John Brown Nominates A State

John Brown Nominates A State

John Brown of Virginia was a main player in the creation of the State of Kentucky.

Brown was also an inaugural member of the United States House of Representatives as well as one of Kentucky’s first Senators.

Many John Browns

There are several John Browns who were associated with the American Revolution, including one who fought in the Invasion of Canada and another who founded Brown University.

Additionally, the most famous John Brown participated in several skirmishes which pushed the United States toward Civil War.

The John Brown spoken about here-within is none of those John Browns. This John Brown is no less important, as he was a driving force behind Kentucky’s Statehood.

Chased From College

John Brown of Augusta County, Virginia was an extremely well educated young man.

His father ran a school which offered John access to a tremendous wealth of knowledge.

By 18, Brown had enrolled at the College of New Jersey (modern Princeton). Unfortunately, the American Revolution was in full swing and when the British Army approached, the students were forced to evacuate the premises.

John decided to transfer to the College of William and Mary. Then the British Army approached (again) and the students were forced to evacuate (again).

It was at this point that John chose to begin reading law. He was fortunate enough to gain an apprenticeship at the office of Thomas Jefferson.


Working in Jefferson’s office, John Brown became very political. At just 26 years old, he was elected to the Virginia State Senate.

After three years in the Senate, his home State sent him to the Continental Congress.

When the Federal Government was established, Brown became and inaugural member of the United States House of Representatives.


While in the House, Brown’s main cause was that of Kentucky Statehood.

Kentucky, originally a county of western Virginia, was given approval from that State to become independent. Afterward, the Federal Government took over.

John Brown was the member of the House of Representatives who presented the bill for Kentucky to become a State.

The measure was overwhelmingly approved.

Days before Kentucky officially became a State, Brown resigned his post as a Congressman. When Kentucky became independent of Virginia, John was elected as the State’s first Senator.


John Brown was a Kentucky Senator for the first thirteen years of that State’s existence.

Near the end of this time, he was chosen as President Pro Tempore of the Senate which is the second most powerful position and acts as chairman of the that body when the Vice-President is absent.

After ‘retiring’ from the Senate, Brown moved to his home in Frankfort and became a leading citizen of Kentucky’s early years.

In addition to establishing Frankfort’s first water company and bank John Brown assisted in the construction of Kentucky’s first two capital buildings.

To read about other inaugural members of the House of Representatives, check out our articles on Theodorick Bland and Lambert Cadwalader.

To learn more about early Kentucky, pick up a copy of ‘Settlements and Statehood’ through our affiliate link below.

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