James W. Brown was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At the time of the Johnstown Flood, Brown was the secretary and treasurer of the Hussey, Howe and Company Steel Works Ltd. (Hussey being another SFF&HC member).
Brown served as president of Crucible Steel and as a trustee of the still-extant Dollar Savings Bank as well.
James W. Brown served in the United States House of Representatives from 1903 through 1905. His official Congressional biography follows:
Brown, James W. (son-in-law of Thomas Marshall Howe), a Representative from Pennsylvania, born in Pittsburgh, PA, July 14, 1844; attended the common schools of Allegheny County and also private schools; became interested in the iron and steel industry and served as vice president of the Crucible Steel Co.; also engaged in banking and was trustee of the Dollar Savings Bank; elected as an Independent Republican to the Fifty-eighth Congress (March 4, 1903-March 3, 1905); declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1904; resumed his former business pursuits and served as president of the Colonial Steel Co.; died at Point Mouille, MI., on October 23, 1909; interment in Allegheney Cemetery, Pittsburgh, PA.
Mrs. James W. Brown was the former Clara T. Howe, the eighth child of Thomas Marshall Howe (1808-1877) and Mary Anne Palmer (1813-1877).
In "Prominent Pittsburghers" of 1912, the widowed Clara Howe Brown is listed as living on Woodland Road in Pittsburgh's East End (where fellow SFF&HC member Andrew Mellon's home stands today, the main building of Chatham College).
Clara Howe Brown listed her clubs as the Pittsburgh Golf Club and the 20th Century Club. Her summer home was on St. Brandon's Isle, Beaumaris, Lake Muskoka, Ontario, Canada.
Not incidentally, Mrs. Brown's older sister, Mary Howard Howe married Colonel James Harvey Childs of Pittsburgh, thus another connection by marriage to SFF&HC member and founder Henry Clay Frick and his wife, Adelaide Childs Frick.
Mr. Brown was 46 years old at the time of the Johnstown Flood.