JOHN Y. BROWN SR. was born in Claysville, Kentucky on June 28, 1835. After graduating from Centre College in 1855, he studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1857, and then established his legal career in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Brown entered politics in 1859, with his election to the U.S. House of Representatives; however, he did not take his congressional seat until the second session, due to the fact that he was not of the required age. His political career was temporarily put on hold with the outbreak of the Civil War. He served as a cavalry colonel in the Confederate Army. After his military duty, he was reelected to Congress in 1866, but this time his seat was denied because of his alleged disloyalty during the Civil War. In 1872, he won reelection to Congress and took his seat unopposed, serving from 1873 to 1877. Brown won the 1891 Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was elected governor by a popular vote. During his tenure, tax collection processes were improved, a convict lease program was disputed, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad’s challenge to purchase a major rival line was thwarted, and legislation was endorsed that controlled corporations. After finishing his gubernatorial term, Brown retired from public service and returned to his law practice. Governor John Y. Brown, who was a gifted orator, passed away on January 11, 1904. He was buried at the Fernwood Cemetery in Henderson, Kentucky.
Governors' Papers, Kentucky Department for Libraries & Archives, Public Records Division
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.