The following information comes from my grandfather's (Claud Leonard Broun) writings:
"...my father's father, John Wyld Broun or Brown, born in 1808, extended our family business to Australia and made a considerable fortune - as did at least one of his brothers. He spent some time in Sydney ( where 'Brown & Co.' still flourishes) and I suppose it was there he met my grand-mother, Mary MacKellar....
"To London ... came my grandfather Broun, having made his fortune in Australia, to plant the firm 'Brown & Co.' in Mask Lane. The Brouns and Wylds had intermarried already in Scotland, so that my grandfathers were cousins. My father, Claud Brown, was the third son and had been born at Woolamoolo (?) near Sydney, in 1850. The family settled down in London at Lancaster Gate"
From another set of writings:
"The family were in business in Edinburgh and Glasgow till my grandfather Broun about 1840 extended the business to Australia. (The firm of Brown and Co flourished in London and Sydney till recently). [The firm was called, sofar as I know, Messrs. Brown and Co., and their offices in London were in 6 or 62 Moorgate (Street?). Their offices in Australia were at 472 George Street North, Sydney, in 1851. In 1867 the offices of Brown, John, Wyld, Edward, wine and spirit merchants, were listed as being in 16 Spring Street according to the Official Post office directory of New South Wales. Edward Wyld and Thomas Brown were significantly involved in the company - ADB]
"My grandfather John Broun anglicized his name for business purposes and settled in London. The family were Presbyterian and my father was brought up on the Shorter Catechism. He was a religious boy and knew his Catechism well but he used to manage always to get stumped by the last question to avoid being put onto the Longer Catechism! In London the family conformed to the Church of England ..."
The anglicisation of the name Broun would have taken place earlier than this - he was christened Brown along with his brothers. It is far more likely that the name change was carried out by his father Robert Brown. John Wyld Brown was a highly successful tea and wine merchant and did indeed make a fortune. According to Robert Stodart Wyld he left £70,000 to each of his five sons when he died in 1879!
I also have a considerable amount of material about him in the memoirs written by his cousin Robert Stodart Wyld. Please refer to what I have termed "page 10 " there for most of the material concerning John Wyld Brown.
John Wyld Brown married Mary Mackellar in Edinburgh in 1840, then moved to London, where their first child, Margaret was probably born, around 1841. Their first son John Mackellar Brown may also have been born in London around 1844. Subsequently, it seems, they settled in Australia, where Isabella Wyld Brown was born in 1846, Thomas Brown in 1847, Claude Brown in 1850, and Mary (Minnie) Brown in 1852. (There was, according to Robert Stodart Wyld, a fourth son who would have been born around 1851 - 54, probably in Australia if before 1851, either Australia or England if 1853 or 54. There are a few plausible candidates drawn from the New South Wales Registry: Alfred J Brown, born 1851; Charles J G Brown and George Brown, born 1853.) Their fifth and final son, James Wyld Brown, was born in London around 1855. This information has been deduced from looking at the 1861 census returns when the family were living in 7, Up Hyde Park Gardens, Paddington, London, and relating the information to that in Robert Stodart Wyld's memoirs. (In October 1859 it appears they were living at 17 Kensington Palace Gardens - from the Rugby School register where their son John Mackellar Brown was). There is one peculiarity in the census returns in that it gives John Wyld Brown's and Mary Mackellar's place of birth as Dundee, rather than Glasgow and Greenock respectively. This was almost certainly a mistake on the part of whoever filled in the census return - also John Wyld Brown's age is given as 51. He was born in 1808 so this is slightly innaccurate. A Margaret I Mackellar (aged 29), born in Australia, is shown as a servant. However, it is likely that she was a sister of Mary, certainly a relative.
In the 1871 Census the family are shown as residing at 78 Lancaster Gate; John Wyld Brown is given the age 60, his wife Mary, 53, and one daughter living at home, Mary who was born in Australia, is given the age 17. There is also a cousin Jane or Janet Wyld living with the family.
I also know that John Wyld Brown was an artist and we have a large collection of beautiful watercolours he painted between 1866 and 1869. Most are of ruined abbeys, or of outdoor mountain scenes in the Lake District and the Highlands of Scotland.
My name is Alasdair Broun and I was born and brought up in Scotland, son of a clergyman and a freelance journalist. I took up genealogy as a hobby when I was 17 and I went on to write a PhD thesis in philosophical psychology ... more >
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