James Stephens Brown

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James Stephens Brown

Birthplace: Davidson, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, United States
Death: March 25, 1902 (73)
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States
Place of Burial: Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Daniel Brown and Elizabeth Brown
Husband of Elizabeth Mary Brown; Rebecca Ann Brown; Eliza Brown and Lydia Jane Brown
Father of Pauline Brown; Lydia Jane Brown and James Tanner Brown
Brother of William Brown; Mary Brown; Wilson Brown; Margaret Brown; Willis Brown and 8 others

Managed by: Private User
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About James Stephens Brown

Biographical Summary:

BROWN, James Stephens (1828-1902, a Utah pioneer and a successful Latter-day Saint missionary, was born July 4, 1828, in Davidson county, North Carolina, the son of Daniel Brown and Elizabeth Stephens. Becoming a convert to "Mormonism," he was baptized in 1844 and joined the "Mormon" exiles as they were being driven away from Illinois. Bro. Brown participated in the exodus, and after the arrival on the Missouri river he enlisted in the Mormon Battalion and marched all the way to California as a member of that illustrious body. After his discharge in California in 1847, he, together with others of the "Mormon" boys found employment with a Mr. Sutter on the Sacramento River and was one of those Mormon boys who first discovered gold in California.

In 1848 he arrived in Salt Lake Valley, where he passed through all the experiences incident to pioneer life. He was ordained a Seventy and became a member of the third quorum of Seventy. In the fall of 1849 he was called on a mission to the Society Islands which mission he filled with great diligence and much success, passing through experiences and hardships, which even for a "Mormon" missionary were exceptionally dangerous and hard. On one occasion, when the natives threatened to burn him at the stake, he was saved by the miraculous power of God.

After being at length expelled from the Society Islands by the French authorities, he returned to Utah, and was for a number of years closely associated with Indian missions, in which labor he was again very successful. Sept. 23, 1862, he returned to Salt Lake City after having filled a successful mission to Great Britain. Soon after his return from that mission he met with a severe accident by which he lost one of his legs and was thus maimed for the remainder of his days. For a number of years he spent much of his time lecturing in different parts of the Territory, for notwithstanding his limited education he was a most interesting speaker. In 1892-1893 he filled another successful mission to the Society Islands. In 1898 he was invited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of gold in California. He being one of the original discoverers, was made a guest of honor on that occasion. Bro. Brown died March 25, 1902, at his home in Salt Lake City, leaving a large posterity. Before his death he wrote an interesting sketch of his life which was published in book form under the title "Life as a Pioneer," being the Autobiography of James S. Brown," in which interesting work the details of Bro. Brown’s life are depicted in a way calculated to inspire faith and confidence in the great Latter-day Work, to which Bro. Brown devoted his life’s strength and energy.


During his lifetime Bro. Brown married four wives.

  1. His first wife was Lydia Jane Tanner. The names of her children are Lydia J. Rachel Elizabeth, Emeretta, James T., Zina May, August, and Valentine.
  2. His second wife was Rebecca Ann McBride, whom he married in September, 1854. The names of her children were Deseret, Daniel, Alveretta, Vantile Mac, Burtina, Pauline, Homer, and Alphonso.
  3. His third wife was Eliza Lester, whom he married Jan. 31, 1863, and who bore him nine children. Their names are Leo, Zimania Wilford, Elando, Annie Eliza, Frank Lester, Charles, Sarah-Emma, and Ada.
  4. His last wife was Elizabeth Clegg, whom he married March 4, 1872, and whose children were named Mary Lillious, Gaurdello, Mark C., Benjamin Joseph, Louetta, and Myrtle J.

At his death Elder Brown was survived by three of his wives and twenty-one of the above named children, all of whom are members of the Church in which Elder Brown had implicit faith and in whose service he spent the greater part of his life.

SOURCE: Jenson, Andrew. Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia Vol. III. Salt Lake City, Utah, 1920. Pages 30-31.

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James Stephens Brown's Timeline

July 4, 1828
Davidson, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, United States
July 7, 1846
Age 18
August 10, 1855
Age 27
Ogden, Weber, UT
August 31, 1855
Age 27
July 15, 1863
Age 35
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, UT, United States
February 26, 1872
Age 43
Salt Lake City, S-Lk, UT