James Madison BROWN1

M, b. 1839, d. 6 September 1892
2nd cousin 2 times removed of John Kennedy BROWN Jr.
Jim Brown
     James Madison BROWN was born in 1839 in Bibb County, Alabama, son of John Humphreys BROWN and Jane Ann Allen.1 He was also known as Jim.
     James Madison BROWN appeared on a census, enumerated 1 June 1840, in the household of his father John Humphreys BROWN in Randolph County, Arkansas.2
     James Madison BROWN appeared on a census, enumerated 10 September 1850, in the household of his parents John Humphreys BROWN and Jane Ann Allen in the Milam and Washington District, Williamson County, Texas. He was 11 years old. The family would remain but a few years in Williamson County before moving 100 miles northwest to present day San Saba County. They were there as early as 1854 and help establish the town of San Saba.3
     James Madison BROWN was at various times a drover, horseman, gambler, and frontier sheriff. His law enforcement career began in May of 1858 when he served in Capt. John Williams' company of Texas Rangers through the summer of 1859. Nearly 100 men were in the command, including his cousin, A. J. Brown.4
     James married Amanda K. Creamer, daughter of Elias Creamer and Mary "Polly" (?), circa 1860 in Lampasas County, Texas. The wedding probably took place at the home of Amanda's father, Elias Creamer.5 He and Amanda appeared as head of household on a census enumerated 16 July 1860 in San Saba County, Texas. J. M. Brown gave his age as 22 and his occupation as "Stock Raiser". He had no real estate but personal estate valued at $543. His wife Amanda C., 21 years of age, is a native of Georgia. Living next to them was James' sister, Serena Jane, and her husband, J. B. Carroll.6
     During the Civil War on 9 March 1861 Jim enlisted in W. R. Wood's San Saba Minute Men for the defense against Indian raids. In 1863 he enlisted in the San Saba County Troops, 31st Brigade, Texas State Troops, under the command of his father. The command was organized for local defense for a period of six months. Headquarters were at Braunfels, Comal County. Jim was 26 years old and had provided his own rifle and pistol... and no doubt his own horse.7
     James Madison BROWN and Amanda K. Creamer appeared as head of household on a census enumerated 21 September 1870 in Evergreen, Washington County, Texas. Jim is shown to be 32 years old, a farmer with real estate valued at $2500 and personal property valued at $1500. His wife, Amanda Brown, was a 31-year-old Georgia native. The children in the household were John, age 8; Ava, age 4; and Luna (Lucy?), age 2. All of the children were born in Texas.8
     In 1869 Jim was probably one of the trail hands that drove a large herd from the San Sabo region to Roswell, New Mexico Territory. He next served as a private in the Texas State Police Force stationed at Giddings, Washington County, beginning in the summer of 1872 through March of 1873. He earned at $80 per month. In 1874 Lee County was created from Bastrop, Burleson, Fayette, and Washington Counties. About this time the Texas Rangers were organized from the former State Police force. Jim served under the famous Capt. Leander H. McNelly in the Washington County Volunteer Militia Company A, from July 25 to October 27, 1874. He saw action in the Dewitt County area where the Sutton and Taylor forces were feuding. He served as third corporal in this same force again from April 6 to October 1, 1875, combating Mexican raiders on the Rio Grande frontier. He was paid $15 per month, plus a clothing allowance of $4 per month and fifty cents per day for his horse.
     During these hard times of Reconstruction Jim also became involved in gambling and horse racing. Seemingly comfortable on either side of the law, he met and gambled with four of the most notorious gunfighters and mankillers that the state of Texas produced: Bill Longley, Ben Thompson, Phil Coe and John Wesley Hardin. Hardin in 1870 was living near Brenham, Washington County. He felt the country was getting too hot for him due to the efforts of Capt. McNelly, and recalled in his autobiography: "I sold out my interest in the crop and again started my roaming life. I first went to Evergreen, about 40 miles from Brenham. There were some races there and the town was full of hard characters. Bill Longley and Ben Hinds were there, as was also Jim Brown. In those days they gambled in the open air and out in the streets when weather permitted."
     Also during this period Jim was establishing a reputation as a horseman; he raced successfully in Gonzales County as well as Travis County. He had grown up to be an excellent judge of horses and in his later years became wealthy from winning on the turf.7,9
     The newly created Lee county was a frontier area and needed strong law enforcement officials. Jim Brown was hired by James McKeown, the county's first sheriff, as his deputy in the fall of 1875. Jim was elected Lee County Sheriff February 15, 1876. According to his biography in the Handbook of Texas Online, "He served in that office during a very lawless era and established a record for being a very energetic sheriff. But his years were not without controversity. He was involved in serveral personal feuds as well as several killings."
     One episode demonstrates the hazzards of his job. On April 29, 1876 as Jim and his brother, William A. Brown approached his home assasins opened fire and Jim was struck by nine buckshot. Of the incident, the Austin Statesman wrote: "We admire the intelligence of the people of Lee County. They elect the right sort of sheriffs. Achilles was not the more invulnerable than the sheriff of Lee. The last one they created over there was shot last week and penetrated by nine buckshot, but he still lives unawed, unterrified and unkilled. His name is J. M. Brown and they can't knock his [block off]."
     This same newspaper wrote about Jim in April 1884: "Jim Brown, sheriff of Lee County, is known far and wide for his bravery, and his name has become a terror to desperadoes and violators of law in his section... Sheriff Brown is somewhat below medium height, is squarely built, wears light brown beard, and has a face exceedingly mild in its expression, being indellibly stamped upon his mind that he is a man of great nerve and absolutely devoid of fear."
     Sheriff Jim Brown was re-elected four times, serving for eight years. He left office in 1884. His most notable act in office was the legal hanging of noted outlaw William P. "Wild Bill" Longley on 11 October 1878 before a crowd of thousands. Longley was reputed to have killed 32 men.10,9
     Jim BROWN had a long-standing feud with Giddings City Marshal Hugh McKeown. About 6 pm on 4 May 1877, their quarrel came to a fatal end when Sheriff Brown shot and killed McKeown. Brown was arrested, but later released on $1,500 bond. He was never convicted.
     James Madison BROWN and Amanda K. Creamer appeared as head of household on a census enumerated 4 June 1880 in Giddings, Lee County, Texas. The household was listed as James M. Brown, age 42, Sheriff of Lee County, born Alabama, parents born Alabama; A. C. Brown (wife), age 41, born South Carolina; Gaylord Brown (son), age 18; Lucey (daughter), age 11; Eddie (son), age 9; Anney (daughter), age 8; and William (son), age 2. All of the children were born in Texas.
     Jim chose not to run for re-election in November 1884 and devoted his full time to the track. He developed his racing stables and raced on tracks outside of Texas, including St. Louis, Nashville and Chicago. By 1886 he had established his home in Fort Worth. In the 1886-1887 City Directory he is listed as a "Horseman" and resided at 445 Evans Street. His business partner was Luke Short, the famous saloon-keeper, gambler and gunfighter.5
     James Madison BROWN died on 6 September 1892 in Chicago, Illinois. On that day at the Garfield Park racetrack police attempted to arrest James on an old murder charge from Texas. His biography reports, "Brown resisted, and in the ensuing gunfight he was killed, along with two members of the Chicago police force. Chicago newspapers described him as a millionaire but also alleged that he may have murdered as many as fourteen men while he was sheriff. It is surmissed that his position and the fear he engendered among his contemporaries protected him from prosecution. He was survived by his wife and five children."9
     Jim's obituary was printed on 7 September 1892 in the Daily News newspaper, published in Galveston, Texas. It read: "Mr. Brown was for eight years sheriff of Lee county and during his official career had an enviable reputation as a brave and efficient public servant. It is said that he, during the time he was sheriff, captured and secured the conviction of more desperate criminals than any sheriff in the state."11 He was buried on 10 September 1892 in Oakwood Cemetery, Fort Worth, Texas. Other famous western figures buried here include John Slaughter, Luke Short, and "Long-Haired" Jim Courtright.12
     An article in the September 24, 1892 issue of National Police Gazette reported on Brown's death with the headline "ONE AGAINST HUNDREDS. Horseman's Brown's fight with Chicago policemen. Died with boots on. His victims number sixteen." The story read in part, "...he died as he would have chosen to die had he been given the choice. His gun, emptied in every chamber, was clinched in his hand. He wore boots, and he had put two more notches on a stock that was already scarred with the record of fourteen battles to the death..."13
     Jim's grave was unmarked until 24 Sep 2006 when a number of family members and friends participated in the unveiling of a beautiful new black China granite marker. Direct descendant James Marvin Brown and author Chuck Parsons shared their thoughts with the group. The marker reads: James M. Brown, 1838 - September 6, 1892. Sheriff of Lee County, Texas 1876-1884. Officiated at the hanging of Wild Bill Longley in 1878. He was a state policeman, a Texas Ranger and a turfman. He lived in Fort Worth 1888-1892. He was killed by Chicago, Illinois police in a gunfight at the Garfield Park Racetrack.14
Last Edited=21 Jul 2015

Children of James Madison BROWN and Amanda K. Creamer


  1. [S350] 1850 U. S. Census, Williamson County, Texas, John H. Brown household, pg. 341.
  2. [S351] 1840 U. S. Census, Randolph County, Arkansas, John H. Brown household, pg. 145.
  3. [S350] 1850 U. S. Census, Williamson County, Texas, John H. Brown household No. 160-171, pg. 341.
  4. [S494] Chuck Parsons, James Madison Brown, pgs. 4, 9, 12, and 29.
  5. [S419] 1880 U. S. Census, Lee County, Texas, James M. Brown household #116, Giddings P. O., Precinct 1, pg. 12.
  6. [S494] Chuck Parsons, James Madison Brown, pg. 4- J. M. Brown, dwelling #54.
  7. [S494] Chuck Parsons, James Madison Brown.
  8. [S494] Chuck Parsons, James Madison Brown, pgs. 12 & 16 -- James M. Brown household 158, Evergreen PO, Washington Co., TX pg. 181.
  9. [S420] The Handbook of Texas Online, "James Madison Brown."
  10. [S494] Chuck Parsons, James Madison Brown, pgs. 37, 39, 114, 119.
  11. [S494] Chuck Parsons, James Madison Brown, pg. 143.
  12. [S494] Chuck Parsons, James Madison Brown, pg. 144 Buried in Block 20, Lot S-6. Marker only reads "BROWN".
  13. [S494] Chuck Parsons, James Madison Brown, pg. 150.
  14. [S614] "NOLA Newsletter" ,Vol. 31 No. 1, pg. 4.
  15. [S494] Chuck Parsons, James Madison Brown, pg. 12, 1870 Census of Washington Co., TX.

Information on this site has been gathered over many years from many sources. Although great care has been taken, inaccuracies may exist.