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Benjamin Gratz Brown

Gov. Benjamin Gratz Brown

  • January 4, 1871 - January 8, 1873
  • Liberal Republican
  • May 28, 1826
  • December 13, 1885
  • Kentucky
  • Transylvania University, Yale University, Louisville Law School
  • Married Mary Ginn; seven children
  • Senator
  • Army


BENJAMIN G. BROWN was born in Lexington, Kentucky on May 28, 1826. His education was attained at Transylvania University and at Yale University, where he earned an undergraduate degree in 1847, and at Louisville Law School, where he earned a law degree in 1849. During the Civil War, he served as a colonel in the Union Army, and assisted in forming the pro-Union militia in Missouri. Brown first entered politics as a member of the Missouri House of Representatives, a position he held from 1853 to 1858. He helped to found and edited the Missouri Democrat from 1854 to 1865, and was involved in thwarting the secession movement in Missouri in 1861. Brown also served as a member of the U.S. Senate from 1863 to 1867. He next secured the Liberal Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor on August 8, 1870. He was inaugurated on January 4, 1871. During his tenure, several railroads that the state bonded went bankrupt; the University of Missouri admitted women to all branches of the school; the first zinc was mined near Joplin; and medical and law schools were instituted at the University of Missouri. Also, Brown was an unsuccessful vice presidential candidate on the 1872 Liberal Republican ticket. After completing his term, Brown left office on January 3, 1873 and retired from political life. He passed away on December 13, 1885, and was buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Kirkwood, Missouri.


Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

Encyclopedia of World Biography

Messages and Proclamations of the Governors of the State of Missouri (Produced by the Missouri Historical Society)

Missouri State Archives (Jefferson City, MO)

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

Western Historical Manuscripts Collection (Columbia, MO)

Recent Missouri Governors