John Y. Brown Sr.

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John Y. Brown Sr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's At-large district
In office
March 4, 1933 – January 3, 1935
Preceded by District created
Succeeded by District abolished
Personal details
Born John Young Brown
(1900-02-01)February 1, 1900
Union County, Kentucky, U.S.
Died June 16, 1985(1985-06-16) (aged 85)
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
Resting place Lexington Cemetery
Lexington, Kentucky, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Dorothy Inman Brown
Children John Y. Brown Jr.
Relatives John Y. Brown III (grandson)
Pamela Brown (granddaughter)

John Young Brown Sr. (February 1, 1900 – June 16, 1985) was an American attorney and politician.[1] He was a state representative for nearly three decades, serving one term as speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives and as majority floor leader during the term of Governor Edward T. Breathitt. He was elected to one term in the U.S. House of Representatives from March 4, 1933 to January 3, 1935 to an at-large seat elected statewide on a general ticket. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Kentucky in 1939 and the unsuccessful candidate for the United States Senate in 1946 and 1966. He was a member of the Democratic Party.[2]


Brown was born on a farm near Geiger Lake, Union County, Kentucky, attended Union County schools and graduated from the high school at Sturgis, Kentucky. He graduated from Centre College at Danville, Kentucky[2] with an A.B. degree in 1921 where he was a member of Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity and a "Scrub" player on the famous Centre Praying Colonels football team. He received his LL.B. degree from University of Kentucky College of Law[2] in 1926 and was admitted to the bar that same year.

He was a well-known trial lawyer who practiced law from 1926 to 1985 in Lexington, Kentucky with three firms: Brown and Miller, Brown and Son, and Brown, Sledd and McCann. He was noted for his extensive quotation of the Bible from memory during his summations to juries.

Brown sponsored much legislation in the Kentucky House of Representatives including the state's first sales tax and civil rights legislation. He was recognized on many occasions as the most effective legislator in the House.

Brown died of pneumonia in Louisville, six months after being paralyzed from the waist down in an automobile accident.[1] He and his wife, Dorothy Inman Brown, had five children. One son, John Y. Brown Jr., made a large fortune as the owner of Kentucky Fried Chicken and was Kentucky governor from 1979 to 1983. A daughter, Pamela Brown, died in 1970 in an ill-fated attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a balloon dubbed "The Free Life." He is also the grandfather of former Kentucky Secretary of State John Y. Brown III and news anchor Pamela Ashley Brown.


Brown is a member of the University of Kentucky College of Law's Hall of Fame and the Phi Kappa Tau Hall of Fame.


  1. ^ a b "John Y. Brown Sr., 85. Father of Ex-Governor". The New York Times. June 17, 1985. Retrieved September 12, 2010. John Y. Brown Sr., a prominent defense attorney and father of former Gov. John Y. Brown Jr. of Kentucky, died of pneumonia today at Humana Hospital Audubon, where he had been treated since June 5. He was 85 years old and had been paralyzed from the waist down since he was hurt in an automobile accident in December. ...
  2. ^ a b c "John Y. Brown Sr.". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 2014-08-04. John Young Brown, a Representative from Kentucky; born on a farm near Geigers Lake, Union County, Ky., February 1, 1900; attended the county schools and the high school at Sturgis, Ky.; Centre College, Danville, Ky., A.B., 1921, and from the law department of the University of Kentucky at Lexington, LL.B., 1926 ...

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Seat created
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's at-large congressional district

Succeeded by
Seat eliminated