From a tough emigrant life to the American Civil War, the Irishman John Thomas Browne who became a Democrat politician and Mayor of Houston.
John Thomas Browne, better known as John T,  was born 175 years ago in Ballylanders on the 23rd of March 1845. By 1851 famine had ruined the land and the six-year-old John T Browne went with his parents and four siblings on a coffin ship across the Atlantic Ocean. Tragically one of the Browne children, a baby girl, died on the voyage and was buried at
Shortly after arriving at New Orleans the patriarch of the Browne family took ill and died.
Life was extremely tough for the Browne family. Young John T's widowed mother was forced to place her children in an orphanage in New Orleans in order to go out and find work for herself. Within months she took her children out of the orphanage and went to Houston Texas where her brother emigrated to years previously.
A priest called Fr John Gunnard arranged for John T Browne and other immigrant youngsters to go to Washington County where he worked at Spann Plantation but also received an education there.
From there Browne got his first job in a brickyard in Madison County before going back to Houston where he worked as a messenger for the Houston and Texas Central Railroad.
When the American Civil War broke out in 1861 Browne joined the Confederate Army where he served with the Second Texas Infantry and was wounded during battle. He was then sent back to Houston where he served as foreman for the railroad.
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