AUTOGRAPH OF GOVERNOR JOSEPH EMERSON BROWN

$75.00

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Item Code: 913-88

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Signature in ink reads, “VERY RESPECTFULLY, JOSEPH E. BROWN”. Entirely legible, on clipped paper that measures 4 ½” x 2 ¼”. Paper has yellowed with age and shows some smudges.

Also included is a lithograph image of Brown, which was reprinted from Harper’s Weekly, 1881. Page measures 4 ¾” x 6 ½”.

Joseph Emerson Brown (April 15, 1821 – November 30, 1894), often referred to as Joe Brown, was an attorney and politician, serving as the 42nd Governor of Georgia from 1857 to 1865, the only governor to serve four terms. After the Civil War, he was elected by the state legislature as a two-term U.S. Senator, serving from 1880 to 1891. Brown was a leading secessionist in 1861, and led his state into the Confederacy.

A former Whig, and a firm believer in slavery and southern states' rights, he defied the Confederate government's wartime policies. He resisted the military draft, believing that local troops should be used only for the defense of Georgia. He denounced Confederate President Jefferson Davis as an incipient tyrant, and challenged Confederate impressment of animals and goods to supply the troops, and slaves to work in military encampments and on the lines. Several other governors followed his lead.

After the war, Brown joined the Republican Party for a time, and was appointed as chief justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia from 1865 to 1870. Later he rejoined the Democrats, became president of the Western and Atlantic Railroad and began to amass great wealth; he was estimated to be a millionaire by 1880. He earned high profits from two decades of using mostly black convicts leased from state, county and local governments in his coal mining operations in Dade County. His Dade Coal Company bought other coal and iron companies, all based on the use of convict labor. By 1889 it was known as the Georgia Mining, Manufacturing and Investment Company. Brown and his wife were honored in 1928 by a statue installed on the state capitol grounds.  [sm]

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