Benjamin “Ben” Brown, son of Henry Benjamin Brown (1814–1872) and Eliza M. Price (1828–1911), was born in Indiana in 1857. The Brown family moved to St. Louis when Ben was a child, and Henry became a wholesale druggist.

Eliza (Price) Brown was connected by marriage to the wealthy owners of the Graham Paper Company. After Eliza was widowed, she and her family lived with the company’s head, Henry Brown Graham (1835–1904), and his family.

Ben, who became a paper salesman with the Graham Company, married Eliza Ross Hubbard, daughter of Robert Morris Hubbard (1830–1918) and his first wife, Sarah Blunt Ross (1831–1879). Eliza was born in 1862, probably in New Haven, Missouri. After their honeymoon, they took up residence with her parents at 34 Benton Place. The young couple had a daughter, Sarah Ross Brown, in 1888, but in 1890, after only five years of marriage, twenty-six year-old Eliza died of “abdominal hemorrhage” probably connected to a pregnancy. Bellefontaine Cemetery is her final resting place.

About 1893, Ben left the Graham Company and joined the George B. Dickerson Paper Company. The following year it became the Brown and Clark Paper Company with Benjamin Brown listed as vice-president. He remained with the company until 1901, when Brown and Clark sold itself to the Graham Company, at which time he left or was forced out.

Ben Brown, together with J. H. Ewald, a member of the extended Hubbard family, and George B. Hicks were the eponymous founders of Ewald, Brown, and Hicks, a rolling mill firm. By spring of 1901, however, the firm was in financial trouble, and in debt to the Franklin Bank and to Benjamin Brown himself, among others. It appears that Benjamin Brown had foolishly co-signed personal notes for the rolling mill company which was forced into bankruptcy in June 1901. The company collapsed after only eighteen months in existence. Ben was ruined.

From the time of his marriage to Eliza Ross Hubbard, and continuing after her death until 1900, Ben and his young daughter lived with his late wife’s parents at 34 Benton Place. In 1901, when the Robert Hubbards were planning their move to Westminster Place, Benjamin Brown moved out and lived at a series of St. Louis addresses. His daughter, Robert Hubbard’s granddaughter, probably continued living with the Hubbard family on Westminster Place and attended Mary Institute, from which she graduated in 1907. No doubt Robert Hubbard paid for her education. Sarah Ross Brown continued living with her grandparents until her impulsive first marriage in 1909.

Benjamin Brown died in 1906 in Belleville, Missouri, of cirrhosis of the liver, suggesting he may have fallen into alcoholism. His funeral was held at the Hubbard home at 5280 Westminster Place. He was buried with his late wife, Eliza Ross Hubbard, in Bellefontaine Cemetery.

Eliza Ross Hubbard and Benjamin Brown have no living descendants.

Written by McKelden Smith
March 2022

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Last Modified: 24-Jul-2022 11:06