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Brown Canter Chilton

Obituary of Henry Maxfield Brown, Charleston, West Virginia.

In the seventy-fifth year of his age, Henry Maxfield Brown passed away at his home, in Charleston, W. Va., January 22, 1915. Born in luxury in the days of the Old South, with all of the ambitions and dreams of that noble generation and with the pride and dignity of the best blood in him, he was destined to see his beloved land laid low by the black scourge of cruel war. It was his lot to walk amidst the ashes and wreckage of former glory and take up life with his fortune destroyed. Many men grew bitter in those days, Not so with Henry Brown, His was a soul too big and manly to sit down and repine, Bravely, as he had fought for his land, he now took up the fiercer battle against despair, and, with no other assets besides his unconquerable spirit and keen intellect, he patiently commenced to rebuild the temple of his life.

To tell the story of his service as a Confederate soldier in Company B, 47th Virginia, would fill a book. In the awful carnage at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and in many other of the big engagements he distinguished himself for bravery and twice refused promotion from the office of orderly sergeant, modesty being his chief characteristic. As a prisoner of war he spent three months in the Old Capitol Prison at Washington and twelve months at Point Lookout, suffering heroically the bitter things that make the memory of the war a horror.

When I met Mr. Brown, more than twelve years ago, I was impressed with the feeling that here was a man of more than ordinary character, In an intimate association of pastor and parishioner and in the continuing friendship after the termination of my pastorate I became more and more convinced of the quiet strength and vigor as of a prince among men which grew on me as I knew him better.

As a gentlman and a Christian he had no superior, In the years after the war he lived at Charleston, W. Va., where he commanded the profoundest respect of all who knew him. There was in his very bearing the poise of one who carried in his heart the consciousness of having done his duty well and in his eye the fire of a soldier softened by the love of his Master and a kindly spirit toward his fellows.

A consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, his last act on earth was to attend a meeting of its men. A few moments after returning home his wife found him asleep in his chair-in the sleep which will not be broken until the angel of the Lord shall call him. I was with him a few years ago when we laid his charming daughter, Miss Willie, away in the grave. Young, beautiful, good, a comfort to her parents, her loss was pitiful. At that time I was impressed with the singular fortitude with which he bowed under the stroke in humble submission to the will of God and knew that no man could so master his sorrow unless he had been dwelling in "the secret places of the Most High."

I quote a word from the tribute of the wife in a personal letter: "He was well educated, always a gentleman, with a modest, retiring disposition; a man of charming personality, he made many friends wherever he went; but, best of all, he was a loyal and devoted member of the M. E. Church, South. His home life was nearly perfect. He was devoted to his family and proud of them all, and they were equally devoted to him. Is it any wonder that we are prostrated with grief?" I wish to testify that this loving estimate is not overdrawn.

Born in King George County, Va., August 2, 1840, he was married in 1875 to Miss Kate Chilton, of Charleston, a member of one of the most prominent families of the State. Besides his wofe, he is survived by four sons and a daughter. A member of R. E. Lee Camp, U. C. V., a brave soldier, a loyal husband, a tender father, a consistent Christian, a citizen to be mourned, he sleeps in peace.

The Confederate Veteran was his favorite paper. This tribute goes where he would wish it. The thin line on gray has lost one of the truest of those who marched to the glory of its history. This knightly soldier of the cross has received his crown. Earth is richer because he lived; heaven dearer, for it holds him. Mourning, we hope; weeping, we rejoice.

We know where to find him.

[Sketch by Rev. W. I. Canter, Fairmont, W. Va.]

SOURCE: Confederate Veteran Magazine, April, 1915.

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