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Past and Present of Livingston County
Volume 2. Biographies
by Major A. J. Roof. 1913
Foremost among the merchants of Livingston county is S. A. Browning, who conducts a well stocked general store at Avalon, Missouri, having been engaged in that occupation and in the same place since November, 1897. Moreover, his interests connect him with financial circles, for he plays an important role in the commercial life of the community of Avalon as vice president of the Citizens Bank.
Born in Livingston county, August 20, 1874, he is a son of Robert H. and Eliza Browning, the former being one of the early pioneers of Howard county, Missouri, where he settled in 1828, coming from Winchester, Kentucky. In 1852 he made removal to a place two miles south of Avalon and took up a farm there after his return from the Mexican war. On that farm he made his home until his death in 1888, following successfully agricultural pursuits and gaining not only material wealth but the respect and esteem of his neighbors. His last resting place is in the Arkadelphia cemetery in land which was donated by him in former times. He was a man prominent in the community and closely identified with the political life of the section, having been at one time a candidate for the legislature and having served with strict fairness and impartiality as county judge. Mrs. Eliza Browning survives her husband and now resides at Hale, Missouri, in her seventy-third year. Her maiden name was Alexander and she is a native of Livingston county, her father having been one of the very early settlers, taking up land near Bedford, Missouri, in 1833.
S. A. Browning received his education at Avalon and Albany Colleges, both in Missouri. At the age of twenty years he laid aside his text-books and, being drawn by inclination toward a commercial
career, engaged in the mercantile business in eastern Kansas. After two years, however, he returned to his old home and established in a small way the large establishment which he owns at present. There
he carries a number of well selected and complete lines of such stock as is adapted to the need of his customers and has built up a store that is in size and equipment second to none in the county outside of establishments in Chillicothe. That Mr. Browning has been largely instrumental in building up this section by his mercantile activities needs no further mention, but he has also become interested in other lines. He is one of the founders of the Citizens Bank of Avalon, of which institution he now serves as vice president, being largely responsible for the progressive policies that are followed and the success that has been attained.
On January 20, 1897, in Cameron, Missouri, Mr. Browning was united in marriage to Miss Blanche Watson, a daughter of A. and Mary Watson, the former a retired farmer of Cameron, where he is well and favorably known and highly respected. His wife has passed away and is buried at that city. Mr. and Mrs. Browning are the parents of two children: Robert Watson, who at the age of thirteen is attending school; and Roger M., eleven years of age.
Public-spirited in the best sense of the word, Mr. Browning takes an active interest in all matters of public importance, although he has never cared to accept office. His political faith is that of the
democratic party and his lodge connections are with the Mason in which organization he belongs to the blue lodge, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in which connection he has served in all the chairs. His interest in education is evident by the efficient service he gives as a director of the school board and as such he has been one of the men who has been largely responsible in establishing the high school in Avalon.
Mr. and Mrs. Browning make their home in one of the most handsome houses of the town, which Mr. Browning has recently remodeled, and there both he and his wife extend warm-hearted hospitality to their many friends. A native son of Livingston county, of which it may well be proud, Mr. Browning has become a forceful element in the community and while he has attained well merited success for himself, has been one of the foremost factors in advancement and development not only in commercial and financial expansion but also along educational lines.