Name: Matthew Brown
First Date: 1800; Last Date: 1802
PrecisPublisher of the Alexandria Advertiser (1800-02) as financier and editor with printer Samuel Snowden (393), the paper's resident proprietor; also brother of William Brown (058).
Publisher Alexandria Publisher of the Alexandria Advertiser (1800-02) as financier and editor with printer Samuel Snowden (393), the paper's resident proprietor; also brother of William Brown (058). Brown was a controversial figure during his career as a journalist. As "junior editor" of the Federal Gazette in Baltimore (1794-1806), he presented an openly Federalist perspective that made him both lightning rod and provocateur. He was trained in the Philadelphia press office of William Young, a book and job printer. His first independent opportunity came in 1794 when he joined with Leonard Yundt to buy the Federal Intelligencer (later the Federal Gazette) in Baltimore. Their association lasted through twelve turbulent years; Jeffersonian competitors, particularly the Baltimore American of William Pechin, made Brown a frequent target. His addition of a "junior editor" also, one Thomas Burling (066), led to a particularly foul exchange in 1802, which focused most frequently on Brown's ongoing hypocrisy. Still, the firm of Yundt & Brown was a very profitable one, serving, as they did, the mercantile interests in the growing port city. By 1800, Brown evidently felt himself flush enough to finance the production of another Federalist newspaper, this one in Washington where Congress was about to sit for the first time. That summer, he formed a partnership with Samuel Snowden of New Jersey to produce the Washington Advertiser – a paper to issue daily during Congressional sessions, and then thrice-weekly during its adjournments. The pair quickly discovered that they were not the only publishers coming to the new national capital with such grandiose journalistic plans. Recognizing this turn as a significant problem, they altered their approach; Snowden & Brown purchased the subscriber list of the Columbian Mirror and Alexandria Gazette of William Fowler (173) in November, moved their press across the Potomac to Alexandria, and began publication there of the Alexandria Advertiser and Commercial Intelligencer in December; only one issue of their originally-intended paper was ever produced. The daily paper that the pair produced in 1800 would eventually become the Alexandria Gazette, the port town's most recognizable Federalist and later Whig journal, published by Snowden until his death in 1831. Brown, however, withdrew from the venture in June 1802, shortly after his brother William relocated his press to Charlestown from Martinsburg. The timing of this Alexandria withdrawal suggests, as does other circumstantial evidence, that Brown had shifted from supporting like-minded tradesmen to backing family members at this time; it also seems that he contributed content to William's newspapers after the dissolution of the Yundt & Brown partnership at the end of 1806. The end of Yundt & Brown, and their sale of the Federal Gazette, marks the end of each partner's formal publishing career. Brown can be seen in the years immediately after the sale actively engaged in Baltimore's real-estate business. But in 1809, he left the bustling port to establish a fleece manufactory in Hagerstown, just at the moment, again, that his brother moved his press to that Potomac River port from Charlestown. Brown remained in this neighborhood for the rest of his life; by 1820, he owned a substantial plantation in Frederick County that utilized the labor of twenty-nine enslaved Africans; he also seems to have been housing several other family members of his "over 40" generation. It was in this affluent residence that Brown finally died on the last day of 1831. Personal Data Born: ca. 1774 Pennsylvania Married: Jan. 17 1799 Elizabeth Frick @ Baltimore, Maryland. Died: Dec. 31 1831 Frederick County, Maryland. Charles (b. 1807); Anne (b. 1809). Sources: Imprints; Brigham; Scharf, Western Maryland; .advertisements in Baltimore newspapers (1794-1808) and Hagerstown Gazette (1809-13); ongoing exchanges in Baltimore's Federal.Gazette and American Commercial Advertiser (1796-1805); genealogical data from Brown famil charts posted on Ancestry.com (March 2013).