William Brown (c1777-1857)

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Early Years

Admiral William Brown (1777-1857)
Wikipedia Commons

William Brown was born in Foxford on June 22 1777. His family emigrated to America in 1786. His father died and a young William joined a merchant ship as a cabin boy and began a life on the seas. In 1796 he joined the British Royal Navy and fought the French in the Napoleonic wars. He was captured twice by the French but managed to escape on both occasions.

After a number of years in the navy he left to become a merchant seaman and eventually rose to captain. Brown sset sail for South America where there was money to be made in trading. He soon became the owner of a fleet of cargo ships trading up and down the coast between Argentina and Uruguay.

The Argenina Connection

Brown is remembered in Argentina to this day because of the role he played in the Argentinean War of Independence. At the time of Brown's arrival in South America, many of Sapin's colonies there were fighting for independence.

As an experienced seaman, Brown was given command of a flotilla of ships by the Argentinean revolutionaries. Under his command, the newly established navy captured a number of Spanish ships and the island where the Spanish had their base. These exploits, and more besides, ensured Brown a special place in Argentinean history.

Brown returned to Foxford with his daughter in 1847. As Ireland was in the grip of the Great Famine, surely he encountered a very sorry sight when he got there. He died in Buenos Aires in 1857.