doing at previous elections. Mikey
wasn't in this polling place, so you can't blame him,"
had been three times in Camden County Criminal Court for ballot box
stuffing and other alleged election irregularities. He was exonerated
twice, and there was a disagreement in the jury in the third case. At
the May primary, he opposed Edmund
in a contest for Republican county committeeman from the Eighth ward,
but was defeated. Walsh was re-elected.
what he knew about the latest Eighth ward situation, Brown
I can say is that the prosecutor and the grand jury will have plenty to
investigate pertaining to the May 16
primary in the
first precinct ballot box has not been impounded by City Clerk Frank
as was the case of the box of the fifth precinct. Baldwin
said he was checking rumors one of the first precinct boxes contained
about 50 or 60 stuffed ballots. Baldwin
said that if
situation be found
by him to be as reported, he will request the grand jury to summon
Baldwin said he also is checking reports that the names of dead persons were "voted" at the ward primary.
Camden Courier-Post * February 5, 1936
MIKEY BROWN IN COURT ON BUSINESS CONFLICT
When Mikey Brown, former stormy petrel of Eighth ward politics, moved to Runnemede recently he thought his appearances in Camden courts were over. But it was not to be.
Mike, who is engaged in the fertilizer business, appeared before Judge Joseph Varbalow in District Court yesterday on complaint of Ross J. Brown, of Mendenhall, Pa., near Villanova.
The Mendenhall Brown claims that on November 14, 1934, he paid the Runnemede Brown $712 for fertilizer. Mikey delivered $462 worth, and refused to deliver the rest, according to the complainant. Ross Brown demanded his $250 worth of fertilizer or the money back.
Mikey Brown, in a counter-claim, said Ross owes him $489 for fertilizer he delivered and for which he never was paid.
dismissed the counter-claim and gave Ross Brown a judgment for the
The Browns, incidentally, are not related.
Michael Brown is remembered by John Cianfrani
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