James H. Brown

Oregon Pioneer Biographies


James H. Brown


No more enterprising farmer is maintaining the excellent standard established by a pioneer father than James H. Brown, one of the three sons occupying the original donation claim of their father, the elder James H. Brown. The latter was born in Virginia November 10, 1796, his remote ancestors having pursued their various occupations in the German empire. From Virginia Mr. Brown removed to Illinois, where he engaged in farming, and where he married Sophia Hussey, a native of that state. He was an ambitious man and readily absorbed the glowing accounts of superior chance in the west, and finally sold his Illinois farm and outfitted for the transportation of his wife and children to the coast. The journey was accomplished with three wagons and six yokes of oxen, a team of horses and a spring wagon for the family, and the train moved along leisurely and without incident until after the Missouri river was crossed. About that time cholera broke out in the hopeful little party, and Mr. Brown was sorely afflicted, barely coming through the ordeal alive. Their misfortunes were further added to by one of their children, James H., having both legs broken, but as far as the Indians were concerned there was no particular trouble from them.


For a short time Mr. Brown lived in Gopher valley, but the first winter in the state was spent with Nathan Hussey, one of the very early settlers in the west. In the spring Mr. Brown bought a donation claim upon which he spent the remainder of his life, and which consists of six hundred and forty acres along the Yamhill river. So successful was he that in time his interests demanded more property, and by frequent purchases he increased his possessions to seventeen hundred acres. His death, May 30, 1875, removed a useful and capable citizen, one devoted to the Methodist Church and to the Republican party. Originally a Whig, he naturally stepped into Republican ranks and among the offices held by him with distinct credit was that of county commissioner, which he held for two years. He is buried in the little cemetery in Willamina, as is also his wife, who died November 8, 1894.


Coming to Yamhill at the age of eight, James H. Brown remembers but little of his fatherís farm in Illinois, where he was born, near Springfield, Sangamon county, June 14, 1892. He early evinced habits of industry and thrift, and as opportunity offered he attended the district schools. November 30, 1865, he was united in marriage with Evelyn Yocom, daughter of Franklin Yocom, and soon after came into his share of the family claim, which has since been his home. In addition to the one hundred and forty-five acres of the home place he has seventy-five acres adjoining, besides eight hundred acres in another place, and enough more land to make up fifteen hundred acres. The entire donation claim is owned by the three brothers, all of whom are enterprising and prosperous members of the community. Mr. Brown has extensive interests both as to general farming and stock-raising, and in the latter capacity has Cotswold sheep, Hereford cattle and horses. The farm is located three miles west of Sheridan, and the improvements thereon are of the most modern kind, both as to buildings and implements. For many years the owner has derived a substantial income from the purchase and sale of all kinds of stock, and is one of the best judges and experienced men in the business in Yamhill county.


A chief avenue of interest to Mr. Brown has been the promoting of the educational opportunities of his district, and in this capacity he has been a member of his district, and in this capacity he has been a member of the school board for twenty years. Like his father and brothers he is a Republican. His family consists of his wife and the following children: Wilbur N., Minnie, Henry H., Franklin Y., Dudley (deceased), Althea, Bertha, Lloyd L., and Pearl. Lloyd L. and Pearl were twins, but the latter died in infancy.


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