Brown, Nathaniel McAuley (1820–1910), presbyterian minister and tenant-right campaigner, was born 10 August 1820, probably son of a farmer at the Burren, near Ballynahinch, Co. Down, and was brought up as a Seceder. His mother's name was possibly McAuley. While he was a student, the Seceders joined (1840) with the synod of Ulster to form the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. He was educated at Old College, Belfast, graduating in 1843, and licensed by Dromore presbytery. In 1845 he was called by Drumachose congregation, Co. Londonderry (10 August), and ordained (25 November). The congregation was not wealthy, but Brown was eventually able to rebuild the church and provide the congregation with a manse. He was clerk of Limavady presbytery (1860–1906) and a prominent member of the general assembly, of which he was moderator (1891). He received a DD from the Presbyterian Theological Faculty, Ireland (1885), and as senator of the RUI (1892) its honorary LLD (1895).
Brown was a leader in the presbyterian campaign to have the Ulster custom of tenant right embodied in law, and is credited with coining the term ‘the three Fs’ (fair rent, free sale, and fixity of tenure) to describe tenant right, and – as secretary of the Co. Londonderry Waterford estate tenants' association – with briefing Gladstone on the subject before the passage of the 1870 land act. He wrote Our island home, dealing with British history, was a trustee of Magee College, Derry, and was well known for platform and pulpit oratory.
Brown did not retire until 23 June 1907, and died 22 June 1910. He married (1857) Isabella Irwin (d. 1898) of Ballyarton. One daughter died in childhood; he was survived by three daughters, including Josephine (fl. 1910), woman supervisor for all Ireland under the labour exchanges act of 1909. His three sons were John Irwin Brown, OBE, minister of the Scots Church, Rotterdam, 1887–1934; Nathaniel Brown, clerk of the supreme court of Brooklyn, New York; and William H. Brown, county court judge of Leitrim and Cavan.