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Canadian History
William Brown


D. L. S., C. E., Professor of Agriculture, Guelph Agricultural College, was born on the 14th April, 1835, at Turriff, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. He is a son of James Brown, LL.D., author of "The Forester", and now a resident of Port Elgin, Ontario, Canada. His mother was Janetr Erskine. His great grandfather, on his father's side, was cousin to Rev. John Brown, minister of Haddington, commonly called "Bible Brown". Professor Brown was educated principally in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, in the ordinary parochial schools of the country, and he attended school up to his seventeenth year; thereafter he was entirely self-taught. He was a justice of the peace in Aberdeenshire for twelve years, and railway director there for five years, ending 1869. He was also commissioner for the County of Aberdeen, and one of fifteen appointed to superintend the cattle plague of 1867; and was for three years clerk and treasurer of North and South Orillia and Matchedash. In 1861 he joined the Masonic Order of Scotland. Up to his twentieth year Mr. Brown was largely employed by his father in the superintendence of forest tree planting in England and Scotland; in the extensive drainage of farms; and in the general improvement of landed estates. From twenty to twenty-four he was engaged on a survey of the estates of the Earl of Seafield in Banffshire, Scotland, and had also the personal management of the estates of Andrew Stewart, M. P. for Auchlunkart, in the same county. In 1860 he received the important appointment of factor to Colonel Farquharson of Invercauld, Braemar, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. This estate is one of the most extensive in Scotland, and embraces about 135,000 acres of land, with nearly 500 tenants, 30,000 sheep, and corresponding Highland characteristics, such as shooting, fishing, etc., and unusually valuable woods and forests. It was chiefly because of Mr. Brown's intimate practical acquaintance with Arboriculture that he received this onerous appointment. He took an active part in improving the roads of the district, and in introducing traction engines for the conveyance of timber to the railroads, and ultimately to the extension of the railway itself. Canada presenting better prospects for his family of three sons and three daughters, he emigrated in 1871, and bought a farm near Orillia, and in addition to farming acted as provincial land surveyor; and he was appointed to the charge of the Ontario Agriculture College and Experimental farm in 1875. Prof. Brown is author of various important papers, among others one on "British Sheep Farming", published in Edinburgh, and one on the "Claims of Arboriculture as a Science", read before the British Association for the Advancement of Science. He is gold medallist of the Highland and Agriculture Society of Scotland, as well as of the Scottish Arboricultural Society. It is hardly necessary here to say how prosperous has been the Guelph Agriculture College since Prof. Brown took its management. Its reputation for excellence is now so well established that its membership each year includes students from the most distant parts of Canada, from Great Britain, and from the United States. Professor Brown is an enthusiast in his work, and, besides his duties as head of the Agricultural and Experimental departments of the college, he has given lectures upon scientific farming, stock-raising, etc., through many parts of Canada. He is also skilled in forestry, and his brother is government conservator of Forests for South Australia.


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