Alanson Brown was the older of the two Brown brothers. He made five dollars picking up potatoes other workers left behind in Rutland, Vermont, and bought a cow. He took the money from the sale of the cow, went to work in Mississippi for his uncle, and in three years he had become a partner. Two years later he sold his interest in the store for $13,000. He came to Missouri in 1871 as a delegate to a Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis. He liked the town and returned. He tried, but couldn’t get interested in, a wholesale grocery business. About this time, James Hamilton wanted to set up a shoe and boot house in the town. So the company was organized – Hamilton-Brown and Company. They sold shoes made in the East.