In 2020, the Historical Commission is highlighting some of the Town’s historical figures each month. This month’s tale concerns Addison Brown, who started life as the oldest child of a West Newbury shoemaker, and ended not only as a great jurist, but also a great scientist, learned as a botanist and to a lesser degree as an astronomer. For two decades starting in 1881, Brown served as a judge in the in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. At the same time, he wrote books and notes on botany, served as president of New York’s premier botany society and was a principal founder of the New York Botanical Gardens. He made his fortune (and expanded fortunes of wealthy West Newburians) through New York City real estate investments. At his death, he left an estate estimated at $750,000, of which some $40,000 was left to charities, including the West Newbury Library Association.
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