“While occupying the seat upon the Court of Appeals bench, Justice Brown . . . wrote the prevailing opinion in the famous Tilden will case, which has since been widely quoted as an authority in many complicated questions of law” (New York Times).
Justice Charles F. Brown was born in 1845 in Newburgh, NY, the son of Judge John W. Brown. He attended Phillips Academy in Andover and went on to graduate from Yale University in 1866. He was admitted to the Bar two years later.
Brown served as District Attorney of Orange County, then as a county judge beginning in 1878 and a State Supreme Court Justice beginning in 1882. Brown served as secretary to the Democratic State Committee in 1974 and from 1880 to 1882. In 1890, he was one of seven Supreme Court justices named by Gov. David B. Hill to a temporary Second Division of the Court of Appeals. Brown served on this Second Division from March 1889 to October 1892. He served as Presiding Justice of the General Term of the Second Department from 1894 to 1895. Gov. Morton designated him to the Appellate Division, Second Department at the time of its creation in 1896, and he served as its first Presiding Justice. He declined renomination, leaving the bench at the end of that year.
After his retirement from the Appellate Division, Brown served as counsel to the Metropolitan Street Railway Company from 1897 to 1901, and thereafter continued to work in private practice until his retirement in 1922. He was a member of the New York State Bar Association, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the New York County Lawyer’s Association, the University Club and the Yale Club.
Brown had a wife, Harriet, and two daughters, Nanna and Florence. He died on June 19, 1929 in Newburgh, NY at the age of 84.
“Charles F. Brown, Noted Jurist, Dies.” New York Times (1923-Current file): 19. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2007). Jun 20 1929. Web. 24 Aug. 2011 http://search.proquest.com/docview/104802842?accountid=8012.
“Charles F. Brown.” Biographical information sheets. Appellate Division, Second Department Library, Brooklyn.
“Charles F. Brown” The Judges of the New York Court of Appeals: A Biographical History. Ed. Albert M. Rosenblatt. Fordham UP, The Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York, 2007. 1009. Print.
“Honorable Charles F. Brown.” Eminent Members of the Bench and Bar of New York. San Francisco: Knight-Counihan, 1943. 301. Print.