J.F. Kellock Brown, mining engineer, was a partner in the firm of McFarlane, Brown and Boyd, civil and mining engineers of Glasgow, Scotland. In July 1910 this partnership was dissolved by Brown's withdrawal from it, leaving Nigel McFarlane and William Boyd to continue the business under the same name.
Brown then appears to have come to South Africa, where a prospecting boom for oil and oil shale was in progress. He contributed two papers on the subject to the South African Mining Journal, namely "The working of South African oil shales" (April 1911) and "Oil shale mining" (April 1914).
During World War I (1914-1918) he seems to have moved to Canada, for in 1917 he wrote a report on The mining of thin coal seams as applied to the eastern coal-fields of Canada, published in Ottawa as Bulletin No. 15 (135 p) of the Canadian Department of Mines.
The next year (1918) Brown and his wife Charlotte emigrated to the United States and he subsequently applied for naturalisation as a US citizen.