Skip to content

Skip to table of contents


They Called Him “Bible” Brown

William R. Brown

They Called Him “Bible” Brown
  • BORN 1879

  • BAPTIZED 1908

  • PROFILE Spearheaded the early preaching work in West Africa.

WHILE working on the Panama Canal in 1907, William came across a street-corner lecture being given by Isaiah Richards, a Bible Student, as Jehovah’s Witnesses were then called. Richards based his talk on the “Chart of the Ages,” a diagram used to explain God’s purposes. William quickly accepted the truth and returned to Jamaica to share it with his mother and sister. In time, they too became Bible Students.

For a time Brother Brown served in Panama City, Panama. There he met Evander J. Coward, a traveling representative of the Bible Students who was visiting Panama on a lecture tour. Coward was an emphatic and colorful speaker, and crowds flocked to hear him. When he saw that William was zealous for the truth, he invited him to accompany him on a preaching tour of Trinidad.

 Over the next ten years or so, William traveled throughout the West Indies, pioneering and strengthening small groups. In 1920, he married Antonia, a faithful Christian sister. Two days after their wedding, William and Antonia sailed to the tiny island of Montserrat in the Leeward Islands, bringing with them the “Photo-Drama of Creation”—a four part motion picture and slide presentation based on the Bible. They also preached on the islands of Barbados, Dominica, and Grenada. They had a joyful honeymoon in Jehovah’s service.

Two years later, William wrote to Joseph F. Rutherford, who was overseeing the work of Jehovah’s people at the time, saying: “By Jehovah’s help I have given the witness throughout the majority of the Caribbean Islands and made disciples in many. Should I go over them again?” Within days, Brother Rutherford replied: “Proceed to Sierra Leone, West Africa, with wife and child.”

During the 27 years that Brother Brown served with his family in West Africa, he never felt at home sitting in an office. He preferred to be out preaching. Because he emphasized the importance of the Bible, people began calling him “Bible” Brown.

In 1950, when he was 71 years old, William Brown and his wife returned to Jamaica to pioneer. William pioneered until he finished his earthly course in 1967. How he loved pioneering! He felt that it was one of the highest privileges a human could have.