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(Seattle & Northern 1890)

Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
Subscribers Edition Stories & Photos
The most in-depth, comprehensive site about the Skagit.

Covers from British Columbia to Puget Sound. Counties covered: Skagit, Whatcom, Island, San Juan, Snohomish & BC. An evolving history dedicated to committing random acts of historical kindness
Noel V. Bourasaw, editor (bullet) 810 Central Ave., Sedro-Woolley, Washington, 98284
Home of the Tarheel Stomp (bullet) Mortimer Cook slept here & named the town Bug

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William J. Brown, founder of
Brownsville and Bow

Transcribed from Illustrated History of Skagit and Snohomish Counties, 1906, page 756
      William J. Brown, retired farmer at Bow, is one of the pioneer men of Skagit county, who is intimately connected with the opening up of the country. He probably knows as much about the topography of Skagit County from actual experience as any other man now resident here. Before he came to this country Mr. Brown had been through experiences in the world which do not usually fall to the lot of the average man.
      Mr. Born was born at the Bow in London, England, Oct. 15, 1850, the son of William M. Brown, who was born in 1815, [and who] became a civil engineer in the employ of the British government and who is still living. Mrs. Louisa (Wisbey) Brown, also a native of London, born in 1817, of Irish extraction, is also still living.
      William J. Born, of his review, left home when he was fourteen years of age, his father having bought him a commission on board a man-of-war sailing from Plymouth. During his service on the seas he visited Madeira, the Cape of Good Hope, Angie Point at the southerly extremity of India, Singapore and Penang. From the latter point he went to the Nicobar islands, near the Philippines, thence to Hong Kong and back to Bombay.
      He was in the Red sea at the time of the war between Abyssinia and Great Britain, and was one of the expedition against King Theodore under Lord Napier. Another trip was made through the straits of Malacca and up to Yokohama, crossing from Japan to Victoria, British Columbia. At the last named place Mr. Brown severed his connection with the Queen's navy, then he came to Utsalady and commenced to tally lumber for shipping, remaining at that work for about two years. He then came to Fidalgo island and bought 160 acres of land on Similk bay, which he later sold in the fall of 1871.
      Mr. Brown then came to Samish island located on the place where he now resides. During these years he was also sailing, running a sloop, the True Blue, on the waters of the sound. After two years of this traffic he sold the vessel to John J. Conner, one of the founders of LaConner. Between his trips on the sloop Mr. Brown had been careful not to allow his rights ashore to lapse.
      Since leaving the shipping business, he has done much cruising on timber lands, eighty per cent of the timber locations between Samish and the Prairie having been made by him. He has also been deputy county surveyor and in this capacity surveyed the first road between Edison and Lake Samish and between the county line and Wickersham. During his lumber cruising days, Mr. Brown located the first claim for Patrick McCoy, was in charge of the holdings of W.H. Miller of Wisconsin, and did all the location work for Clothier & English. Mr. Brown is also the founder of Bow, named by him and platted on his land in recent years. Its history is given elsewhere.
      In 1872, Mr. Brown married Miss Jennie Tahati, who is now the mother of seven children: Mrs. Kate Lonsdale, living near Bow; William, Minnie, Joseph, Louisa, Jennie and Mary. In politics Mr. Brown is a Republican. He is the owner of two hundred and ten acres of land, including a large proportion of the town site of Bow. Mr. Brown is now devoting most of his time to his orchard of four hundred trees and his seventy stands of bees. He is one of the old-timers in the county, a man of force of character and respected by all.

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Story posted on Dec. 25, 2003
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