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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Samuel Brown

A native of Ohio, Samuel Brown was born in Zanesville, October 28, 1828, and died December 17, 1902, in Petaluma. Between these dats he accomplished much and did his part in the upbuilding of this commonwealth. He was the son of Samuel and Mary (Spear) Brown, the former born in Ohio and the latter in Gettysburg, Pa. The grandfather, also named Samuel, came from the North of Ireland and settled in Ohio, where he married Jane Morrow and engaged in farm pursuits. Samuel Brown, the father of the gentleman whose name heads this article, was a man of considerable means, and in 1852, when he had concluded to come to California with his family, purchased a large outfit and a band of cattle and started overland for the Golden West with the aid of twenty men to look after the stock, six months being consumed in the journey. The only misfortune was the death of a daughter, Mrs. Mary Detro, who died of cholera on the Platte river. A coffin was constructed from the wagon bed and a large stone was rolled on the grave to keep it from being disturbed by wild animals. Arriving in California, they stopped in Sacramento and located on the present site of the state house grounds, which Mr. Brown sold to the state for the purpose for which it is now used. He died on the Brown ranch in Marin county.

Samuel Brown of this sketch was educated in the common schools of Ohio, and took an active part in the migration of the family to California. After working for a time on the ranch in Sacramento he came to San Francisco and was employed in Mission valley until August 1854, when with his brother McAllen he located in Hicks' valley, Marin county, and purchased a part of the Borjorques ranch and engaged in dairying and the stock business until they dissolved partnership, and Samuel came to Petaluma, making this his home until his death. The ranch comprised several thousand acres which was brought to a high state of development and was considered a model dairy of this section. In the early days there were no fences to obstruct their journey to Petaluma, where they came to purchase supplies and market their produce. The virgin soil was so productive that the wild oats grew high enough to almost hide a man riding horseback through them. Indians were numerous in that part of the country, and these brothers were the pioneers of the locality. Samuel Brown brought butter to Petaluma to sell, and at one time he received $100 for one hundred pounds of that commodity. There being no banks, money was buried in the ground for safe keeping. Wild animals were numerous and the settlers had to carry firearms at their side to protect themselves.

Samuel Brown was married in Petaluma in 1885 to Miss Harriet A. Scott, who was born in Floyd county, Ind., the daughter of Robert and Sarah J. (Coffman) Scott, natives of that state. Her paternal grandfather John Floyd Scott, who was closely related to Gen. Winfield Scott, came from Delaware and became an early settler of Indiana. On the maternal side, Abram Coffman was born in Pennsylvania and came to Indiana, settling in Jackson county. Of the union of Mr. And Mrs. Scott we mention the following: Charles M., deceased, was a soldier in the Seventeenth Indiana Volunteer Infantry (Wilder's Brigade), serving until the close of the war; H. A. is court reporter and lives in Santa Rosa; Mary E. is Mrs. Eldridge, of Petaluma; and Harriet A. is the widow of Mr. Brown. Mrs. Brown was reared in Indiana and made that her home until 1882, and in March of that year came to Petaluma and resided until her marriage. She became the mother of three children: Hugh, who died aged four years; Mabel M., a graduate of Irving Institute in San Francisco, who became the wife of Arthur Parent and died in Petaluma May 26, 1911, aged twenty-three years; and Samuel, a graduate of Hitchcock Military Academy of San Rafael.

Since the death of her husband Mrs. Brown has made her home in Petaluma, where she erected a large residence, colonial architecture, on D street. The family own a large ranch with several sets of buildings which is leased to tenants for general agriculture and dairy purposes. Mrs. Brown is a member of the Christian church and is identified with all movements that have for their object the advancement of moral and social conditions. Mr. Brown was a very reliable man, and held the confidence and esteem of all with whom he had business or social relations.

History of Sonoma 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: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011