Biography of Hugh L. Brown
HUGH L. BROWN. – There is usually something distinctive and characteristic about one who leaves the impress of his name upon any region or locality. This we find to be the case with reference to the pioneer whose name appears above, and for whom was named the well-known city of Brownsville.
Hugh Leeper Brown was born in Knox county, Tennessee, January 24, 1810. He lived in Knox county until 1838, when with his little family, then consisting of his wife and three children, he emigrated to Missouri, settling in Platte county. He remained there until the spring of 1846, when falling in with that stream of pioneers who had turned their faces towards the settling sun, he again pulled up stakes, and taking the loved ones started forth with an ox-team and crossed the plains, reaching the then territory of Oregon in the autumn, having occupied six months in the journey.
It was by the Barlow Road that he entered the Willamette valley. From Oregon City he set out with Alexander Kirk, now deceased, and James Blakely, who still lives at Brownsville, in search of a location for a home. The best of the land was before them; and they examined it carefully, but were not fully satisfied, until passing the Calapooia, upon the majestic plain of the Upper Willamette, they found all that the heart could wish, and immediately took claims, that of Mr. Brown being about a mile east of the town named for him. Here he lived till the day of his death, raising his family, building up the community, supporting the schools and churches, and serving the county in many public capacities. He was for several years in the mercantile business at Brownsville, being at one time a partner with the late Dr. E.R. Geary, of Eugene, and was one of the founders of the woolen mills, whose operations have been of such value to our state.
As a business man he stood at the head of the list in point of honor and integrity, his name being good in Portland for any amount he saw fit to indorse. He filled many places of honor and trust, and was three times a member of the Oregon legislature, once before statehood, and was also a member of the board of commissioners of Linn county. He was a soldier in the Cayuse war, and a miner in California. He was an exceptionally kind husband and father; and it was the aim of his life to make his children happy. In 1878 he celebrated his golden wedding. For sixty years he lived a life of remarkable felicity with his wife Clarissa, daughter of James Browning, of Knox county, Tennessee. She still survives him, a noble and beautiful woman of seventy-nine years. During the later years of his life, he was totally blind, but bore this affliction with patience. He died in 1888 at the old home. There are eight children living: John, Evaline, Elizabeth D., Felix, Missouri, Amanda, Louisa and Hugh L.