Brown Judge

1842 - 1919
Daniel O'Connell
The Tithe War
Slavery abolished in UK
Factory Act
Night of the Big Wind
Highland Clearances
Opium Wars
Irish Potato Famine
Crimean War
India under Crown rule
Living in Scotland
Fenian Rising
Tay Bridge Disaster
Immigration to the United States
Emigration to America
Wharton School
Time Zones
Homestead Strike
Plessy v. Ferguson
Marconi Invents Radio
1897 Coal Miner Strike
Spanish American War
US Steel Corporation
Mining Strike
Wright Brothers
Ford Motors
Harwick Mine Disaster
First Radio Broadcast
Titanic Sinks
Lincoln Highway
World War I
National Park Service
Flu Pandemic
18th Amendment
19th Amendment
First Public Radio Broadcast
Scopes Monkey Trial
  • Childbirth
  • Childhood
  • Clothing
  • Commerce
  • Communication
  • Diet
  • Education
  • Entertainment
  • Holidays
  • Household
  • Hygiene
  • Marriage
  • Medicine
  • Military
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Transportation
  1. Brown is born in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
  1. Residents of the Scottish Highlands are forced off their land
  1. The Opium Wars are fought between Great Britain and China
  1. Brown's future wife, Sarah Phillips, is born 5 months after Brown.
  1. Millions of people lose their lives and homes to the devastating Irish Potato Famine.
  1. Britain, France, and the Ottoman Empire clash with Russia in the Crimean War
  1. India was placed under British rule in 1858.
  1. In 1866, Brown marries Sarah Phillips.
  1. Living in Scotland
  1. The Irish Republican Brotherhood stages a revolt against British rule in Ireland
  1. 60 train commuters die when a storm brings down the Tay Bridge outside Dundee.
  1. Emigration to America
  1. The Wharton School of Business is established in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  1. Time zones are introduced in the United States
  1. 12 people are killed in labor strike clash in Homestead, Pennsylvania
  1. Plessy v. Ferguson case legalizes separate facilities for blacks and whites across the U.S.
  1. Guglielmo Marconi invents radio
  1. Massive strike sweeps coal country
  1. The United States declares war with Spain in the Caribbean
  1. US Steel Corporation is formed
  1. Mining strike shuts down mines for the summer
  1. The Wright brothers fly the first heavier-than-air aircraft
  1. The new Ford Motor Company makes the first widely affordable car
  1. An explosion in the Harwick mine kills 179 Pennsylvanians
  1. Hershey's factory opens in Pennsylvania
  1. The first radio broadcast is sent from Massachusetts
  1. The RMS Titanic sinks after hitting an iceberg in the north Atlantic Ocean
  1. America's first transcontinental highway is built
  1. Considered the war to end all wars, the Great War begins
  1. President Wilson creates a new agency to protect America's parks
  1. Virus spreads around the world
  1. Brown dies
Brown born, 1842
Brown was born in 1842, in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.
Northern Ireland, 1842
Northern Ireland, which wasn't yet its own country during Brown's life, is famous for its rolling hills, cliff-covered coastlines, and fertile land—perfect for farming and raising livestock. During Brown's time there, the Industrial Revolution fueled two of the region's biggest industries—textiles and shipbuilding—as cities like Belfast became major manufacturing centers for the British Empire.
Highland Clearances, 1762 - 1880
During Brown's time, landlords across the Highlands of Scotland were making a shift from traditional farming to the more profitable sheep-raising industry. As a result, many poor tenant farmers were being "cleared" from the landlords' property to make room for sheep. These traditionally Gaelic-speaking farmers were treated as an inferior class, and were often removed violently with their homes and possessions torched in the process. Known as the "Highland Clearances," these events sparked a mass exodus of Highlanders into the Scottish Lowlands as well as to far off locations like Canada and the United States. The Clearances were a topic of controversy among the people in Brown's community, with some defending the rights of the Highlanders and others condemning them for their Celtic heritage and Catholic allegiances.
Opium Wars, 1839 - 1860
Four years before Brown was born, in 1839, tensions between the expanding British Empire and the Qing Dynasty of China erupted in war. The Chinese sought to destroy the opium trade illegally crossing its borders from British-controlled India, while the UK hoped to expand its powers and influence in the East. For Brown and those in his community, the Opium Wars were mostly defined by concerns for the well being of British troops fighting a little known enemy thousands of miles away. Britain's two major victories over China, however, would impact the world for generations to come—opening up Chinese borders to the West like never before.
Sarah Phillips born, 1843
Brown's future wife, Sarah Phillips, was born 5 months after Brown. Sarah was born in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
A post-childbirth scene
Giving birth presented a number of risks to the lives of women and their babies during Brown's era. With limited medical technology, complications occurred frequently, such as the child becoming stuck in the birth canal or the mother hemorrhaging to life-threatening levels. A midwife was sometimes called to the home when a woman began labor, though very often the woman's own mother or other female relatives were the only ones present to assist. These relatives or neighbors were called "handywomen" and received no formal training, typically learning by observation and word of mouth.

By the time of Brown's birth, male midwives and formally trained medical doctors were also allowed to enter the labor room—a development that broke a centuries-old custom, as giving birth had previously been considered the domain of women. Despite this, in poor, rural parts of Ireland, most children were delivered only with the help of a handywoman and, possibly, a trained midwife. Although methods of birth control had been somewhat widely known in previous centuries, by this period, the Catholic Church was growing in power, and there was a conservative backlash against such practices in Ireland. As a result, women often married young and had a large number of children. That number decreased after the Great Famine, but remained higher than in the rest of the United Kingdom.

As scientific understanding increased, innovations such as forceps and more efficient and comfortable birthing chairs were included in the delivery, particularly in progressive urban areas. However, lack of sanitation and anesthesia still made birth a painful, dangerous endeavor. While the mortality rate for children remained high—ranging from ten to thirty percent depending on the location—the innovations in technology paved the way for better tools and anesthetics, which would ensure safer procedures for Brown's descendants.
Irish Potato Famine, 1845 - 1852
When Brown was two years old, the Irish Potato Famine devastated the people of Ireland and cast a shadow over the lives of many in his community. During this period, many families in Ireland practiced subsistence farming on small, one acre plots of land—with potatoes serving as their principal crop. When a disease known as a potato blight wiped out these crops from 1845 through 1852, farmers lost both their main food source and means of income. Families were evicted from their homes, and many were left to starve on the streets. Nearly one million people died in Ireland as a result of the famine and more than a million more emigrated to other countries, as Brown's family was left with the difficult prospect of deciding their own best course of action.
For many years in Ireland, children were routinely forced to work long hours on farms or even in factories and mines. By Brown's time, however, new regulations were improving conditions for the Irish youth. The Factory Act and the Mines Act, passed by the British Parliament in 1833 and 1842 respectively, prohibited children younger than nine from working, and set minimum hours. Despite this, conditions remained deplorable in many towns, and children were sometimes beaten and abused.

Work was often divided by gender roles, with girls learning basic cooking, cleaning, and other duties to help run a home, while boys helped harvest crops, hunt, and learn a trade. The experiences of a child were closely related to the economic status of their families. Many middle-class families began to adopt a view of childhood which stressed opportunities to grow and explore their interests and unique personalities. Poorer families rarely had this luxury, and children were often put to work at an early age to help support the entire family. While corporal punishment was more frowned upon than in generations past, Brown still would have known kids who suffered physical consequences for disobeying their parents. Criminal charges for such treatment were very rare.

In their more carefree moments, children around Brown played with a variety of toys and games, including tops, jacks, cards, charades, checkers, chess, and badminton. They also enjoyed physical games, such as the tag-like "British Bulldogs," or games of skill such as "Hoops." Beginning in the 1880s, the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) encouraged children to play traditional Irish games, such as hurling, where wooden clubs were used to "hurl" a ball - called the sliotar - through the opponent's goalpost, helping these sports reach new levels of popularity. Boys might also have enjoyed playing soccer, Gaelic football, or rugby, especially those attending boarding school. Wealthy girls in Brown's town played with elaborate dollhouses, while less fortunate girls would look through store windows and long to have them. Young boys often played with toy soldiers made from tin or lead.
A chart of the life of an apprentice
Many of those around Brown were accustomed to learning in small, one-room schoolhouses, but at the outset of free primary education in 1831, the quality of these institutions increased dramatically. This growth in education allowed many of Brown's friends and neighbors, including women, to become more literate and educated. Although the Penal Laws which forbade Catholics from sending their children to school had been repealed, many rural Catholic families still chose to send their children to hedge schools; these were local schools run by learned members of the community, often priests. Ireland's parochial school system also began to expand during this time, as the Catholic Church became more closely entwined in the education of young minds.

For many in Brown's community, however, education was considered a luxury more than a necessity, and formal schooling was simply not an option for some children. Families needed the additional income a working child could provide, and many poor children never learned to read or write. Children at home learned how to function on a farm or run a household.

An apprenticeship was a popular option for many young men Brown knew at the time, as it allowed them to learn a particular trade or profession without adding to the financial strain of a family. Apprentices could start as young as 12 and received board, food, and clothing from the master in exchange for their labor.

After grammar school, boys had the opportunity to attend one of Ireland's universities, such as Trinity College, Magee College, or Albert Agricultural College. Wealthy families hired tutors for their girls, who were taught better home management rather than academics. In an attempt to gain the loyalty of Catholics during the French Revolution, the king allowed the construction of a seminary in the town of Maynooth, known as St. Patrick's Seminary. Although Catholics were now allowed to attend schools such as Trinity, the Catholic Church itself forbade members of its flock from enrolling.
A cross for St. Brigid's Day
Living in Ireland, Brown and his friends and family celebrated several unique and culturally important holidays. Like many other Christian nations, the Irish observed Christmas, and the season was celebrated from December 24th through January 6th. It was traditional for families to decorate their homes with holly bush, and the more berries on the bush, the better the luck of the family going into the next year. Most of Brown's friends and neighbors likely celebrated by attending church, as Mass on Christmas Eve and Christmas were considered very important. Families also lit candles to welcome others, and groups went around singing Christmas carols.

In the rural countryside, many used the holiday as an opportunity to whitewash their farm buildings to begin the new year with a fresh start. The holiday season ended on January 6th with "Little Women's Christmas," a day in which women were allowed to leave their household and all their responsibilities behind to enjoy one another's company. The Irish also held a celebration called "Hunting the Wren," where a wren was led around town on a leash. In Northern Ireland, Presbyterians opposed the celebration of Christmas, while Anglicans celebrated it similarly to their Catholic neighbors. As the 19th century progressed and Christmas became more family-oriented, it was more common for Presbyterians to celebrate it as well.

St. Patrick's Day was an important church holiday, as St. Patrick was the patron saint of Ireland, and members of Brown's family attended Mass. In Northern Ireland, St. Paddy's was celebrated mainly by the Catholic nationalist community; Protestant Unionists viewed it as a nationalist holiday and not worth celebrating. Easter Sunday was celebrated with a Mass, followed by a large feast at home. After the main Easter feast, eggs were given to children who had not broken the Lenten fast.

During the rest of the year, seasonal holidays were held, including St. Brigid's Day (or St. Bride's Day) and Halloween, each corresponding to an ancient Gaelic festival to mark important days throughout the year. St. Brigid's Day marked the beginning of spring on February 1st, and was celebrated by the weaving of crosses from rush, thought to bring good luck to the household. People also watched to see if badgers or other animals came out of hibernation in order to predict the length of the winter. Halloween, still known to some as Samhain, was celebrated with children dressed in costumes to beg for treats from the neighbors. Traditional Jack O' Lanterns were carved out of turnips.
Crimean War, 1853 - 1856
When Brown was a child, thousands of British troops were deployed to the Middle East in a conflict that would come to be known as the Crimean War. With the Ottoman Empire in decline and the Russian army moving to take over territory in the Holy Land, Britain—along with French and Ottomon forces—made an aggressive push to stop them. As far away as Brown's hometown, both Protestant and Catholic Brits were highly invested in the outcome. And to their joy, Russia was eventually defeated, giving more freedoms to British and French Christians in the region and temporarily stabilizing the Ottoman Empire, as well. The cost was great, however, as bloodshed and disease took 21,000 British soldiers and an estimated 400,000 lives on the Russian side. This would later be remembered as the first war in which the electric telegraph and photography were in regular use, as well as the first with organized field hospitals, pioneered by the famed nurse Florence Nightingale.
An advertisement for Pears Soap that was released in 1890
By Brown's time, the average Irishman or woman paid more attention to hygiene than in decades past. Brown's fellow townspeople used soap made from animal fat and wood ashes, not only to bathe (which they did somewhat regularly by this time), but also for washing clothes and household cleaning. During the later 19th century, mass produced soaps such as the "Pears" brand became cheaper and more available, along with some of the earliest deodorants by the 1880s. Mass produced toothbrushes and toothpaste were available for the first time, too, although early toothbrushes were designed with coarse, boar's hair bristles, and only a small portion of the population brushed their teeth regularly.

While a few wealthy city dwellers had indoor plumbing (and indoor, flushing toilets!) by the end of the 1800s, most families around Brown still used outhouses or chamber pots when he was young. They also fetched bath and cooking water from nearby rivers and streams, heating it over a stove. Contaminated water, combined with the high cost of housing and cramped living quarters in cities, facilitated the spread of diseases such as tuberculosis and diphtheria. This problem had been made worse by the Irish Potato Famine (1845 to 1852), which drove impoverished farmers into dirty living and working conditions in cities like Dublin and Belfast. Throughout the period, Dublin possessed some of the most notorious slums in Europe, known for their unclean conditions and the many resulting deaths that occurred there.
A drawing of an Irish peasant in the 1890s
Throughout Brown's life, fashions were constantly evolving. Men tended to wear trousers, waistcoats, and hats, with carefully-cultivated beards and mustaches. Different styles of hats were common throughout the period, depending on a person's wealth or personal style, including top hats, bowler hats, or flat caps. Women, on the other hand, began wearing clothing that was much more form-fitting than before. Bonnets and hats were also worn outdoors both as fashion and to block the sun. To wash their cloths, Brown's friends and neighbors would take their laundry to the river and use a wooden-framed washboard and laundry soap. Poor people usually only had one or two changes of clothing at any given time. In Western Ireland, especially on the Aran Islands and other areas where wool was produced, traditional wool sweaters went back generations, with each family passing distinct knitting patterns down through generations.
The Parish Church of Saint George, an Anglican Church
During his lifetime, Brown enjoyed more religious freedom than his parents and grandparents would have known. The Penal Laws, which oppressed Catholics, had been repealed, so Catholics were able to worship and educate more freely than before. The Church of Ireland, a Anglican institution, was considered the official national church, and even though less than 1/8 of the country belonged to it, Brown and his neighbors were forced to pay tithes (taxes) to support the church.

Those who lived in the northern part of Ireland were primarily Protestant, though some belonged to the official Church of Ireland, and others were Presbyterians. Presbyterians were often mistrusted by the Anglican authorities and the Crown for their part in the Rising of 1798, and the fact that many leading radicals were Presbyterian. However, as the century progressed, the rift between the two Protestant communities mended.

Although Catholics were largely poor tenant farmers, many of the restrictions which had prevented them from practicing their faith had been rescinded, and the Catholic Church had become an ally of the crown. No matter which faith he practiced, there was a shortage of churches and preachers across the island during Brown's lifetime, with roughly one clergyman to every 2,100 Irish citizens. However, men who wished to become ministers or priests could now train in Ireland. Anglican ministers could study at Trinity College in Dublin; Catholic priests could go to the seminary in Maynooth; and Presbyterian ministers were trained at Queen's College in Belfast, after its opening in 1845.
India under Crown rule, 1858 - 1947
During much of Brown's life, the British Empire stretched far beyond the confines of the British Isles, or even Europe. The country of India, which had been largely controlled by Englishmen from the privately run East India Company for generations, was officially put under rule of the British Crown and Queen Victoria in 1858. As a result, Brown likely had friends or relatives who traveled to India—whether as members of the military, government, or as teachers sent to help educate and Westernize the local population. India remained under British control until shortly after World War II, when it finally earned its independence in 1947.
The marriage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
Most people that Brown knew married in their early to mid twenties. Although some families still used arranged marriage as a tool to preserve or expand their wealth and social status, by the 19th century, these arrangements were not as common as they had been. However, Brown would still have been expected to date within his own social class. Lower-class men and women had more freedom to marry for love, since they had little property or wealth to complicate the decision. Landowners encouraged their tenants to marry young and start families, as a larger number of renters was good for business. As a result, poor rural families often married younger and had larger families than those of the upper and middle classes. The practice began to change during and after the Famine, as many young people chose to delay or refrain from marriage; in the late 19th century, Ireland had a greater percentage of unmarried men and women than any other part of the United Kingdom.

Women who did marry wore dresses made of muslin or calico; wealthy brides could choose silk gowns. Grooms wore their best clothes in any color, including boots and a cloak. Early in the century, brides in Brown's family wore pinks and purples, with a corset and crinoline in pastel colors. After Queen Victoria's wedding in 1840, however, women all over the world followed her lead and wore white. Brides carried a bouquet of flowers, which also adorned their hair and dresses.

After the wedding, society continued to uphold traditional family roles. Brides were expected to become mothers to five or six children and to keep an orderly home, while husbands worked and provided for the family. Divorce was possible but very expensive, and granted far more easily to men than women.
A Dublin Coddle
Despite the challenges of the devastating potato famine in the middle of the 19th century, Brown lived during a time when new foods and culinary influences were reaching the Emerald Isle. For the average working Irishman or woman, though, options remained fairly simple: potatoes (before and after the blight), bread, porridge, fish, and some vegetables such as cabbage. The poor particularly loved colcannon, which was made of boiled potatoes mashed with cabbage or kale and flavored with onions, shallots, leeks, and cream. The rich enjoyed higher-quality meals, which included a wide variety of meats, fruits and vegetables, and new imported spices from India or North America.

Though the biggest meal of the day used to be around noon, by Brown's time, the new realities of the industrial era—and better options for lighting homes and preserving food—moved dinnertime to the evenings. Soups and stews like "Dublin Coddle," made of sausage, potato, bacon and onions, and Irish stew with mutton, were popular and easy to prepare in bulk. Large breakfasts before work also became popular. Though some people drank water or milk from livestock, alcoholic drinks like beer and whiskey were consumed by many Irish citizens. By the 1830s, Dublin's famous Guinness brewery was already the largest in the country.

During the Great Famine of the 1840s, the types of foods available to many Irish people shrank. As 60% of the nation's food needs were met by the potato, year after year of poor harvests brought mass starvation. Though the wealthy were able to weather the storm much more successfully, nearly one-eighth of the population of Ireland starved to death. Many other fled for a new life in America or elsewhere.

The transportation of food by rail and the development of refrigeration later in the 19th century dramatically changed how the Irish could prepare their food and store leftovers. Some people began cooking food in an iron cooker called a range, which was cleaner and safer than cooking on an open flame under the chimney. Meanwhile, improved plumbing and sanitation was finally making the water drinkable in some developing towns.
A Belfast workhouse
Brown lived during a time of great medical progress, as increased understanding of human anatomy helped doctors and scientists develop better solutions for many of the diseases, infections, and unsanitary conditions plaguing the lives of Brown's friends and family in Ireland. The cholera and smallpox vaccines helped save an enormous number of lives in the late 19th century. Other medical advancements included the stethoscope, blood transfusions, syringe, thermometer, cystoscope, and the X-ray machine. Scientists and doctors came to a better understanding of how proper hygiene could decrease medical complications and the spread of disease, and most doctors now sterilized their tools, washed their hands when performing examinations, and encouraged patients to focus on cleanliness.

Doctors also developed new ways to improve their patients' comfort, and laughing gas, codeine, chloroform, and morphine decreased pain during operations. Other simple painkillers such as salicylic acid, the forerunner of aspirin, were made into pills and powders for easy consumption. This development allowed many members of Brown's community access to inexpensive medication for even minor aches and pains. Others elected to purchase homeopathic "natural cure" pills and solutions not supported by traditional medicine. These products, then known mostly as patent medicine, were sold equally by con men and legitimate pharmacies, and were popping up everywhere and delivering highly mixed, controversial results. Some Irish men and women trusted home remedies rather than traditional Western medicine.

Many of the hospitals available to the poorest Irish urban workers were those associated with the workhouses - institutions which housed orphans, unwed mothers, and other "undesirables," and sought to better their lives by forcing them to work in exchange for care - however, they were not required to help everyone. The Poor Laws of 1862 changed this, mandating that workhouse hospitals also offer care for the non-destitute. Many in poorer rural areas also benefited from dispensaries—small medical facilities run by a physician—which provided medical care to the people of Ireland and free care to the destitute.
A Private and an Officer
Ireland was part of the United Kingdom during Brown's life and, as such, there was no native Irish military. Instead, those that wished to be part of the army or navy would join the military of Great Britain. Since the repeal of the Penal Laws, Catholics and Protestant Dissenters were now given full rights in the army (although social bias could still hamper one's career). Irishmen enlisted in far greater numbers than anyone else in Britain; by the 1850s, Irish soldiers made up over a third of the entire British military. These recruits usually came from either the highest ranks of society, who saw serving as their patriotic duty, or the lower classes where soldiering offered a way out of poverty. Many Irish doctors also volunteered their services in the field during times of military crisis for Britain, such as the Crimean War in the 1850s. After 1870, soldiers who volunteered for the main army were allowed to enlist for up to twelve years, although they usually spent the last six years in a reserve unit. Before that the average enlistment was for 21 years.

After the defeat of Napoleon, the military spent much of its time maintaining order in Britain or its colonies. This occasionally meant helping to put down revolutions at home in Ireland, as several small risings occurred during the 19th century. Soldiers also served as far away as Australia, Canada, and India. A number of wars, such as the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Crimean War, or the Boer Wars would have all seen Irish soldiers participating. In order to maintain order, the British Army inflicted harsh disciplines such as branding or flogging, although these punishments were eventually outlawed.

During this era, women often followed the army when it was on campaign. Officers were allowed to bring their wives, and many other women followed, doing everything from washing clothes to nursing soldiers. Prostitutes were also commonplace. However, as the century came to a close, fewer and fewer women were found among the army camps.
Marries Sarah Phillips, 1866
In 1866, Brown was 23 when he married Sarah Phillips who was 23 at the time. They were married in Londonderry, Ireland.
Ireland, 1866
Ireland is known for its green landscapes, full of hills and fertile land. This lush setting was perfect for farming and raising livestock, two of the main industries in the region at the time. Along with agriculture, the textile industry was also essential to the economy. The climate where Brown lived was relatively cool, so he likely spent many days under the clouds.
Central Lowlands, 1867
Brown's hometown was in a region of Scotland known as the Central Lowlands. The Central Lowlands were the most densely populated region of Scotland, home to several large cities as well as many towns and villages. Some of the major industries of the region included agriculture, shipbuilding, iron, and coal mining.
Living in Scotland, 1867
Glaisnock St., Old Cumnock
After marrying in Londonderry, Brown and his wife Sarah Phillips moved to Ayrshire, Scotland, where they had 7 of their 8 children.
Fenian Rising, 1867
In 1867 when when Brown was a 24 year old, British authorities in Ireland attempted to outlaw and suppress the Irish People newspaper. This act of censorship prompted the Fenian Rising, a revolt that stemmed from disaffection toward British rule in Ireland. Unfortunately for the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the rising of 1867 was poorly organized and, because of British infiltration, never got off the ground. Most leaders of the rising were arrested and some were sentenced to death, but none were executed.
Robert Louis Stevenson
From quiet towns in the Highlands to the growing industrial cities of the Lowlands, Scots worked hard, but always appreciated some hard-earned entertainment when the day was over. For some members of Brown's community, this could mean a walk through a museum, an orchestral concert, a play, or reading the next great novel by a celebrated author of the day like Scotland's own Robert Louis Stevenson. For other people, however, the delights in life were slightly less sophisticated.

In some more rough and tumble parts of town, pubs were the center of a vibrant underworld, with impromptu concerts—called "free and easies"—encouraging patrons to sing along and dance with the musicians. Piano, fiddles, flutes and other instruments were often part of the performance, and the atmosphere tended to get rowdier as more whisky was consumed. These events soon outgrew the pubs and moved into larger theaters, creating the blend of shared folk music, comedy, and performance art known as "music hall" in the U.K.

For sport, Scotland was the known as the birthplace of golf, and boasted great courses like St. Andrews, which had been established way back in 1552. During Brown's life, though, many Scots found their passion in relatively new sports like football and rugby, both of which started forming universal rules and national competitions by the 1870s.

The arrival of new railways made holiday travel faster, giving more Scottish families the chance to visit relatives or explore other parts of the country. Still, many people in Brown's community chose never to leave their hometown and were quite content about it.
Georgian buildings in Edinburgh
Brown's home life may have been less than luxurious in the days before electricity, but his parents and grandparents certainly would have seen Brown enjoying some comforts not possible a few decades prior. Across Scotland, traditionally small, timber homes were being joined by more multi-room brick houses, and many tenement buildings in Edinburgh and Glasgow utilized locally produced sandstone as a central building material. There was also a style shift in the 1800s from the simplicity and symmetry of Georgian style homes to a slightly flashier, ornament-heavy trend of Victorian homes and Gothic-revival structures.

Better homes helped keep families warmer and drier in the cold, damp Scottish weather. Both thatch and tile were used as roofing materials, with a chimney serving as both the cooking stove and the main source of heat for the house. At bedtime, straw mattresses had mostly given way to more comfortable feather beds, especially among the wealthy. Candles and oil lanterns were relied upon for lighting at night until the dawning of the electricity era towards the end of the 19th century. Similarly, modern plumbing wasn't available to much of Scotland during the Victorian years, so many families still relied on chamber pots and outhouses. The emptying of this waste into city streets was a huge problem for many decades.

Of course, as with any other period in history, household improvements came slower to the poor and working class people that Brown knew, as many still lived in very rough conditions more akin to the 1700s.
No. 49 Gordon Highlander steam engine
During Brown's lifetime, new modes of transportation made long-distance travel possible for more of his neighbors. Public rail travel first arrived around 1845; dozens of railway stations were soon built across Scotland to support the locomotives. For those traveling overseas, the development of new steam-powered ships in 1848 made crossing the Atlantic easier than ever—although the trip was financially out of reach for all but the wealthy.

Brown generally traveled on foot, although buggies and wagons were widely used for lengthier excursions. As horses were expensive, many hitched their carts to slower—but more powerful—oxen. A bicycle craze swept Europe in the mid- to late 1800s, reducing the reliance on draft animals and offering quick, affordable transport to the masses. Bicycles provided women in particular with much greater mobility, leading to a revolution in everything from female attire to women's social roles.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Communication was revolutionized in the late 1800s by several innovations. The telegraph used electrical current pulses to transfer codes sent out by operators to other telegraph stations via electromagnetic wires, which were then deciphered by the operator. The most common code used was Morse, but over time, newer telegraph systems like the printing telegraph made it possible for the operator to type messages to the other side. By the 1870s, Scotland native Alexander Graham Bell earned his patent for the equally revolutionary telephone, marking the arrival of long-distance voice communication. For most people in Brown's community, however, this technology would not be available for many years.

As such, many Scots still corresponded with distant friends and loved ones through the written word. Towards the end of the century, people could use new typewriters, along with traditional pen and ink, to create these letters. Correspondence could then be delivered across the UK by the Royal Mail service.

As the literacy rate grew, local Scottish newspapers, journals, and periodicals became increasingly important to the reading populous. Papers like The Scotsman shifted to daily publication and focused on liberal issues, while respected critical journals like the The Edinburgh Review showcased progressive thinking and criticism from the academic world. This was also an era when Scotland's famous literary history gained another iconic figure in the form of Robert Louis Stevenson.

While most people Brown knew spoke and read in English, the traditions of the Scottish Gaelic language (spoken mostly in the Highlands) and the Germanic Scots language (Lowlands) were also preserved in many homes.
Tay Bridge Disaster, 1879
On the evening of December 28th, 1879, when Brown was 37, a terrible storm swept through the town of Dundee, Scotland. As a passenger train was crossing the Tay Bridge just outside of town, gale force winds caused the bridge to collapse, dragging the train and its 60 passengers down to a watery grave. Many of Brown's countrymen were saddened and troubled by this event and worried about the future of railroad safety.
Immigration to the United States, 1867 - 1880
British citizens continued the history of traveling to the United States long after the first immigrants reached its shores. Many immigrants, like their ancestors, saw the United States as a religious and economic refuge where they could begin a new phase of their lives. Others made the trip as indentured servants, where an American paid for their journey to the states in exchange for several years of service. British men and women typically set sail from ports such as Liverpool, Glasgow, London, or Hull.

Since the trip usually cost one-third of a person's annual income for an average sized family, many immigrants only had enough money to ride below deck and bring a few essential items. These people often slept in narrow, close bunks with little fresh air. During storms, the door to the deck was closed, leaving these passengers with no light and stale air, which made the stench of vomit and chamber pots even worse. Fortunately, thanks to the British Passenger Act in the early 1800s, ships had to bring along food items such as biscuits, wheat flour, oatmeal, rice, tea, sugar and molasses, along with fresh water to combat starvation. Steamships forced poor Brits to live in these conditions for around 12-14 days, which was mercifully shorter than the sailing ships of previous decades.

After they arrived in the United States, immigrants were processed and given a quick medical examination and questionnaire to determine if they would be able to stay in the country. Those with communicable diseases or mental disabilities were considered unfit for entry, but those that passed were free to leave and start their new lives.
Pennsylvania, 1880
During the 1800s, numerous European immigrants relocated to Pennsylvania in search of religious freedom and new economic opportunities. The state's rolling hills, plateaus, rivers, woodlands, and vast farmlands made it a strong agricultural and fur trapping region. Cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh also became major industrial centers, attracting thousands of factory workers. Around 2.5 million people lived in Pennsylvania during Brown's time—with a mix of farmers, merchants, woodsmen, and factory workers making up much of the population.
Emigration to America, 1880
SS Circassia
In 1880, Brown left Scotland, bound for America. He sailed from Glasgow on the SS Circassia. Four months after he arrived, his wife and children came over and joined him in Pennsylvania.
Wharton School, 1881
A building at Wharton School of Business
In the late 1800s, Philadelphian Joseph Wharton—an iron miner and self-taught businessman—realized that the only current business education in the United States came through apprenticeships. When Brown was 38, Wharton made headlines by donating $100,000 to the University of Pennsylvania in order to found a new "School of Finance and Economy." Wharton hoped that this new venture would allow Pennsylvanians and people across the country to gain a better understanding of business—thus creating a wider and more robust economy during the Industrial Revolution. For many young people in Brown's community, this opened up a new avenue of potential study and new career choices, as well.
Brown and those around him tried their best to make sense of a changing world in the wake of the Civil War. The 14th and 15th amendments opened up new political opportunities for Americans across the country, allowing both white and black males the right to vote, but controversial legislation and racism inhibited many Americans from fully participating in the political sphere. Women were still excluded from politics, though married women received more education and conceived fewer children than their predecessors, while founding reform groups around issues like women's health, women's rights, temperance, and child labor, which were some of the issues at the forefront of politics during Brown's lifetime. Slavery and Reconstruction were also key concerns, as the United States struggled to adjust to racial tension. Western settlement and new technology prompted significant changes in American politics over the course of the century.
Time Zones, 1883
Time zones helped prevent excessive waiting at train stations
When Brown was 40, time zones were introduced in the US for the first time. Before 1883, most local communities rendered time based on "high noon," when the sun was at its highest point. As railroads led to faster travel and commerce between distant communities, the lack of a standardized time zone caused confusion and chaos with regards to times of arrival and departures at train stations. Railroad companies created time zones in 1883 to make travel and commerce easier and more organized for people around Brown. This change was well-received and very successful, and within a year, international time zones were established, improving navigation around the world.
Paper bills from the 1880s
Towns and cities were being established across the United States during the 1800s, and as the population grew many people around Brown stopped practicing subsistence farming and worked in other jobs, such as blacksmithing or tanning. Bartering was still common during Brown's life, as many of the local farmers would use their crops to barter for goods. Technology was also improving, so it was possible to farm more land with fewer people.

Around the beginning of the century, the United States began to print its own money in order to solve the problem of foreign currency circulating in the economy. Brown and his neighbors began to use U.S. dollars instead of British shillings and pence.

Department stores began to appear in the larger U.S. cities across the United States in the latter half of the century. This allowed people like Brown's friends and family to purchase goods at set prices rather than through the barter system, where the price could vary from person to person.
Homestead Strike, 1892
Strikers burning the Pinkerton barge
By 1892, tensions had reached a boiling point between large business owners and workers across much of the country. This became extremely evident in Pennsylvania, where 49 year-old Brown lived at the time. Workers at one of Andrew Carnegie's steel mills in Homestead voted to go on strike to protest poor wages. The manager of the steel mill, Henry C. Frick, refused to budge. He was willing to do anything to break the strike, and had Carnegie's full support. Frick hired a private army from the Pinkerton Detective Agency to put down the strike, but this action led to an all-out battle on July 6th, 1892, with more than 3,000 workers clashing with the security agents. Twelve people were killed in the fighting, and the state militia was sent in to end the strike, bringing in strike-breakers to replace the workers in the mill. For much of the working class in Brown's part of Pennsylvania, the Homestead Strike would serve as an inspiration and rallying cry. On the larger scene, though, the events set back the efforts for unionized labor, as the U.S. government refused to acknowledge them for years to come.
Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896
Brown was 53 when the case of Plessy v. Ferguson was heard before the United States Supreme Court. Addressing the discrimination still faced by African-Americans in a post-slavery America, the Court's eventual ruling established the precedent of "separate but equal." This upheld the legality of having separate, segregated facilities and institutions for whites and blacks, be it water fountains or school systems. Plessy's defeat led to increased discussion over civil rights in America, but blacks would still face the obstacles of legal segregation for decades to come.
Marconi Invents Radio, 1897
Marconi demonstrating the radio
Following in the tradition of dozens of Italian scientists and inventors, Guglielmo Marconi began studying at the Livorno Technical Institute in 1894. Focusing his efforts on understanding radio waves, he had patented a basic system of wireless telegraphy—the radio—by 1897. Marconi's first radio waves were initially short, averaging only a mile and a half long. But in 1901, he was able to receive a wireless transmission from across the Atlantic, and kept refining his technology until he could transmit from Nova Scotia to Ireland. He received the Nobel Prize in physics in 1909. In 1912, the Titanic famously signaled for help using Marconi's invention.

Even after his initial successes, Marconi continued to study and develop his science, assisting in the creation of the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) and the development of radar technology. But Marconi would remain most well-known for inventing the radio, bringing increased enjoyment, safety, and information to Brown's neighbors and relatives. Many members of Brown's community soon could not imagine their lives without the existence of radio.
1897 Coal Miner Strike, 1897
Miners striking in Lattimer, Pennsylvania
A depiction of part of the strike
When Brown was in his 50s, many of his neighbors found employment in nearby coal mines, toiling in dangerous conditions for little pay. By 1897, miners in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and West Virginia had had enough. On July 4, the United Mine Workers of America union called for its 10,000 members to walk off the job—and 150,000 frustrated miners across the region joined in.

For weeks, the miners refused to return to work, despite threats from their employers. On September 10, an argument between a sheriff's posse and striking workers near Hazelton, Pennsylvania boiled over into violence. Nineteen unarmed miners were killed and several more wounded in a confrontation later known as the Lattimer Massacre.

One day later, Brown's community received news that the strike had ended. The protestors were relieved to learn that their efforts had not been in vain: employers promised to limit shifts to eight hours. They also agreed to pay workers more regularly and in cash, rather than in credits at the employers' stores. Brown's neighbors hoped that the mine owners would hold up their end of the bargain, improving working conditions and quality of life for their families.
Spanish American War, 1898
A battle of the Spanish-American War
During Brown's lifetime, the United States began to establish itself as a world power, and began to intervene in international affairs in places like the Philippines, Hawaii, and Cuba. Unfortunately for U.S. foreign relations, this caused a lot of tension, resulting in several conflicts including the Spanish-American War of 1898. Americans around Brown were shocked to read the sensational news articles detailing the alleged Spanish attack on the U.S.S. Maine in Cuba. Although only a few thousand Americans died in the war, the U.S. established itself as a major player on the world stage. Many people around Brown learned about the war through "yellow journalism," or newspaper articles that contained exaggerated information to promote the war and sell copies.
US Steel Corporation, 1901
Andrew Carnegie
In 1901, the United States Steel Corporation was established, with its headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This was major news not just to Brown's fellow Pennsylvanians, but to steel workers, investors, and business leaders around the world. A merger of several other steel manufacturing companies, U.S. Steel had the backing of some of the nation's most powerful business magnates, including J.P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie. Overnight, it became the largest business enterprise in the history of the country, and was producing 65% of the nation's steel within a year. Locally, Pennsylvania's dominance as an epicenter for the steel industry created countless jobs and led to population booms in Pittsburgh and many other industrial towns.
Mining Strike, 1901
When Brown was in his 50s, mining was a very important industry for the Pennsylvania economy. Unfortunately, the miner's occupation consisted of long days in dangerous locations for little pay. Seeking to improve their situation, the state's miners formed a union and requested a 20% increase in pay and a reduction from ten to eight hour workdays. Once these demands were ignored multiple times, the union elected to go on strike in 1901. Over 100,000 miners from northeastern Pennsylvania joined the cause and kept the mines closed all summer, until President Teddy Roosevelt himself intervened in the negotiations. The labor battle wasn't just a major news story, it directly impacted many people in Brown's part of the country, as the desire for better treatment also brought the risk of losing the ability to provide for one's family.
Wright Brothers, 1903
When Brown was 60 years old, brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright successfully designed and flew the world's first heavier-than-air, human-piloted aircraft. That initial flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, lasted less than a minute and didn't actually gain much public attention. By 1905, though, Brown's local newspaper would follow the Wright Brothers closely as their increasingly sustained flights became a national sensation. Within a few short decades, the modern airplane would completely revolutionize travel for people all over the world.
Ford Motors, 1903
Ford Motor Company
In June of 1903, when Brown was 60, Henry Ford changed transportation forever by founding the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan. In its early years, the company revolutionized manufacturing with its improved version of the assembly line, which had been patented by Ransom Olds of the Oldsmobile company a few years prior. Ford's version of the assembly line used an innovative conveyor system, in which the chassis of the car were towed by a rope from station to station, making production quicker and more efficient. Ford also set a precedent by providing a decent wage for his workers—$5 for a 9-hour day. The introduction of the Model T a few years later allowed millions of middle-class Americans to affordable automobiles.
Harwick Mine Disaster, 1904
Since mining was such an important piece of Pennsylvania's economy, people all around 61 year-old Brown were shocked when 179 coal miners were killed in an accident on January 25, 1904. Miners in Harwick frequently used dynamite in their efforts to extract coal, but a dynamite explosion ignited the methane and coal dust that were suspended in the air, killing nearly everyone inside the mine. Only 1 miner made it out alive, and two more people were tragically killed trying to rescue the trapped workers. Brown's friends and neighbors worried about the safety of their loved ones who worked in mines across Pennsylvania, and sadly, their worst fears were confirmed. Over the next four years, more than 400 more miners were killed in similar accidents.
Hershey's, 1905
While steel and mining had long been major parts of Pennsylvania's economy, a new industry entered the scene when Brown was 62: chocolate. Milton Hershey had been tinkering with a formula for affordable mass-produced milk chocolate on his family farm for a few years, and in 1905, he constructed a massive chocolate factory in Derry Township, a rural area near Harrisburg. Hershey's factory would go on to employ hundreds of Brown's fellow Pennsylvanians. The popular and affordable chocolate treats they produced were shipped across the country and around the world. As a result, the town Hershey built for his employees grew rapidly, and included a school for orphans as well as a zoo and amusement park.
First Radio Broadcast, 1906
Reginald Fessenden
On Christmas Eve of 1906, the Canadian inventor Reginald Fessenden successfully executed the first radio broadcast—a Christmas concert sent out from a radio tower in Massachusetts to crews aboard United Fruit Company ships in the Atlantic Ocean. This was a major milestone in communication, and made news around the world. Soon, people like 63 year-old Brown would be able to enjoy this new technology for communication, news, and entertainment.
Titanic Sinks, 1912
On the night of April 14, 1912, when Brown was 69, the RMS Titanic sank into the North Atlantic Ocean. Many people read about this tragic accident in the newspaper in the days and weeks following the crash. The Titanic had been sailing at full speed when the crew saw an iceberg, but were unable to turn before it hit the boat's starboard (right) side. The crash and subsequent sinking killed more than 1,500 people and shocked American and European citizens, who believed the Titanic to be unsinkable. The lack of sufficient lifeboats also angered many people and prompted the establishment of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, which to this day governs maritime safety. It also led to the establishment of the International Ice Patrol, which watches the frigid seas for potentially dangerous icebergs.
Lincoln Highway, 1913
When Brown was 70, the Lincoln Highway—America's first transcontinental highway for automobiles—was constructed. Beginning in Times Square in New York City and ending in Lincoln Park in San Francisco, the highway took a direct route of 3,389 miles, and crossed states such as New Jersey, Ohio, Nebraska, and Utah. Before the highway existed, people mostly traveled by rail because roads outside of towns and cities were often in terrible condition. With the introduction of this highway, Brown's car-owning friends and family no longer had to worry about train schedules. The highway's booming popularity enticed restaurants, shops and hotels to establish themselves all along the road. The Lincoln Highway revolutionized continental transportation and afforded many Americans the opportunity to travel, explore, and enjoy America's rich land from the comfort of their very own automobile.
World War I, 1914 - 1918
Soldiers prepare weapons from a trench
When Brown was 71 years old, the Great War (later known as World War I) began. The assassination of Austria's Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Serbia on June 28, 1914, sparked the conflict, which would officially begin a month later. Years of nations increasing their military might and building in nationalism, while engaging in alliances and imperialism, quickly drew in combatants from around the globe. In battle were the Central Powers (consisting of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire) and the Allied forces of Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Japan, and, eventually, the United States. The combination of old military battle tactics and new elements like the machine gun and chemical weapons led to extremely brutal battles and death tolls the world had never seen. By the time the war ended in 1918, 21 million were wounded, and more than 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians had died as a direct result of the conflict.

While the war was raging overseas, many Americans were concerned with German U-boat attacks on ships crossing the Atlantic carrying American passengers, especially after the sinking of the Lusitania. Moreover, they worried that Germany would further incite the struggles involving the Texas/Mexico border. The Zimmerman Telegram, which was intercepted by British cryptographers, revealed a possible German-Mexican alliance was forthcoming, prompting the United States to finally enter the war in 1917. Many in Brown's community were outraged at the possibility, believing America's involvement was inappropriate and unnecessary, as the conflict began in Europe and concerned European problems; President Woodrow Wilson was even propelled to a second term on the basis that he had kept the nation out of the conflict. Once American soldiers finally did enter the fray, however, patriotism and anti-German sentiments ruled the day.

America mobilized over 4,000,000 military personnel through both voluntary enlistment and the passage of the Selective Service Act; 110,000 of these combatants were killed. Military training camps opened up across the country, and Brown and members of his family and community may have seen military personnel, wagons, and trucks passing through on their way to set up camps.

On the home front, many helped the war efforts by buying Liberty bonds, war savings stamps, and contributing to other wartime organizations. Some farmers sectioned new space of their farms for food crops to aid in feeding soldiers. Others took part in food-conservation programs where citizens abstained from certain foods based on the day, such as wheatless Mondays and Wednesdays, to help conserve for the war effort.

An Allied victory was reached with an armistice on November 11, 1918, but as soldiers returned home with both visible and unseen battle wounds, the world would never be the same.
National Park Service, 1916
An early poster from the National Park Service
Brown was 74 when President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill that created the National Park Service, a new government agency dedicated to the protection and conservation of America's most historic and scenic places. While the idea of conservation wasn't new in the U.S., the job of protecting large, established parks like Yellowstone had generally been left to the military. Now, within a year, Yellowstone and countless other popular destinations would fall under the control of the NPS, ensuring that Brown and future generations could see America's history and beauty protected.
Flu Pandemic, 1918
Soldiers with the Spanish Flu in a hospital ward
A terrible flu pandemic struck the United States and the entire world when Brown was 75. The Spanish Flu of 1918 infected over a third of the world's population and killed more than 650,000 Americans alone, as the medical community desperately searched for better treatments or a vaccine. (Although it became known as the "Spanish Flu," it is believed to have originated in Kansas, where it spread quickly through army facilities, and then around the globe.) Many public gathering spots like theaters, saloons, sports arenas, and shops were temporarily closed, and some people in Brown's community resorted to wearing masks any time they went into town. Hospitals and funeral parlors were overwhelmed, leaving many poor Americans to bury their own loved ones. With World War I raging at the same time, it made for a very challenging period for just about everyone.
Brown dies, 1919
Brown died of acute bronchitis in Hamilton Township, Tioga County, Pennsylvania when he was 76 years old.
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