Henderson County, Kentucky Biography
Governor of Kentucky


     JOHN YOUNG BROWN, Kentucky’s 26th Governor, was born near Claysville, Hardin County, in 1835.  He was the son of Thomas Dudley BROWN and Eliza YOUNG Thomas Dudley Brown was for several years Hardin County’s representative in the State Legislature and was a member of the convention which framed the State Constitution (1849-50).  In 1855 John Young Brown graduated from Centre College, after which he read law, and in 1857 engaged in the practice of that profession at the Elizabethtown bar.  Two years later he was elected to Congress, but was denied occupancy of his seat because of his youth.  He removed to Henderson in 1863 and in 1868 he was again elected to Congress.  At this time Congress was controlled by a bitter and uncompromising majority led by Thaddeus STEVENS, and his seating was once more refused because of alleged disloyalty to the Union, consisting of his service as a colonel of cavalry in the Confederate Army.  In 1873 he was elected to Congress for the third time and continued to represent his district until 1877, after which he resumed the practice of law in Henderson until his death, except from 1891 to 1895 while he served as Governor of Kentucky.

     In 1860 John Young Brown married Rebecca DIXON, a daughter of United States Senator Archibald DIXON, of Henderson.

    Governor Brown was one of the most outstanding orators and statesmen of the Commonwealth.  His speech in the Forty-third Congress (1874), in which he denounced Gen. Benjamin F. BUTLER, then Congressman from Massachusetts, was said to be a masterpiece of invective and gained Nation-wide attention.  As an advocate, he had few equals.  John Young Brown died at Henderson, January 11, 1904.

Story was found on pages 96 & 97 in the “Henderson, Home of Audubon”.  Henderson, Home of Audubon was compiled by the Workers of the Writers’ Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Kentucky and sponsored by Susan Starling Towles, Librarian, Public Library, Henderson, KY.

According to “Marriages in Henderson County, Kentucky 1858 – 1900, Vol. II” compiled by Mr. Shirley Moody, John Y. Brown married Rebecca Dixon on 3 Sep 1860, Book 5, Page 57.


According to “1870 Henderson County Census” records, John Y. Brown age 35 is shown with wife Rebecca age 29, Archie age 8, John Y. Jr. age 4, Virginia age 4, Susan age 1, and Catherine age 25 cook, Annie age 25 servant and Sophia age 14 nurse.

Contributed by Netta Mullin, HCH&GS

Copyright 2002 HCH&GS