From Biographical Memoirs of Huntington County, 1901, pages 432-434
Dr. John W. Brown is a physician by education and profession, and a farmer by occupation. Having devoted several years to his profession, he longed for the freedom of rural life and, being unable to attend both his practice and his farm, determined to devote his entire time to the latter, thereby losing to the medical fraternity a bright and capable member and proving an acquisition to the agricultural element of Wayne township, whose intelligent interest is highly appreciative. Dr. Brown was born January 30, 1852, and is a son of Joseph and Barbara (Vennard) Brown, the Browns tracing their ancestry to the Irish, Swedes and English. Joseph Brown was a native of Pennsylvania, and at the age of twenty-one located in Darke county, Ohio, whence he came to Polk township, Huntington county, Indiana , in 1844, and for a time followed the trade of a carpenter. Later he decided to engage in the pursuits of agriculture and purchased a large tract of land in Wayne township, which is now the home of Dr. Brown. Very little, if any, improvements had been made on the property, it being their privilege to carve the homestead from the virgin soil of the wilderness. The mother of our subject was Barbara Vennard, a lady of English parentage. When the Vennard family moved to America, three of their number were unable to stand the voyage and found a grave in the briny waters of the deep. Two landed in Maryland, and of this number one immigrated to Ohio and reared a family of five sons, all of whom were permitted to reach the extreme age of ninety years, the great-grandfather of our subject being one of the five. The union of Joseph Brown and Barbara Vennard was solemnized in Wayne county, Indiana, two sons and one daughter resulting. Of these Dr. John W. Brown is the second and only survivor, Sidney E. dying at the tender age of four years, and Stephen A. in 1887, after he had grown to manhood. He was unmarried.
Dr. John W. Brown is a fine product of Wayne township, having been born and bred here. As a boy he worked on the farm and attended the country schools, imbibing a good, sound education in the common branches, as he was of a studious nature and quick to grasp intellectual problems. He was fond of the life on the farm, but, as we have said, he was also a student by nature, and his youthful impulses were fired by the ambition to enter a professional career, and at the age of twenty-one we see him matriculated. Entering the Normal school of Lebanon, Ohio, he took up the scientific course and was within six weeks of completing it when he was called home by the sad intelligence that his mother had entered into her long rest, and after he had seen her laid away he had neither heart nor inclination to return for his graduation. At a later time he took a complete commercial course at Spiceland, Henry county, this state, and following that taught several terms of school very acceptably at Mt. Etna and Dora, Indiana. In the fall of 1879 he entered the Medical College of Louisville, Kentucky, graduating from that institution two years later. He at once returned to Dora, Wabash county, and began the practice of his profession, remaining there four years and building up a good practice. As a field which offered a better scope for his work, he then located in Wabash, and during the five years he was there was very successful and well liked. He was careful and painstaking in his diagnosis, skillful in his treatment of disease, and uniformly kind and courteous in his treatment of all who came under his care, and this, with the successful outcome of his cases, soon gave him the unreserved confidence of the people and his patronage extended out into the surrounding country and was a very lucrative one. When he retired from practice the county lost an able and reliable physician, and it was with deep regret that his numerous patients were compelled to call in some other member of the medical fraternity.
The large farm in Wayne township, Huntington county, was without a manager, and Dr. Brown found it impossible to successfully superintend its cultivation while attending to his practice. Accordingly, in 1890 he abandoned his profession and took up his residence on his beautiful property in Wayne township. The genial Doctor finds this life most agreeable and casts no lingering glances into the past, his success abundantly testifying to his understanding of the work. He has gone into the business intelligently and understandingly, and knows how best to rotate his crops to obtain the most desirable yield. He is an active participant in institute work, believing an exchange of ideas and discussion of farm topics to be as profitable to the agriculturist as to any other profession. His farm is well stocked with large numbers of cattle, hogs and sheep, which are fed from grain raised on the place, in this way realizing a better price for his produce than he would if sold as it is harvested. He is one of the largest and most prosperous stock raisers in this section of the state and is regarded as a model farmer. In March, 1878, he was united in marriage to Miss Virginia J. Clingerman, whose mother, the second wife of Mr. Clingerman, was, after his death, married to a man by the name of Hough and now lives with the Doctor, our subject. Five children have blessed the union of the Doctor and his good wife, namely: Joseph A., born September 19, 1879, received a good common school education and is a young man of fine character; Grace M., born March 21, 1881, is a student in the Mt. Etna high school; Gertie E., born April 18, 1883, died October 10, of that year; Nellie R., born January 5, 1887; and Bernice M., born August 13, 1895. Dr. Brown has a bright, attractive family, and one that is in high popularity in the neighborhood. His residence is arranged and furnished for the convenience of his family and is equipped with a large and well chosen library, which is his pride. He was formerly an active member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, but of late years has dropped off from regular attendance. He was for years a Republican, but upon the formation of the Prohibition party he joined forces with that organization and is now one of its strongest supporters, believing the rum traffic to be the worst curse which blots the face of our fair land.