(Editor’s note: This is an article that appeared in the Oct. 12, 1977 Eagle Point Independent- now called the Upper Rogue Independent, written by the recently deceased Anna Zander.)
By Anna Zander
When George Brown was a boy of eight, his parents left the town of his birth, York, England, and made the long trip to America.
George’s parents were farm people and settled on the rich soil of Wisconsin. Three years after their arrival in the new country Mr. Brown died, leaving his widow and ten children with very little resources.
Two of the Brown boys, Robert and Henry, decided to follow the pioneers heading west. George, meanwhile, went to Chicago to pursue a trade in carpentry.
Reaching the Oregon Territory in 1852, Henry took up a land donation in
an area later to be named Brownsboro after him. Robert went north to
Portland, but returned to Jacksonville in 1856. He spent a year mining
and the next few years managing mines in the Fraser River country. In
the late eighteen-fifties he moved to Brownsboro and established the
first Brown’s Store.
Henry returned to Wisconsin and sang
the praises of the west. His enticing tales of the Oregon country
convinced his brothers, George and William to follow him.
moved on northward from Oregon to British Columbia and became a member
of the parliament. George, his wife, Mary and their daughter, Emily
settled in Jacksonville.
Although he did butchering for a trade, George took an avid interest in mining. He filed a claim in an area called Rich Gulch.
general store Robert had opened was doing well, but the population
seemed to be settling in the new town of Eagle Point, so in 1877 he
moved the store to the north end of that town. In 1885 he sold out the
store to his brother, George.
By the time George and Mary
bought the store they had increased their family to eleven children.
The Browns settled down in their new home and began to participate in
the civic functions of the town.
George was instrumental in
the starting the first schoolhouse in Eagle Point. He donated
materials and helped to construct the building.
highly opposed by one faction of the populace when he deemed to place
an outhouse behind the school. His opposition felt the school was
close enough to the creek that the children could relieve themselves in
the surrounding brush. George held out, though, and the outhouse was
All eleven of the Brown children, with the exception
of George Jr., who died in a hunting accident, grew to maturity in
Eagle Point. Through their marriages the names Holmes, Guerin,
VanScoy, Carlton, O’Brien, Severance, Rippey and Taylor were added to
the Brown roster.
The Brown sons, William, Frank, Royal and
Merritt, began to take their place along with George in the store. In
1911 the store was moved to new quarters on Main Street. The two story
brick building not only served as the family income, but the upstairs
was used for many recreational activities.
In addition to
the family gatherings held at the store, many public meetings were held
there too. For many years the local polling booths were in the
upstairs of the Brown’s Store.
The store remained in the
Brown family until the nineteen-fifties. The last ones to operate the
store were Will Brown’s widow, Mattie, and Lyle VanScoy the son of
Dottie Brown VanScoy. Willard Cave bought the store and continued to
operate it under the names of George Brown and Sons until the early
None of the first generation Browns born in Oregon are still alive, but they left their mark on Eagle Point.
"Right next to Brown’s store." "Mattie Brown planted those trees." "The Brown houses up north of town."
These and many more expressions with references to the Browns are heard everyday in Eagle Point.
none who ever entered George Brown & Sons can pass the old store
building without thinking about the brother who invariably asked as he
rang up the groceries, "Will that be Oil, maam."