Every human being either submits to the controlling influence of others
or wields an influence which touches, controls, guides or misdirects others.
If he be honest and successful in his chosen field of endeavor,
investigation will brighten his fame and point the way along which others
may follow with like success. Consequently a critical study of the life
record of the gentleman whose name forms the caption of this paragraph may
be beneficial to the reader, for it has been one of usefulness and honor.
Douglas C. Brown, the well known principal of Brown's Business College of Centralia, and also superintendent of the Cairo and Marion business colleges, the largest and most modern institutions of their kind in southern Illinois, was born in Clay county, this state, January 28, 1860, the son of William and Lucy (Murphy) Brown, the subject being the second child in a family of four children. The parents of these children died when Douglas C. was but a child and he was reared by an uncle, John A. Flick, with whom he remained until of age. His early education began at Xenia, in Clay county, which was continued at Danville in the Normal School, later at McKendree College, Lebanon, Illinois. In all the schools he attended he made a splendid record for scholarship. Having been ambitious from the first, he applied himself in a most assiduous manner to his text-books and always stood high in his classes.
After leaving school Mr. Brown began teaching at the age of eighteen years. His first schools were taught in Clay county, later in Fayette county. His last public school work was as superintendent of the Vandalia schools, which position he held for five years. His educational work continued for a period of twelve years, during which time he achieved a broad reputation as an able educator and his services were in great demand. He left the work in the public schools for the purpose of opening a business college, which he subsequently launched at Vandalia, having conducted the same for two years, making a success from the start, for his fame as an educator was by that time so firmly established that whatever school his name was associated with was bound to be a success. After his experience with the Vandalia school he associated himself with Prof. G. W. Brown, in the Decatur Business College, remaining there three years. Our subject then took charge of the bookkeeping department of Brown's Business College at Peoria, Illinois, which he ably conducted for three years, after which he came to the Centralia Business College in the fall of 1898. Each of the above schools has been highly successful and has turned out thousands of pupils well prepared to play their parts in the business and commercial world. The patronage that Prof. Douglas C. Brown now enjoys is largely due to his own outlay of time, talent and business sagacity, coupled with indomitable energy and persistency. The average daily attendance and the enrollment of the school in Centralia is two hundred each year. The pupils who have graduated in this school have and are constantly taking good positions in the various branches of business for which they have prepared.
The domestic life of our subject dates from October 12, 1881, when he was united in marriage with Maud Bryan, the accomplished and refined daughter of Samuel and Harriett (Hartman) Bryan, of Xenia, Illinois. To this happy union six children have been born, named in order of birth as follows: Clyde L, William H., Harriet M., Harry, Dean C. and Robert E. Clyde L. married Carrie Scheiber, of Peoria, Illinois. Harriet married O. A. Rosborough, William H. is in the United States navy at this writing (1908), being a yeoman, or bookkeeper and stenographer in the office of Admiral Sperry of the flagship Connecticut.
Mr. Brown owns a modern, commodious, nicely furnished and pleasant home in Centralia, which is frequently the gathering place for numerous friends and admirers of the Brown family, each member of which is noted for his hospitality and cordiality.
In politics our subject is a Prohibitionist. In religious matters he supports the Christian church. He is a most companionable gentleman and all who come within the range of his influence are profuse in their praise of his admirable qualities, and the high regard in which he is held not only professionally but socially indicates the possession of attributes and characteristics that entitle him to the highest esteem.
Extracted 21 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 537-539.