He was the son of a Georgia governor and served two terms as governor himself.
Joseph M. Brown was born in Canton in 1851. His father Joseph E. Brown was Georgia’s controversial governor during the Civil War and one of the most accomplished politicians in Georgia history.
“Little Joe Brown,” as his family called him, earned a law degree but opted to go into railroad administration with Western & Atlantic. Gov. Joseph Terrell appointed him to the Georgia State Railroad Commission in 1904, but Brown lost the position three years later after a dispute with Gov. Hoke Smith. The two became bitter political enemies and would oppose each other three times in statewide elections.
As governor, Brown supported prohibition and signed the first Georgia automobile registration laws. During the highly charged Leo Frank case, Brown fanned the flames of anti-Semitism in editorials and encouraged “the people to form mobs” before Frank was lynched in 1915.
A Georgia political dynasty ended when the former governor died on March 3, 1932, Today in Georgia History.
Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.