BROWNING, Orville Hickman, statesman, was born in Harrison county, Ky., in 1810. He early in life removed to Bracken county, where he was educated. In 1830 he removed to Quincy, Ill., where he was admitted to the bar in 1831. He was a soldier in the Black Hawk war. In 1836 he was elected to the state senate and served two terms, when he was elected to the lower house, serving for three years. He was a delegate of the Bloomington convention, which organized the Republican Party of Illinois in 1856, and to the Chicago convention which nominated Abraham Lincoln to the presidency in 1860. In 1861 he was appointed United States senator by Governor Yates, to succeed Stephen A. Douglas, who died June 3, but the appointment was not confirmed by the legislature of Illinois, and W. A. Richardson was elected to fill the unexpired term. In the senate he served from 1861 to 1863, and actively supported all the war measures of the government, except the confiscation bill. In 1866 he was appointed Secretary of the Interior in the cabinet of President Johnson, and for a time acted also as attorney-general. At the close of Johnsons administration he resumed the practice of the law, which he followed at Quincy, Ill., until his death, Aug. 10, 1881.
File contributed by Deb Haines
Source: Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, Vol. I-X. Rossiter Johnson, editor. Boston MA: The Biographical Society. 1904