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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



What lies within the power of a resolute purpose to accomplish for itself appears in a record of the activities of Alfred J. Brown, one of Sacramento's successful business men, a citizen who has risen steadily in material affairs notwithstanding the handicap of adversity that orphanage threw over the years of his youth. Born November 26, 1866, he is a son of the late Thomas Brown, for years a valued employe of the Waltham Watch Company, but later connected with the Cornell Watch Company at Grand Crossing, a suburb of Chicago, Ill. When the latter corporation established a branch factory at San Francisco, he was sent west to superintend the new plant and remained in charge of the same until the death of Mr. Ralston, which was followed by the failure of the company. When forty-five years of age he died in San Francisco, having for some time survived his wife, who passed away when only thirty- four years of age.

The schools of Vacaville, Solano county, and of San Joaquin county gave to Alfred J. Brown the benefits of a primary education, but the necessity of self-support obliged him at the age of ten years to earn his own livelihood. For a time he worked for board and clothes as an assistant on a ranch near Ripon, San Joaquin county. Later he received wages as his work increased in value. When he had saved a small sum beyond his ordinary needs he came to Sacramento and took a course of study in the business college, after which he secured employment with the Capital Packing Company. Leaving that firm at the expiration of one year, he entered the employ of W. S. Kendall & Co., money brokers, of Sacramento. His nest position was that of bookkeeper with L. L. Lewis & Co., owners of the pioneer hardware store in Sacramento. Eventually he associated himself with the John Brenner Company, one of the largest firms in Northern California. Beginning as a bookkeeper he soon proved his worth as an assistant and secured several promotions from time to time, until in the year 1902 he was chosen financial manager and for many years was secretary of the large establishment.

Mr. Brown owns an attractive residence on Sutter Terrace which has been beautified through his own tasteful efforts, supplemented by the artistic co-operation of his capable wife, formerly Miss Ella Ruth Brown, who prior to their marriage was a leader among the young people of the capital city, as she has since been prominent with the older established social circles of the place. In fraternal matters Mr. Brown for years has been an active worker in the blue lodge of Masonry, while he has further enlarged his fraternal relationships through co-operation with the Woodmen of the World and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. Mr. Brown owes much of his success in business to the high standard he has adopted in all his business relations, all his dealings being guided by honesty and integrity of purpose. When it is recalled that he received no extraneous aid in struggling against adverse circumstances and that he fought his own way forward to success, it is realized that great credit is due him for the tenacity of purpose that inspired his actions and the determination of will that enabled him to wrest victory from what with some others so often results in defeat. The city with whose success his own is associated receives his loyal support in all measures for its permanent upbuilding and owes its rising progress to the patriotic devotion of its large corps of citizens who, like Mr. Brown, cherish for its institutions the deepest affection and most profound respect. 

History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011