Zelora E. Brown was born in Brookfield, Madison county, New York, February 9th, 1834. When four years of age, his parents moved to Genessee, New York, where his father received a severe injury, by a falling tree, which resulted in his back being broken. What is quite remarkable, he is still in good health, having lived the last forty years with his lower limbs paralyzed. At the age of twenty-one, Mr. Brown came west but soon returned to New York, where he married Miss Mary R. Armstrong, December 30th, 1856. They came to Dakota, Wisconsin, in 1859, where he engaged in farming until 1861, when he was drafted, but accepted the alternative of paying three hundred dollars, and remained with his family. In the fall of same year he engaged with N.F. Griswold, of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, as traveling agent for agricultural implements, with whom he remained four years, three years of the time being spent in Rochester, Minnesota, where he was superintendent of Mr. Griswold’s business in that section. Here a son, Walter R., was born to him. He then moved to Irvington, Iowa, and became a partner with J.R. Armstrong, in a general merchandise store, remaining five years. Another child was born there, Clarence Z. In 1871, Mr. Brown came to Minneapolis, where he again engaged as solicitor and collector for Mr. Griswold, traveling seventy-five thousand miles by team. He formed a partnership, in 1877, with H.O. Hamlin, which still exists, dealing in real estate.
Source: Williams, J. Fletcher and Edward D. Neill. 1881. History of Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis. Minneapolis: North Star Publishing Company.