DAVID B. BROWN, surrogate of Camden County since 1866, was born in the village of Blackwood, Camden county, on the 21st of March, 1833. His grandfather, John Brown, was a shoemaker, and according to the custom of his day, passed from house to house through the southern part of the county, attending to the duties of his trade.
George Brown, the father of Surrogate Brown, was married to Mary Beckley, whose ancestors were Germans. His trade was that of a wheelwright, though he spent much of his time in shipping cord-wood to Philadelphia and there selling it.
Surrogate Brown obtained his education in the schools of his native place, taught school for a short time, and then engaged in farm-work until he arrived at the age of twenty-eight years. In 1861, when the call for troops from the Northern States was made by President Lincoln for the defense of the Union, Mr. Brown was one of those brave spirits who was quick to respond. He went to Trenton with a companion and was enlisted on May 21, 1861, as a private in Company D of the Third Regiment of New Jersey Infantry. He and his comrade were the last two needed to complete the company, most of whose members were from Sussex County and the northeastern counties of Pennsylvania. The regiment in which Mr. Brown enlisted, together with the First, Second and Fourth, formed the First Brigade of New Jersey Infantry in the three years' service and was sent to the defense of Washington, was within hearing distance of the first battle of Bull Run, though not actively engaged. He participated with his regiment in the Seven Days' Battle and other severe engagements of the Peninsular Campaign, under General McClellan; was then transferred up the Potomac River to Alexandria, where it engaged in a skirmish, and subsequently, during the year 1862, the second battle of Bull Run, the first battle of Fredericksburg and the battle of Chantilly. He was promoted sergeant of his company and in the severe engagement at Salem Church, near Fredericksburg, he was severely wounded by a rifle-ball fracturing the ulna bone of his right forearm. While making his way to the rear of his regiment, after receiving his wound, he unexpectedly fell into the hands of the enemy, and placed in a Confederate field hospital. While there his wound was dressed, the ulna being removed by Dr. Todd, of Georgia, a surgeon in the Southern army and a brother-in-law of President Lincoln. At the expiration of eight days Sergeant Brown was paroled and first sent to a field hospital, then to a hospital at Washington and later to Chestnut Hill Hospital, near Philadelphia, where he filled out his term of enlistment, and was discharged May 12, 1864. In the mean time, after his wound had partially healed, he served on guard duty at the hospital.
On May 5, 1866, Mr. Brown was appointed surrogate of Camden County by Governor Ward, to fill the unexpired term of Isaac L. Lowe, who died in office. He was elected to the office of surrogate in November, 1866, and re-elected in 1871, in 1876 and in 1881, having served continuously in the same office for a period of twenty years, which in itself is a striking evidence of his ability and efficiency to perform its onerous duties and of the confidence reposed in him by his constituents.
Mr. Brown was married, in 1868, to Mary Cliver, of Camden, though a native of Burlington County, who died three years later. In 1873 he was married to Mary E. Haines, of Burlington County, by whom he has two children, Bessie and George S.
Mr. Brown and his family are members of the Methodist Church, and he is a member of T.M.K. Lee Post, No. 5, G.A.R., of Camden.