Molly Brown (Margaret Tobin) was born on 18th July, 1867 (1), in Hannibal, Missouri, the daughter of John Tobin and Johanna Collins (2), both Irish immigrants.
Her father, John Tobin, was widowed with one daughter, Catherine Bridget. When he met Johanna Collins, Johanna was also widowed with one daughter, whose name was Mary Ann. John and Johanna married and had four additional children: Daniel (1863), Margaret (1867), William (1869), and Helen (1871).
Margaret grew up in a cottage just blocks from the Mississippi River, and attended the grammar school run by her aunt, Mary O’Leary. As a teenager she worked stripping tobacco leaves at Garth’s Tobacco Company in Hannibal.
At the age of eighteen she followed her sister, Mary Ann Tobin Landrigan, and Mary’s new husband Jack Landrigan, to Leadville, Colorado, where they established a blacksmith shop. Margaret shared a cabin with her brother, Daniel Tobin, who worked in the mines and eventually became a successful mine promoter. Margaret, known as Maggie until she married, went to work for Daniels and Fisher Mercantile in Leadville, where she worked in the Carpets and Draperies department.
Margaret Tobin Brown was one of the first women in the United States to run for political office, and ran for the Senate eight years before women even had the right to vote. On July 25, 1914, with Alva Vanderbilt (Mrs O.H.P.) Belmont, she organized an international women’s rights conference at Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island, which was attended by human rights activists from around the world. A lifelong advocate of human rights, Margaret was also a prominent figure following the Ludlow Massacre in Trinidad, Colorado, in April 1914, a significant landmark in the history of labor rights in the United States.
Margaret Tobin Brown died of a brain tumor on 26 October 1932, at the Barbizon Hotel in New York where she had been working with young actresses.