Genealogical history of Hudson and Bergen counties, New Jersey

Biography of J. Hull Browning of Bergen County

J. Hull Browning, prominent financier and railroad president, was born at Orange, N. J., December 25, 1841, and is the son of John Hazzard Browning and Elizabeth Smith (Hull) Browning, both natives of New London County, Conn. His paternal ancestor, Nathaniel Browning, came to this country from England in 1645 and settled at Warwick, R. I. On the maternal side he descends from Rev. Joseph Hull, born in Somersetshire, England, in 1595, who settled in Weymouth, Plymouth Colony, in 1635, and in 1639 was one of the founders of Barnstable, Cape Code, Mass. The descendants of Rev. Joseph Hull were conspicuous in the Revolutionary War and in the War of 1812, both in the army and navy. Colonel John Hull, grandfather of J. Hull Browning, commanded a regiment at the battle of Stonington, Conn.

Mr. Browning was brought to New York at the age of two years, was educated in the public schools, and was graduated from the New York Free Academy (now the College of the City of New York). He engaged in the wholesale clothing business in New York City with two brothers until 1883. Upon the death of Charles G. Sisson, his wife’s father, he was left as executor of his estate, and one year later (1875) succeeded him as President of the Northern Railroad of New Jersey, a position which he held till July 1897, when he sold out his interest in that corporation. He was left, also, as executor of his father’s estate and succeeded him as Director and later became President of the Richmond County Gas Light Company. HE has been prominently and successfully connected with numerous railroad and commercial enterprises. He improved the facilities of the Northern Railroad of New Jersey, and built some of the finest railroad depots in the country to accommodate its business.

Although a prominent and influential Republican, Mr. Browning has always refused offers of nominations for public office, but he has taken a leading part in every movement made to advance the interests of Bergen County and of the Town of Tenafly, where he resides. He was for some time President of the County Republican League and is Vice President of Christ Hospital in Jersey City, a charity which has profited by his business ability and generous liberality. He was a Presidential Elector on the Republican ticket in 1892 and 1896, but with the exception of these honors, and local responsibilities in the Borough of Tenafly he has held no offices.

In 1871, he marred Eva B. Sisson, daughter of Charles G. Sisson, of Jersey City, and they have one son, J Hull Browning, Jr.

Source: Harvey, Cornelius Burnham, Editor; Genealogical History of Hudson and Bergen Counties, New Jersey, New York: The New Jersey Genealogical Publishing Company, 1900.

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