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Warren and Laura Brown

Written by Richard Patchin 2015, Judie Palmer 2021

Warren Brown was the son of Elam Brown and the brother of Thomas A. Brown. He was born on June 19, 1826 in Morgan County, Illinois and came to California in 1847.

While traveling here with his family via wagon train, he was stricken with typhoid fever. He was left at Ft. Bridger, apparently to die, while his family continued on. He recovered and rejoined the family in California.

In 1849. he was a surveyor and drew the original map of Martinez for his surveyor brother when Thomas was hired by Col. William Smith, founder of Martinez, to do the work.

In the same year (1849) Warren, Thomas, and their brother-in-law, Napoleon Bonaparte Smith were co-owners of a trading post located in Martinez. It was the first established business in the county.

He was elected County Surveyor in 1850, and in the California State Roster, 1899 Government and Military records, he was a member of the State Assembly.

In the 1860 U.S. Census, Warren is listed as a farmer and living with his wife, Laura who was born on October 7, 1833 in Ohio. On July 3, 1859, they had their son, Henry Toler Brown.

Pursuant to the 1867 Pacific Coast Directory, Warren was the proprietor of a stage line that would go back and forth to cities such as Oakland and Martinez.

According to his 1886 Voter Registration, Warren is a Civil Engineer and is living with his wife, Laura and son, Henry in Lafayette.

In the 1870 U.S. Census, it shows that Warren was the Contra Costa Sheriff. Warren was the sheriff during the 1871 Donnovan murder trial. After arresting Donnovan, he was later called as a witness in the trial where his brother, Thomas, was the judge.

Warren J. Brown passed away on May 14, 1899 and is buried in the Alhambra Pioneer Cemetery.

Laura stays in Lafayette, along with her son, Henry Toler. In the 1910 U.S. Census, Laura has her own income and owns the house, free and clear. Laura passed away on April 6, 1914 and is buried in the Alhambra Pioneer Cemetery.

The original content of this post was taken from the previous website and updated for republishing in 2021.

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