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Margaret Tobin was born to Irish immigrants in Missouri. From an early age, her mother concentrated on providing an education for her children, to ensure success in their future. Margaret moved to Leadville, Colorado at the age of eighteen, hoping to marry into wealth. However, when she met James Joseph “J.J” Brown, she decided to marry for love. They came to have two children, Lawrence Palmer and Catherine Ellen.

The family eventually acquired the long sought wealth when J.J’s engineering efforts resulted in the production of a profitable ore seam at Little Jonny mine. His impressed employers at Ibex Mining Company awarded J.J with 12,500 shares of stock and a seat on their board.

Despite the wealth, Margaret devoted her time to philanthropy and other causes. She became involved in women’s rights, even helping to establish the Colorado chapter of the National American Women’s Suffrage Association and working in soup kitchens for miners’ families. When the Browns moved from Leadville to Denver, there were new social opportunities provided to them. Brown trained to become a suitable society lady and thus became well-learned in the arts and became quite fluent in French, German and Russian. Her passions and reputation led her to bid in an unsuccessful U.S. Senate race.

Her marriage quietly dissolved from J.J in 1909 but the two remained fond of one another and remained connected. Brown continued with philanthropy and her travels. She assisted the Denver Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and in her effort to aid needy children, established United States’ first juvenile court system.

Although most remembered in world history as a survivor of the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912, Margaret or Molly as most would come to recognize her, was first and foremost an advocate and activist.


capitol hill, women's history, titanic, molly brown, J.J. Brown

Recent Comments

I live just 3 blocks away from her former home mentioned above.

I’ve been there on a field trip when I was a young school girl but didn’t appreciate it as I do today.

She may have survived the Titanic but I find it much more amazing that she established United States’ first juvenile court system. Wow! What a contribution she made.

over 7 years ago, beverly_chapes

If only you were logged in, you could share your thoughts about this person.