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California Genealogy and History Archives

San Bernardino County and Riverside County


CHARLES M. BROWN of Redlands, San Bernardino County, has been actively associated with the fruit industry of California for nearly forty years, is one of its pioneer representatives in the Redlands district and has played an important part in the development of this important line of enterprise in the state. In short, his record is one the rebounds to his credit as a progressive business man and loyal and public-spirited citizen.

Charles Milton Brown was born in the State of Illinois, on the 12th of February, 1865, and is a son of Andrew Jackson Brown and Susan M. (Wallace) Brown, who were born and reared in Kentucky, where the father became an extensive farmer and owned many slaves, besides ' being prominent and influential in political affairs in the Blue Grass state prior to the Civil war. He met with severe financial reverses incidental to this war and finally removed to Illinois, where he and his wife passed the remainder of their lives. Named in honor of the famed warrior and statesman, General Andrew Jackson, he ever held to the political faith exemplified by his famous namesake, and was a staunch advocate of the principles of the democratic party.

In the public schools of Illinois, Charles M. Brown continued his studies until he had duly profited by the advantages of the high school at Carrollton, while through reading, study of economic matters and public affairs and long association with the practical duties and responsibilities of a constructive personal career, he has rounded out what may consistently be termed a liberal education. His childhood and early youth were compassed by the influence of the home farm, and in 18^, at the age of sixteen years, he went to Pioneer County, Nebraska, in which state he passed three years on the great cattle range. Long hours of arduous work were his portion in this connection, but the discipline gave him the hardiest of physical powers, the while the experience was one upon which he has since placed high value.

In 1883 Mr. Brown came to Riverside, California, and obtained employment with the firm of W. F. Coleman & Company, extensive dealers in fruits, with special attention given to the shipping of raisins and other California dried fruits. In the autumn of 1886 Mr. Brown was made manager of the firm's newly established branch house at Redlands, and later he was for seven years manager at this place for the Earl Fruit Company. He then initiated an independent business in the buying, packing and shipping of oranges, and this business he has since continued successfully without interruption. He is thus one of the pioneers in the citrus fruit industry in San Bernardino County, and the unsullied reputation that has ever been his constitutes a most fortuitous commercial asset. In addition to his individual operations in the buying and shipping of fruit Mr. Brown formed a partnership with B. W. Cave, under the firm name of Cave & Brown, and engaged in the buying and shipping of hay and grain.

In the handling of California fruits Mr. Brown has long controlled a large and prosperous business, and he has selling agents in die principal cities and markets of forty-three states of the union. The facilities which he has provided and the effective service which he has given in connection with the distribution of California fruits have contributed in large measure to the success of fruit-growing in the Redlands district, and proved of value in furthering the industrial and commercial precedence of the state. In the firm, Brown, Ford & Yerxa, Mr. Brown has alliance with Messrs. Ford and Yerxa, of Imperial Valley, and is exclusive selling agent for the early vegetables and melons raised and bought by these representative business men of the famed Imperial Valley, the enterprise being one of great volume. During the period of the nation's participation in the World war Mr. Brown had large productive interests in the Imperial Valley and in response to the Government's call for cotton he there produced large crops of this essential product. He is one of the extensive orange-growers of San Bernardino County, as the owner of a fine ranch of sixty-four acres, with forty acres of producing Valencia orange trees and twenty-four acres devoted to the ever popular navel oranges.

In politics, with well fortified convictions, Mr. Brown has never wavered from the course of stalwart allegiance to the cause of the democratic party, and as a loyal and progressive citizen he has taken lively interest in public affairs, especially those of his home community and state. In the Masonic fraternity he is past master of Lodge No. 300, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, at Redlands; past high priest of Redlands Chapter, No. IT , Royal Arch Masons ; and affiliated also with the council and commandery bodies of the fraternity, as well as the Mystic Shrine. He is also an active and popular member of Redlands Lodge No. 583, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

Mr. Brown was a most loyal and vigorous supporter of governmental agencies and policies during the period of the World war. He was personal representative in his community of Judge Lynch, of San Francisco, who was governor of the Twelfth District Federal Reserve Bank. Mr. Brown likewise represents the government department of justice in the territory comprising San Bernardino, Riverside and Imperial counties, his duties in this connection involving numerous trips into Mexico. He was called to Washington, D. C, on several occasions, and received from President Wilson personal invitation for conference relative to productive conditions, his experience in marketing widely and his intimate knowledge of trade and producing conditions throughout the Union, having made his counsel of definite value. Mr. Brown served as chairman of the Liberty Loan Committee of his district, as one of the four-minute speakers in advancing subscriptions to the various government loans. Red Cross campaigns, etc., and his brief addresses were invariably spirited, practical and productive of results.

August 17, 1897, recorded the marriage of Mr. Brown to Miss Lydia Hosking, of Redlands. She is a daughter of William Hosking and was born in Australia, her parents having been natives of England and she having been eight years of age at the time when the family home was established at Eureka, California. Her father was a prominent mining man and was representative of a large English corporation in this field of enterprise after he came to the United States. Mrs. Brown was graduated in Santa Clara College and the Pacific University of Music, at Santa Clara. She is a woman of not only exceptional culture and gracious personality, but also one whose broad sympathies and high ideals have been shown in earnest and effective stewardship of personal order. She has been for thirty years the able and loved organist of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Redlands, and has been active in the various departments of church work. Mrs. Brown was a. leader in patriotic service at the time of the World war and was specially active in Red Cross work. She exerts at all times a helpful influence for civic betterment and takes deep interest in all things touching the welfare of her home city, where she is a popular factor in representative social activities. Mr. and Mrs. Brown have one son, Charles Milton, Jr., who was born June 7, 1899. This popular young native son of Redlands was here graduated in the high school, later attended Redlands University one year, and he is at the time of this writing, in the spring of 1921, a student in the law department of Leland Stanford University. He was in the Stanford ambulance service during two years of the nation's participation in the World war. In this connection he was stationed three months at Fort McDowell and six months at Allentown, Pennsylvania. After this preliminary training he was ordered to service overseas and sailed from New York City on the 4th of July, 1918. He was in active service in France about one year, with headquarters at Dijon, and after the signing of the armistice he finally was returned to his native land, his arrival in the port of New York City having occurred in June, 1919, and his honorable discharge having been received by him somewhat later.

Charles M. Brown, Sr., has gained prestige as one of the most active and resourceful business men of southern California. In connection with business affairs he has crossed the continent seventy-three times. He has succeeded through earnest and well directed personal effort, and looks upon honesty not only as a matter of duty to every man but also as one of expediency, for he believes that no success worthy of the name is to be gained save through honesty and fairness, which should be expected of every citizen. Beginning at the lowest round of the ladder, he has risen to independence and prosperity through able and earnest personal endeavor, has been in the most significant sense the architect of his own fortunes, and, above all, has so ordered his course as to merit and receive the unqualified confidence, respect and good will of his fellow men.


History of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties 
By: John Brown, Jr., Editor for San Bernardino County 
And James Boyd, Editor for Riverside County 
With selected biography of actors and witnesses of the period 
of growth and achievement.
Volume III, the Western Historical Association, 1922, 
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, ILL

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011