O.H. Browne

Orville H. Browne was a 36-year-old farmer from Anne Arundel County, Maryland. He had been interested in Kansas since at least 1853 when he wrote to Governor William Walker of the Territory inquiring about opportunities. [Connelly, Provisional Government, 56] Governor Walker encouraged him to come to the slave-owning territory of Kansas and early in 1854 Browne moved to Kansas and made a claim near the town of Douglas.

Browne was acknowledged as a man of substance in the community from the beginning. Governor Reeder appointed him as an election judge in Douglas City in the November 1854 election [KHC 3:233] and as census taker for the second district in the January 1855 census. [KHC 3:247]

John W. Geary (1819-1873)

Governor of Kansas Territory for six months in 1856; later Governor of Pennsylvania.

In the legislative session, Brown County was named for him, [KHC 7:472] but a spelling error caused confusion with the many other Browns in Kansas history. He was commissioned by Governor Shannon as "Third Lieutenant" in the Tustunuggee Mounted Rifles, a volunteer militia company in Douglas County in April 1856. [KHC 3:306] In November of that year the whole company signed a petition to Governor Geary asking to be discharged:

"...quitting the tented field and returning to our homes, our families and friends, where we hope under your wise and effective administration, to be permitted peaceably and safely to attend to our varied vocations."

The discharge was granted. [KHC 4:645]

In March 1858, Browne married a widow, Mrs. Caroline Steiner of Douglas County, and they moved to Ridgeway in Osage County. Browne farmed in Ridgeway for many years, serving in the State Legislature in 1865 representing Osage County as an Independent. Although at peace with his free-state neighbors, Browne was defensive about his service in the Bogus Legislature. He offered $100 to anyone who could substantiate the charges made about the First Legislature by John Holloway in his 1868 History of Kansas. The Topeka Kansas State Record in an editorial advised Browne he could save his money by coming to Topeka where Holloway would gladly and without pay show him the documents in question in the archives of the department of state where they had been copied for the book. [Malin, Notes of the Writing, 280] Browne died in the town of Peace in Rice County in 1874, aged 59 years. [Wilder Annals, 640]

Charles Clark