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.
Submitted by 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.