Brown, Jacob, 1775-1828

Alternative names
Birth 1775-08-09
Death 1828-02-24

Biographical notes:

U.S. Army officer during the War of 1812.

From the description of Letter, 1812 November 22. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 145406379

Army officer.

From the description of Jacob Brown papers, 1812-1828. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 71061514

Amry officer, surveyor and educator.

From the description of Papers of Jacob Brown, undated. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 71068371

Commander of the U.S. Army.

From the description of Papers, 1814-1825. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 36537180

General in the War of 1812

From the description of Jacob J. Brown letter to Micah Sterling [manuscript], 1820 January 28. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 433613428

Born in Bucks County, Pa.; died in Washington, D.C. Settled in Jefferson County, N.Y.; erected the first building in Brownsville. Served during the War of 1812 at Sackett's Harbor, and commanded the American forces during the Niagara campaign of 1814.

From the description of Letters of Jacob and Joseph W. Brown, 1814-1871. (Buffalo History Museum). WorldCat record id: 56773121

Original in New York State Library,


From the description of Jacob Brown papers, 1801-1819 (Detroit Public Library). WorldCat record id: 658853374

Jacob Jennings Brown, one of the few American army officers to gain distinction in the War of 1812, was born into a Quaker family in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. His parents were Samuel Brown and Abi White Brown. He began his career as a surveyor and teacher; he opened a Friends School in New York City in 1798, while also studying law. By 1800, he had purchased land on the borders of the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario; here he founded a settlement on the Black River, which became the town of Brownville. In 1802 he married Pamela Williams (b. 1785), sister of his friend and associate, Nathaniel Williams, of Williamstown, Massachusetts. Brown and his wife had nine children.

Brown was active in local politics, becoming a judge of Jefferson County and a brigadier general in the state militia. At the outbreak of hostilities in 1812, Brown was given command of the frontier from Oswego to Lake St. Francis. In this post he successfully repulsed British forces at Ogdensburg in 1812, and the following year at Sackett's Harbor. For his efforts, Brown was immediately promoted to brigadier general in the U.S. Army, and the following year to major general. He commanded the northern division of the army in the successful Niagara campaign of 1814, where he received two severe wounds. At the close of the war, he continued in command of the northern division, becoming commanding general of the army in 1821. He moved to Washington in this year and had a stroke soon after. He died in Washington in 1828.

Edmund Kirby (1794-1849) was an aid to General Brown after the war. Kirby entered the army in 1812 as an ensign and steadily climbed the ranks to 3rd, 2nd, and 1st lieutenant, captain, major and eventually colonel in the Mexican American War. He died in 1849. Kirby married Brown's second daughter Eliza in 1825, and was deeply involved with the Brown family. Brown and Kirby shared an investment in a Mill in Dexter, New York, and in 1825, with Brown deeply in debt, Kirby purchased the Brown mansion. Members of both the Kirby and Brown families lived in the house until 1865.

From the guide to the Jacob Jennings Brown papers, Brown, Jacob Jennings papers, 1799-1950s, 1799-1837, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)


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Ark ID:


  • Lundy's Lane, Battle of, Ont., 1814
  • Missouri compromise
  • Lake Erie, Battle of, 1813
  • Fortification
  • Real estate development
  • Estate planning--New York (State)
  • Indians of North America
  • Sackets Harbor (N.Y.), Battle of, 1813
  • Chippewa, Battle of, Ont., 1814


  • Educators
  • Surveyors
  • Army officers


  • Niagara Falls (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Ogdensburgh (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Fort Erie (Ont.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Great Lakes (North America) (as recorded)
  • Dexter (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • Fort Erie (Ont.) (as recorded)
  • Niagara Peninsula, (Ont.) (as recorded)
  • Ontario, Lake, Region (N.Y. and Ont.) (as recorded)
  • Lundy's Lane, Battle of, Ont., 1814 (as recorded)
  • Chippewa, Battle of, Ont., 1814 (as recorded)
  • Sackets Harbor (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Northwest, Old (as recorded)
  • Brownville (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Jefferson County (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Black River Canal (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Niagara Frontier (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Old Fort Niagara (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Dexter (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Ontario (as recorded)
  • Black River Canal (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Niagara Frontier (as recorded)