Sanford Brown, Jr. was the son of Rev. and Mrs. S.M. Brown, of Kansas City. He was a graduate of William Jewel College and the University of Missouri. In 1917, he left his job with Commonwealth National Bank to attend the officers’ training camp at Fort Riley, Kansas. He was commissioned a second lieutenant, and was later assigned to the 35th Division as adjutant. He was promoted to first lieutenant at Camp Doniphan, and went to France with the division. In his last letter home he said he’d been recommended for a captaincy.
Capt. Brown was killed on the second day of the Battle of the Argonne on September 27, 1918. He was the first member of the Ivanhoe Masonic Lodge to be killed in World War I. In 1931 the Sanford Brown, Jr. American Legion Post was granted permission to place a monument in his memory in the center of the northern section of a two-part park called Linwood Plaza. The Park was renamed for him in 1941, and the monument relocated to Mt. Moriah Cemetery in 1963.
On May 7, 1919, the 139th Infantry, “one of the hard fighting outfits of the 35th Division” (according to a newspaper article at the time) was welcomed home by a large gathering in St. Joseph, MO. Capt. Brown’s mother was there, and was told by Col. Ristine, Commander of the 139th, “Capt. Brown was the most loved officer in our regiment. He was my personal adjutant, and it was his duty to pass down my orders. Sometimes those orders weren’t very pleasant; the very fact that he held the love of the men in spite of his job is a wonderful tribute. He was with me and within fifty yards of the front line when he was killed. I know it’s hard for a mother, but in those two days, ‘Brownie’ proved himself a real fighter.”