Daniel Browett (1809 - 1848)

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Birthplace: Tewksbury, Gloucestershire, England
Death: Died in El Dorado, California, USA
Managed by: Eldon Clark (C)
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About Daniel Browett

Liverpool to New Orleans Ship: Echo Departure: 16 Feb 1841 Arrival: 16 Apr 1841

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868 Jonathan H. Holmes/Samuel Thompson Company (1848) Age 39


Departure: 2 July 1848 Arrival: 6 September 1848

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Birth: Dec. 18, 1809, England

Death: Jun. 27, 1848 El Dorado County California, USA

Sergeant of Company E of the Mormon Battalion, U.S. Army 1846-1848. Daniel is my great, great granduncle, who immigrated from England along with my great great grandfather, Robert Jr. Harris, who was also a Mormon Battalion soldier. They sailed from Liverpool aboard the "Echo", Browett being Presiding Elder over 109 Saints, with Grandfather Harris serving as First Counselor. Daniel's widow (Elizabeth Harris Browett) remained with Father's family after the death of Browett and, being a sister to Grandfather Harris is buried next to him and Grandmother, Hannah Maria Eagles Harris in Kaysville City Cemetery, Kaysville, Davis, Utah. After discharge at Fort Moore, Los Angeles, several Elders, including Daniel Browett, were asked by Levi Hancock, the Presiding Officer of the Mormon Church if some of them would remain to work for John Sutter at Sutter's Fort to gain needed income. Daniel agreed to remain. This was the evening of August 25th, 1847. [Source: publication, "The Mormon Battalion, U.S. Army of the West", Author, Norma Baldwin Ricketts, Publisher, Utah State University Press, 1996, Page 173.] On Page 195, this same publication states that, "Records kept by Sutter's clerk revealed the Mormons worked as carpenters and laborers...... working on the grist mill were ......,Jonathan H. Homes,......, Daniel Browett,.... six Mormons were hired to help build the sawmill in the mountains. The following arrived at Coloma September 29 and began working under the direction of James Marshall: Henry Bigler, Azariah Smith, Alexander Stephens, James S. Brown, William Johnstun and William Barger." As winter came on, an entry in the journal of one of the men recorded the discovery of some curious gold colored flakes. This journal entry of January 24th, 1848 was, "This day some kind of mettle was found in the tail of race that looks like goald." (Bigler stated further on the same date that gold was) "first found by James W. Marshall, the boss of the mill." [Source: Journal of Henry W. Bigler, January 24, 1848; Bigler, Henry W., Henelepikale, "Recollections of the Past", Juvenile Instructor 21, No. 23 (1 Dec. 1886): 365-66]. After working with these men until the end of March, Daniel Browett was appointed to inform Sutter (at the end of their contract) of their decision to leave and (he was) to obtain wages, cattle, and other articles. He was also to make arrangements to purchase two cannons, reportedly left behind in Russia by Napoleon and sold to Sutter by the Russians when they closed Fort Ross in northern California. They were highly decorated brass, parade cannons and Browett's men wanted to take them back to Salt Lake, to the Mormon Church. Browett, acting as agent, collected gold flakes from the men and paid Sutter for the cannons. [Source: publication: "The Mormon Battalion, U.S. Army of the West", Author, Norma Baldwin Ricketts, Publisher: Provo, Utah State University Press, 1996, Page 202-03]. On May 7, Sutter again recorded in the "New Helvetia Diary": 'Delivered to the Mormons the two small brass pieces.' (They were small, a four pounder & a six pounder.) By June 22nd the men were gathered at Park Valley to find a trail through the mountain divide between Sly Park, over what is now known as Carson Pass. Daniel Browett was elected president of the Company. Browett, as lead scout, and Ezra Allen along with Pvt. Henderson Cox left to blaze a trail over the mountains. [Source: Johnathan H. Holmes Journal, July 19, 1848]. After Browett's death, Johnathan Holmes would later become leader of the company, which then was known as "Tragedy Company" for many years. When the scouts did not return, the company left to find them. By mid July a road crew had cleared about ten miles when they found a spring, a dead campfire and a newly made mound that looked like a grave. As soon as James Sly saw it, he exclaimed, "Our brethren are in that grave". On the way back to camp, they passed several Indians; they thought they recognized one of them wearing a vest belonging to a missing scout. [Source: Green, "Road from El Dorado", 17, 20]. When the road crew returned to camp, the entire camp forged on the next day after holding a meeting appointing Johnathan H. Holmes as president because Daniel Browett, their leader, was missing. On 19 July, 1848, they arrived at the site they would name "Tragedy Spring". It was a terrible, shocking site when the grave was uncovered. Their friends lay in a heap, naked and brutally murdered. A hatchet had been sunk into Browett's face and a shot penetrated one eye. Bloody arrows were strewn around, some broken. Allen was next to Daniel, with Cox underneath. Blood stained rocks, with locks of their hair stuck to them were located. Allen's bloody pouch of gold, which he wore on a leather thong around his neck, with $120 worth of dust in it was located in a bush, evidently cut loose in the struggle. It seemed to have fallen unnoticed. Their animals, supplies, and guns were all gone. They were all known to be carrying gold, all was missing except Allen's. (A photo of the pouch can be viewed on page 228 of the above mentioned publication by Norma Baldwin Ricketts). The gold & pouch was later delivered to Ezra Allen's widow, Sarah by his comrades.[Source: Preston Nibley, "Faith Promoting Stories"(Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1943), Page 93]. Jonathan Holmes stated in his Journal, continuing with the entry of July 19th, "It was a time of solemenity and morning to think that the man that was to be our Leader [Daniel Browett] to Salt Lake was now lying Dead. He was like a father to me & we morn his loss". (Browett's cow was delivered to Salt Lake City by one of the men and given to his widow, Elizabeth.) Nearby was a tall fir tree and Wilford Hudson took his axe and chopped the bark away on one side. Then he carved the names of the three men on the bare spot: "To the Memory of Daniel Browett, Ezrah H. Allen, Henderson Cox, Who was supposed to have Been Murdered and Buried by Indians On the Night of the 27th June 1848." Sadness permeated the nightly campfire. They named this place Tragedy Spring. [Source: Norma B. Ricketts, "Tragedy Springs and the Pouch of Gold" (Sacramento: Ricketts Publishing, 1983), Page 22-25.] A large rock was placed at the top of the grave for a headstone and in 1967, the International Society of Daughters of Utah Pioneers attached a bronze marker listing the names of the fallen scouts. It is one of their International Historical Markers. The original fir tree trunk, about ten feet in diameter was taken to Sutter's Fort in 1931 and the stump is now located in Marshall Gold Discovery Park, Coloma, ElDorado, California. The Park Association has injected a hardening material into the stump to keep it from further deterioration. Back in Winter Quarters, great great grandmother had waited for Grandfather Harris, who was also with another division of battalion soldiers in the Hancock-Sierra Company, headed back to Utah from California.

Aunt Browett's baby boy, Moroni, who had been born 25 November 1845, died during November of 1846. He was buried in grave #11 at Winter Quarters Pioneer Cemetery, in Nebraska then called the "Tragedy at Winter Quarters". (Personal History, Robert Jr. Harris 1841~1928, in possession of this family member). Aunt Elizabeth left Nebraska July of 1847, entering the Salt Lake Valley 24 September 1847 with Captain Daniel Spencer's Wagon Company.

Uncle Daniel Browett never knew his son had died and Aunt Elizabeth did not know they were buring her husband at Tragedy Spring, California less than a year after she reached Kaysville, Utah.

(Rest easy, Uncle Daniel, I found your baby boy after writing this poem for him):

In Memory of Moroni Browett 1845~1846, only child and infant son of Daniel and Elizabeth Harris Browett:

"Little One"

I know you're somewhere, Little One; I know you've been on earth. I've heard the stories, told of grief And of "untimely birth".

Grandma would speak in quiet tones Of sadness on the plains, Of frozen graves, lost in the dark And Mother's anguished pain.

They couldn't keep you here with them, But held your memory dear; Because they spoke your story, I'll find you, have no fear!

I must record your short life now, To fill the void within; I'll search the world over For my beloved kin.

I've found you now, my Little One, Near fields of wild wheat; In Winter Quarters' Graveyard, Your history's now complete! ~ Shirleen Craig Farley, 2003


Family links:

Spouse:
  • Elizabeth Harris Browett (1813 - 1899)*
Children:
  • Moroni Browett (1845 - 1846)*

Inscription: "To the Memory of Daniel Browett, Ezrah H. Allen, Henderson Cox, Who was supposed to have been Murdered and Buried by Indians On the Night of the 27th June 1848"


Burial: Tragedy Spring Cemetery El Dorado County California, USA Plot: Highway 88, just west of Silver Lake, common grave of three

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Daniel Browett's Timeline

1809
December 18, 1809
Tewksbury, Gloucestershire, England
1834
June 2, 1834
Age 24
Sandhurst, Gloucestershire, England
1845
September 12, 1845
Age 35
Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois, USA
1848
June 27, 1848
Age 38
El Dorado, California, USA
????
Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois, USA
????
El Dorado, California, USA