BROWN, William Liston

Half length smoking a cigar. Signed upper right ‘A. Muller Ury’.

Present Whereabouts Unknown.

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William Liston Brown was born in St. Joseph, Michigan on August 23, 1842. He was the son of Hiram Brown, a grain trader. In 1848, the family moved to Chicago. Brown attended public schools, then spent two years at the Garden City Academy. Upon graduation in 1858, he accepted a job as a clerk at H. Bacon & Company. Upon the outbreak of the Civil War Brown enlisted and served until the end of the conflict. After the war, Brown took a position as bookkeeper and cashier with A. B. Meeker & Company, becoming a partner in 1871. He purchased a controlling interest in 1883, renaming the company Pickands, Brown & Company. The company rose to become one of the largest distributors of pig iron and coke in the nation through a partnership with the Illinois Steel Company. He was President of the Chicago Shipbuilding company and was a leader in the development of the Lake Superior ore fields and created other companies and became director of a number of banks and other steel companies. He married Catherine Seymour in Chicago on September 27, 1871, and died in Pasadena on November 1, 1929.

According to the Chicago Tribune, 28 May 1932, p. 2, his will and its codicils, was overturned in 1932 by a jury who decided that his niece, Mrs Harriet Seymour Carscallen, with whom he had lived in Pasadena since around 1919-20, having moved there from Evanston, Illinois, had exerted undue influence on him and cut the majority of his relatives out of the will, in order to inherit the residue of his estate after bequests had been made. According to the Chicago Tribune, December 11, 1934, Mrs. Carscallen appealed the verdict and won.

Painted in Pasadena about 1923/1924 along with the portrait of Harriet Seymour CARSCALLEN. The sitter was born in Michigan according to the 1920 Pasadena Census, was aged 77 (?) at that time, and was a manufacturer of iron tubs or tubes.  His sister-in-law Louise Seymour, aged 92 (?), who was painted by the artist slightly later (probably after he moved into his new studio in 1925) was living with him at that time.