Brown, Harvey M., Maj., Co. I, 31st WI Infantry & Co. B, WI 36th Infantry

Harvey Maynard Brown was born in 1834 to Dr. Harvey M. Brown and Sarah Ann Nichols in Clinton, New York, four months after the sudden death of his father. Years later when his mother remarried and moved to the wilderness of Kenosha, Wisconsin Territory, she wanted Harvey to have a better education than would be possible in Wisconsin. She arranged for him to stay in New York and live with his aunt while attending school in Clarendon. During this time his step-father, Shubael Lewis, was killed by the Indians when he ventured to the gold fields of California, and Sarah was left alone with five small children. She moved to Columbus, Wisconsin, where her brother-in-law, James T. Lewis (Governor of Wisconsin 1864-1866), was living, and he looked after the family.

When Harvey was sixteen and had completed his education he went to Madison, Wisconsin, where he worked as an apprentice to a printer.  When his apprenticeship was up in 1851, he went to live with his mother in Columbus. Here he worked as a drayman to help with the support of the family.

When the Civil War broke out, Harvey was anxious to take part. He helped recruit Company I of the 31st Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers, and was subsequently commissioned first-lieutenant. He remained with this regiment until the 9th of February, 1864, at which time he was commissioned by Governor Lewis as a Major of the 36th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He went to the front with this regiment and participated in all its fierce battles. In the historic charge over the “Melon Patch” on June 18th, 1864, Harvey fell terribly wounded, and laid between the lines for the entire day and far into the night, when his mangled and almost lifeless body was finally secured under cover of darkness. In the morning he was transported to the field hospital, and eventually to the Officers Hospital in Washington, where he recovered sufficiently to be removed home. He was never able to return to his regiment again.

After returning home and spending time recovering, Harvey became very active in his hometown. He started a business selling books, stationery, watches, clocks and jewelry. He was twice Mayor of Columbus, held many local offices, was postmaster during Mr. Cleveland’s first term, and raised fine Kentucky bred horses, which were his passion. He operated his store for twenty-five years, retiring only three years before his death. All those years he was a constant sufferer of pain from his wounds.

In 1868 he married Helen Marie Cooper, and to them were born two children, Dorothy Nichols Brown in 1882, and Harry Willard Brown in 1886.

Major Brown died October 27, 1893. A large number of citizens and old friends assembled to pay tribute to his memory and followed his remains to the tomb in Hillside Cemetery. The local GAR Post #146 was named the Harvey M. Brown Post.


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