The subject of this sketch is a native of Raleigh, born November 5, 1854, and is the son of Henry J. and Lydia (Lane) Brown. He comes of distinguished colonial and early State ancestry, being the great-grandson of Joel Lane, the original owner of the site of the capital city, at whose house in Bloomsbury (now included in the city) the Revolutionary Committee of Safety met. He is also descended from Col. Needham Bryant, of Johnston County, who was a representative in the Provincial Congress and during the Revolutionary was a staunch patriot.
Mr. Brown was educated at Lovejoy Academy, in Raleigh, and at Trinity College when that prince among great educators, Dr. Braxton Craven, took boys and made men of them. Before he was of age young Joseph Brown secured a subordinate position in the Citizens National Bank, in Raleigh, and within a few years, through rapid promotion, he rose to the head of this important financial institution. Under his management the business of the bank has expanded wonderfully. In ten years the deposits increased from $333,000 to $925,000 and the resources nearly trebled.
Mr. Brown has been an active worker in the Methodist Church. He has been a member of Edenton Street Sunday School half a century. It was an appropriate celebration of the fiftieth year of his connection with the school that its magnificent new building was completed and opened in the spring of 1912. He has been a delegate to the North Carolina Conference regularly for many years, and has also been a delegate to several sessions of the General Conference. He has been superintendent of his home Sunday school twelve years, and is chairman of the board of church stewards. He is a trustee and treasurer of the Methodist Orphanage in Raleigh.
Mr. Brown is prominent in the membership of the National Bankers Association. He has been grand master of the Grand Lodge of Odd Fellows and representative to the Sovereign Grand Lodge. In civic capacities he has served as alderman and treasurer of the city of Raleigh.
In 1881, Mr. Brown married Miss Alice, daughter of Rev. L.S. Burkhead, D.D., a prominent minister of the M.E. Church, South. He has two sons and two daughters.
Source: Amis, Moses N. Historical Raleigh. With Sketches of Wake County (from 1771) and Its Important Towns; Descriptive, Biographical, Educational, Industrial, Religious. Raleigh, N.C.: Commercial Printing Co, 1913. <http://books.google.com/books?id=jbk72zTU6bYC>