Providence merchant and civic leader.
Traded in partnership with his brothers Nicholas, Joseph, and Moses in the Providence firm Nicholas Brown & Company and, after 1770, independently. With Nicholas, supplied clothing and munitions to American troops. Later formed a partnership with his son-in- law, John Francis, to trade with China and the East Indies (1787).
Whig; later Federalist. With others, destroyed the British sloop Gaspee (June 1772); sent to Boston for trial but released. Trustee of Brown University (1774-1803); treasurer (1775-96). Served in Rhode Island House of Representatives (1782-84) and in Congress (1799-1801).
Son of James and Hope (Power) Brown. Married Sarah Smith (1760); six children.