Resident of St. Helena Island, SC (Beaufort County). His father, George Brown, taught basketmaking at the Penn School on St. Helena Island in the early 20th Century. The school was founded in the 1860s to teach former slaves skills and trades, but difficult economic times forced the school to close in the 1940s. (It later reopened and is now a historical landmark, the Penn Center.) It was during this time that Leroy Browne, who also attended Penn School, acquired many of the baskets his father and students had made for the school.