John Brown (educator)

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Reverend John Brown
President of the
University of Georgia
In office
Preceded by Josiah Meigs
Succeeded by Robert Finley
Personal details
Born (1763-06-15)June 15, 1763
County Antrim, Ireland
Died December 11, 1842(1842-12-11) (aged 79)
Fort Gaines, Georgia
Spouse(s) Mary McCullough
Profession Presbyterian minister

Rev. John Brown (June 15, 1763 – December 11, 1842) was the third president of the University of Georgia. He served in that capacity from 1811 until his resignation in 1816.

John Brown was born on June 15, 1763 in County Antrim, Ireland, the son of Walter and Margaret Brown; who were Scotch-Irish Presbyterians. At the age of three, John and his parents, emigrated to America aboard the ship "The Earl of Donegal" arriving in Charleston, South Carolina harbor on the 22nd of December 1767. John's father was granted 200 acres, per the Bounty Act of the South Carolina General Assembly passed the 25th day of July 1761 to Protestants willing to settle in the back-country of South Carolina which became, Chester County. The Brown's became members of the Fishing Creek Presbyterian church where family, faith and education were very important. Young John was an excellent student.

When the American Revolution came to their area in 1780, John Brown, age 17, joined the South Carolina Militia under the command of Capt. John McClure and General Thomas Sumter. He was in the first attack on the British at Rocky Mount and at the Battle of Hanging Rock. Being a known patriot, the family home was burned and looted, driving his parents to Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. John's sister, Jane Brown Gaston, was known for her bravery during the war, as well.

After the war, John resumed his education and studied under Dr. S. E. McCorkle in Salisbury, North Carolina; and received a Doctor of Divinity degree. In 1788, John Brown was licensed by the Presbytery of Concord (NC) as a Presbyterian minister. His first pastoral post was Old Waxsaw Presbyterian church, in Lancaster, South Carolina. Also in 1788, Rev. Brown married the former Miss Mary McCullough of Salisbury.

In 1792, Rev. Brown reorganized the congregations of Upper, Middle and Lower Fishing Creek Presbyterian churches into one; which he renamed Richardson Presbyterian. From here in 1793, Rev. Brown was called to be the pastor of Beaver Creek, Hanging Rock and Miller's congregations in Kershaw County, South Carolina.

One of Rev. Brown's main concerns was education of which he dedicated his life. For the next ten years, Rev. Brown was a professor at South Carolina College (later the university). During this time, Rev. Brown helped to start several schools, Lancaster Academy (SC) 1802 and Wadesboro Academy (NC) in 1803; servings as a trustee and president. In 1811, Reverend John Brown became the President of the University of Georgia in Athens, which was established in 1765. He served in this post until 1816.

After his resigned as President of University of Georgia, Rev. Brown was chosen pastor of Mt. Zion Church in Hancock County, Georgia. He ministered to this congregation for the next twelve years. Next, he was pastor at the Washington (GA) Presbyterian church before he began missionary work in the south Georgia frontier near Fort Gaines in Clay County, Georgia.

Reverend John Brown died on December 11, 1842 in Fort Gaines. He is buried in the Old Pioneer Cemetery alongside his wife of 48 years.


Preceded by
Josiah Meigs
President of the University of Georgia
1811 – 1816
Succeeded by
Robert Finley