John Brown was born in Staunton, Virginia in 1757 and attended Princeton College until the British took the city in 1777. In 1778, Brown came to the College of William and Mary and studied Natural Science under William and Mary President James Madison as well as law under Thomas Jefferson. While a student at William and Mary, John Brown was an early member of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest college fraternity. Brown left William and Mary in 1781 when the College closed down due to the British invading Virginia. After he left William and Mary, he studied law and was a member of the Continental Congress from 1787-1789. He was elected as a U.S. Senator from Kentucky in 1792 and was re-elected in 1799. He died in Frankfort Kentucky in 1837.
University Archives Faculty-Alumni Collection (2007), Brown, John 1778/80, Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library, College of William and Mary.