Admiral William Brown (1777-1857), Foxford in Co. Mayo
Admiral William Brown was born in Foxford in 1777, in a small white washed cottage on Providence Road. He lived there until he was eleven, when he emigrated to America with his family in 1788.
Shortly after arriving in America his father died, and he joined an American merchant ship to start his seafaring career, as a cabin boy.
In 1796 he joined the Royal Navy, and during the Napoleonic Wars was captured by the French. After his escape from France he made his way to England, and there he married an English woman.
He started trading from Buenos Aires around 1810, after he realised that there were more opportunities in South America. In 1813 he got caught up in a rebellion against the Spanish when his trading vessels were attacked. He joined the rebels and with their help founded the Argentinian Navy, which won the war against the Spanish.
In 1847 he returned to Ireland for a short visit, and was very distressed at the devastation and despair that the famine had caused. He returned to Argentina and he died in Buenos Aires in 1857, and was buried in the Recoleta Cemetery.
Admiral William Brown is a national hero in Argentina, and provinces, towns, streets, units of the Argentinean Navy, and its training college are named after him.
There is an exhibition in the Foxford Woollen Mills Visitor Centre celebrating Admiral Brown's Life.
By Rosaleen Snee Gaughan