About James Brown, II
The Brown Family : Captain James Brown
By Erold Clark Wiscombe, 1986
Descendants of William Brown and Margaret of "Portigee" descent:
D. Captain James Brown (James 2, William 1)
James Brown Jr. was born 30 September 1801, at Rowan County, North Carolina. He was the eighth child, and second son of James Brown and Mary (Polly) Williams.
Much has been written about this good man. Brigham H. Roberts, a prominent early Utah historian, ranked him second to Brigham Young in importance as a builder and colonizer of the western wilderness. [See Bancroft's History]
During his youth James worked on his father’s farm. Education seems to have been stressed in his father’s home, for all of the Brown children could read and write, which is somewhat uncommon for Southern families at this period of time. James pursued his studies and at the age of 18 was able to become a school teacher. He improved his talents, and was later elected constable of Rowan County. He was later appointed sheriff of the same county, and held the office until he left the State of North Carolina and moved to Illinois in 1833.
James married 2 March 1823, at Flat Creek Swamp, in Rowan County, North Carolina, Martha Stephens, a daughter of Alexander Stephens and Mary Daley. Seven months later, his younger brother, Daniel, married Martha’s next younger sister, Elizabeth Stephens. When two close brothers marry sisters, it is little wonder their paths follow closely together.
His brother, Daniel, moved to Brown County, Illinois in 1831, and wrote back such glowing reports to his brother about the fine opportunities this new county afforded, that James could do no less than follow his brother. Accordingly, James and Martha and their five children left North Carolina and journeyed to Illinois in a wagon in the spring of 1833. He returned to settle up his affairs in North Carolina, then returned to Illinois in the autumn of 1833.
After living in Brown County for two years, he moved across the county line into Adams County and settled there. Illinois was a new territory and 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, people raised vegetables, grain, hogs, and cattle.
James became the Justice of the Peace in Adams County. He was firm, but sympathetic, a trait which made him very popular in the area.
The Brown Family in North Carolina were all members of the Baptist faith. James studied the Bible and frequently addressed the Baptist congregation.
In the spring of 1838, after the Mormons were expelled from the state of Missouri, many of them began to settle in in western Illinois. James attended one of their meetings at Dunkard and heard Jacob Foutz and David Evans preach the restored gospel. After the meeting 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 when Jacob Foutz and Tarleton Lewis [1805-1890; son of Neriah Lewis and Mary Moss] came to preach. Soon after, in June 1838, James, Martha and their three eldest children were baptized.
James became a zealous laborer and carried the glad tidings to his brothers and sisters living nearby. His sisters, Mary (Polly), Nancy, Martha (Patsy) and Obedience all joined the church. His wife’s sister, Elizabeth Stephens Brown joined in 1840, and later his brother, Daniel was baptized along with his two eldest children in the fall of 1842.
James was ordained an Elder and went on a mission to Illinois and the surrounding territory. He preached the gospel and collected funds for the Nauvoo Temple which was under construction.
On 28 September 1840, his wife, Martha, died giving birth to their ninth child. She was buried near Kingston, Adams County, Illinois. He gave the infant son, Moroni, to his two unmarried sisters, Polly and Nancy, to raise. On the 23rd of January 1841, James married Susan Foutz, the daughter of the man who had converted him to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In the spring of 1842, James moved his family to Nauvoo, Illinois, in Hancock County. Not long after this, his wife, Susan died. He then married Esther Jones Roper, the widow of Robert Roper.
James was next called to serve three short-term missions for the Church. The first was the Mississippi, where he had good success. He organized a branch of the church at Monroe, Mississippi. His next mission was into Iowa territory, and then in the spring of 1844, he returned to his native North Carolina. It was while he was on this mission that his brother-in-law, Sion or Siren Jackson, Susan’s husband attempted to shoot him, as recorded in Susan’s history.
While James was on his mission to North Carolina, the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum were assassinated at the Carthage jail. James returned immediately to Illinois.
He had known the Prophet Joseph and his brother, Hyrum personally. As soon as he returned from his mission, he called on his brother, Daniel, and asked him to accompany him back to Missouri to avenge the death of the prophet by shooting Governor L.W. Boggs, the man who had issued the extermination order for the Mormons. He and Daniel, both expert marksmen, took their rifles and horses and headed for Missouri. After riding all night James began to feel very uneasy and said to his brother. "I feel we should stop and kneel down and pray." They dismounted and knelt in prayer. During the prayer a voice from heaven spoke to them and said: "Vengeance is mine, and I will repay, return to your homes in peace!" The two brothers mounted their horses and returned to their homes in Illinois.
After his return from North Carolina, James was occupied in running two mills, a sawmill and a gristmill, located on the Skunk River
near Augusta, Iowa.
The principle of polygamy had been taught and practiced by the leaders of the church in Nauvoo. It was at this time that James embraced the principle. He married Sarah Steadwell Wood in 1845 as his first polygamous wife.
While living at Nauvoo, he became a fast friend of Stephen Abbott. Through this friendship they entered into an agreement that if any thing of an unusual nature happened to either of them, the other one would care for his family. In 1844, while Stephen was floating timber down the Missouri River for the construction of the Nauvoo Temple, he contracted pneumonia and died. On 8 February 1846, James married Stephen’s widow, Abigail Smith Abbott.
After the Saints were driven out of Nauvoo, James moved his family west to Winter Quarters, now Omaha, Nebraska.
While the Mormons were encamped at Winter Quarters, word came by government agents that the United States was at war with Mexico. They requested 500 Mormon volunteers to go. James volunteered and was made Captain of Company C. His sons, Alexander and Jesse Brown also enlisted at this time.
Four women were allowed to go with each company to serve as laundresses. Among these women was a widow, Mary McRee Black, whom James Brown married the day he was inducted into the Army, 16 July 1846.
Capt. Brown made arrangements for his three wives, Esther, Sarah, and Abigail and their families to stay at Council Bluffs until he could return and bring them to the Rocky Mountains. His fourth wife, Mary, and her small son, David Black, marched with him in the Battalion.*
They marched 1100 miles to Santa Fe. At this place it was decided that the sick and unfit would be sent to Pueblo, Colorado, and only the hale and hearty continued on the march to San Diego, California. Capt. Brown was asked to take charge of this detachment of sick, plus all the women and children and winter at Pueblo, which he did. A group of the Saints from Mississippi joined them at this place. The following spring they traveled north and west to join the main group of saints. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley just five days after Brigham Young had arrived. This was 29 July 1847.
Capt. Brown had hoped to return to Winter Quarters for his family but Brigham Young asked him to go to California with a power of attorney to collect the wages of the men from his company in the Mormon Battalion. Since President Young and other church authorities were returning to the east, James sent wagons and provisions for his family and the family of Stephen Abbott so they might come to Utah. They joined him at Brownsville, later named Ogden, Utah.
There were nine men who accompanied James to California, including one of his sons, Jesse S. Brown. While they were on this journey, they traveled north through the territory that later became Weber County.
Here, James met Miles Goodyear, an early trapper and discussed the possibility of purchasing his property at that location on the Weber River when he returned.
They journeyed to California by way of Ft. Hall, Idaho, then west along the Humbolt River to Lake Donner and Sutter’s Fort near Sacramento. These men were the first to view the remains of the Hasting’s Party which had perished at Donner Lake the previous winter.
After receiving the pay for the men of his company in the Battalion, five of the men started for home with provisions to last 23 days. They were pursued by 25 Indians near the Truckee River, but managed to escape without harm. While crossing a desert 40 miles wide, one of the pack mules stampeded, scattering their whole supply of flour through the sagebrush. They had to live on boiled wheat the rest of the way. In crossing one desert that was 75 miles wide, they nearly perished for lack of water. It took three days to cross. They reached water on the afternoon of the third day. They arrived in Salt Lake City, 15 November 1847. James lost 50 lbs.on that journey, the others suffered similarly.
He distributed the money to his men. With his own share, he returned to the Weber River area and purchased Miles Goodyear’s Spanish land grant. This comprised nearly all of what is Weber County today. Besides a fort and a few log cabins that came with the purchase, he also received 75 head of cattle, 75 goats, 12 sheep and 6 horses. The cost was $1950.00. His sons later claimed their father used his own money for the purchase.
James kept only two or three hundred acres for a farm, and opened the remainder for colonization. Since Brigham Young had said: "No man of the community should buy any land, every man should have his measured out to him for city and farming purposes." Capt. Brown welcomed all settlers to come and settle, without money or price.
In January of 1848, he sent his sons, Alexander and Jesse to look after the livestock. He later moved his family to the Weber region. They named the settlement, Brownsville, but the name was later changed to Ogden, Utah.
During the spring of 1848, food in the Salt Lake Valley was very scarce. Capt. Brown sent his son Alexander, and two others to Ft. Hall, Idaho, 160 miles north to purchase flour for his family. They returned with 600 lbs. Capt. Brown kept 200 lbs. for his settlement, and sent 400 lbs. to the destitute settlers in the Salt Lake Valley.
Capt. Brown and his family were milking 25 head of cattle. From this milk, his wife Mary made cheese and butter, much of which was sent to the Saints in the Salt Lake Valley. He also slaughtered a number of fat beef cattle and sent that along to the people in Salt Lake. The crops in Weber County had not been destroyed by the crickets as it had been in the Salt Lake Valley. Brown’s settlement was sometimes referred to as the "land of Goshen," by some of the early saints in the Salt Lake area.
Because of his many acts of kindness, he was known as the poor man’s friend. He often gave away goods from his storehouse without discussing any price.
In February 1849, Apostle Charles C. Rich ordained Capt. Brown to be the first bishop of Brown’s settlement.
In 1852, James was called to leave his family and go on a mission to San Diego, Panama, British Guiana, and Jamaica. Because of prejudice, they were forbidden to land in British Guiana. While in Panama he contracted yellow fever, but was able to recover. He and his companion were also robbed of their trunks, but being a man of great faith, he prayed earnestly that he might find his trunk. He saw in vision where his trunk was hidden under a tree, and the next day he recovered it. They returned home by way of New York in 1853.
In February 1854, he was the agent for the church in New Orleans, helping the immigrant saints from England to get passage up the Mississippi River where they could then start their trek to the west. He had to charter boats, and provide provisions for their needs.
He was in charge of a company of German and Swiss Saints on their way to Zion. A number of them died of cholera. Capt. Brown took one of the widows whose husband had died of the cholera, for his wife. She was Cecelia Henrietta Cornue, the widow of Charles Francois Robellez.
James built a large home directly across the street east of where the Mormon Temple is now located.
The 1850’s were busy years for James. He worked hard to provide for his large family. When the first Stake was organized in the Weber area, Loren Farr was called as Stake President, with James Brown as a counselor. A life size monument to these two men was unveiled on Ogden’s city square on 29 July 1947.
While speaking in the Ogden Tabernacle one Sunday James 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 a week, he was dead.
On the 25th of September 1863, while operating a molasses mill near the Weber River, his sleeve got caught in the cogs of the mill, and it drew his arm in. As soon as he could recover his balance, he pulled his arm free, but in a terrible lacerated condition. The muscle was literally torn from his arm. Gangrene soon set in and he suffered intense pain. When some of his friends came to sympathize with him, he replied: "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."
While conversing with his eldest son, John M., 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, 30 September 1863, at Ogden, Utah. The same thing that was said of his father would aptly apply to the son: "If ever a good man lived upon the earth, Grandfather Brown was one of them."
Capt. James Brown had 13 wives, and 28 children. His family is as follows:
Martha Stephens, (first wife) was born 12 October 1806, in Davidson County, North Carolina. She was the daughter of Alexander Stephens and Mary (Polly) Dailey or Daley. She died 28 September 1840, at Kingston, Adams County, Illinois. She was a sister to Daniel Brown’s wife, Elizabeth Stephens.
1. John Martin Brown, born 29 June 1824, at Flat Creek Swamp, Davidson County, North Carolina. He married four wives: Ann Foutz, Lovina Wilson, Louisa Wilson, and Almeda Daley Wilson. He died 13 Oct. 1888.
2. Alexander Brown, born 3 March 1826, at Flat Creek Swamp, Davidson County, North Carolina. He married Amanda McMurty. He died 22 April 1910.
3. Jesse Sowell Brown, born 26 March 1829, at Flat Creek Swamp, Davidson County, North Carolina. He married Caroline Stewart. He died 29 January 1905.
4. Nancy Brown, born 27 December 1830, at Flat Creek Swamp, Davidson County, North Carolina. She married (1)Eleazer Davis, (2) Price Sanford.
5. Daniel Brown, born 7 December 1832, at Flat Creek Swamp, Davidson County, North Carolina. He died 1864, unmarried.
6. James Morehead Brown, born 17 November 1834, at Versailles, Brown County, Illinois. He married Adelaid Exervid. He died 26 December 1924.
7. William Brown, born 21 August 1836, at Beverly, Adams County, Illinois. He married Mary Elizabeth Bybee. He died 19 October 1904.
8. Benjamin Franklin Brown, born 9 May 1838, at Beverly, Adams County, Illinois. He married Susan A. Wright. He died 24 December 1863.
9. Moroni Brown, born 25 September 1840, at Beverly, Adams County, Illinois. He married Evaline C. Conover and Frances Mariah Porter. He died 14 August 1916.
Susan Foutz, (second wife), was born 14 February 1823, at Franklin County, Pennsylvania. She was the eldest child of Jacob Foutz (1800) and Margaret Mann (1801). She died 18 August 1842. She married James Brown, 25 January 1841, in Adams County, Illinois, by Ezekiel Roberts.
1. Alma Brown, born July 1842. He died 18 August 1842, probably at West Point, Lee County, Iowa, at the age of three weeks. His mother died the same time.
Esther Jones [Roper, widow] (third wife), born 17 January 1811, at Surry County, North Carolina. The Nauvoo Area marriage records lists her as Esther Roper. She was the widow of Robert Roper or Roper. She married James Brown 20 November 1842, at Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois. They were married by Stephen Abbott.
1. Augustus Brown, born 1843, a twin, Lee County, Iowa; d. before 1850.
2. Augusta Brown, born 1843, a twin, Lee County, Iowa; d. before 1850.
3. Amasa Lyman Brown, born abt 1845, lived two months, prob. at Winter Quarters.
4. Esther Ellen Brown, born 18 Mar 1849. She married 2 October 1866, James Leech Dee, a son of Thomas Hill Dee and Elizabeth Reese.
5. Martha Alice Brown, born about 1851. She died at the age of 16 in Ogden, Weber County, Utah.
Sarah Steadwell [Wood] (wife #4), born 31 March 1814, at Chester, Cayuga County, New York. She died 18 March 1893, at Trenton, Cache County, Utah. She married James Brown 10 Jan1845, then divorced him in 1849. She was married also to: (1) Samuel Woods, (2) James Brown, (3) Ithamar Sprague, (4) Alonzo LeBaron.
1. James Harvey Brown, born 8 October 1846, at Winter Quarters, Pottawattamie County, Iowa. He married 14 Feb. 1870, Elizabeth Leah Williams. He died 7 Oct 1912.
Abigail Smith [Abbott, widow] (5th wife), born 11 September 1806, at Williamson, Ontario County, New York, a daughter of James Smith and Lydia Lucinda Harding. She was married first to Stephen Joseph Abbott (1804). She married James Brown 8 February 1846, at Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois. After Capt. James Brown married her daughter, Phoebe Abigail Abbott, this wife divorced him. She died 23 July 1889, at Willard, Box Elder County, Utah. No children from this union. Capt. Brown helped take care of Stephen Abbott’s children.
Mary McRae [McRee Black, widow] (6th wife), was born 28 October 1829, at Copiah County, Mississippi. She was married (1) George Black, and had one son. She married Capt. James Brown 16 July 1846, at Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County, Iowa, on the day he was inducted into the Mormon Battalion. She accompanied the Battalion as far as Santa Fe, then returned with her husband by way of Pueblo, Colorado. She was the daughter of Dr. Charles William McRae and Mary Corkins. She died 1 November 1907, at Ogden, Weber County, Utah, and is buried on the lot with her husband, Capt. Brown in the Ogden City Cemetery.
1. Mary Eliza Brown, born 8 November 1847, at Salt Lake City, Utah. She was the third white child born in the Salt Lake Valley. She married 9 December 1862, William Fuller Critchlow. She died 20 March 1903.
2. Margaret Brown, born 17 December 1849, at Ogden, Weber County, Utah. She died on 6 Feb 1855
3. Mary Polly Ann Brown, born 5 May 1852, at Ogden, Weber, Utah. She married (
1) Edward Edwards, (2) Thomas Leonard.
4. Joseph Smith Brown, born 4 January 1853, at Ogden, Weber, Utah. He married 8 March 1876, Sarah Wealthy Patten. He died 22 March 1903.
5. Josephine Vilate Brown, born 8 January 1858, at Ogden, Weber, Utah. She married Henry James Newman.
Phoebe Abigail Abbott (7th wife), born 18 May 1831, at Hornellsville, Steuben County, New York, a daughter of Stephen Joseph Abbott and Abigail Smith. Her mother was Captain Brown’s 5th wife, but Abigail Smith divorced James Brown when he married her daughter on 17 October 1850. Phoebe married (2) 9 October 1866, William Nicol Fife, her younger sister Cynthia later married Fife. Phoebe died 9 January 1914, at Thatcher, Graham County, Arizona.
Children: (All born at Ogden, Weber County, Utah)
1. Stephen Abbott Brown, born, 22 August 1851. He died 22 December 1853.
2. Phoebe Adelaide Brown, born 24 October 1855. She married Henry Theodore Snyder. She died 11 June 1930.
3. Orson Pratt Brown, born 22 May 1863. He married (1) 10 Oct. 1887, Martha Dianna Romney; (2) Jane Galbraith; (3) 15 January 1901, Elizabeth Graham MacDonald; (4) Eliza Skousen; (5) 18 March 1919, Angela Gabaldon.
Cecelia Henrietta Cornue [Robellez, widow] (8th wife), was born 17 May 1825, at Corcellas Neuchatel, Switzerland. She was a daughter of David Francois Cornue and Henrietta Egalite Baulard. She married (1) Charles Francois Robellez. He died crossing the plains. She married (2) Capt. James Brown, 26 December 1854, at Salt Lake City, Utah by President Brigham Young in his office. After the death of Capt. Brown, she gave her two children to one of his other wives, and returned to Switzerland to care for her ailing parents. She never returned to America. She died 14 September 1882, at Neuchatel, Switzerland. She was sealed to her first husband 27 March 1857 in the Salt Lake Endowment House.
Children: (All born at Ogden, Weber County, Utah)
1. Charles David Brown, born 23 January 1856. He married Sarah Ellen Dixon. He died 23 August 1926.
2. James Fredrick Brown, born 2 July 1859. He married 27 March 1884, Esther Amelia Marriott. He died 19 April 1923.
Mary Woolerton (9th wife), born 30 March 1814, at Stockport, Cheshire, England. She sailed for America 12 March 1854 for the port of New Orleans, Louisiana, on the ship, "John M. Wood". She was probably in one of the companies that Capt. Brown led to Zion from New Orleans. They married 7 February 1855, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The marriage was performed by Heber C. Kimball. She was the daughter of John and Mary Wollerton. They had no children. She died 16 Jan 1877 in Ogden, Weber, Utah
Darthula Catherine Shupe (10th wife), born 27 December 1834, at Wythe County, Virginia. She was the eldest daughter of Andrew Jackson Shupe and Elizabeth Creager. She married Capt. Brown, 17 February 1856, at Salt Lake City, Utah. She gave her birthdate at 1838 when she was sealed to James Brown. Shupe family records indicates it was 1834. She died 3 March 1911. No children from this union.
Lovina Mitchell (11th wife), born 22 July 1837, at Sheffield, York, England, a daughter of Hezekiah Mitchell and Sarah Mallinson. She married Capt. Brown, 7 September 1856, in Salt Lake City, Utah. They were later sealed in the Endowment House, 27 March 1857, by Heber C. Kimball. She married (2) 20 January 1865, John Horrocks. She died 16 March 1905. She was baptized 4 July 1847.
1. Sarah Brown b. 31 Oct 1858; md. Sam Drysdale.
2. Augustus Hezekiah Brown, b. 1 Mar 1861, Ogden, Weber, Ut; md. Eliza Harriet Plant from Walton, Northampton, England; d. 29 Mar 1916.
Harriet Wood (12th wife), born 21 December 1834, at Kirtland, Lake County, Ohio, a daughter of Daniel Wood (1800) and Mary Snider (1803). She married James Brown, 17 September 1859. She was sealed to him in the Endowment House, 19 September 1861, by Daniel H. Wells, Brigham Young was a witness. She was married previously 22 November 1853, to Hiram John Yancey, born 31 December 1832, a son of Hiram John Yancey and Elizabeth Pratt. She married (3) 9 January 1871, David Lewis. No children of this union. She died 22 December 1873, at Bountiful, Davis County, Utah.
Maria Mitchell (13th wife), born 14 April 1843, at Sheffield, York, England, a daughter of Hezekiah Mitchell and (1) Sarah Mallinson. She was a sister to Lovina Mitchell, wife number 11. She married Capt. James Brown, 19 September 1861, in the Salt Lake Endowment House. The sealing was performed by Daniel H. Wells, with Brigham Young as a witness. She married (2) Edward Gregory Horrocks, 4 June 1864, after the death of Capt. Brown. She died 19 February 1923. No children. Her family records indicate that she was born at Liverpool, Lancashire, England, and not at Sheffield, York, as her sister was born at Sheffield.
- A granddaughter of George David Black gives us this insight into the life of this step-son of Capt. James Brown. Lillian Felt of Brigham City, Utah, tells us that Mary McRee lost her husband and a number of children from an epidemic while living at Nauvoo. She was left with only one child, George David Black. She took this child to Brigham Young and told him that this was the only child she had left and she did not want to lose him. Their family history stated that Brigham Young took the little boy down to the Mississippi River and baptized him, then sealed him up against all sickness and disease. He came on to Utah with Capt. James Brown and lived in Ogden, Utah. He was later asked to help colonize the area of Oxford, Idaho. He married and had thirteen children, but never had a sick day in his life. In later life, he was killed in an accident.
Captain James Brown's Timeline
September 30, 1801
Lick Creek, Yadkin River, Rowan, North Carolina
March 23, 1823
June 29, 1824
Flat Creek Swamp, Rowan, North Carolina, United States
March 3, 1826
Flat Creek Swamp, Davidson, North Carolina
March 26, 1829
Salisburg, Rowan, North Carolina
December 27, 1830
Salisbury, Rowan, NC
December 7, 1832
Salisbury, Rowan, North Carolina
November 17, 1834
November 17, 1834
Versailles, Brown, Illinois
August 21, 1836
Kingston, Adams, Il