T. Wistar Brown was a quiet man of strong faith and convictions. At the turn of the century he refused to succumb to the use of the telephone and automobile. As a young man he had followed Lincoln on horseback on the way to the first inaugural, and he saw Lincoln's Vice President, Hannibal Hamlin, spattered with mud after a hairbreadth escape from an assassin's bullet. During the Civil War he escorted the wife of his cousin, General Isaac Wistar, through enemy lines to visit her husband at Fort Monroe.
He was a successful dry goods merchant who never went to college but who became a self-taught scholar and patron of education. A long time manager of Haverford College and for twenty-five years its board president, he gave the college three professorial chairs, much of its old library and books, and support of numerous building and endowment projects. Some of these were given in memory of his parents and wife. He was also a generous benefactor of Pennsylvania Hospital, and the playing fields of the Germantown Friends School, located on his parents' estate on School House Lane, are named for him. He served as an Overseer of the William Penn Charter School from 1856 to 1916 and Treasurer of Overseers for fifty years.
When he died in 1916, the Evening Post of New York in a long tribute said of him: "There was a blend of the stoic in his Christian resignation; he saw much and suffered much, gained much and lost much. He was one of the last of the old generation of Quakers who inherited from their forefathers discipline and patience, silence, and self-control. He faced life with quiet fortitude."