Isaac M. Brown · 1966

By R.S. Pritchard

Isaac M. Brown was born on August 23, 1821 at Centerville, Indiana in Wayne County to John and Rachel (Starnes) Brown. He was educated at Indiana State University and in 1839 went to Paris, Illinois where he got his start in newspaper work. He stayed there a year, moved to Iowa City, Iowa and returned to Terre Haute, Indiana in 1841, where he took the position of foreman on the Terre Haute Courier.

Seven years later he accepted the same position on the Terre Haute Express where he stayed until 1852. He was one of the founders of the Daily Terre Haute Express, the first daily ever published in that city.
In August 1862 he enlisted in Company H, Sixth Indiana Cavalry and was discharged 3 years later as a 1st lieutenant. During his service, he was captured 3 times; the first time by his own cousin, John Starnes of the First Tennessee Rebel Cavalry; the second time at Muldro’s Hill, Kentucky by John Morgan; and the last time at Jug Tavern, Georgia on the Stoneman Raid to Macon.

There he was placed in prison at Camp Ogelthorp and was one of the 1400 officers that were selected and put under fire of their own guns at Charleston, South Carolina. He was later exchanged by Sherman’s special order at Rough and Ready, Georgia. Upon his return, he established the Sullivan Union at Sullivan, Indiana.

Seven years later he established with his son the Columbus Republican, where he stayed for the rest of his journalism career. He was married to Mary Ann Bishop of Vincennes in 1842. She died in 1856 but to that marriage were born six children.

Brown remarried in 1856 to Mary F. Eddy and eight children were born of that marriage. A former Whig and staunch Republican, Brown served as postmaster at Sullivan, Indiana from 1869 to 1873 during the Grant administration.

He was recognized late in his life by the Editorial Association of Indiana as the oldest editor without intermission in the state. He was also the inventor of the improved Ruling Machine and the Brown Table Railroad Double Switch.

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