Minnesota State Law Library
Philip E. Brown was born at Shullsburg, Wisconsin, June 19, 1856. He received his early education in the public schools and, after graduating from high school, taught district school until he entered the University of Wisconsin in 1875. During this time he also began study of the law in a lawyer's office in Platteville, Wisconsin. Following his graduation, he enrolled in the Albany College of Law in New York, from which he graduated in 1881. He was admitted to the Wisconsin bar that same year.
Brown began his practice of law at Darlington, Wisconsin, but relocated in 1883 to Luverne, Minnesota, where he continued the practice of his profession. In 1884, Brown was elected County Attorney, and at the expiration of his first term returned to private practice, which he continued until 1891. That year Governor Merriam appointed him Judge of the Thirteenth Judicial District. Brown was successively elected to that office in 1892, and re-elected in 1898 and 1904, for a total twenty years. He was then elected Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, which seat he held until his death on February 6, 1915. It was said that Justice Brown's health suffered from his heavy workload, as it was the custom then for the Supreme Court to hear 3 appeals a day, five days a week for almost the entire year.
More information on Justice Brown can be found from the books History of the Minnesota Supreme Court and Testimony: Remembering Minnesota’s Supreme Court Justices, which are the source of this brief biography.