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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



For twenty years a successful commercial man of Sacramento, Mr. Brown has exemplified throughout his career the qualities of manly ambition and wise judgment and in his practical interest in civic affairs has justly won a place among the most influential and highly respected citizens of his community.

Born October 24, 1869, in Sacramento, Mr. Brown is fully acquainted with the vast improvements which have taken place since that period, both in his home city and through the state in general, and although he has visited many attractive and beautiful sections of the United States, enjoys the conviction that California exceeds them all, not alone in climate, but in resources as well. His father, John R. Brown, whose birth occurred in Brownville, N. Y., in 1833, attended West Point as a youth, and in the role of civil engineer came to California in 1860 to assist in the original survey of the Central Pacific Railroad between Sacramento and Reno. Afterward he was advance agent during the construction of the road until December, 1868, when he resigned to engage in the life insurance business in Sacramento. He became special agent for the North-western Life Insurance Company of Milwaukee, Wis., and for a number of years filled that office, when he again entered the employ of the Central Pacific Railroad as agent and continued with the company until his death, which occurred in Sacramento February 7, 1884. Mr. Brown was prominent among the Masons, Redmen and Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and at his death was buried with Masonic honors. His wife, to whom he was united in marriage in the old Congregational Church on Sixth street in Sacramento, was formerly Miss Elizabeth MacMillan, born in Buffalo, N. Y., daughter of Hugh and Ann (Miller) MacMillan, natives of New York. Hugh MacMillan was a successful shipbuilder by trade. Mrs. Brown, who was widely beloved for her womanly sweetness and sympathy, passed away in January, 1902, after a life of great devotion to her husband and three children.

John Jacob Brown, the paternal grandfather of Edward S., occupied a prominent position throughout the war of 1812, having organized a company of which he became captain, later serving as general, and then, owing to his ability and devotion to duty, was appointed to the office of commander in chief of the United States army, faithfully performing his duties until his death in 1827.

At the age of fourteen, shortly after his father's death, Edward Sherburne Brown was forced to leave his studies, in which, however, owing to his concentrative ability, he had made rapid progress. He secured a position in the wholesale establishment of Lyon & Curtis. Five years later he transferred his services to Curtis Brothers & Company, and in 1892, in partnership with William M. Henderson and Charles E. Flye, under the firm name of Henderson, Brown & Flye, opened a wholesale fruit and produce store at Second and J streets; later Mr. Flye sold his interest to his associates, and in 1900, Mr. Henderson having withdrawn from the company, the firm was incorporated . under the name of the Ennis-Brown Company, with Mr. Brown as president and Scott F. Ennis as secretary and treasurer. The company is now located at Front and J streets, now a prominent wholesale district. The old Pioneer Mill on the water front, formerly occupied by H. G. Smith & Co., has been used as a bean warehouse, and has large cleaning machinery. Thoroughly familiar with the work in which he has been so long engaged, Mr. Brown is considered an expert in that line, and his progressive methods are highly commended by his fellow citizens. He married in July, 1898, Lucy Elizabeth Purinton, a native of California, and to them have been born two sons and two daughters, viz. : Kenneth A., Dorothy E., Edward S. and Virginia Anna. Mr. Brown is an active member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, of the Sutter Club and the Chamber of Commerce. Active in local politics, he maintains a deep interest in all matters pertaining to the development and improvement of the city and is conceded to be a man of broad, generous principles and well-directed energy.

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