J. O. Brown, proprietor of the Forest House, Hesperia, was born in Cortland Co., in N. Y., Dec. 9, 1843. His parents, Jesse and Mary (Ostrander) Brown, were natives of New England, and of German and Welsh English and Irish descent. John was educated in the town of Scott, Cortland County, and when 18 years of age, Aug. 9, 1862, enlisted in Co. D, 157th N. Y. Vol. Inf., under command of W. O. Dunbar, and was confined to the Army of the Potomac, acting as drummer boy. He was afterward transferred to the Department of the South, where he played the cymbal in the cornet band till the close of the war. During all the engagements in which the regiment was called into action, this band was detailed to the dangerous post of "stretcher bearer." At the battle of Gettysburg he was captured while on duty; was held four days; was re-captured by the Union forces and placed in a hospital, where he served four months as nurse, and was afterward again placed in the ranks as musician. He was honorably discharged July 10, 1865, and returned to his home in New York. Soon after, he purchased a farm upon which he worked for a time, then sold out and followed the vocation of teaching, in the common schools of his county. In 1867 he came to Michigan and located in Pontiac, Oakland Co., and commenced to travel as salesman for Seymore Miller, of Cortland Co., N. Y. He was afterward in the employ of a Chicago house for a while, then abandoned that vocation and taught school again, this time in the vicinity of his home in Oakland County.
About this time Mr. Brown became acquainted with Miss Dorothy A. Patch, and they were afterward married. Her parents were Anson B. and Emily (Sutherland) Patch, natives of New England, and she was born Oct. 31, 1849, in Macomb Co., Mich. When she was very young her parents moved to Oakland County, and she remained there until her marriage. Mr. Brown then engaged in the sewing-machine business, which he has since followed until February, 1882, when he became owner and proprietor of the Forest House in Hesperia, this county.
Mr. and Mrs. Brown have four children: Ida M., born May 9, 1871; Eda B., Oct. 3, 1872; Jessie A., Oct. 19, 1874; Newton E., Sept. 9, 1877. In politics Mr. Brown is a Republican.