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Name:    Brown, Joseph
Mayor
Profession:  Mayor
Category:  Politics and Government    (Number 21)
Term as Mayor:    1871-1875
Born/Started:    1823
Died/Ended:     Dec. 03, 1899
Description:    Joseph Brown was the 21st mayor of St. Louis, serving two terms from 1871 to 1875. During his administration, Forest Park, O´Fallon Park and Carondelet Park were created, the City erected a temporary City Hall on the site of the present Civil Courts Building, Eads Bridge was completed, and the Taxpayers´ League was organized and carried on a campaign which eventually led to the separation of the City and County.

Mayor Brown came to St. Louis from Scotland in 1823. His family moved to Alton, IL, where he became mayor of that town at a young age. While Mayor there, he led a successful campaign to bring the Chicago and Alton Railroad to Alton. A successful builder and operator of steam ships, Mayor Brown returned to St. Louis at the start of the Civil war and engaged in real estate operations for many years. He was a strong Unionist and assisted in the construction of ironclad ships and gunboats for the United States Navy. In 1868 he was elected to the Missouri Senate as a War Democrat from St. Louis. In 1871 he was made president of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, the same year in which he was first elected mayor of St. Louis.

During the depression of 1873, Mayor Brown’s administration issued $300,000 worth of tax certificates, popularly known as "Brown Backs," that were passed as currency throughout the country. To back them, Mayor Brown pledged his own credit as well as that of the City. He also ran a soup house, at no City expense, at which as many as 1,200 people were fed in a day.

Mayor Brown died in St. Louis on December 3, 1899 and was buried in Alton. He and his wife, the former Virginia Keach, had two daughters.


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