James Brown, II (1801 - 1863)

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Place of Burial: Ogden, Weber County, Utah Territory, United States
Birthplace: Lick Creek, Yadkin River, Rowan, North Carolina, United States
Death: Died in Ogden, Weber, Utah Territory, United States
Cause of death: Gangrene, subsequent to a mill accident
Occupation: School teacher; Sheriff; Justice of the Peace; Founder of Ogden; Ogden city councilmember; member Utah legislature; Mormon Battalion Captain Company C; LDS missionary; St. Louis immigration agent; first counselor to LDS President Lorin Farr
Managed by: Gary Geddes Jay
Last Updated:

About James Brown, II

James Brown, son of James Clifton Brown and Mary "Polly" Williams, was born 30 September 1801 at Lick Creek, Yadkin River, Rowan County, North Carolina, and died on his sixty-second birthday, 30 September 1863, at Odgen, Weber County, Utah Territory. Came to Utah in charge of invalided and discharged Mormon Battalion soldiers and Mississippi immigrants, arriving at Salt Lake City 29 July 1847. He left the next month on 9 August for California to collect his soldiers’ pay, and brought back the first money to circulate in the Salt Lake Valley. A pioneer; school teacher; sheriff; Justice of the Peace; founder of Ogden; planted first crops in Weber valley with seed brought from California; member Ogden city council from 1855 continuously until his death; member Utah legislature several terms; Captain Company C, Mormon Battalion; earliest LDS missionary to southern states 1842; LDS missionary to British Guiana 1852; St. Louis immigration agent 1852-1854; first counselor to LDS President Lorin Farr; faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he had 13 wives and 28 children.

Marriages and Children

  1. Martha Stephens, daughter of Alexander Stephens and Mary "Polly" Dailey or Daley, was born 12 October 1806 in Davidson County, North Carolina. She died 28 September 1840 at Kingston, Adams County, Illinois. Children:
    1. John Martin Brown (29 June 1824 Flat Creek Swamp, Davidson County, North Carolina - 13 October 1888), married four women: Ann Foutz, Lovina Wilson, Louisa Wilson, and Almeda Daley Wilson.
    2. Alexander Brown (3 March 1826 Flat Creek Swamp, Davidson County, North Carolina - 22 April 1910) married Amanda McMurty
    3. Jesse Sowell Brown (26 March 1829 Flat Creek Swamp, Davidson County, North Carolina - 9 January 1905) married Caroline Stewart
    4. Nancy Brown (born 27 December 1830 Flat Creek Swamp, Davidson County, North Carolina), married (1) Eleazer Davis, (2) Price Sanford.
    5. Daniel Brown (7 December 1832 Flat Creek Swamp, Davidson County, North Carolina - 1864), never married
    6. James Morehead Brown (17 November 1834 Versailles, Brown County, Illinois - 26 December 1924),. married Adelaid Exervid
    7. William Brown (21 August 1836 Beverly, Adams County, Illinois - 19 October 1904), married Mary Elizabeth Bybee
    8. Benjamin Franklin Brown (9 May 1838 Beverly, Adams County, Illinois - 24 December 1863), married Susan A. Wright
    9. Moroni Brown (25 September 1840 Beverly, Adams County, Illinois - 14 August 1916), married Evaline C. Conover and Frances Mariah Porter
  2. Susan Foutz, the eldest child of Jacob Foutz (born 1800) and Margaret Mann (born 1801) was born 14 February 1823 at Franklin County, Pennsylvania. She died 18 August 1842. She married James Brown on 25 January 1841 in Adams County, Illinois; the ceremony was performed by Ezekiel Roberts. Children:
    1. Alma Brown (July 1842 - 18 August 1842 probably at West Point, Lee County, Iowa). He and his mother died three weeks after his birth.
  3. Esther Jones Roper (born 17 January 1811 at Surry County, North Carolina), was the widow of Robert Roper. She married (2) James Brown on 20 November 1842 at Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois. They were married by Stephen Abbott. Children:
    1. Augustus Brown, twin of Augusta (1843 Lee County, Iowa - before 1850)
    2. Augusta Brown, twin of August (1843 Lee County, Iowa - before 1850)
    3. Amasa Lyman Brown (born c.1845 probably at Winter Quarters), lived two months
    4. Esther Ellen Brown (born 18 March 1849) married James Leech Dee, son of Thomas Hill Dee and Elizabeth Reese, on 2 October 1866
    5. Martha Alice Brown (c.1851 - 1867 Ogden, Weber County, Utah)
  4. Sarah Steadwell Woods (31 March 1814 Chester, Cayuga County, New York - 18 March 1893 Trenton, Cache County, Utah), the widow of Stephen Woods, she married (2) James Brown on 10 January 1845; they were divorced in 1849. She then married (3) Ithamar Sprague, (4) Alonzo LeBaron. Children:
    1. James Harvey Brown (8 October 1846 Winter Quarters, Pottawattamie County, Iowa - 7 Oct 1912) married Elizabeth Leah Williams on 14 February 1870
  5. Abigail Smith Abbott (11 September 1806 Williamson, Ontario County, New York - 23 July 1889 Willard, Box Elder County, Utah), daughter of James Smith and Lydia Lucinda Harding. She was the widow of Stephen Joseph Abbott (born 1804). She married (2) James Brown on 8 February 1846 at Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois. After Captain Brown married her daughter, Phoebe Abigail Abbott, Abigail Smith divorced him. No children from this union.
  6. Mary McRae Black (28 October 1829 Copiah County, Mississippi - 1 November 1907, at Ogden, Weber County, Utah) was the widow of George Black, whose great-granddaughter, Lillian Felt of Brigham City, Utah, says 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. The family history records 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 Oxford, Idaho, area. He married and had thirteen children, but never had a sick day in his life. Mary McRae Black married (2) Capt. James Brown on 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 was buried on the lot with her husband, Capt. Brown, in the Ogden City Cemetery. Children:
    1. Mary Eliza Brown (8 November 1847 Salt Lake City, Utah - 20 March 1903) was the third white child born in the Salt Lake Valley. She married William Fuller Critchlow on 9 December 1862.
    2. Margaret Brown (17 December 1849 Ogden, Weber County, Utah - 6 February 1855), d.s.p.
    3. Mary Polly Ann Brown (born 5 May 1852 Ogden, Weber, Utah) married (1) Edward Edwards, (2) Thomas Leonard.
    4. Joseph Smith Brown (4 January 1853 Ogden, Weber, Utah - 22 March 1903) married Sarah Wealthy Patten on 8 March 1876.
    5. Josephine Vilate Brown (born 8 January 1858 Ogden, Weber, Utah) married Henry James Newman.
  7. Phoebe Abigail Abbott (18 May 1831 Hornellsville, Steuben County, New York - 9 January 1914 Thatcher, Graham County, Arizona), daughter of Stephen Joseph Abbott and Abigail Smith. Her mother was Captain Brown’s fith wife, but Abigail Smith divorced James Brown when he married her daughter on 17 October 1850. Three years following the death of Captain Brown, Phoebe married (2) William Nicol Fife on 9 October 1866. Her younger sister Cynthia later married Fife. Children:
    1. Stephen Abbott Brown (22 August 1851Ogden, Weber County, Utah - 22 December 1853)
    2. Phoebe Adelaide Brown (24 October 1855 Ogden, Weber County, Utah - 11 June 1930) married Henry Theodore Snyder
    3. Orson Pratt Brown (born 22 May 1863 Ogden, Weber County, Utah) married (1) Martha Dianna Romney on 10 October 1887; (2) Jane Galbraith; (3) Elizabeth Graham MacDonald on 15 January 1901; (4) Eliza Skousen; (5) Angela Gabaldon on 18 March 1919.
  8. Cecelia Henrietta Cornue Robellez (17 May 1825 Corcellas, Neuchatel, Switzerland - 14 September 1882 Neuchatel, Switzerland), was the daughter of David Francois Cornue and Henrietta Egalite Baulard. She was the widow of Charles Francois Robellez, who died crossing the plains. She married (2) Capt. James Brown on 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 was sealed to her first husband 27 March 1857 in the Salt Lake Endowment House. Children:
    1. Charles David Brown (23 January 1856 Ogden, Weber County, Utah - 23 August 1926) married Sarah Ellen Dixon
    2. James Fredrick Brown (2 July 1859 Ogden, Weber County, Utah - 19 April 1923) married Esther Amelia Marriott 27 March 1884.
  9. Mary Woolerton (30 March 1814 Stockport, Cheshire, England - 16 Jan 1877 Ogden, Weber, Utah), daughter of John and Mary Wollerton, sailed for America on 12 March 1854 for the port of New Orleans, Louisiana, aboard the "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. They had no children.
  10. Darthula Catherine Shupe (27 December 1834 Wythe County, Virginia - 3 March 1911), eldest daughter of Andrew Jackson Shupe and Elizabeth Creager, married Capt. Brown on 17 February 1856 at Salt Lake City, Utah. She gave her birthdate as 1838 when she was sealed to James Brown, although Shupe family records indicate it was 1834. No children from this union.
  11. Lovina Mitchell (22 July 1837 Sheffield, York, England - 16 March 1905), a daughter of Hezekiah Mitchell and Sarah Mallinson, married Capt. Brown on 7 September 1856 in Salt Lake City, Utah. They were later sealed in the Endowment House on 27 March 1857 by Heber C. Kimball. Two years following the death of Captain Brown, she married (2) John Horrocks on 20 January 1865. She was baptized 4 July 1847. Children:
    1. Sarah Brown (born 31 October 1858) married Sam Drysdale
    2. Augustus Hezekiah Brown (1 March 1861 Ogden, Weber, Utah - 29 March 1916) married Eliza Harriet Plant from Walton, Northampton, England
  12. Harriet Wood Yancey (21 December 1834 Kirtland, Lake County, Ohio - 22 December 1873 Bountiful, Davis County, Utah), a daughter of Daniel Wood (born 1800) and Mary Snider (born 1803), married (1) Hiram John Yancey; (2) James Brown on 17 September 1859; (3) David Lewis on 9 January 1871. She was sealed to him in the Endowment House on 19 September 1861 by Daniel H. Wells; Brigham Young was a witness. No children of this union.
  13. Maria Mitchell (14 April 1843 Liverpool, Lancashire, England - 19 February 1923), a daughter of Hezekiah Mitchell and Sarah Mallinson. She was a sister to Lovina Mitchell, James Brown's eleventh wife. She married Capt. James Brown on 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. No children.

Captain James Brown by Erold Clark Wiscombe, 1986

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.

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. All of the Brown children learned to 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 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 Martha Stephens, a daughter of Alexander Stephens and Mary Daley, on 2 March 1823 at Flat Creek Swamp, in Rowan County, North Carolina. Seven months later, his younger brother, Daniel, married Martha’s younger sister, Elizabeth Stephens.

His brother, Daniel, moved to Brown County, Illinois in 1831, and wrote glowing reports about the fine opportunities this new county afforded. Accordingly, James and Martha and their five children left North Carolina and journeyed to Illinois in a wagon in the spring of 1833. James returned to settle 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 a 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. 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 came to preach. Soon after, in June 1838, James, Martha and their three eldest children were baptized. 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 anything 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, from which he 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 Hastings 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 $1,950. 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 1850s 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.

Sources

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Captain James Brown's Timeline

1801
September 30, 1801
Yadkin River, Rowan, North Carolina, United States
1823
March 23, 1823
Age 21
Salisbury, Rowan, North Carolina, United States
1824
June 29, 1824
Age 22
Flat Creek Swamp, Rowan, North Carolina, United States
1826
March 3, 1826
Age 24
Flat Creek Swamp, Davidson, North Carolina
1829
March 26, 1829
Age 27
Salisburg, Rowan, North Carolina
1830
December 27, 1830
Age 29
Salisbury, Rowan County, North Carolina, United States
1832
December 7, 1832
Age 31
Salisbury, Rowan, North Carolina
1834
November 17, 1834
Age 33
Versailles, Brown County, Illinois, United States
1836
August 21, 1836
Age 34
Kingston, Adams, Il
1838
May 9, 1838
Age 36
Kingston, Adams, Illinois, USA