Connecticut State Library with state seal

Memorials of Connecticut Judges and Attorneys
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports
volume 135, page(s) 721-723


Among the outstandingly able and eminent attorneys who, from generation to generation, have distinguished the bar of New London County, a prominent position was won by and unhesitatingly accorded to Arthur Morton Brown, whose honorable and useful career terminated with his passing on June 12, 1949. Born in Jewett City in the town of Griswold September 24, 1877, the son of George W. and Sarah F. (Young) Brown, he attended the town schools and Norwich Free Academy, meanwhile earning towards the expenses of his education by various employments. Upon leaving school in 1894 he embarked as cabin boy on the yacht of William A. Slater, a wealthy Norwich resident, for a two-year cruise around the world, before the end of which he was promoted to quartermaster. Fortunately resisting, with some hesitation, the temptation to continue a seafaring career, he entered upon the study of law in the office of Solomon Lucas, a prominent Norwich lawyer, then and until his death in 1906 state's attorney for New London County. He was admitted to the bar in 1901 and commenced practice in Norwich, being associated with Mr. Lucas until the latter's death, than practiced alone until 1915, when he and Charles V. James formed a partnership which continued until Mr. Brown's death. On October 1, 1901, he married Gertrude E. Sanderson, who survives, as do two sons, Francis Y. Brown of Moosup and Morton H. Brown of New Britain, and four grandchildren.

Even before admission to the bar Mr. Brown was interested and active in politics and represented his town in the house of representatives at the 1901 session, as delegate to the constitutional convention of 1902, and as senator from the then eleventh district at the session of 1903. Thus early, he manifested the ability as a keen thinker and a forceful and effective public speaker which contributed greatly to his success at the bar and in other public services and activities. In argument to court and jury he was conspicuously effective, and he was much in demand for addresses on public and fraternal occasions and generous in compliance when his busy practice permitted.

In 1901 also he became treasurer of New London County and served continuously for twenty-three years; he had been counsel for the borough of Jewett City since 1902, and for the town since 1904. From 1905 to 1922 he served as county health officer for New London County, was warden of the borough of Jewett City, 1914-1916, prosecutor of the Town Court, 1903-1915, and judge of that court, 1915-1923. In 1924 he was appointed state's attorney and filled that office with noteworthy ability until 1947, when he retired at the age of seventy. His tenure in that difficult position was characterized not only by careful preparation of cases and vigorous and able prosecution of those which came to trial but by his frank and fair treatment of court, counsel and accused persons. He frequently stated that his creed was to protect the innocent as well as prosecute the guilty and he pursued this policy in his conduct of the office. When convinced of the guilt of an accused he frankly disclosed the strength of his case to the opposing counsel and thereby many cases were disposed of by plea and the necessity of trial obviated.

He was a member of the American, state and county bar associations, served two terms as president of the state association, 1928-1930, and was a member of the judicial council from its inception in 1927 until 1947. His civic activities included service as president of the Jewett City Savings Bank, vice president of the Chelsea Savings Bank of Norwich, president of the New London County Mutual Fire Insurance Company, member of the advisory board of the Norwich branch of the Hartford-Connecticut Trust Company, and president of the New London Northern Railroad. He was also long prominently identified with Eastern Connecticut Council of Boy Scouts and was a member of the Jewett City Baptist Church.

He early became interested and was long active in the Masonic fraternities, joining Mt. Vernon Lodge A. F. and A. M. of Jewett City in 1901, and in 1906 and 1907, Franklin Chapter R. A. M., Franklin Council R. and S. M., and Columbian Commandery Knights Templar, all of Norwich. He was grand master of Masons in Connecticut in 1923. Entering the Connecticut Consistory, Scottish Rite Masons, in 1916, he was commander in chief, 1924-1925, became an active member of the Supreme Council in 1937, and in 1940 was made deputy for the district of Connecticut, continuing until his death. He was also a member of Sphinx Temple A.A.O.N.M.S. and St. Andrews Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine, Hartford, and an incorporator and director of the Masonic Temple Corporation of Norwich.

In 1936 he re-entered politics to become the Republican candidate for governor and conducted a vigorous but unsuccessful campaign against Governor Cross.

In personal relations Mr. Brown was most cordial and agreeable in both social and professional contacts, and he made and retained a host of friends whom his regard and loyalty were unswerving.