He was born in Scotland in 1828 (1826 in some sources). He was an owner of a company which manufactured iron agricultural implements in Belleville and vice-president of the Belleville and North Hastings Railway. Brown was a lieutenant-colonel in the local militia, served as mayor of Belleville in 1862 and 1863 and was also reeve for Hastings for six years. He ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the assembly for the Province of Canada in 1861. Brown died in Belleville at the age of 68.