Philip A. H. Brown was born on January 3, 1842 to John and Sarah Harrison Auld Brown in Baltimore, Maryland. He prepared for his undergraduate years at Lynchburg College in Virginia and then entered Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in the fall of 1857. While at the College, Brown became a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and was elected to the Belles Lettres Society. He graduated with his class in 1860.
By the spring of 1862, Brown was a sergeant in the Fourth Battery, Maryland Artillery, known also as "the Chesapeake Battery," in the Army of Northern Virginia. He served the Confederacy until the end of the war, mustering out as a sergeant in May 1865. He saw action in some of the larger encounters of the war, including Cedar Mountain, Cold Harbor, and Gettysburg, where his unit lost heavily. Following the war, Brown engaged in the transportation trade. By 1871, he had also completed religious training and was ordained in the Episcopal Church. He served as the seventh rector of Christ Church in Cooperstown, New York between 1872 and 1874. He was also the vicar of the Trinity Parish in Verick Street, New York City from 1875 to 1909.
Brown married Jane Russell Averell Carter of Cooperstown in 1879. The couple had eight children. On September 15, 1909, the Reverend Philip Auld Harrison Brown died and was buried in Cooperstown in the Christ Church graveyard. He was sixty-seven years old.