Frank Anderson Brown

Cumberland Presbyterian Minister

1869 - 1938



By A. N. Eshman.

A more deserved honor was never bestowed than in the election of Rev. F. A. Brown as moderator of the eighty-fourth General Assembly. Perhaps it was in 1904, that this writer first learned of that noble man. Our first knowledge of him was gained through his work and it is through his work that we have learned more and more of his truly great personality.

Standing for the Right.--It was on one of those troubled, anxious days when a number of things had gone wrong in our campaign for the election of commissioners who would vote for the perpetuation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, that a new star arose so to speak, a star in the great, big-hearted west, and that star was the appearance of the inimitable, courageous, dauntless, loyal, consecrated F. A. Brown. He combined the conservatism of the east with the wide-awake hustle of the new west, and the heroism of the south with the foresight and calculating ability of the north, all these he laid at the feet of the blessed Master, placing himself without reserve upon the altar in Christian freedom's cause. No one in all the campaign, declared more intensely than he that the banner of truth should not trail in the dust, that the church-world should not retrograde and go back into the formalism, the predestinarianism and fatalism of a hundred years ago. The proposed union was to him a cruel war of conquest, a commercial grabbing, and therefore an ungodly strife that was thrust upon a once happy and prosperous people.

While those of us of the east were using our penknives and prizing here and there with crochet needles, we awoke to behold Brown in the west with a broad axe hewing to the line letting the chips fall where they may. He adopted the full meaning of that phrase from God's holy word, which says, "To speak boldly as I ought to speak," and he cried aloud and spared not, he called a spade a spade. He fearlessly told the despoilers of their crime, he told them of their unholy and unscrupulous methods. There were many faithful preachers to help him and hundreds of loyal members to help, and they all did a noble part, but all of them leaned so much on brown as their major-general as far as human instrumentality was concerned. Did they gain the victory? Let the Decatur Assembly answer as, dominated by unionism, they undertook to dissolve Indianola Synod, so chagrined were the mergerites over their defeat in Oklahoma.

A Time to Fight and a Time to Work.
--In Brown's conception of things there came a time to cease firing and to turn to the fields that needed cultivation. In this, he was as earnest as he was in the war of defense. He studied to show himself a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, he planned his work. He recognized the fact that this is a material world and he believed with all his heart that the Lord expects His servants here to use the brains he has given them to do their work in His vineyard. The whole great Oklahoma field was taken into account, he studied and prayed and planned for every part of it. Under his whole-hearted leadership as secretary of Synodical Missions, the Synod has rendered year after year such programs in setting forth plans of work as the whole church would do well to copy. Not only so in the Synod, but the same earnest, prayerful, determined, God-honoring spirit prevailed in the Presbyteries, and better still, it extended to every fireside in Oklahoma whether the fireside of the white man or the fireside of the loyal, tried and true Indian. Thus it is that despite the fact that the work was widely scattered in spacious Oklahoma, despite the fact that Oklahoma has suffered year after year from extreme dry weather and bad crops, the work of Synodical Mission has moved on, doing 500 per cent better than any of the Synods in the older states. It is nothing less than wonderful that Oklahoma has done so much work under such great difficulties. That grand mission field has never received one tithe of the attention it deserved. To know that field as Cumberland Mission ground is to become at once deeply interested in it. To look in on the work of those preachers and their faithful membership is to love them and to crown them all as heroes. Thank God that the church is beginning to recognize Oklahoma and its consecrated men and women.

An Humble Man.--"In honor preferring one another," is a motto that is ever before our Moderator. This writer enjoys the honor of being one of Brown's closest personal friends and is therefore prepared to speak with certainty. He did not dream of position and honor. To be chosen Moderator, and that by acclamation, was likely one of the greatest surprises of his life. The well deserved recognition of conferring upon him the highest honor in the power of our church to confer, will serve to make him, if possible, more humble, more earnest and more devoted to the interests of the whole church and particularly to the interest of Oklahoma missions. Knowing this precious minister in our great cause, knowing this beloved friend and brother as this writer and hundreds of others know him, it is easy to say that we believe that as the angels of heaven read the inmost thoughts of his heart as he presides over that Assembly, that the dominant note in the silent music of his soul is a song of thanksgiving and gratitude, not that this has been done for Brown's sake, but that after all these long years of waiting the Oklahoma mission field has been recognized and honored and blest and, withal the earnestness of his consecrated life, he breathes a prayer that this shall be only the beginning of a live co-operation on the part of the whole church for our Oklahoma work.

Three cheers for our Moderator from the West and a prayer that he may be given length or days to continue the great work for Oklahoma, and for our church, and for our blessed Master to whom, at last, we shall ascribe all glory, honor and praise.
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, May 28, 1914, pages 1-2]


Was born at New Concord, Ohio, on August 3, 1869. He passed away at his home, Marlow, Okla., April 9, 1938, being 68 years old. He was converted in a college chapel in early life, was called to the ministry, but refused to surrender. After finishing his college work he traveled throughout the South, was reclaimed and surrendered at Hillsboro, Texas, about 1895, and joined Chickasaw Presbytery soon afterwards. He was ordained by said Presbytery at Marlow October 19, 1898.

He was married to Willie Crawford 1900. To this union was born seven children. Two children, Crawford and Miriam, preceded their father in death. Those surviving are two boys and three girls, namely, Loie (Mrs. O. I. Fite) Paul F., Ruth (Mrs. Ellis Head), Frank A., Jr., and Ina.

He was elected stated clerk of his presbytery before he was ordained, served twenty-seven years. He was elected stated clerk of Indianola Synod in 1907, and served more than twenty years. He was elected moderator of the General Assembly at Wagoner, Okla., 1914.

A born leader of men has passed on. He was of the soldierly type of life, always at his best when opposition was strongest. He was kind to every one, and one of the truest men to his friends that I have ever known among men.

He was a good revivalist. Has conducted some wonderful meetings. In the pulpit he always did his best, was loyal to his ordination vows, and true to his church and her courts. With ease he could have filled any pulpit in our church. He gave his life to Chickasaw Presbytery.

In the death of Frank Brown the church has lost a great preacher, his good wife a loyal husband, the children a loving father, his friends who are many a true friend, and I have lost my yoke fellow. For forty years we have worked together.

The funeral was conducted by the writer at Marlow, his first and last pastorate.

May the Lord bless and comfort the family.
                                        A. A. Collins.
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, May 19, 1938, page 14]

Mrs. F. A. Brown, grandmother of the moderator of the General Assembly, David A. Brown, died in Marlow, Oklahoma June 29. Mrs. Brown was 94.

She was the widow of the late Rev. F. A. Brown, long-time minister in the church who was also moderator of the General Assembly in 1914.

Survivors also include a son, Rev. Paul F. Brown, Murfreesboro, Tenn.; and a daughter, Mrs. O. L. Fite, Lawton, Okla.
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, July 30, 1974, page 3]

Brown Family Information


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Updated April 24, 2007