Born in Lexington, Ky., Benjamin Gratz Brown (usually called “B. Gratz”),
went on to Yale where he took his second degree, an A.B., in 1847. He studied law at Louisville, Ky., and practiced in St. Louis, Mo.
A member of the State house of representatives, 1852-58, he was founder-editor of the Missouri Democrat.
On Aug. 26,1856, Brown fought a duel on Bloody Island (Mississippi River) with Thomas C. Reynolds, the St. Louis District Attorney, over slavery.
Reynolds was unhurt, but Brown was shot in the leg and limped for the rest of his life.
An able lawyer, he spoke in 1857 against a resolution opposing emancipation. The speech marked the beginning of the Free Soil movement in Missouri.
Along with Beta Theta Pi founder Charles Henry Hardin, Miami 1841, of ever honored memory, he took an active part in preventing the secession of Missouri in 1861.
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During the war, he enlisted in the Union Army, personally recruited more than 1,200 men for his regiment and commanded it, advancing in rank to brigadier general.
He was elected U.S. Senator as an Unconditional Unionist (serving as a Republican.) In the Senate,
he was chairman of the Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds, 1865-67, and a member of the Committee to Audit and Control the Contingent Expense, 1865-67.
BENJAMIN GRATZ BROWN (1826-85) He was governor of Missouri, 1870-72.
Brown opposed President Lincoln’s moderation and objected to the Emancipation Proclamation because it did not free slaves in Missouri and other loyal border states.
He was a key figure in the move to replace Lincoln with John C. Fremont in 1864.
Following Lincoln’s assassination, Brown was vehemently opposed to new President Andrew Johnson’s moderate plan of Reconstruction.
He also supported the Radical-sponsored Civil Rights Bill and Freedmen’s Bureau Bill.
Brown left the Senate in 1867 because of ill health. In 1870, dissatisfied with the Missouri Republicans, he joined the Liberal Republican Party.
BENJAMIN GRATZ BROWN (1826-85) They nominated Brown for governor.
A contender for the Liberal Republican Presidential nomination in 1872, Brown lost to newspaper editor Horace Greeley,
thus Brown became the vice presidential candidate under Greeley for the Liberal Republican and Democratic parties.
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