Biography of Ebenezer G. Brown
Riverside County, CA Biographies





EBENEZER GRIFFIN BROWN
A member of the original Southern California Colony Association the late E. G. Brown, more familiarly known among his friends as "Judge Brown," was born in Franklin county, Me., in 1821. He was reared on a farm and educated in the Wesleyan Seminary at Readfield, Me., from which he was graduated in 1842, after which he went to New York state and was employed as a clerk in the mercantile business at Elmira and Rochester. Later he established a general merchandise business in Elmira, which he conducted successfully for several years. Selling out, he removed to Iowa and in Cedar Rapids. he engaged in the warehouse and grain business under the firm name of S. C. Bearer & Co. In the fall of 1863 Mr. Brown sold out and went to Belle Plaine, Iowa, and started up in the general merchandise business and remained there until coming to California in 1870.

As one of the original promoters of the Riverside Colony Association, with the late Dr. Greves, he visited the site where now stands the beautiful city of Riverside. This was in June, 1870, and they were the first members of the association on the grounds. From the first Mr. Brown was insistent in demanding the purchase of the land by the association. His persistency was of little avail at first, but he was in earnest, and when Judge North, president of the company, refused to act in accordance with his wishes in the matter, Judge Brown returned to his home in Iowa and set about forming another company with the express purpose of purchasing the Riverside land. This move hastened the actions of the old company and in September of that year the deal was consummated and the colony established. That being the result desired Mr. Brown abandoned all further proceedings, never intending or desiring a rival to Riverside. He settled his affairs in Iowa and in May, 1871, established himself and family in the new colony. He located upon government land in sections 13 and 24, securing one hundred and four acres lying half a mile north and east of the town site of Colton avenue. His means were limited, but he had that indomitable courage and energy of the hardy pioneer so characteristic of him that the fifty years of his former struggles could not abate and he set about improving his new property and making a home for his family. His first move was to build a small cabin, 12x16 feet, then he began clearing the ground and planting trees, vines and seeds and entered upon horticultural pursuits early in 1872. In those days the work was purely experimental, as no one knew what kinds of fruits would produce the best results and many were the discouragements of the men in their efforts to make a living. He started a small nursery for citrus tree planting. In his efforts he was successful and his enterprise gradually increased as did his share of this "world's goods." His orange grove soon covered the acreage intended for it and his cabin gave way to a more modern structure and that to the home known as the "Anchorage," where he spent many happy years of his life. His twenty acres of oranges was a model grove and there were other varieties of fruits on the place besides, the balance being used for general farming purposes.

Judge Brown was always a stanch supporter of all enterprises for the building up of Riverside. His time and means were used unsparingly to advance interests that made, the city what it is today and he was permitted to enjoy the fruits of his labors for many years. He was highly esteemed by all who knew him. For many years he was connected with the Episcopal church and was senior warden. He was a Republican and in 1874 was appointed justice of the peace and twice reelected, holding the office until 1880.

In 1850 occurred the marriage of E. G. Brown and Miss Sarah Van Pickle, a native of New York state and descended from Holland-Dutch ancestors. Though highly connected socially and drawing about her the choicest people, yet she shared bravely in the trials of pioneer life and was a true helpmate in every sense of the word. They had three children: Settie C., Lyman V. W., and Catherine L., who married S. S. Sweet and died in Belle Plaine, Iowa, in 1872. During the long years of his residence in Riverside Judge Brown endeared himself to his friends by his genial manner and lovable disposition. Since his passing yet another of the pioneer spirits of the county and state has been missed, for it was to the hardy pioneers that California and her present inhabitants are indebted for the congenial home we all are permitted to enjoy, made so by the courage of the "men who dared."

From:
History of Riverside County, California
With a Biographical Review
History by Elmer Wallace Holmes
And other well known writers
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1912


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