Martha McClellan Brown

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Martha McClellan Brown (April 16, 1838 – August 31, 1916) was a major leader in the temperance movement in Ohio.


Brown was born in Baltimore, Maryland on April 16, 1838 to David and Jane Manypenny McClellan. In 1940, the family relocated to Cambridge, Ohio. She was orphaned at 8 years old and was raised in the home of a neighbor. In 1958, she married Reverend W. Kennedy Brown. In 1862, Brown graduated at the head of class at the Pittsburgh Female College. Together, they had six children: Orvon Graff (1863), Westanna O’Neil, Charme, Richard McClellan, Marie, and Kleon Thaw (1886).[1][2][3]

In 1861, she joined the fraternal organization Independent Order of Good Templars, beginning her temperance career. The organization promoted total abstinence and state prohibition. In 1868, she was editor of a local newspaper in Alliance, Ohio, The Alliance Monitor, where she and her husband turned it into a temperance publication during their tenure until 1878. She was grand templar of Ohio from 1872-1873.[1][3][4]

Brown helped form the Women’s Temperance Association of Ohio in 1874 by drafting a plan and called for a convention in November 1874 after realizing new supporters of the temperance movement were unwilling to join the Good Templars. At the convention, the Woman's Christian Temperance Union was founded. She wanted to be president of the new organization, but the post went to Annie T. Wittenmeyer because of her ties to the Good Templars.[1][3]

In 1876, she was named vice president of the Prohibition Party and advocated for women’s suffrage as part of the platform.[1] and moved to New York City in 1877, leaving her family in Pittsburgh and spending her time as secretary of the National Prohibition Alliance. Brown broke with the party in 1896 when the party dropped its commitment to suffrage.[2][3]

She served as vice-president of the Cincinnati Wesleyan Women's College from 1882 to 1892.[2] In Cincinnati, she became prominent in civic affairs, including organizing school mothers’ clubs; launching a summer program from the city’s poor children; and president of the Woman’s Rotary Club in 1914.[3]

Brown died on August 31, 1916 in Dayton, Ohio of ptomaine poisoning.[2][3]


  1. ^ a b c d "Martha McClellan Brown Photograph :: Ohio Memory Collection". Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Martha McClellan Brown | American activist". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2015-12-21. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f James, Edward T.; James, Janet Wilson; Boyer, Paul S. (1971-01-01). Notable American Women, 1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674627345. 
  4. ^ "Brown, Martha McClellan". Women in World History, Vol. 3: Brem-Cold. Waterford, CT: Yorkin Publications. 1999. p. 113. ISBN 0-7876-4062-X. 

External links[edit]