Born in East Windsor, Connecticut. The son of Timothy Hill Brown and Phoebe Hinsdale, Brown graduated from Monson Academy in Massachusetts. He furthered his studies at Yale University. In 1836 he entered Columbia Theological Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, and finally Union Seminary in New York. He married Elizabeth Bartlett in Oct 1838.
In that same year Brown was sent by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) to the Orient, where he joined the Morrison Education Society. His job was to assist in building up Morrison Memorial School in Macau, of which he later became principal. At the end of 1839, when the school opened, five students were enrolled, and in the following year Yung Wing was enrolled. In 1842 this school was moved to Hong Kong on Morrison Hill.
In 1847, when Brown returned to America, he chose three Chinese boys to go with him to pursue studies in America: Wang Seng, Wang Fun, and Yung Wing. Wang Seng was the first to return to China, due to his poor health; he worked as supervisor of Hong Kong Mission Press. Upon Wang Fun’s return to China, he worked in a mission hospital in Canton with distinction until his death. Yung Wing graduated from Yale University in 1854 and worked in the business world as well as in political circles. He was appointed by Li Hong Zhang to set up the Chinese Educational Committee in Shanghai. This institution sent Chinese boys to America for study during the period 1872-81. These boys later contributed tremendously to the development of China. From 1859 Brown was sent by the Protestant Church of America to Japan for mission work. He died in Monson, Massachusetts.
Beauchamp, Edward R., “Brown, Samuel Robbins,” Encyclopedia of Japan (1983). Drummond, Richard H., A History of Christianity in Japan (1977). Griffis, William Elliot, A Maker of the New Orient, Samuel Robbins Brown (1902).