Captain James Brown
The Pioneer of Ogden
By his grandson, Moroni F. Brown
Provided by Archie Leon Brown
The following interesting sketch of the Pioneer of Ogden, in the early incidents of his life and family, is from the pen of his grandson, Moroni F. Brown, and for the purpose of biographical strictness, is to be preferred in the early period to a more labored sketch of the historian:
Captain James Brown, the first permanent settler and pioneer of Weber County, Utah, was born fifteen miles from Lexington in Davidson County, North Carolina, on the 30th day of September, 1801, and died in Ogden City, Utah on his birthday in the year 1863, being accordingly on the day of his death sixty-two years old.
He was the son of James Brown, who was born according to the best information available, in Maryland in the year 1758, and who, when quite young served as a soldier during the Revolution, and fought to secure for the colonies of America, freedom and independence; after the war was over, he married Mollie Emberson, a widow whose maiden name was Williams, and who then had two children, a daughter and a son. This widow's former husband, Emberson, had also been a soldier in the army, but he deserted, and for a long time concealed himself in his father's milk-house to avoid being apprehended; but on venturing out into the timber one day, to assist his father in hauling a load of wood, he was taken by four officers who started for head-quarters with him, but on the way they killed their prisoner with swords, and left his body in a mangled condition near a creek by the road-side.
The fruits of this marriage between James Brown and Mollie Williams Emberson was a family of nine children. After Peggy and John (the children which Mollie bore her former husband) come the names of those born in wedlock with James Brown, in the following order: Susan, Jane, Mary, Nancy, Obedience,
Patsey, William, James and Daniel, of whom, (James, the second to the last, is the subject of this chapter. ) It is not known when James Brown, father of Captain Brown, removed to North Carolina; but the report that he was associated with Andrew Jackson at the time of the Revolution, favors the belief that it was before the war commenced. Jackson having taken a prominent part, when quite a boy, in fighting against the British in North Carolina, was no doubt engaged in battles in which young Brown fought. It is known, however, that after the war was over, he continued to reside in the above named State until his death, which occurred when he was sixty-six years old, in 1824. His occupation had been that of a farmer, and he is represented as having been a very tall, dark-complected man of wonderful anatomical and muscular proportions, and of whom, Alexander Brown of Lynne, Weber County, his grandson, (and son of the late Captain Brown) , is a true type; and when he was summoned by the hand of death it was said of, "If ever good men lived and died upon the earth, grandfather Brown was one of them."
Tradition traces the genealogy of Captain Brown back to his great grandfather who was a Scotchman by the name of Brown, and who was allied in marriage with a woman who was a native of Portugal; they being the grandparents of James Brown who served in the war as already stated. We regret that the source from which to obtain data regarding the ancestors of Captain Brown does not afford more effective information; but his great benevolence, charity toward the poor, virtue and integrity to principle, are index fingers pointing back to a line of noble descent through which many generations of Browns have made advents upon the earth.
During the youthful days of our subject, he was engaged with his brothers in working on his father's farm, the old homestead whereon he first saw the light of day, and in pursuing those studies which later in life fitted him for responsible positions. He was probably the most studious of his father's children, and he early succeeded in acquiring sufficient knowledge to qualify him for the position of school teacher, which occupation he followed at the age of eighteen years. He gradually grew in public favor, and when he became eligible to vote and hold office, he was elected to the office of constable in his
native county. He was subsequently elected sheriff the same county, which position he filled with honor to himself, and to the entire satisfaction of his constituents. The latter office he held until shortly before he removed from his native state.
In 1823, he married Martha Stephens, by whom he became the father of nine children - eight sons and one daughter.
His brother Daniel having gone west in l831, wrote back to his friends a flattering account of his new home. This induced James to remove with his family which consisted of his wife, Martha Stephens, and five children, whose names were: John M. Alexander, Jesse S., Nancy and Daniel, to Brown County, Illinois, where he settled, about twenty-five miles from the home of his brother Daniel in the year 1833. While residing in Brown and Adams counties, Illinois, Martha bore him four other children, whose names were James M., William, Benjamin F. and Moroni.
After locating his family in Illinois, the then western limit of civilization, he returned and spent the summer of 1833, in his native state, for the purpose of adjusting some property matters, which he was unable to accomplish at an earlier date. He returned home in the fall of 1833. After residing two years in Brown County, he removed to Adams County, where he engaged in the business of fanning on a large scale, hauling his produce to market at Quincy, on the Mississippi River. In the last named county he served the people as justice of the peace. By his firm yet sympathetic character, he became very popular in that region, and through his enterprise he was indeed in a fair way of becoming a wealthy man.
He had early in life accepted the Baptist doctrine and was a firm believer in the Holy Bible, having acquired, by diligent study quite a knowledge of its contents; and he frequently addressed the Baptist congregation upon the principles of the gospel; and as teaching the principle of charity toward the poor and needy, a doctrine which is richly diffused throughout the teachings of Christ and His apostles, his precept and example were eminently in accord with each other.
In the spring of 1839, after the Latter-day Saints had been expelled from Missouri and the exiles began to settle in Adams County, Illinois, the principles which that peculiar people taught
were first declared to him by two Mormon Elders, at a meeting held in Dunkard, in the same county. After the meeting was over he said to the elders whose names were Jacob Foutz and David Evans, "Gentlemen, if that is the doctrine which the Mormons believe in and teach, I want you to come and preach in my house." The invitation was accepted, and an appointment was made for the elders to hold a meeting at Mr. Brown's house, on Sunday, two weeks from that day. With the appointed time, came elders Jacob Foutz and Tarlton Lewis, and held a meeting at the time and place agreed upon, later which Jacob Foutz baptized James Brown and his wife Martha Stephens Brown. This occurred in the early part of June, 1839.
He at once became a zealous laborer in the cause of the Latter-day Saints, under whose banner he continued to sail during the remainder of his natural life; sharing with them in the trials and hardships incident to their expulsion from Nauvoo, and settlement in the valleys of Utah.
After his inception in the Church and doctrine of the Saints, he lost no time in carrying the "glad tidings of great joy," to his brother and sisters who also lived in Illinois, and who shortly afterwards became members of the same Church. Not long after this, he having been ordained an elder, was sent on a mission through Illinois and the adjoining Territories, to preach to the Saints and to collect means from among them, to be used in the construction of the Nauvoo House and Temple. And finding that his business connected with the Church frequently called him to Nauvoo, he resolved to remove there with his family, which he did in the spring of 1842. He had buried his wife Martha in 1840, she having died when her last child Moroni was but a day or two old. Finding himself a widower, with a number of small children to care for, he, not long after the death of his wife, married Susan, a daughter of Jacob Foutz, the man who had converted him to Mormonism. He subsequently went on a mission to the state of Mississippi where he succeeded in allaying much prejudice, and making quite a number of additions to the Church by baptism. After returning home from this mission he removed with his family from Nauvoo to Augusta, Iowa, after which, he went in the spring of 1844, on a mission to his native state,
North Carolina, where he preached the gospel to his relatives and many others. While on this mission his brother-in-law, Siren Jackson, attempted to take his life.
Ten years had elapsed since James Brown had removed from his native state to the west, and when in 1844, he appeared at the door of Siren Jackson, as a missionary sent to preach Mormonism, "Old Siren," as he was commonly called, became wroth, and with an oath he prefaced a sentence of death upon his would-be-benefactor, and seizing a gun rushed to the door in the act of "ramming" a bullet down, preparatory to carrying the sentence into execution. Siren's wife, Susan (eldest sister of James) was pleased to see her brother who had been absent for ten years, but she had to admonish him to flee from her door, and enraged husband, ere she had time to inquire into his welfare and that of his family. The missionary's retreat was saluted with the report of Siren's rifle, and the whizzing bullet by his head, which had a tendency to wonderfully accelerate speed.
While James Brown was upon this mission the Saints were called to mourn the death of their prophet and patriarch, Joseph and Hyrum Smith. Shortly after this great event in the annals of Mormon history, James returned to his home in Augusta, and engaged in the business of running a saw and a grist-mill, which were situated on the bank of Skunk River. He expended much time and considerable money in reconstructing his mills in order that he might be able to supply the increasing demands of the settlers for lumber and lath. His flouring mill was a very good one, being built of hardwood; it contained three running stones for the grinding of flour. Thus we find him again applying his enterprise and genius to the accumulation of wealth, at the same time holding himself in readiness to heed any call that might be made of him by the authorities of the Church to which he belonged, the truth of which his after life disclosed.
In the great drama of life which is being evermore enacted by men and women in the world's theatre of realities, and in
which our subject has taken an important part, we have thus far seen him as an obscure farmer's boy, laboring upon his father's farm, we have seen him as a school teacher; as an officer of the law, as an extensive farmer in Illinois, as a justice of the peace, as a minister of gospel traveling among friends, strangers and enemies, and now we find him a miller, located upon the banks of the Skunk River, in Iowa, on the frontier of civilization. We have yet to behold him as an exile, driven with this people from the haunts of civilized (?) life into the wilderness; as a volunteer to serve his country in the Mexican War; as a captain in he Mormon Battalion, marching at the head of his troops through deserts and over mountains; as a pioneer; as a wanderer across the American Desert from Salt Lake to California; we have yet to behold him pursued by hostile Indians; wandering three days without food on a desert; as a founder of a city; on the Isthmus of Panama, prostrate with yellow fever, while on his way to fulfill a mission to British Guiana, South America; and lastly, as the father of a numerous posterity. And amid all the delightful and horrid scenes that have crowned the many acts of his life, we shall find that he was so well acquainted with his part that it became an easy task for him to perform upon the great - the real stage of nature.
Captain Brown remained at Augusta, Iowa, until the saints were expelled from Nauvoo, when he joined them in their journey toward the Pacific coast. Came as far as Winter Quarters with his family, and temporarily settled. Joined the Battalion, and taking his wife, Mary (Black) Brown, with him (also her son, David) he marches to Pueblo in Command of Company "C," leaving the greater part of his family at Winter Quarters. Remained at Pueblo during the winter of 1845-46, in consequence of many of the soldiers being sick and unable to march.
Came to Salt Lake the summer of 1847, arriving on the 29th of July, five days after the Mormon pioneers, under Brigham Young, entered the valley. He had left his family almost destitute back at Winter Quarters and without any means of support, as his son's John M., Alexander and Jesse S., had also gone in the Battalion, they being the only ones in his family capable of working to any advantage.
On the 10th day of August, 1847, in company with nine other, Sam Brannan being the guide, he left Salt Lake City bound for San Francisco, California, for the purpose of obtaining from the government paymaster, who was stationed at San Francisco, the money due the volunteers of Company "C" of the Battalion, the total amount thus due the soldiers of Company "C" was $10,000. The journey thither was via Fort Hall, the "sink of the Humboldt," and Lake Donner, thence to San Francisco via Sutter's Fort which was situated six miles from where Sacramento was afterwards built.
This was the first company traveling westward, to view the remains of the celebrated Hastings company who perished at that memorable lake (Donner) the previous winter.
A company of soldiers returning east passed by the lake a few days before Brown's company of ten men arrived there.
The dead bodies of men, women and children were still strewn about the precincts of a few rude huts which had been built by those who thus perished. Jesse S. Brown, who was a member of this small company, gives a most interesting account of this journey, and how the awe stricken travelers gazed upon the horrid scene.
It required about one month to accomplish the journey to San Francisco, and twenty three days to reach Sutter's Fort, which, as above stated, was near the spot where Sacramento was built in after years.
Reached San Francisco about the 10th of September, and after spending two or three days in accomplishing his business with the paymaster, Captain Brown prepared to return to Salt Lake City, and could get but four men to join him in the return trip, among who was his son, Jesse S. Brown. Came to Sutter's Fort, which place the small company left with twenty-three day's provisions - expecting to accomplish the journey from that point in the same length of time that it had required to go from Salt Lake City to Sutter's Fort. The journey, however, required forty-eight days to be accomplished, hence Captain Brown and his company came near starving to death on the way back. They were pursued by twenty-five Indians while on the
Truckee River. The Indians came upon them on the third day of their pursuit very early in the morning - just as a grayish twilight began to deck the eastern horizon. Samuel Lewis, who was one of Captain Brown's party, had served as picket or guard during that night and when in the dim twilight he beheld the stalwart form of about twenty-five Indian warriors, making rapid strides on foot toward the camp, he gave the signal to his comrades: "Captain, the Indians are upon us!" The Indians evidently expected to attack the camp when the men were all asleep, but
the outpost had frustrated their design. By the time that the Indians had approached to within a short distance of the camp it had become broad daylight; Captain Brown advancing toward them, gave signs that they were to halt. The Indians were prompt in obeying the order, but began to make peace-signs, stating that they were "Shoshones," which, of course, was false. This was simply a stratagem of theirs to deceive. The fact of the Shoshones being friendly towards the whites, accounts for this band of warriors claiming to be that tribe. In the meantime Captain Brown, had given orders for his boys to prepare for moving, which they were busily carrying out. Finally at the solicitation of Captain Brown, ten of these redmen advanced to within a few spaces of where the small camp of scared white men were. They (the Indians) indulged in a mumbling conversation with each other as they stood gazing upon the proceedings of Captain Brown and his men, their talk would occasionally develop into a chuckling among themselves, characteristic of such people when they gain a victor over an enemy.
The Indians became very insolent in a few minutes, and even attempted to steal ropes, spurs, provisions, etc., and one young buck attempted to steal a horse right from under the gaze of the men. He jumped on one of the horses and started on a keen gallop toward a clump of brush that grew close by. Captain Brown raised his rifle and was in the act of taking aim at the Indian when his comrades called for him to return. He quickly complied and brought the horse back.
When the boys were ready to proceed on their way Captain Brown gave orders to the Indians to clear the way, and the small company filed out toward their destination, at the same time
each man had his hand upon the trigger and his gaze centered upon the Indians.
The Indians followed to the first crossing of the Truckee River, where an episode occurred which caused them to abandon their pursuit. Captain Brown gave signs that they were not to cross the river after the five men had landed safe on the opposite bank, they beheld that their pursuers were nearing the first shore. They paused a moment on the brink of the stream, and then, with an air of persistency, waded into the river, and when the whole band were in the middle of the stream, Captain Brown's rifle leveled at the squad of Indians, was followed by one of the number being borne out of the water by his comrades. It was never learned by this party of travelers whether the shot proved fatal or not. Their course thence for about twelve miles extended along the Truckee River (which stream they had occasion to cross several times) after which a desert about forty miles in width was spread out before them. They rode to the edge of this desert, and encamped for breakfast shortly before noon. One of the Indians followed on foot for several miles, evidently with the intention of finding where the party of white men might camp the next night. However, he abandoned the pursuit. After breakfasting at this place, they prepared to launch out into the desert, and when they had packed a large mule with the flour which was to last them on their trip to Salt Lake City, that amiable quadruped took occasion to stampede and scatter the flour for two or three hundred yards through the sage brush. After this the boys had to subsist on boiled wheat until they reached the valley. Leaving their camping place, they traveled the remainder of that day and nearly the whole of the following night, and camped on the desert without water for their animals or themselves; and it was nearly noon the next day before they found water.
They had completely foiled the enemy in thus making along march, and the latter, not having horses or firearms, were unable to cope with even this small number of men who were supplied with both.
Thence they proceeded to the "sink of the Hulliboldt River," and agreeable with directions which they had received from a
surviving member of the Hasting company of emigrants, most of which (as before stated) perished at Lake Donner, they left the old Fort Hall Route, and took what was called "Hasting's cutoff." They had been informed that by taking this course they would reach Salt Lake City with at least two hundred miles less travel. This course led them southward across what is known as the "Seventy-five mile Desert."
By the time they reached the Humboldt their provisions had entirely given out, and their horses being considerably reduced in flesh they were unable to travel very fast, and the country had not proven as prolific in game as they had expected. They yet had to encounter their greatest foe. It was this desert of seventy-five miles in width. The weather was getting very cold, and light snow storms had not been infrequent from the time they had left the Humboldt region. This had rendered the country in a condition greatly to impede travel. They had supplied themselves with nothing in which to carry any quantity of water to speak of, and when they came to the desert they simply had to stem the hideous foe by launching out into this stretch of alkali bed with a determination to go through.
Three days were consumed in accomplishing the journey across the desert. They found water the third day about 2 o'clock. Some of the animals had given out, and had been left on the desert. For three days these five men had subsisted on three very lean geese which Jesse had killed the day before the company arrived at the desert; and during that length of time they had no water. One or two members of the party gave out, and were so weak that they had to be assisted on their horses by their emaciated comrades. They arrived in Salt Lake City about the 1st of December, (1847) in an exceedingly broken up condition. This trip had reduced Captain Brown from 200 weight avoirdupois to 150, and the other members of the company proportionately reduced.
Captain Brown had succeeded in procuring the soldier's pay - $10,000 - which he brought with him to Salt Lake City, and distributed among his company. He also brought with him 4 1/2 bushels of wheat and a half bushel of corn, the first grain planted in Weber County.
During his trip to and from San Francisco, and particularly when danger stared him in the face, Captain Brown took much consolation in reflecting upon the promise of Brigham Young, that "you shall return from California safely."
His family joined him in 1846 from Winter Quarters.
On the 8th day of November, 1847, in Salt Lake City, his wife, Mary (Black) Brown, gave birth to the first white female child born in Salt Lake Valley, which was given the name of Mary Eliza, she is now the wife of W. F. Critchlow, Esq., of Ogden City, Utah, and is the mother of twelve children. He was both by precept and example a strong advocate of the principle of celestial or plural marriage, which doctrine he accepted and entered into even before the Saints were expelled from Nauvoo, and his polygamous relations have resulted in a numerous posterity; nearly 200 surviving souls may be counted, who are the direct descendants of Captain Brown. His own children numbered twenty-four souls.
He went on a mission in company with Elijah Thomas to open up the gospel in British Guiana, South America. Was unable to reach that land in consequence of the feeling that existed against the Mormons. Went to New York and filled a mission in the eastern states where he labored several months. Sailed to New Orleans and assisted in the emigration from England. Brought a company of Saints to the valley in the fall of 1854, having been absent from home two years.
The following extract is taken from a pamphlet entitled "Answers to questions concerning the Rise, Progress and Travels of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." page 36:
During this mission and while on the Isthmus of Panama he was attacked by the yellow fever, from which he recovered, and agreeable to the promise of Heber C. Kimball, when setting him apart for the mission, he lived to perform great work preaching the gospel to his fellowmen. While on the Isthmus, he and his companion were robbed of their trunks, which left them destitute of clothing and money, as all they had was contained in them; they afterwards recovered the same in accordance with a dream Captain Brown had.
When returning home in charge of the company of Saints, as above stated, he became the victim of another dread disease - the cholera - and he was at one time given up for dead. He survived it, however, and came on to the Valley.
Captain James Brown figured prominently in public matters from the early settlement of Utah by the Mormon Pioneers until his death.
When, on the 26th day of January, 1851, the Weber Stake of Zion was organized with Lorin Farr as president, the Weber Branch which had previously been organized was given the name of Ogden, and was divided into two wards, known as First and Second Wards. James Brown was chosen as first counselor to Bishop Isaac Clark of the First Ward. This was the first ecclesiastical organization effected in Ogden City.
Grandfather Daniel Rawson was Justice of the Peace and District President in 1849 until it was divided into two wards.
The Territorial legislature, of which Captain Brown was member (of the House), on the 6th day of February, 1851, passed an act incorporating Ogden City, and on the 23rd day of October, 1852, the first municipal election was held, at which our subject was elected as a member of the city council.
He was the first magistrate elected for the Weber River precinct, and with David B. Dillie and James G. Browning he
represented Weber County as a member of the House at the first session of the legislative assembly of the Territory of Utah, which convened on the 22nd day of September, 1851. In the fall of 1854, after returning from the east, the people of Weber County again chose him to represent them in the legislature, which position he filled with his usual earnestness and to the satisfaction of his constituents.
He entertained the utmost contempt for men who would stoop to acts of lawlessness; and probably few men have lived who despised a liar more than he.
To follow him through all his business, social and public affairs would require more space than would be proper to devote to him in this work; we therefore conclude by briefly stating the facts connected with his death.
When on the 25th day of September, 1863, he was operating a molasses mill near Weber River, just west of where the rail-road depot is now situated, in Ogden City, he met with an accident which five days later resulted in his death. He was in the act of feeding the machine when the cogs of the same, being in motion, caught the sleeve of his garment, and the latter, being of an exceedingly strong texture, drew his arm into the cogs. As soon as he could recover his balance he made a tremendous surge which drew from the mill his arm in a lacerated condition, the muscles being literally tom off. He was taken to his home where he had summoned around his bedside his numerous family.
He seemed confident from the first that his work was finished on earth; and in his wounded condition he directed the distribution of his property among his wives and children, and the justice of his will has not left room for a demurrer by any of his numerous posterity. On the 28th day of the same month, while conversing with his son, he said, "Johnny, if I live until the day after tomorrow, I will be sixty-two years old; and I guess that I'll just about make it."
And his premonitions were correct, for on that day, after having suffered intensely for five days, he closed his eyes in death.
And as was said of his father may also be said of him: "If ever good men lived and died upon the earth, Grandfather Brown was one of them."
Being a man of an exceedingly strong constitution and endowed with strong will-power and great executive ability, Captain James Brown was eminently fitted for the work of pioneering and building up a new country like Utah was forty years ago, and his labors in that direction have erected a more durable monument than it is possible for pen to do. And it is but a duty of homage due him that actuates the writer in attempting this to perpetuate his name.
Here closes the sketch of Captain James Brown as written by his grandson to which we supplement the following of him as the pioneer of Ogden City and Weber County.
The record of the entrance of Captain James Brown into the valley with his detachment of the Battalion is recorded in Wilford Woodruff's history of the pioneers. In his notes of July 27th, he says:
In his notes of the return of the Pioneers to Winter Quarters, Historian Woodruff says:
After the departure of President Young and the majority of the Pioneers and the Battalion detachment, Captain Brown started from the Valley for San Francisco to collect from the Government the pay to the men of his detachment, he having been so instructed by President Young, and furnished with powers of attorney from the men to collect for them.
The company that left the Valley consisted of Captain Brown and nine others - namely, "Sam" Brannan, Gilbert Hunt, John Fowler, Abner Blackburn, William Gribble, Lisander Woodworth, Henry Frank and Jesse S. Brown, third son of Captain Brown.
Relative to this company and their meeting of Governor Mason, who succeeded General Kearney as Military Governor of California, Bancroft in his history of California says:
In his report of October 7th, Governor Mason, Cal. and N. Mex., Mess. and Doc., 1850, p. 355, writes:
Captain Brown and his companions arrived at the valley of the Great Salt Lake on the 15th of December, 1847, and found the building of the Fort commenced by the pioneers previous to their return to Winter Quarters, considerably advanced, during his absence in California collecting pay for his detachment.
Hearing that Miles Goodyear had a desirable place on the Weber River to sell - namely, all those lands which he claimed upon his Mexican grant, Captain Brown went up to Weber in the latter part of December to see the claim and negotiated with Goodyear with the purpose of founding a settlement. He was accompanied by Amasa Lyman, Jedediah M. Grant and others to view this important situation for the planting of new settlements, and to advise with him relative to its purchase.
Having bargained for the Goodyear lands and improvements of the Weber County, Captain James Brown sent up his sons,
Jesse and Alexander, and also a brother pioneer by the name of Datus Ensign, to take care of the place and stock previous to his commencement to found the projected settlement on the Weber River, in the spring of 1848. They came up before the close of the year 1847, immediately after the return of Captain Brown to Salt Lake City, who, with Amasa Lyman and Jedediah M. Grant, undoubtedly reported the prospects for northern settlements to the high council left in charge of the parent colony, presided over by Father John Smith, General Charles C. Rich, and John Young, brother of President Young.
For strict fidelity to the history as well as for the understanding of readers of later times, it will here be proper to suggest that this Goodyear purchase was probably made and also as likely projected under the counsel and direction of the authorities of the Church, which had been appointed by the Pioneer band, previous to their return to Winter Quarters.
Jesse Brown, third son of Captain James Brown, states that his father was instructed by President Young to make the Goodyear purchase. Without recording this note as an historical certainty, it seems consistent and according to well-known general facts. That Captain Brown was sent by President Young to San Francisco to collect the pay due to his detachment of the Battalion soldiers, we may be quite sure, for otherwise, though he was their immediate commanding officer Captain Brown never would have carried with him a power of attorney from each member of his detachment to collect their pay as a body. In a previous case, when the men enlisted, agents were sent by President Young, as leader of the community, from Winter Quarters to Washington, to collect the first installment of the Battalion pay; not only to supply the wants of the families of the enlisted men, but also to aid the leaders in the removal of the community from Winter Quarters to the Rocky Mountains. Captain James Brown, no doubt was sent on a similar mission - as an agent of the Church, as well as of the men whose pay he was authorized to collect by his power of attorney.
Captain Brown received from Paymaster Rich $10,000 in Spanish doubloons. This money he brought with him to the Valley to payoff the men of his detachment.
With the gold brought from California Captain Brown purchased the Goodyear lands; and this statement does not imply that it was paid from a joint stock fund of the soldiers, but rather from his own proportion and accumulations while in the service and in probable business gains on his recent trip.
The money thus brought into the country during absence of the Pioneers, gives an evident reason of the commencement of the colonization in the north, on the Weber River, a year before it began in the south with the Provo colony. It was the money obtained by Captain Brown, that enabled him to make the purchase in question, and hence to start a colony in the North, which further strengthens the historian's opinion that it was a part of the colonizing plan of President Young given to Captain Brown when he sent him to California to collect the Battalion pay.
At this point may be also emphasized the fact that the Goodyear claim consisted of something more than unoccupied lands. There was a fort and farm stock, which furnished a very fair and sufficient start for a regular settlement of the Mormon colonists who had just arrived in the Valley, while in the south there was nothing of the kind, nor had the settlement, out of which grew Salt Lake City, so much as a Goodyear fort and stock to commence upon. So far Ogden antedates Salt Lake City.
Besides the fort described in the opening chapter, there were included in the purchase for $3,000, seventy-five head of cattle, about a similar number of goats, twelve head of sheep and six horses.
In the spring of 1848, Captain Brown and his sons planted five acres of wheat from seed which he brought from California, which was the first wheat planted in the Weber country. He also planted corn, potatoes, cabbage, turnips and a few watermelons. Goodyear and his men expected the crop would be a total failure, and so frankly represented the prospect to the Captain at the time he made the purchase. One of Goodyear's men told the story that he had been about four years trying to raise corn, and had never raised a roasting ear. This, he said, was because frost killed the corn when it commenced silking; and "so it will be with you Mormons," he added.
However, nothing discouraged Captain Brown and his sons from putting in their crops; and they raised that season one hundred bushels of wheat, and seventy-five bushels of corn, besides potatoes, cabbage, a crop of fine turnips and a few watermelons.
Jesse and Aleck Brown plowed the first furrow in Weber County; and, from the stock purchased of Goodyear, the family milked twenty-five cows, and made the first cheese produced in Utah, several thousand pounds being the result of the first season's milk. Mary Black, one of Captain Brown's wives, made the cheese. Their dairy was considered, in these early times quite a cheese manufactory, from which the community at Salt Lake, as well as the settlers of the Weber, obtained the rare luxuries of dairy supplies.
Meantime, till harvest, Captain Brown sent his son Alexander to Fort Hall to purchase flour to feed his family, Aleck was accompanied by Thomas Williams, one of the Battalion, who was afterwards well-known as one of the principal Salt Lake merchants, and Ebenezer Hanks. Between them they bought six hundred pounds of flour - three hundred pounds each. They loaded it on pack animals. Brown's portion furnished the family at Goodyear Fort; the remainder, though but a small quantity, was a welcomed portion of that year's supplies to the Salt Lake colony.
The condition of the community generally, in the spring of 1848, is graphically described by Parley P. Pratt in his autobiography; and his touching passages are very suggestive here of the primitive luxuries of Brown's prolific dairy at Goodyear Fort. Parley P. Pratt says:
These passages of the early history of the community in the valleys as described with that graphic simplicity so peculiar to Parley P. Pratt's pen, are very suggestive of the support given by Brown's settlement on the Weber River, with its seventy-five head of cattle; about the same of goats; twelve head of sheep; with the milk of twenty-five cows, and a dairy that supplied several thousand pounds of cheese and butter, Captain Brown's cows inured to the climate and accustomed to the feed of the country, yielded abundance of milk when Apostle Pratt's cows were dry; and the blessing to the community of the butter and cheese made at "Brownville," as the settlement was styled in Captain Stansbury's book, can be readily appreciated at a time when a little sour skim milk and a pound of cheese were esteemed so rare a treat to the family of a favorite Apostle.
It was during this destitute condition of the parent colony that "Brownville," on the Weber River, was as the land of Goshen to the children of Israel. At a time when Captain Brown might have readily sold his breadstuff for ten dollars per hundred, he sold it to his destitute brethren for four dollars per sack of flour; while he slaughtered a large portion of his fat cattle, which he had purchased from Goodyear, to supply them with beef.
The old settlers of Weber County, to this day, speak with grateful appreciation of this public benevolence of their pioneer to the community at large, at the onset of our colonies, when their little settlement grew up as a worthy help-mate of the present settlement of Salt Lake City.
It is true the gulls seemed as angels sent in a miracle to save the Saints, but the sociologist and historian will most note the patriarchal example, and attribute much of the good result to the presiding care of Brigham Young and the semi-communistic example of such pioneers as Captain James Brown, who with an unstinted hand fed to the people his breadstuff, and his beef, and butter, and cheese from his bountiful dairy.
This little settlement on the Weber River, of course, suffered somewhat from the ravages of the grasshoppers; yet compared with that of the settlement of Salt Lake, the loss of the Captain's crops was light. As before noted, Captain Brown raised, in the season of 1848, one hundred bushels of wheat and seventy-five bushels of corn, besides potatoes, cabbage, and a fine crop of turnips. Such a crop, at such a time, when the whole community were famishing, was a blessing indeed; and well does Captain Brown deserve the historical record that, when wheat sold for five dollars per bushel, and potatoes from six to twenty dollars per bushel, he sold his flour to the brethren at four dollars per hundred.
Of the Goodyear claim Captain Brown retained only two or three hundred acres, allowing his fellow colonists, in whose interest as well as for himself the claim was purchased, to settle in the country without price or question of their rights. Indeed, at this period, the Mormon community were living strictly up to the tenor of the first sermon which Brigham Young preached in the valley, Sunday, July 25th, 1847, in which he said: "No man of the community should buy any land who came here; that he had none to sell; but every man should have his land measured out to him for city and farming purposes. He might till it as he pleased, but he must be industrious and take care of it."
So Captain James Brown, though he had purchased the Goodyear claim, to give the colonists undisputed occupation, was living up to the strict order of the community; he had no land to sell to his brethren; it was theirs for legitimate settling without money and without price.
It may be also here noted, before closing these special references to Captain Brown and the Battalion settlers, that it was their soldier pay of $10,000 in Spanish gold, that furnished the
first money in circulation in these valleys. Excepting these doubloons, and half double with which Brown's detachment was paid off, there was probably not a cent of money in the country among the Mormons in the year 1847 and 1848, until the arrival of their companies in September, 1848, seeing that the community from February, 1846, had been on their migration passage from the eastern frontiers to the Rocky Mountains, and that absolutely all their money resources were spent in outfitting the pioneer companies.
CAPTAIN JAMES BROWN
By Gladys Brown White in 1947
Librarian’s Note: This Document was Originally Prepared
Captain James Brown, pioneer, missionary, commonwealth builder, and founder of Ogden, Utah, was born in Rowan County, North Carolina, September 30, 1801. His parents were Scotch - Irish stock and were among the early settlers in North Carolina. His father, James Brown, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. His mother was Mary Williams Emberson (Emmerson). [She was the widow of a Revolutionary War soldier and had been left with two children: John and Margaret Emerson.]
From the marriage of Mary and James were the following children: Susan, Jane, Mary, Nancy, Obedience, Patsy, William, James and Daniel. James Brown, the father of Captain James Brown is represented as having been a very tall, dark-complexioned man of wonderful anatomical and muscular proportions. [It was said of him:] "If ever good men lived upon the earth, Grandfather Brown was one of them."
During his youth, James engaged with his brothers working on his father’s farm and pursuing those studies, which fitted him for responsible positions. At the age of 18 he became a school teacher. He gradually grew in popularity and was elected Constable of Rowan County. Later he was made Sheriff of the same county, which position he filled with honor to himself and held until he left North Carolina.
On March 2, 1823, he was married to Martha Stephens by Ranson Harris at the waters of Flat Creek Swamp, Rowan County, North Carolina. She was the daughter of Alexander Stephens and Mary Daley, also early settlers of North Carolina. The following children were born to James and Martha in North Carolina: John Martin I, Alexander, Jesse Stowell, Nancy and Daniel.
His brother, Daniel, moved to Brown County, Illinois, in 1831, and wrote back telling James what fine opportunities the new country afforded. Accordingly, James, his wife Martha and five children made the journey by wagon and team to Illinois where they settled in spring of 1833. That same year he returned to North Carolina to adjust his business and settle his property matters, returning to Illinois in the autumn of 1833.
After living in Brown County for two years, where he engaged in farming on a large scale, he moved to Adams County, Illinois. Illinois was a new country at this time and the land had to be cleared of timber before it could be cultivated. Wild meat was plentiful and at first served as the main food for the family. As the country became more settled the people raised vegetables and grain. They also raised hogs and cattle.
[James] was Justice of the Peace in Adams County, and by his firm yet sympathetic character, he became very popular in that region. Through his enterprise he was in a fair way of becoming a wealthy man. In his early manhood he had accepted the Baptist doctrine. He was a firm believer in the Bible and frequently addressed the Baptist congregation.
While living in Illinois the following children were born to James and Martha: James Moorhead, William, Benjamin Franklin, and Moroni.
In the spring of 1838, after the Mormons had been expelled from Missouri and had begun to settle in Illinois, he heard the Gospel preached at Dunkard by Jacob Foutz and David Evans. After hearing their sermons, he said, "Gentlemen, if that is the doctrine which the Mormons teach, I want you to come and preach in my house." The meeting was held two weeks later and Jacob Foutz and Tarletor Lewis came to preach. Soon after James and Martha and the children were baptized. James became a zealous laborer and carried the glad tidings to his brothers and sisters, who had also settled in Illinois. Soon he was ordained an Elder and went on a mission to Illinois and surrounding territory to preach the gospel and collect means to be used in the construction of the Nauvoo Temple and Nauvoo House.
On September 28, 1840, his wife Martha, died during childbirth, leaving him with a large family. She was buried near Kingston, Adams County, Illinois.
[On January 23, 1841,] he was married to Susan Foutz, daughter of Jacob and Margaret Foutz. She was the daughter of the man who first brought Mormonism [to him.] She bore him one son, Alma, who died August 18, 1842, at the age of three weeks. Susan died soon after of consumption.
In the spring of 1842 he moved to Nauvoo. Soon after Susan died he married Esther Jones Roper, widow of Robert Roper. They were married by Stephen Abbott in Nauvoo. Of this union [five children were born: twins August and Augusta were born in 1843 and lived only one day; a son, Amasa Lyman, lived two months;] Esther Ellen, who married Mr. Dee, and [Martha] Alice, who died at the age of 16 in Ogden, Utah.
At this time he fulfilled three short time missions for the church. The first was to Mississippi, where he allayed prejudice and made many converts. In 1843 he organized a small branch called the Buttshatchy Branch in Monroe, Mississippi. The same year he fulfilled a mission to Iowa and in the spring of 1844 [he] was called on a mission to North Carolina. Here he carried the gospel to his oldest sister, Susan, who had married Siren Jackson. His sister warned him of her husband’s prejudice against the Mormons and admonished him to leave. His retreat was saluted with the report of Siren’s rifle and the whizzing of a bullet past his head.
Captain James Brown knew the Prophet Joseph and his brother, Hyrum, personally. When they were martyred in Carthage Jail, Captain Brown was on a mission to North Carolina. When he returned home he called his brother, Daniel, and told him that they must avenge the Prophet’s death. Accordingly, they took their rifles, mounted their horses and began the journey to Missouri with the intention of killing Governor Boggs. After riding all night James said to Daniel, "I fell that we should knell down and pray." In the midst of their prayer, a voice said to them "Vengeance is mine and I will repay; return to your homes in peace." This they did.
After his return from North Carolina he engaged in running two mills, a sawmill and a gristmill, which were located on the Skunk River near Augusta, Iowa. He spent much time and money in building his mills to supply the population with lumber and lath and flour. His flour mill was built of hard wood and had three running stones. Thus we find him again applying his enterprise and genius [and his ability to establish and build up his country,] at the same time holding himself in readiness to heed any call that might be made of him by the authorities of the Church.
The principle of polygamy had been taught and practiced by the leaders of the Mormon Church. It was at this time that Captain Brown embraced the principle. He married Sarah Steadwell Wood in 1845. She was his first polygamous wife. She bore him one son, Harvey Brown, who was born [October 8, 1846 in a wagon box at Winter Quarters, situated on the banks of the Missouri River near Kainesville, Nebraska.]
While he lived in Nauvoo he became a fast friend of Stephen Abbott. Through this friendship they entered into an agreement that if anything of an unusual nature happened to either of them the other would care for his family.
In the year of 1844, while Stephen Abbott was floating timber down the Missouri River for the construction of the Nauvoo Temple, he took a cold, which turned to pneumonia, and died. On the eighth day of February 1846, James was married to Abigail Smith Abbott, Stephen’s widow. She was his second polygamous wife.
He remained in Augusta, Iowa until the Saints were expelled from Nauvoo in 1846, when he and his family joined them at Winter Quarters.
Earlier in the year of 1846 the United States had declared war on Mexico and a volunteer army had been raised through the middle Western States, called the "Army of the West", under Colonel Stephen W. Kearney. Brigham Young had been in touch with President Polk through [James] Jesse C. Little, and President Polk had promised to help the Mormons go to the Rocky Mountains. The Mormons, in turn, were to raise a battalion to become a part of the "Army of the West." At first they were to send 1,000 men then later it was decided that 500 should go. Colonel Kane was entrusted with the orders to Colonel Kearney and he and [James] Jesse C. Little traveled west together. Captain James Allen was sent to enlist four or five companies. Captain James Allen met Brigham Young at Council Bluffs on June 30, 1846. A meeting was held and 500 men for a battalion was enlisted. James Brown was appointed Captain of Company "C." Each company chose its officers from the men enlisted. They were equipped with mules, horses, wagons and provisions to do for a year. Four women were sent with each company to serve as laundresses.
On July 16, 1846, James Brown married Mary McRee Black, [a widow], in Council Bluffs, Iowa. This was the day he was inducted into the army. So the army made ready to march to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. On the night of their departure the men were honored with a ball. Colonel Kane describes it as a very festive occasion, although five hundred families were to be left without their natural protectors and providers. The Battalion was raised to allay the prejudice of the people, prove loyalty to the United States Government, and for the temporal salvation of Israel. The Battalion men decided to march in their own clothes so the money allotted them for clothes, plus their wages from the time they left Council Bluffs until they arrived at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas went to help their families and the leaders of the Church. This was a benefit, as the Saints at that time were very poor, having been driven from their homes.
Captain Brown made arrangements for his three wives, Esther, Sarah and Abigail and their families, to stay at Council Bluffs until he could bring them to the Rocky Mountains. His fourth wife, Mary, and her small son, David Black, marched with him in the Battalion.
The journey to Fort Leavenworth was long and hazardous, taking them over much unsettled country, but they arrived there on August 30, 1846.
The commissioned officers in Company "C" were: James Brown, Captain; George W. Rosencrans, 1st Lieutenant; Samuel Thompson, 2nd Lieutenant; Robert Clife, 3rd Lieutenant; Orson B. Adams, 1st Sergeant; Joel T. Terrell, [2nd] Sergeant; Jabez Nowlin, 1st Corporal; Alexander Brown, 2nd Corporal; Edward Marlin, 3rd Corporal; Daniel Tyler, 4th Corporal; Richard D. Sprague, Musician; Ezra H. Allen, Musician, and ninty-five Privates.
After receiving their equipment at Fort Leavenworth the Battalion marched to Santa Fe, [New Mexico.] They had now marched 1,100 miles. While in the vicinity of the Rio Grande River the Battalion saw the Mexicans taking water from the River to irrigate their lands. They also visited the Catholic Temples, built in the early days by the Catholic Fathers. Here they found in the construction of the roof of these temples [Missions] no nails had been used, but the lumber was held together with wooden pegs and the joints were wrapped with rawhide. This information came in handy later.
At Santa Fe the army was given an examination. Many of the men were older and the members as a whole were in poor condition to complete the march to San Diego. At this time 86 of the men were considered absolutely unfit for the journey, so they, with the women and children, under Captain Brown and St. Elam Luddington of Company "B" ["D"], were ordered to Pueblo, Colorado. Other sick members joined them later. The sick detachment of the Battalion arrived in Pueblo on November 17, 1846 and spent the winter there.
Captain Brown’s two sons, Alexander and Jesse, by his first wife Martha, marched with him in the Battalion. They were young men of 20 and 18 years, respectively, while at Pueblo a company of Mississippi Saints joined them.
When spring came they made ready to march to the Valley of the Rocky Mountains. About two or three hundred men, women and children made this march. They had planned to join Brigham Young’s Company in Wyoming but were delayed so arrived in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake July 29, 1847, just five days after the first Pioneer company arrived. President Young and a number of the brethren went to meet them. They had 29 wagons, 100 horses and mules, 300 head of cattle and one carriage, which greatly added to the strength of the pioneer camp.
Two days after their arrival, at the request of President Young, Brown’s men built a bowery on Temple Block, in which to hold meetings. Posts were set in the ground and upon these rude pillars long poles were laid and fastened with wooden pets and strips of rawhide. This framework, overlaid with timbers and brush, formed a good shelter from the sun, wind and rain. The dimensions were 40 by 28 feet.
Captain Brown had planned to return to Winter Quarters to bring his family West, but there were other things to be done. So when Brigham Young and other Church authorities returned East in the Autumn of 1847, Captain Brown sent wagons and provisions for his family and the family of Stephen Abbott, whom he had promised to care for, so they might come to Utah. They joined him in Ogden, or as it was then called, Brownsville, in 1848.
On August 8, 1847, having been given Power of Attorney to collect the money from Paymaster Rich, he started for California. There were nine men in the company: Captain Brown, Sam Brannan, who had come East to persuade President Young to settle in California, as guide, Gilbert Hunt, John Fowler, Abner Blackburn, William Gribble [Criddle], Lysander Woodworth, Henry Frauls and Jesse S. Brown, [his son.] When he left the pioneer camp Brigham Young gave him a letter to take to Captain Hunt, Captain of Company "A", and the members of the Battalion who had marched on to California. Excerpts of this letter follow:
Valley of the Great Salt Lake,
August 7 , 1847
To Captain, officers and soldiers of the Mormon Battalion.
"As Captain Brown and escort is about to leave this place for headquarters in California, we improve the opportunity of saying to you, that hitherto the Lord God of Israel blessed us and brought us to a goodly land, where we design to build a house unto Him.
"Therefore, when you receive this and learn of this location, it will be wisdom for you all, if you have got your discharge, as we suppose, to come directly to this place, where you will learn particularly who is here and who is not.
"We are making every exertion to prepare for the families that we expect immediately here. Will spend but little time in writing to you now as Captain Brown can tell you a great deal more than can be written."
He then urged them to bring camp equipment, horses and provisions with them, as they would need it.
The Company traveled North from Salt Lake via what is now [known as] Weber County. Here Captain Brown met Miles Goodyear for the first time and talked to him about buying his property on the Weber River. They then journeyed on via way of Fort Hall, [Idaho,] the Sink of the Humboldt and Lake Donner, thence to Sutter’s Fort, which was situated six miles from where Sacramento was later built. His was the first party to view the remains of Hasting’s party, which had perished at Donner Lake the previous winter. The dead bodies of men, women and children were strewn about the [vicinity] of a few rude huts, which had been built by those who thus perished. Jesse S. Brown has written an interesting account of the scene.
They arrived in San Francisco September 10, 1847.
Quoting from Bancroft’s History of California: "In his report of October [December] 7, Gov. Mason, Military Governor of California says: ‘When on my way up to San Francisco I was overtaken by Captain Brown of the Mormon Battalion, who had arrived from Fort Hall, where he had left his detachment of the Battalion to come to California to report to me in person. He brought a Muster Roll of his detachment with Power of Attorney from all of its member to draw their pay; and as the Battalion itself had been disbanded on July 16, Paymaster Rich paid to Captain Brown up to that date according to the rank they bore upon the Muster Roll upon which the Battalion had been mustered out of service." There seems to be no account of the exact sum of money paid to Captain Brown. Some say it was $10,000.00, [some] $5,000.00 and others $3,000.00. However, it was paid in half and whole doubloons of Spanish Gold. A doubloon was worth about $5.00. After a short stay in California and having accomplished his mission, he prepared for the return journey [home.] He could only get four men to return with him and they had some hair-raising experiences.
Leaving Suttter’s Fort with provisions to last 23 days, they started again, expecting to make the return trip in the same length of time. However, it required 48 days and they [almost starved] to death. When they reached the Truckee River they were pursued by 25 Indians. The Indians came upon them in the early dawn. Samuel Lewis was picket guard for the night. When he saw them approaching, he called, "Captain, the Indians are upon us." They had planned to strike while the men were asleep, but by the time they arrived it was daylight. Captain Brown gave signs for them to halt. The Indians halted and gave peace signs, showing they were Shoshones, a friendly tribe, which was false. In the meantime, Captain Brown had given orders for his men to move. Ten of the Indians came to talk upon invitation from Captain Brown. Their talk was mumbling and occasionally chuckling, characteristic of such a people when they have gained a victory over an enemy.
The Indians became insolent and attempted to steal guns, ropes, spurs, provisions and etc. One young buck stole a horse. He jumped on the horse and started to ride away. Jesse Brown raised his gun to fire but the Captain stopped him and the other Indians told him to bring the horse back, which he did.
When the Company was ready Captain Brown gave orders for the Indians to clear the way and the small company filed out. The Indians followed to the crossing of the Truckee. When the Captain and his men arrived on the opposite bank of the river he gave signs for the Indians not to follow. They persisted, and when they were in the middle of the stream, Captain Brown leveled his rifle and shot. One of the Indians was carried out of the river wounded, but it was never ascertained whether or not he died. Another of the Indians followed on foot for several miles, but abandoned the pursuit.
After breakfast the little Company prepared to cross the desert of forty miles width. They had packed a large mule with flour, which was to last them of their return trip. The mule stampeded and scattered the flour through the sagebrush, so the party had to live on boiled wheat the remainder of the journey. Thirst was their next trial, as they traveled a day and a night and part of another day before finding water. They now proceeded to the "Sink of the Humboldt" and followed directions received from a survivor of the Hastings party. They left the old Fort Hall route and took what was called the "Hasting’s Cutoff", thus making the journey shorter by 200 miles, but having to cross the seventy-five mile desert. Their provisions had given out and winter was coming on, the weather was cold and snow had begun to fall, thus making travel more difficult. Their horses were jaded and they had found little game. So here we find five men in a very sorry plight.
With him Captain Brown carried the Battalion money and precious seed wheat and other seeds. He keenly felt his responsibility, so they met the situation by launching out into that vast alkali bed with a firm determination to go through. It took three days. At two o’clock on the third day they found water. For three days these men had lived on two lean geese, which Jesse Brown had killed before starting, and without any water. Two of the party gave out and had to be helped on their horses by their comrades. They arrived in Salt Lake Valley on November 15, 1847. This trip had reduced Captain Brown from 200 lbs. in weight to 150 lbs. The others had suffered similar losses in weight.
Upon arriving in Utah, Captain Brown distributed the money among the men of his Company. This was the first money used in Utah. Throughout this long arduous journey he had taken great comfort from Brigham Young’s words, "You will return from California safely."
While he was in California, his wife, Mary, gave birth to a baby girl, born November 8, 1847, in the old Fort in Salt Lake Valley. She was [one of the first] white children born in the Salt Lake Valley. They named her Mary Eilza and she later became the wife of William J. Critchlow, Sr. and the mother of 14 children.
Soon after the Saints arrived in the Rocky Mountains, Brigham Young sent scouts out to explore the surrounding territory. John Brown was one of these scouts and he accompanied Captain Brown on his journey to California. John Brown carried a report of Goodyear’s Fort on the Weber River to the Church Authorities. Before Brigham Young left for Winter Quarters on August 26, 1847, he left instruction for Goodyear to be bought out. Not until Captain Brown returned with the Battalion pay was there enough money in the Colony to pay the purchase price.
Quoting Edward Tullidge, early Utah historian, who says: "Miles Goodyear claimed a tract of land, which was a Mexican Grant to him made in 1841 , commencing at the mouth of Weber Canyon and following the base of the mountain north to the Utah Hot Springs; thence west to the Salt Lake and thence along the shore of the Lake to a point opposite the Weber Canyon and thence east to the place of beginning. Goodyear had built a Fort and a few log cabins on the spot now occupied by the Union Pacific Freight Depot. This land was then Mexican Territory and was ceded to the United States by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in February 1848."
This property was bought from Miles Goodyear by Captain Brown in the early winter of 1847 on his return from California. With it went the cabins, seventy-five head of cattle, seventy-five goats, twelve sheep and six horses. It is variously stated that the purchase price was $3,000.00 and $1950.00 of Battalion money.
[According to Dr. Milton R. Hunter, a historian, Captain Brown entered into negotiations with Miles Goodyear on January 6, 1848 for all the land he claimed. About a week later the purchase was made, Goodyear receiving 5,000 Spanish doubloons, worth $1,150.00 in United States money for the land and improvements he owned in virtue of the Spanish grant. In addition to the farmlands, this purchase included a fort, seventy-five heads of cattle, seventy-five goats, six horses and twelve sheep.]
Captain Brown’s sons claim that he used his own money to make the purchase. [part of which he had received while in military services and part of which he made as a business gain on his trip to California.] It is certain that a good portion of the money was his own, which gave him every right to take charge of the cabins and livestock that went with the purchase.
Be that as it may, the purchase was made under the council of the authorities of the Church, as Brigham Young had a definite plan of colonization for Utah. At any rate, Captain Brown took for himself and family only two or three hundred acres of land and opened the remainder for colonization. Brigham Young had said on July 25, 1847, "No man of the community should buy any land who came here – that he had none to sell, but every man should have his land measured out to him for city and farming purposes." So Captain Brown, though he had purchased the Goodyear claim to give the colonists undisputed occupation, was living up to the strict order of the community. He had no land to sell to his brethren, it was theirs for legitimate settling without money or price.
The purchase was made during the period when the pioneers proper were making their second journey to the Rocky Mountains. This treaty having been executed, it was of supreme importance to the Mormon colonists that the only remaining Spanish title in this territory should be extinguished. The purchase of the Goodyear claim was, therefore, a great circumstance in the history of the territory."
In January [early spring of] 1848, Captain Brown prepared to locate in the Valley of the Weber River. First he sent his sons, Alexander and Jesse, to take care of the livestock at Fort Buenaventura. A little later the Captain and the rest of his family moved to the Weber region. They were accompanied by the families of Henry G. Shelton, Louis B. Myers and George W. Thurnkill.
The Mormon settlers changed the name from Buenaventura to Brown’s Fort and then to Brownsville.
They had been told that the early frosts would kill corn, but Captain Brown and his sons were not to be discouraged. With a plow made of tire irons by the blacksmith, Artamis Sprague, they did the first plowing in the county. They constructed their own harrow of the forks of a cottonwood tree, making the teeth from the spokes of an old wagon wheel. They and their father planted five acres of wheat, a patch of corn, turnips, cabbage, potatoes and a few watermelons from seed Captain Brown had brought from California. Jesse and Alexander made a dam in the Canfield’s Creek, turned the water on the land and irrigated the crops.
These were busy days for Captain Brown and his family and the other Saints who had settled on the Weber River. Building a new community in a harsh climate and barren desert really proved to be a strenuous task for the most faithful and bravest hearts.
The condition of the Saints in the spring of 1848 was very precarious. Long before spring arrived, the supply of provisions brought from Winter Quarters was nearly gone. They were nearly a thousand miles from the nearest settlement and it was impossible for them to replenish their supplies. Even after the small harvest of 1847, the destitution of the colony in Salt Lake Valley was most distressing. Until crops could be harvested, Captain Brown sent his son, Alexander, to Fort Hall, 160 miles from Brownsville, to purchase flour for his family. He was accompanied by Thomas Williams and Ebenezer Haules. Among them they brought back 600 lbs. of flour,  lbs. each. Captain Brown kept 200 lbs. for the settlement on the Weber River and sent 400 lbs. to the destitute colonists in Salt Lake Valley.
In February 1848, the Bishops took an inventory of breadstuffs and allotted each individual three-fourths of a pound per day. It was during this destitution of the parent colony that Brownsville on the Weber River was as a land of Goshen. Captain Brown and families in Brownsville milked 25 cows and from this supply of milk his wife, Mary, made cheese and butter, much of which was sent to the Saints in Salt Lake Valley. He also slaughtered a good portion of his fat cattle to provide them with beef. The crops of Weber County were not destroyed to the extent by the crickets that they were in Salt Lake Valley. The old settlers in Weber County, to this day, speak with grateful appreciation of this public benevolence of Captain Brown to the community at large at the outset of our colonies, when their little settlement grew up as a worthy helpmate of the parent settlement of Salt Lake Valley. In bringing the people through that second winter in the Great Basin without a large casualty list, the sociologist and historian will attribute much of the good results to the presiding care of Brigham Young and the semi-communistic example set by Captain James Brown, who, with unstinted hand, fed the people his breadstuff and his beef, butter and cheese from his bountiful dairy.
These and many acts of kindness made the old settlers of Weber County speak of his benevolence and gained for him the name of the "Poorman’s Friend." It is no wonder that B.H. Roberts said he was next in importance to Brigham Young as a builder and colonizer in this western wilderness.
The writer remembers Charles F. Middleton of Ogden, telling how his mother on a bitterly cold winter day went into Captain Brown’s store. He noticed at once the absence of sufficient warm clothing she was wearing and immediately took a warm shawl from a peg on the wall and gave to her. Brother Middleton said that she and her family would never forget that act of kindness.
The Captain and his family, for the other members of his large polygamous family joined him in Ogden in 1848, led a busy life. Their daily life was a struggle to find enough to eat and wear; to build houses for their comfort and protection during the coming winter; to fortify themselves against the Indians; find and adequate water supply, grub sagebrush and willows for fuel, build bridges and roads; found a school for their children’s education and a place to hold their meetings. In the fall of 1849 Captain Brown made a special trip to Salt Lake Valley to invite friends and acquaintances to come to the Weber region and help build up the colony. Charilla Abbott, a daughter of his wife Abigail, was asked to open a school in Brownsville, which she did. This was the first school in Weber County.
On February 14, 1849, the Saints in Brownsville organized a Latter-day Saints Ward and Captain Brown was made the first Bishop. [At the meeting of the Twelve Apostles held February 14, 1849 at Goodyear’s Fort, it was decided to form the Saints at Brown’s settlement into a ward. Five weeks later, March 25, Captain Brown was ordained a bishop by Elders Charles C. Rich and Erastus Snow and set apart to preside over the Weber River Ward.]
So the foundations of a new community were laid with Captain Brown as leader and the name Brownsville was chosen. By March 26, 1851, with Isaac Clark as Postmaster, the first Post Office was established under the name of Brownsville.
In 1850, Captain Brown and the settlers in his district erected a new Fort, as the Goodyear Fort had been inundated by the waters of Weber River. It was located near 29th St. and east of the present Union Pacific Line. He moved the Goodyear cabins and arranged their houses in fort style, enclosing about a hundred yard square. The houses were constructed of cottonwood logs with roofs and poles, rushes and dirt. Only few of the houses had puncheon floors, the rest had dirt floors. The furniture and cooking utensils were homemade.
[In 1850, two church buildings were erected in Weber County; one at Brown’s Fort and the other at Bingham’s Fort. They were one room log buildings put together with wooden pegs and dirt floor and roof. They served as school, church gatherings and all public meetings.]
[At a general election held in the bowery in Salt Lake on March 12, 1849, when the people voted for officers for the proposed Stake of Deseret, Captain James Brown was elected Magistrate of the Weber River Precinct. He was the first man elected to any civil office in that part of Utah, now included in Weber County.]
Brigham Young directed a great portion of the immigration of 1850-1851 to Weber Valley and so considerable had the population grown that it was deemed necessary to survey the townsite and incorporate the city. At this time the name was changed from Brownsville to Ogden, by Brigham Young, in honor of Peter Skene Ogden, a trapper.
In 1851 he was elected a member of the first Territorial Legislature. He was also elected a member of the City Council April 7, 1851. The City Government consisted of a Mayor, four Aldermen and twelve Councilmen. James Brown was elected a member of the first City Council.
In the Fall of 1849 Brigham Young, as Governor of the Territory of Deseret, granted Captain Brown the right to erect bridges over the Ogden and Weber Rivers with the privilege of collecting toll from all parties who should cross these bridges. Five months later the State of Deseret sustained his action and added that anyone else who should build a bridge without permission from that body would be fined not less than $5,000.00. Captain Brown’s bridges were to be built 13 feet wide; $1,000.00 was appropriated from the public treasury to help build the bridges. To defray the cost of keeping roads and the bridges in repair and the roads leading to them in good condition, Captain Brown was to use the toll collected, the rates of which were as follows: each vehicle drawn by two horses, $2.00, two additional animals to said vehicle 50 cents, a man and a horse 50 cents, pack animals 50 cents, loose hog, calf, colt, goat or sheep 5 cents, and footman 10 cents. Residents who paid by the year were not to be charged more than half that much.
In 1849, Captain Howard Stansbury came to Utah with plans to survey Salt Lake Valley. On his way he passed through Brownsville. Word had come to Captain Brown that General Wilson had authority from the President of the United States to drive the Mormons from their lands. Consequently, Captain Brown did not receive Captain Stansbury with open arms. This fact was well known to Captain Stansbury and should have made it clear to him, although it does not seem to have done so, why he received an ungracious and unhospitable reception at Brownsville, which he complains of. Orson F. Whitney, in his History of Utah, states; "Captain Brown’s record for generosity, save perhaps where he dealt with those whom he deemed his people’s enemies, was second to none in the community. His liberality to the poor around him during the famine – a proverb to this day in Weber County, sufficiently attests this fact."
On October 17, 1850, he was married to Phoebe Abbott, [his seventh wife,] a daughter of Stephen and Abigail Smith Abbott. Of this union three children were born: [Stephen Abbott,] Phoebe Adelaide, and Orson Pratt Brown. This marriage brought disunion between him and his wife Abigail. She could not reconcile herself to being married to the same man as her daughter, so she separated from him.
In 1852 he was again called to leave his family and go on a mission. He and Elijah Thomas shipped from San Diego, California, to Panama, thence to Charges and Aspanivall. From the latter port, unable to ship for British Guiana, they embarked for Jamaica. They had been called to labor as missionaries in British Guiana. After paying their passage they were not allowed to proceed to British Guiana because the prejudice was so great against the Elders that the harbor agent and naval officers would not allow them to be shipped to any English Island. As the only alternative, they proceeded to New York with the West Indies missionaries, where they all landed in 1853.
His experiences while in Panama, were both trying and varied. He contacted yellow fever, from which he recovered and according to a promise from Heber C. Kimball, who set him apart, he lived to perform a great work to his fellow men. While in Panama he and his companions were robbed of their trunks. Being a man of great faith, he prayed earnestly that he might find his trunk. He saw in a vision his trunk under a tree and the next day he recovered it. He also rode horseback on the Isthmus of Panama and heard the monkeys chattering in the trees.
As we have seen, he was called to complete his mission in the eastern States and from there he was called to be Emigration Agent for the Church. It was while he was on this mission that he had cholera. He was so ill that his friends gave him up for dead. Through his faithfulness he was healed [and able to carry on with his duties.]
He tells about his appointment as Emigration Agent in a letter to his son, James. [part of which is given below:]
New Orleans, February 22 , 1854
To James M. Brown and all my family:
I take this course to write you all in one letter to save time and labor, as I am very busy. You, no doubt, will be surprised to hear that I am in New Orleans, but no more than I was when I received orders to come here, but ever feeling willing to be subject to the powers that be ordained of God, I am here on the Lord’s business, for whom I’m an agent. I was making preparations to start to Kainsville on my way home when I received a letter from Bro. Orson Pratt informing me of an appointment he had made for me to come this place as agent for the Saints expected here from Liverpool, to charter boats, buy provisions, etc. and forward them to St. Louis.
When I received the appointment I felt like Jonah, but acted like old Bro. Paul – conferred not with flesh and blood but changed my course and purpose, left Alguma, Indiana, Fayette Co., on Monday the 4th day of February for this place. Landed here in good health. Had a pleasant voyage, good officers, South American Steamer, "Greenleaf", Master, William Clark.
Saturday, the 18th , went ashore, examined 48 ships from Liverpool and found out that there had not any of the Saints had arrived from Liverpool. I hired my board and lodging for $6.00 per week. I have a good comfortable room to myself. My room is on the fifth story of a very large house, as you may know my being so high that I am near to heaven as the best of them.
On Sunday, the 19th, the ship Jesse Munn, with John Duke Captain, landed. She had on board 320  Latter-day Saints on their way to Zion, 20 Germans and 300 others from Denmark and Norway. There are only three or four who speak English and they understand very little better. Leader’s name is Christian Larson. When I went aboard the ship on Monday and introduced myself to their leader and he introduced me to the company, it was truly interesting to hear them, in their broken language, exclaim, "Our brother has come from the land of Zion to help us." With their hands raised to heaven my heart was overflowing and I blessed them in the name of the Lord. Laid my hands on the sick and felt to rejoice that I was where I could do good for the people of God. I feel to pray all the time for the Saints of God, especially for those who are journeying by land and by sea to Zion, for they have many perils so pass through, and I never forget you, my family, that lie so near my heart. Live near the Lord that your prayers may be heard and pray for me that I may be helped in all my labors and live to return home in peace, for there is nothing but the power of God to sustain me in this land of wickedness and death.
I have chartered a boat and laid in provisions for the company. They will start for St. Louis on the 25th. There is only one Mormon family in this place. He is quite poor and not able to do anything for the Saints, not even board me while I am here. I have made arrangements with Mr. Fisher, who is very friendly to our people. He is a wholesalers and retailer in provisions. He furnishes me with all the provisions we want for the Saints a little cheaper than I can get at any other house and I have my board and lodging as long as I stop, free of charge, so you can see the Lord opens the way before me among strangers. I shall remain here until I think it is wisdom to leave [St. Louis,] which will be within time to make arrangements to cross the plains this season if the Lord is willing. Bro. Golden from Alguma will wait at Kainesville until I come and, as I said before, if I can’t do better I will drive his team across the plains.
Do the best you can. Raise good crops, plenty of pigs and chickens. Make some good cheese and have them mellowing. Spin up all the wool you can and have it on hand. I will try to bring the cotton yarn and dye stuffs, for I shall no doubt want a suit of clothes made when I get home and no money to buy more.
James, I want you and the boys to do as I told you in my last letter and get up plenty of hay and wood. Save all the straw your neighbors have to spare.
Give Bro. Birch my best respects and tell him to make me all the lumber he can and let it be drying. Flooring, I want joists for the house I have commenced. Tell Bro. Birch if Bro. Farr can’t have them got out for me as I wrote him on the subject I want. He should have them got out for me and he shall have the pay when I come home. If he takes it he will drive it through.
My hand is heavy and I am in perspiration, therefore, I will draw my letter to a close asking my Father in Heaven to bless you and save you from all sinning against Him while you live and exalt you in the Kingdom for Christ’s sake. Amen.
To All my Family, etc.
P.S. I have not forgotten your names, but have not inserted them for want of room. J.B.
While he was in St. Louis preparing for his Company of saints to leave, he worked as "Caller" for a large hotel.
Much of the travel in 1854 was by boat and the Mississippi River was a busy waterway. It was his duty to go down to the wharf and advertise his company’s hotel. So successful was he in bringing patrons to the hotel that the manager expressed a desire to do something for him. Accordingly, when he and his company of Saints left St. Louis for the long trek across the plains the owner of the hotel outfitted him with two wagons loaded with dry goods. From this stock he started on of the first stores in Ogden.
The company of German and Scandinavian Saints were outfitted in Missouri and made ready to cross the plains the first part of June. Among these converts were Charles Francois Robellaz and his wife, Cecilia [Henrietta] Cornu Robellaz and their two children. [George Constant Robellaz and Eliza Robellaz.] They were [from Neuchatel, Switzerland and] of Swiss-French descent. [* See Edna Brown Allen’s note at the end of the document] During the second days journey on the plains, cholera, that dread disease of the pioneers broke out among them. Charles [Francois Robellaz] and [their baby] his crippled daughter, Eliza, were victims of this disease and were buried in one grave on the plains. Only the bravest hearts stood the trials and heart breaks of pioneer life. Cecelia bore her sorrow and journeyed on with the company. After a long arduous journey of four months, this company of Saints reached Ogden, October 3, 1854.
These European Saints were unused to the hardships of this new life and depended much on the leadership of their Captain, James Brown, who was used to pioneer life and a natural born leader of men. When he undertook a task he accomplished it.
[Captain James Brown] took Ceclia and her little son to his home and took care of them. Pioneer life was very difficult for widows and their families, so with mutual consent of his family James Brown took Cecelia Robellez as his [eighth] wife. [On December 26, 1854, Captain James Brown took Cecelia Henrietta Cornu Robellaz as his eighth plural wife.] On March 27, 1857, he stood proxy for Charles [Francois] Robellaz and had Cecelia sealed to her first husband. Two sons were born to Captain Brown and Cecelia Henrietta. They were Charles David and James Fredrick Brown.
After his arrival home Captain Brown took up his duties again the community and church. He served another term on the Territorial Legislature.
Before leaving for his mission he had planned and begun a new twelve-room house. He first planned to build it on [what is now] the Ogden Tabernacle square but Brigham Young asked him to build it elsewhere, as that is where he planned to have the Tabernacle square. Accordingly, he built it on the corner of Twenty-second Street and Washington Avenue, directly [east] across from the Ogden Tabernacle. This house was a two-story adobe house with a long veranda running across the front. Here his wives and family lived.
On February 7, 1855, he married his ninth wife, Mary Wollerton. She was born in Stockport, Cheshire, England. She had no children of her own, but raised the two sons of Cecelia Robellaz Brown, who had returned to Switzerland when Fredrick was a small baby to care for her parents who had taken ill. She was his sixth polygamous wife and ninth wife. She was much loved by all of Captain Brown’s family. She was known to all of them as Aunt Mary.
On February 17, 1856, he married his tenth wife, Darthula Catherine Shupe. She was born in Virginia in 1838, the daughter of Andrew and Elizabeth Shupe and pioneers of 1848. [No children were born to this union.]
On September 7, 1856, he married Lavinia Mitchell. She was his eleventh wife. She was the daughter of Hezekiah and Sarah Mitchell and was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, July 22, 1837. She came to Utah in 1849 as a young child with her parents, who were Mormon converts. She and James Brown were the parents of two children, Lavinia Sarah, who married Samuel Drysdale, and Augustus.
The year of 1855 was a hard year for the colonists in Ogden. Swarms of crickets destroyed their crops. The summer was followed by a bitterly cold winter and thousands of cattle died of starvation. The year of 1858 marked the coming of Johnston’s Army to Utah and all the people of Ogden and Weber County moved south to a location west of Provo near Utah Lake. Here many of them stayed during the summer and when it was found there was no danger they returned to their homes. This was the first part of July. Captain Brown and his family lived through these trying circumstances.
Having always been a preacher, we find him taking part in public celebrations and church affairs.
He married his twelfth wife, Harriet Wood Yancey in September of 1859. She was the daughter of Daniel and Mary Wood and was born December 22, 1834 near Kirtland, Ohio. She had no children.
On September 22, 1861, he was married to Maria Mitchell. She was his thirteenth and last wife. Maria [was the daughter of Hezekiah and Sarah Wallinson Mitchell and] was born April 14, 1843 in Liverpool, England. She was a sister of Lavinia Mitchell. Maria was gifted in needlework and millinery. After Captain Brown’s death she and her sister set up a little store between 22nd and 23rd Streets on the land she inherited from her husband. She had not children by Captain Brown. [Her parents were early converts to the Mormon Church and came to America in 1849, landing in New Orleans. They lived in St. Louis for two years and later moved to Illinois. In 1854, her father made the wagon they used to cross the plains. They joined Captain Brown’s company in Missouri and came west, experiencing many hardships.]
After Captain Brown’s death most of his widows married again. Some married in polygamy and some otherwise. Phoebe Abbott Brown married William H. Fife. Lavinia Mitchell Brown married John Horrocks. Harriet Wood Yancey Brown married David Lewis. Darthula Catherine Shupe Brown married Otha Stephens. Maria Mitchell Brown married Edward G. Horrocks.
During 1856-1857 a "Reformation" took place among the Saints in Utah. Missionaries were sent out and many were re-baptized. This movement of reformation led many of the devout Saints to consecrate their property to the Church. This property was deeded to Brigham Young as trustee-in-trust. On August 24, 1857, Captain Brown deeded over to the Church twelve Ogden City lots, valued at $9,500.00, livestock, interest in a mill and personal property valued at $5,095.00. The entire property was valued at $14,595.00.
In July, 1857, the people of Utah celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Mormons coming to Utah. Captain Brown was one of the speakers on this occasion and also, with other leading men of Ogden, attended a similar celebration held in Big Cottonwood Canyon.
Life for Captain Brown during the years of 1858 to 1863 were busy, productive years. He was busy building his house, plying his business, working in the Church and caring for his wives and children.
While preaching in the Ogden Tabernacle on a Sunday in 1863, he said, "Within a week I am going on a mission. I do not know whether it will be in the states, to England or up here in the City Cemetery, but I am going." Within the week he was dead.
On September 25, 1863, while operating a molasses mill near the Weber River, his sleeve caught in the cogs of the mill and drew his arm in. As soon as he could recover his balance he made a tremendous surge and pulled his arm, in a terribly lacerated condition, the muscles being literally torn off, out of the mill. Gangrene set in and he suffered intensely from the pain. When some of his friends came in to sympathize with him, he said, "Why this suffering doesn’t compare with that of our Master. Why should I complain? I go with the knowledge and understanding that I will continue in this great work of the Master, whom I have learned to know and love, our Savior, Jesus Christ." On September 28th, while conversing with his oldest son, he said, "Johnny, if I live until day after tomorrow I will be sixty-two years old, and I guess I will about make it." He died on his sixty-second birthday, September 30, 1863, at Ogden, Utah.
As had been said of his father may also be said of him: "If ever a good man lived upon the earth, Grandfather Brown was one of them." [James Brown was fearless and had a strong faith in God. He entertained only contempt for men who would stoop to acts of lawlessness and probably few men despised a liar more than he did.
Being a man of exceedingly strong constitution and great executive ability, Captain Brown was eminently fitted for the work of pioneering and building up a new country, such as Utah was one hundred years ago, and his labors in that direction have erected a more durable monument than it is possible for a pen to do.
David H. Peery, one-time Mayor of Ogden, told Captain Brown’s son, Orson, "Young man, this is the most liberal city, founded by the most liberal man that ever came to the State of Utah, your father, Captain James Brown."
Captain Brown’s descendants have ever kept his life and good deeds in honorable memory. As early as 1873 they organized a Family Group and held a reunion in the city, which he founded. As the years have gone by, many reunions have been held. The one held in 1896 was notable. A number of his wives and many of his children, all of who have now passed on, were in attendance. In 1926 a new Family Organization was effected. Under the leadership of these officers and contributions from his descendants, a granite monument was placed over his grave in the Ogden City cemetery on Memorial Day 1928.
The unveiling of the monument on the City Hall Square in Ogden on July 29, 1947 marked one hundred years since he first marched into the Salt Lake Valley at the head of his Battalion.
This history was compiled by Gladys Brown White, a great granddaughter of Captain James Brown and Martha Stephens. It was written especially for the Centennial Celebration and placing of the monument in the Municipal Park in 1947. For further references refer to Tullidge, Whitney, Roberts, Dr. Milton R. Hunter, (historians of Utah), and the Biographical Encyclopedia by Andrew Jensen.
[* Charles Francois Robellaz and his wife Cecilia Henrietta Cornu and two children sailed from Liverpool, England on the 12th of March 1854. They were with the 74th Company of Saints. They sailed on the ship "John M.Wood." Captain Hartley was in command.
The sailing vessel encountered severe winds in the Irish channel, but it arrived safely. There were four children and two adults who died on board. Two children (twins) were born, one couple married and one person baptized.
They landed near New Orleans on the 2nd of May 1854. They went by steamboat, the "Josiah Lawrence", to St. Louis and then on to Kansas.
Information found from CHURCH EMIGRANTS Vol. 2-1845-1857.
A few corrections have been made and notes concerning my grandmother, Cecelia Henrietta Cornu have been added.
Edna Brown Allen, Granddaughter of Captain James Brown]
Notes: Except for
punctuation, most of Edna Brown Allen’s edits are in brackets.
CAPTAIN JAMES BROWN
By Orson F. Whitney
CAPTAIN JAMES BROWN was a native of Roan county, North Carolina, and was born September 30, 1801. His parents were James and Mary Williams Brown. The father was a veteran of the Revolutionary war, having fought under General Francis Marion. While the father farmed, the mother spun, wove and made all the clothing of the family. Their circumstances were only moderate. James in early boyhood helped his father upon the farm and at intervals attended school, receiving a common English education, supplemented by general reading and wide practical experience. He was inclined to literary pursuits, taught school in his early manhood, was a Baptist preacher for a time and served two or three terms as sheriff in the county of Roan. He had a natural leaning towards the law, but never studied it so extensively as to prepare himself to practice. He was married in 1823 to Martha Stephens.
In the year 1834 he migrated from North Carolina and settled in Brown county, Illinois, where he built a home, but subsequently sold out and moved into Adams county, where about the year 1837 he took up a farm and built. The following year he became a Latter-day Saint. On September 28, 1840, his wife died, leaving him with eight sons and one daughter, the youngest, his son Moroni, only three days old. About the 1st of January, 1841, he married again, and then took up his residence at Nauvoo, where he was soon called into the ministry. He filled a mission to the Southern States, visiting his relatives in North Carolina, and also spent a great deal of time in gathering means for the building of the Nauvoo Temple. He formed a business partnership with a man named Moffit, owning a mill at Augusta, Iowa.
He was with the Saints in their exodus, and at Council Bluffs in the summer of 1846 enlisted in the Mormon Battalion, becoming captain of company "C." At Santa Fe he was placed in charge of certain detachments of the battalion, disabled by their long and arduous march to that point, and was ordered to Pueblo to pass the winter, while the main body, under Colonel Philip St. George Cooke, pushed on to the Pacific coast. The next spring Captain Brown and his command prepared to march thither, but instead of taking the southern route, pursued by their comrades, they traveled by way of Fort Laramie and South Pass, thus falling in with the Pioneers under President Brigham Young and following immediately behind them to Salt Lake valley.
They arrived here on the 29th of July. By this time the battalion’s term of enlistment had expired, and Captain Brown determined to tarry and rest his teams, while awaiting further orders from his military superiors. Early in August he set out for California, taking the muster roll of his detachment for the purpose of drawing the pay due from the Government to the men of his command; the battalion having been honorably discharged at Los Angeles.
Returning from San Francisco in December, 1847, he purchased from Miles M. Goodyear, an old frontiersman, a log fort and lands on the Weber river, paying for them the sum of three thousand dollars. Thither he removed in January, 1848, his sons Jesse and Alexander accompanying him. In the spring of that year they plowed and sowed a few acres with wheat and also planted corn, potatoes, cabbage, turnips and watermelons.
The spot upon which they located was a portion of the site of the present city of Ogden, the first settlement in Weber county, of which Captain Brown may be considered the pioneer and one of the principal founders. He was not only first upon the ground—barring the primitive occupancy of Mr. Goodyear, who had a Mexican land grant and was in no way connected with the Mormon community—but he encouraged others to settle in that part, generously allowing his brethren to build and plant upon portions of that tract he had purchased, and taking no pay from them for that privilege. The government was less generous to him, for many years later, ignoring Goodyear’s grant from the Mexican government—supposed to have been confirmed when this region was ceded to the United States—it assumed ownership of the land, gave to the Union Pacific railroad on its subsidy each alternate section of the tract and required the old settlers, including Captain Brown’s immediate descendants, to repurchase the homes and farms that they had held for twenty years.
Captain Brown built the first bridges over the Weber and Ogden rivers, and was proprietor of the same from 1849 to 1853, having a charter from the legislature to build these bridges and collect toll for the term of five years. He was assessor and collector of taxes in 1850 and 1851, and a member of the Ogden city council from 1855 continuously to the time of his death. During the most of that period he acted as justice of the peace. He also served a number of terms in the Legislature in the early "fifties," and was intimately associated with Presidents Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and most of the Church leaders of his time.
In the fall of 1852 he went upon a mission to British Guiana, proceeding to San Diego, California, thence by sailing vessel to the Isthmus of Panama, and across it to his place of destination. Finding conditions unfavorable for the introduction of the Gospel in that land, he returned home, coming back by way of St. Louis, where he assisted in the Church emigration of 1853 and 1854. He took charge of a company across the plains, and arrived at Salt Lake City in October of the last-named year. When the Weber Stake was organized he became the first counselor to President Lorin Farr.
Captain Brown’s main characteristics were honesty, truthfulness and integrity. He fearlessly stood by and maintained whatever he believed to be just and right. He was an excellent judge of human nature, and detested a hypocrite, a thief and a liar. Out-spoken and even hot-tempered when provoked, he was nevertheless tender-hearted and ready to forgive on the slightest show of repentance. He was gifted as a speaker, upright as a judge, and would go as far in defending the rights of a beggar as of a man in high station or worth his millions. His sympathies were always with the poor and down-trodden, especially when they had justice on their side. His many acts of benevolence and charity in the early days of famine and poverty are proverbial among the old-time settlers of Weber county.
After the death of his first wife, Captain Brown married four times, the names of his wives being Susan Foutz, Esther Rapier, Sally Wood and Mary Black. Mary Black Brown is reputedly the pioneer cheese maker of Utah. He was the father of twenty-eight children, sixteen of them boys. A number of his sons have risen to prominence, both in ecclesiastical and civil capacities. The captain died at his home in Ogden, September 30, 1863, the sixty-second anniversary of his birth. His death was the result of an accident which had befallen him five days previously. He was working at a molasses mill, expressing the juices of the sugar cane, when his arm caught in the cogs of a roller and was so lacerated that mortification set in and death was inevitable.
CAPTAIN JAMES BROWN, FOUNDER OF OGDEN
Life Story of Great Pioneer
The Daughters of the Mormon Battalion, an organization established in 1911, of which Mrs. Bartus Krumperman is president, have undertaken the labor of raising the necessary funds for the erection of a monument to Captain James Brown, founder of Ogden City and Weber county. No decision has yet been reached as to the nature or description of the monument, they are content at present with awakening a public sentiment in favor of the project, to solicit and deposit funds for that purpose and to prepare the way for the erection, in one of the public city parks, of a memorial tablet, or statue, or fountain or other monument to commemorate the memory of Captain Brown and to acquaint the present and future generations with the history of the founding of the city and county. They feel also, that they will be greatly assisted in this work and will be able to bring it to a successful realization, if the history of the founder and particularly the part he played in the settlement of Weber county, should be given to the public. They therefore present to the general public the following facts in connection with the life and history of Captain James Brown; the greater portion of which is gleaned from the "History of Utah," by Orson F. Whitney.
Born in North Carolina
He was born in Roan [Rowan] County, North Carolina, September 30, 1801, his parents being James and Mary Williams Brown. The father was a veteran of the Revolutionary war having fought under General Francis Marion. In early boyhood James helped on the farm. He received a common English education and as he grew to manhood inclined to literary pursuits, teaching school and serving for a time as a Baptist preacher; he served two or three terms as sheriff of Roan county. In 1823 he married Martha Stephens, who bore him eight sons and one daughter, the youngest, Moroni, being only three days old when she died on September 28, 1840. In 1834 he had moved from North Carolina
to Brown county, Illinois and later to Adams county, where in 1837, he became affiliated with the Latter Day Saints. About January 1, 1841, he married again and moved to Nauvoo, Illinois.
In June, 1844, the Prophet Joseph Smith was killed by a mob at Carthage, Illinois; later followed the expulsion of the Mormons from Nauvoo, and the burning of their temple. The driven people crossed the Mississippi, the first of them leaving in February, 1846, and began their westward journey across the black plains of Iowa towards the Missouri river, James among them. They drifted across the state in small companies as circumstances permitted them to make the necessary traveling arrangements. The tribulations and sufferings of the people on that journey is a history of itself that has no particular place here. During the early part of this year war had begun between the United States and Mexico. The commander of the army of the west, who was about to start for Santa, Fe, New Mexico, commissioned Captain James Allen to visit the migrating (line left out) assist in entering and taking possession of California, then belonging to Mexico. Captain Allen reached Mt. Pisgash, Iowa, one of the camps of the Saints, on June 26, 1846, made his errand known, received letters of introduction from the church leaders at Council Bluffs on the Missouri river, and hurried on. At Council Bluffs, President Brigham Young declared to Captain Allen, "You shall have your battalion," and on July 16, 1846, the Mormon battalion, numbering 549 souls, was mustered in for one year, and shortly thereafter set out for California by way of Fort Leavenworth and Nebraska, Kansas Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona to lower California by way of Santa Fe, is yet to be written. It cannot be gone into here.
Officers of Battalion
The battalion was divided into five companies and among the officers was James Brown, the subject of this sketch, Captain of Company "C," numbering 14 officers and 90 enlisted men. Several families of women and children accompanied their husbands and fathers.
Short rations, lack of water, excessive toil and road making, well digging and
over marching, caused much suffering, sickness and some deaths among the battalion. Even before reaching Santa Fe, their sufferings were severe, and many were disabled and prevented from proceeding further. These disabled detachments, with most of the women of the battalion, were placed in charge of Captain Brown and ordered to Pueblo, Colorado, while there comrades, including four women who accompanied their husbands, rushed on to the Pacific coast, arriving near San Diego late in January, 1847." – Whitney.
These disabled detachments wintered at Pueblo, but in the spring Captain Brown prepared for the journey to California to rejoin the battalion. Joined by a company of Mississippi Saints, the expedition set out by way of Fort Laramie and the South Pass, thus practically falling in with the Pioneers, who, in April, 1847, had left winter quarters, (Florence, Nebraska) on the Missouri river, on their journey to the Rocky Mountains. The pioneers entered Salt Lake valley on July 24, 1847, ever afterwards known as Pioneer Day, and Captain Brown’s company came in on July 29, the advance columns having been met by President Brigham Young and others some three miles east of the camp where now stands Salt Lake City. There were in the company over 100 soldiers, and about on equal number of Saints. They brought with them sixty wagons, one carriage, one hundred horses and mules and three hundred head of cattle, adding materially to the strength of the pioneer colony on City creek.
Camps at City Creek
"It had been the design of Captain Brown, on leaving Pueblo, to push on without delay to the Bay of San Francisco, but the battalion’s term of enlistment having expired, (July 16), he decided to tarry in Salt Lake valley and await further orders from his military superiors. The soldiers formed a separate camp on City creek, about midway between the two camps of pioneers.
At a general meeting held next evening (July 30), the president, (Brigham Young), in behalf of the whole people, publicly thanked the battalion for the important service they had rendered their country and their co-religionists.
Captain Brown’s men, at the request of the president, constructed, two days after their arrival, a bowery in which to hold public meetings on the Temple block the first building of any kind erected by the Mormons in the Rocky Mountains." – Whitney.
On August 9, 1847, Captain Brown and others started for San Francisco by way of Fort Hall, Idaho, then with him the muster roll of his detachment, with power of attorneys from each man to sign for and receive his pay, the object of the Journey being to draw the pay due his soldiers from the government. Samuel Brannan who had sailed to California by way of Cape Horn and had established a colony on San Joaquin river in anticipation that the main body of the Saints would continue on to the coast, and who had returned from California to persuade President Young that that ought to be the ultimate resting place of his people, acting as guide and seven others made up the party.
Meets Trapper Goodyear.
Passing up the eastern slope of the Great Salt Lake the party called upon Miles M. Goodyear, a trapper living on the Weber river and whom the pioneers had met near Bear river in early July. At this meeting, it is thought, began the negotiations which later resulted in the acquirement of Goodyear’s possessions by Captain Brown. On their way to California west of the Sierras, Captain Brown and his party encountered the greater portion of the discharged soldiers of the Mormon battalion on their way to Salt Lake valley. When they learned from Captain Brown that it was President Young’s advice that all of them who were without means would better remain in California [to] secure work for the winter and come to the valley with their earnings in the spring, about half of them turned back, while the others continued on to Salt Lake.
Having completed his work in California, Captain Brown returned in December, 1847, bringing with him from San Francisco, $10,000.00 in Spanish doubloons, as the pay due enlisted men he had brought to Salt Lake. Immediately on his return, either in December, 1847, or in January, 1848 the negotiations for the
purchase of the Goodyear tract were resumed and consummated, Captain Brown paying $3,000.00 for the lands, improvements and live stock.
Property He Purchased
Miles M. Goodyear was a trapper who claimed the Weber lands by virtue of a grant from the Mexican government made to him in 1841. His claim was particularly described as follows: Beginning at the mouth of Weber canyon, and following the base of the mountains north to Hot Springs thence westward to the Great Salt Lake, southward along the shore of the lake to a point opposite Weber canyon and thence to the point of beginning. It’s extent is said to have been twenty square miles. On these lands Goodyear had built a picket fort on the right bank of the Weber river, just south of what is now the foot of 28th street in Ogden. The fort consisted of a stockade of cottonwood logs, fifteen feet high, enclosing about six rods square, with entrances on the east and west, and contained three or four log cabins. A lovely and fertile tract of land in the big bend of the river surrounded the fort. It was at this point that Goodyear had established himself as a trapper and trader living there with his Indian family and a few mountaineers and half breeds when the pioneers reached Salt Lake valley. It was this fort, with the lands describe and the cattle he possessed, that was purchased by Captain Brown for the sum named.
Shortly after the Goodyear purchase, settlers began to arrive in Weber county. Among the first settlers were the following: Captain James Brown and wife, Mary Black, his stepson, David Balck, his sons Alexander and Jesse S. and his infant daughter, Eliza, who afterwards became the wife of William F. Critchlow; Lewis B. Myers and his Indian wife, Geo. W. Therlkiel and wife; Robert Crow and family; Henry C. Shelton, a member of the Mormon battalion and family; Reuben Henry and wife, and a Mexican boy, Artemus Sprague; Daniel Purch and family, including William, James, Robert W., Belinda and Emma; Mrs. Ruth Steward and family of eight children; William Steward and family of six children; Irwin Stewart, who nearly
precipitated an Indian war in 1850; Dr. McIntire, of Mormon battalion fame; Messrs. Briggs and Burrows, mountaineers, with Indian wives and families. Later in 1848 another branch of Captain Brown’s family located with the others. Only the Browns settled in the fort, the others settling along the Weber and on both banks of Ogden river.
First Crops in 1848
The first crops were planted in the spring of 1848. Captain Brown was favored in having brought seed with him from California and in having a site which had been cultivated. Unsuccessful efforts to raise corn and wheat had been made by Mr. Goodyear, the harsh climate having reaped the crops for four successive years preceding the advent of the settlers and the prediction was freely made that the early frosts would also take their crops. However, Captain Brown and his sons sowed four and one-half bushels of wheat on five acres, and planted half a bushel of corn, some potatoes, cabbage, turnips and a few watermelons. The first furrow was ploughed by his sons, Jesse S. and Alexander. The crops grew and matured, the Browns harvesting 100 bushels of wheat, 75 bushels of corn and fine specimens of the other products.
Captain Brown retained a comparatively small portion of his purchase, the balance was divided among the settlers that began to pour in on the Weber during 1848. When the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed February 2, 1848, it was expected that Captain Brown’s title to the Goodyear lands would be confirmed, but for some reason, it was not recognized and many years later the government assumed ownership of the lands, gave to the Union Pacific on subsidy each alternate section of the tract and required the old settlers, including Captain Brown’s immediate descendants to repurchase the homes and farms they had occupied for 20 years. It is evident the government did not consider the Goodyear grant from Mexico as valid.
In 1850, the high water of the Weber submerged the land around the fort, compelled the abandonment of the old Goodyear stockade and a new site was
chosen just south of 30th street, east of the Union Pacific, which became known as Brown’s fort. This enclosed a 10-acre block, log houses built quite closely together on the four sides of the enclosure. The progress of improvement has removed all trace of this early fort.
Built First Bridges.
Captain Brown built the first bridges over the Weber and Ogden rivers and was proprietor thereof under charter from the legislature from 1849 to 1853. He was assessor and collector of taxes in 1850 and 1851, and a member of the Ogden City council from 1855 until his death in 1863. He acted as justice of the peace and served several terms in the territorial legislature. In 1852 he went on a mission to the British Guiana, going to San Diego, thence by sailing vessel to the Isthmus of Panama and thence to his destination. He came back by way of St. Louis and there assisted in church emigration during 1853-4, taking charge of a company across the plains in October of the latter year. When the Weber stake was organized he became first counselor to Presidnet Lorin Farr.
The Captain died at his home in this city September 30, 1863, the sixty-second anniversary of his birth. While working at a molasses mill, five days before, crushing the cane grown by neighbors, his arm was caught in the cogs of a roller and so badly lacerated that mortification set in, from which he died.
Captain Brown’s main characteristics were honesty, truthfulness and integrity. His generosity in sharing with his brethren the lands, though his [came] by purchase, though his rights were repudiated by the government years after his death, and his many acts of benevolence and charity in the early days of famine and poverty endeared him to the early settlers of Weber county.
Copied by Loria Spendlove and Virginia Lee
This article was originally taken from the Ogden Examiner, Sunday Morning, March 16, 1914, and was copied from the Scrap book compiled by Merlin J. Store [?] and now owned by his daughter Mrs. John W. Wintle (Daisy Store [?]) Ogden, Utah.
Notes: Notes as
stated in the document. Spelling and punctuation corrections. [Bracket]
notations for clarification.
JAMES BROWN, CAPTAIN
By Belva Moyle
[Picture of Captain James Brown]
Married 1st: Martha Stephens
Married 2nd: Susan Foutz
Married 3rd: Esther Jones [Roper, widow]
Married 4th: Sarah Steadwell [Wood] (Div)
Married 5th: Abigail Smith [Abbott, widow] -- [No Children]
Married 6th: Mary McRee Black, widow
Married 7th: Phoebe Abigail Abbott
Married 8th: Cecelia Henrietta Cornu [Robellaz, widow]
Married 9th: Mary Woolerton
Married 10th: Darthula Catherine Shupe -- No children
Married 11th: Lavina Mitchell -- No children
Married 12th: Harriet Wood -- No children
Married 13th: Maria Mitchell -- No children
James, a native of North Carolina, was a convert to the Church, a member of the Mormon Battalion, early pioneer, and founder of Ogden, Utah. He worked on his father’s farm as a young man. He was the most studious of the children and acquired sufficient knowledge to qualify for a teacher’s certificate at age 18. He was elected to the office of constable and later sheriff.
Upon receipt of a letter from his brother in Illinois, James moved his family to Brown county, Illinois, and later to Adams County. He farmed and sold his produce at markets and became a wealthy man. He and his wife joined the church in 1839. He filled three missions for the church while in Illinois.
After the death of his first wife, he remarried and moved to Nauvoo, where he helped in the building of the Nauvoo Temple. When the saints started west, and volunteers for the Mormon Battalion were called up, James enlisted and was made Captain of Company C. When a group know as the "sick detachment" was sent to Pueblo, Colorado, Captain Brown led them. He arrived in the Valley five days after the main company in 1847.
He was sent to California to collect the pay for the soldiers under his command. He was advised by the brethren to take some of the money and buy out Miles Goodyear, who had established a fort where Ogden now stands.
He served a mission to British Guiana. He was a member of the Ogden City Council, first magistrate, and first legislator from Ogden. He held many positions in the church and was a stalwart pioneer, caring for and helping others when needed.
Children of 1st wife [Martha Stephens]:
JOHN MARTIN, b. 29 Jun 1824, No. Carolina.
Children of 2nd wife [Susan Foutz]:
ALMA, b. 1842. Lived 3 weeks.
Children of 3rd wife [Esther Jones Roper, widow]:
ESTHER ELLEN, b. 18 Mar 1849. Md. James Leech Dee. D. 26 Oct 1893.
Children of 4th wife [Sarah Steadwell (Div)]:
JAMES HARVEY, b. 8 Oct 1846/7. D. 7 Oct 1912.
Children of 6th wife [Mary McRee Black, widow]:
MARY ELIZA, b. 8 Nov 1847, Utah. Md. William F. Critchlow. D. 20 Mar 1903.
Children of 7th wife ([Phoebe Abigail Abbott ] daughter of 1st husband of 5th wife, Abigail Smith.):
STEPHEN ABBOTT, b. 22 Aug 1851. D. 22 Dec 1853. Child.
Children of 8th wife [Cecelia Henrietta Cornu Robellaz, widow]:
CHARLES DAVID, b. 23 Jan 1856. Md. 26 Jun 1879, Sarah Ellen Dixon D. 23 Aug
Submitted By: Belva Moyle
[Bracket] notes for clarification and explanation. Bold added.