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John Brown (September 12, 1757August 29, 1837) was an American lawyer and statesman who participated in development and formation of the State of Kentucky after the American Revolutionary War.

Brown represented Virginia in the Continental Congress (1777–1778) and the U.S. Congress (1789–1791). While in Congress, he introduced the bill granting Statehood to Kentucky. Once that was accomplished, he was elected by the new state legislature as a U.S. Senator for Kentucky.

John Brown was born in Augusta County, Virginia, on September 12, 1757. He was a son of Reverend John Brown and Margaret Preston Brown, immigrants from northern Ireland. The son of a Presbyterian minister and schoolmaster, John was well educated, first at his father's Liberty Hall Academy, and then at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). His studies at Princeton were halted, temporarily, as a result of the approach of English troops during the American Revolutionary War.

Brown's role during the Revolutionary War is unclear. The family tradition was that Brown served under General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette in the Continental Army; however, no known documentation supports this account. Two years after he left the College of New Jersey (1778), Brown enrolled at The College of William & Mary where he studied law. In the fall of 1780, his studies were interrupted by the War and the arrival of the British forces to the city. Brown continued to study law by 'reading it' while working in the office of Thomas Jefferson near Charlottesville, Virginia.

Brown became politically active after being admitted to the bar. He was elected to the Virginia state Senate, succeeding William Christian, where he served from 1783 to 1788. He was succeeded by William Russell.

The Virginia legislature sent him as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1787 and 1788. When the U.S. Constitution became effective, Brown was twice elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, serving from 1789 to 1792.

As a Congressman representing Virginia, Brown introduced the petition for Kentucky Statehood. When Kentucky became a state in 1792, he resigned from the House on June 1, 1792. On June 18, the Kentucky legislature elected him to the United States Senate (as was the practice then) for a term ending in 1793. He was re-elected twice and served until 1805. He was President pro tem during the Eighth Congress. During Brown's Senate service, he moved to Frankfort, Kentucky, the capital of the state.

In 1805, Brown was defeated for re-election to the Senate and retired to Liberty Hall. He remained active in a number of public matters for the remaining thirty years of his life. In 1800, he purchased a ferry that crossed the Kentucky River at Frankfort. Brown managed large areas of property in central Kentucky and 20,000 acres near Chillicothe, Ohio. He was a founding member of the Frankfort Water Company and director of the first Bank of Kentucky.

In 1812 Brown was appointed by the legislature to oversee the construction of a public house of worship on the public square of Frankfort. In 1829 Brown was elected as the Sheriff of Franklin County.

He also served on the board that oversaw the construction of the brick Capitol building and the limestone one that replaced it (now known as the Old Capitol). In 1836, Brown presided over the organizational meeting of the Kentucky Historical Society.

John Brown died on August 29, 1837 in Lexington, Kentucky and was brought to Frankfort for burial. In 1847, he was re-interred in the Frankfort Cemetery.

The home he occupied in his later years is preserved as Liberty Hall Historic Site located at 202 Wilkinson Street in Frankfort. The site contains two houses: Liberty Hall (1796) built by John Brown, and the Orlando Brown House (1835), designed by Gideon Shryock, and owned by Senator Brown's second son. Liberty Hall is operated as a house museum and is open to the public.

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