Accompanying this article is a 2020 photo of the Joseph C. Brand house at 132 W. Reynolds St., Urbana. This ‘Looking Forward’ is from the perspective of Joseph C. Brand, a long-time Champaign County resident. He was born in 1810 in Kentucky. His grandfather, Dr. James Brand, a native of Scotland, came to America after graduating from medical school in 1756.
Joseph came to Urbana in 1830 and engaged in business with his uncle, Dr. Joseph S. Carter, in a drug store. He married Lavinia Talbott in 1832, and they resided in Mechanicsburg from 1832 to 1837. He then farmed in Union Township, returning to Urbana in 1851 where he lived the remainder of his life except for service in the U.S. Civil War and a Consulship in Germany. He held several county offices including Clerk of Courts and served as a State Legislator.
During the Civil War, he helped raise the 66th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and served as its Commissary Officer from 1861-1865. He witnessed Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. Later he served three terms as Mayor of Urbana. Brand and his wife spent their later years at their W. Reynolds St. home, which served as a rallying point for their children and grandchildren who were undoubtedly instilled with a sense of public service and care for others.
This was particularly evidenced in their grandson, Joseph Brand Whitlock, four-time Mayor of Toledo, novelist, and the first U.S. Ambassador to Belgium, who spent many summers with them here.
The Champaign County Historical Museum, a not-for-profit organization that depends upon donations and dues to preserve, protect, archive and display the artifacts that tell the Champaign County story. The free public museum located at 809 E. Lawn Ave., Urbana, is open to the public Tues. - Fri. 10-4 and Sat. 10-2. The museum will be closed December 24th through January 4th, but will re-open during regular hours on January 5, 2021!
Champaign County has been the home of many well-known political figures. Do you remember Bill Saxbe and Bud Brown? How about our mystery 3rd politician? Check out these photos from the Museum and plan a visit to learn more this election season!
Looking Back at Champaign County
The Champaign County Historical Society strives to highlight historical people, places and events throughout Champaign County. If you have photos of historical significance that you believe would be of interest to Champaign Countians, please Contact Us.