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This Day in Georgia History

March 03, 1932

Joseph Mackey Brown Died

Former governor Joseph Mackey Brown died in Marietta, Georgia. Born Dec. 28, 1851 in Cherokee County, Georgia. Brown was the son of Georgia Civil War governor Joseph Emerson Brown and later wrote a history of the momentous events he experienced during the war. As an adult, Brown became a Western and Atlantic Railroad executive. Based on almost a quarter century of railroad management experience, Brown was appointed to the Georgia Railroad Commission in 1904. Gov. Hoke Smith surprisingly dismissed Brown in 1907, touching off a decade-long political feud between the two. Brown was elected governor over Smith in 1908, but then lost a narrow race for re-election to Smith in 1910. When Smith resigned to become a U.S. senator, Brown won the election to succeed him. However, four years later, Smith easily defeated Brown in the senatorial race. Brown then retired from public life, though continuing to present his opinions in the Atlanta Constitution on matters such as the Leo Frank case, World War I, and women’s suffrage. Brown and Smith finally settled their differences aside in 1928 to support Al Smith for president. That year, Brown’s health began to decline. He died in 1932 and was buried in Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery.