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Brown, Lew B.
Transcribed from: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol.
III, page 361, 1923.
BROWN, LEW B. Saint Petersburg resort is in possession of a splendid newspaper, and that
newspaper is the direct product and expression of the public spirited genius of its proprietor,
LEW B. BROWN, who during the past dozen years has never failed to take some active part,
either under the leadership of others or as the leader himself, in every program for making
Saint Petersburg one of the best cities in the South.
Mr. BROWN was born in Madison, Arkansas, June 13, 1861, son of GEORGE L. and AMELIA L.
(YOUNG) BROWN, the former a native of Harris, Tennessee, and the later of Bardstown, Kentucky.
His mother is still living in Saint Petersburg. LEW BROWN is the oldest and only son of
three children. He lived in Arkansas until he was fourteen, when, following the death of
his father, his mother returned with her family to Louisville, Kentucky. At Louisville LEW
BROWN served his apprenticeship as a printer in the office of the Courier Journal, and the
late HENRY WATTERSON, considered him as "one of his boys". He remained in Louisville until
1895, when he bought a newspaper plant at Taylorsville, Kentucky, and while there studied
law and was granted a license to practice by the Supreme Court and served as police judge
and county attorney. Selling out his business in Taylorsville in 1905 and definitely abandoning
the practice of law, he bought the Harrodsburg Democrat, and continued this influential
Kentucky newspaper for a number of years.
In 1911 Mr. BROWN came to Saint Petersburg and bought the Saint Petersburg Independent, but
he continued the operations of his Harrodsburg paper for two years more. The Independent
when he bought it was a paper of small circulation and influence, and it was left to Mr.
BROWN to bring it up to a standing among the best newspapers of the state. In 1913 he erected
the Independent Building, a two-story structure 50 X 120 feet, now entirely occupied by the
newspaper offices and printing plant. Some years ago Mr. BROWN denominated Saint Petersburg
as the "Sunshine City", and to prove his faith in the title he made a standing offer that
he would give his paper away every day in the year that the sun did not shine. In the 11 ½
years since he took over the Independent he has had to donate its issue on account of clouds
and lack of sunshine only sixty-four days. The circulation of the Independent is now 5,400
and it is published daily.
In 1885 Mr. BROWN married EMMA STRUBY. She died, the mother of three children, and the only
one now living is the son, L. C. BROWN, his father's business associate and partner. In 1898
Mr. BROWN married ANNA STRUBY, and they have one daughter, LOUISE.
In fraternal matters Mr. BROWN is affiliated with the Masonic Order, Independent Order of
Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Red Men and Elks, is a member of the Baptist Church, has
served as president of the Board of Trade, president of the Echo Club, as commodore of the
Yacht Club, president of the Art Club, and is a former chairman of the City Library Board.
During the World war he organized, financed and equipped four companies of the Florida Guard,
and commanded them with the rank of major, bestowed by the Governor of the state an act of
the Legislature. Mr. BROWN is financially interested in the Telephone Company, in the Avery
and Robertson Marine Ways, the H. and A. Wood Products Manufacturing Company.
He originated the plan for establishing a state home in Florida for widows and orphans, and
was chairman of the committee and trustee of the fund procured for the establishment of such
a home at Saint Petersburg. He was also instrumental in establishing the First City Hospital
at Saint Petersburg.
His son, L. C. BROWN, was born at Louisville in 1886, and was liberally educated, attending
Kentucky College at Lexington. For two years he was in business at Chicago and another two
years in New York City, and became associated with his father in the newspaper business in
1912. He has held the post of president of the Chamber of Commerce at Saint Petersburg and
is a member of the Elks Lodge.
Presented by Nancy Rayburn
This page created October
© 2010 Fran Smith