Tennessee Governor John Calvin Brown
Following the Battle of Franklin where he had been wounded, General John C. Brown, C.S.A., was brought here and remained here for several weeks until the Federal troops came back into the county. Born in Giles County on January 6, 1827, John C. Brown was one of nine children & the brother of Governor Neill S. Brown, who was thirteen years his senior. He was one of the best-educated men the State has ever produced and was a graduate of Jackson College, Columbia. In 1848 he began the practice of law. In politics, he was a Whig and made a brilliant canvass of the State as an elector on the Bell and Everett ticket, 1860. He opposed secession, but when the State voted to go with the Confederacy he went with her. With no military training, Brown entered the service of his state in 1861 as a Private and was quickly elected Captain, then Colonel of the 3rd Tennessee Infantry. He commanded his regiment in their invasion of Kentucky and Fort Donelson, where he was captured and sent to a northern prison. When released, he was promoted to Brigadier General and later to Major General. At the battle of Perryville, he was shot in the thigh and on leaving the hospital reported for duty while yet on crutches. His horse was shot from under him in the battle of Missionary Ridge, and at the battle of Franklin, he was shot from his horse while leading a charge in which the severe wound ended his military career. However, he did rejoin his men in North Carolina in April 1865 and was paroled at Greensboro.
Brown returned to his law practice in Pulaski, was elected to the Legislature, in 1869, and was the moving spirit in the Constitutional Convention of 1870. This same year he was elected Governor, defeating William H. Wisener; and in 1872 A. A. Freeman. Among the most important acts of his administration was the funding of the State debt, and the establishment of the present school system. He was President of the Texas & Pacific Railroad and at his death was President of the Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Company. As a Master Mason, Brown was Worshipful Master of Pulaski Lodge, No. 101, and also served as Grand Master of Masons of Tennessee. A benefactor of the Church of the Messiah in Pulaski, “He was a faithful man and feared God above many.” Upon his death on August 17, 1889, Governor John C. Brown was laid to rest in Maplewood Cemetery at Pulaski, Tennessee, where a life-size statue, sword in hand and facing the South, marks his resting place. Carved on his monument appears a fitting inscription: “He was successful in every undertaking and faithful to every trust.”