Biographical Sketches of

Hosmer A. Brown

Item 1 of 2 items

Hosmer A. Brown, one of the founders of Brownsdale, born in 1832, left his Connecticut home at the age of sixteen. He spent several years in Rhode Island and New York, working at the carpenter trade. In August, 1851, he started for San Francisco by way of the Isthmus of Panama, reaching his destination after forty-one days. He spent two years in the city, then went mining on the North Yuba River.

Financially he succeeded in this venture, but experienced not a few privations; even threatened with starvation. For days the camp during a heavy snow fall, was reduced to quarter rations and pelican meat was eaten with relish. After leaving the mines he went into the city and engaged in building, employing from eighty-five to one hundred men.

In the spring of 1855 Mr. Brown left California, and when two hundred and fifty miles up the coast from Panama the steamer struck a reef and Mr. Brown received five hundred dollars for his services in getting the vessel afloat again. He came to Spring Valley in 1855 and in the spring of 1856 his brother joined him and they came to this county. They owned the only house in the settlement for some time.

That winter was a severe one and two men froze to death in the vicinity. The first crop was cut off by a hailstorm and many were obliged to live on shorts, and fish from Albert Lea Lake. The next season brought a bountiful crop. In 1862 he entered government employ to take charge of the mechanical department at Corinth, Mississippi. He raised cotton for several years after that on an abandoned plantation.

At one time he aided the government to secure $84,000 worth of cotton from Louisiana and received half the receipts for his work. In 1867 he married Miss Frink of Connecticut. In 1870 he was elected to the legislature and re-elected in 1877.

Submitted to MnGenWeb by Darrel K. Waters

Item 2 of 2

Hosmer A. Brown, one of the substantial and honored citizens of Mower County, and after whom the thriving village of Brownsdale was named, was born in North Stonington, Conn., September 30, 1830, son of Matthew and Lucy (Denison) Brown, natives of the Nutmeg state, who lived on an old homestead, which had been held within the family since the first settlement of Stonington. The property is still in the family.

The parents lived on this farm until their death, the mother dying in 1849 and the father in 1860. They raised a family of four children, three boys and one girl, Hosmer A. being the youngest. He received his education in the common schools and then learned the carpenter trade.

In the fall of 1851, Mr. Brown went by the way of the Isthmus to California and engaged in mining for a period of two years, after which he received contracts for erecting government buildings at Fort Point, San Francisco. He followed this business until the spring of 1855, when he took passage on board the steamer “Golden Age” for home. When within 300 miles of Panama and off the coast of Kakera the vessel struck a reef and stove a hole in her bow. The vessel was run ashore but soon filled with water and sank on the beach. Mr. Brown, having had experience in making pumps and draining mines in California, was employed by the captain to assist in stopping the leaks and getting the vessel afloat, which was accomplished on the ninth day, after which they set sail for the British dry docks on the island of Toboga. For his services, Mr. Brown received from the steamship company $500.00 in the way of a donation.

After remaining thirty days on the island he crossed the Isthmus and came on the steamer “Illinois”, from there to his home in Connecticut, where he spent the summer. In the fall Mr. Brown started for Kansas. On reaching Ft. Des Moines, Ia., he heard so much of the troubles there that he changed his mind and came to Minnesota, arriving at Spring Valley, Fillmore County, December, and there spent the winter. In April 1856, he, in company of his brother, Andrew D., who had come from Connecticut that spring, came to Red Rock Township, this county. Hosmer A. entering the northeast quarter of section 9 with a land warrant given his father for services in the war of 1812. He also bought of a Norwegian the southeast quarter of section 9.

Mr. Brown and his brother, together with John L. Johnson, were the original proprietors of the townsite of Brownsdale, where Mr. Brown’s brother erected one of the first sawmills in Mower County.

In the fall of 1870 Mr. Brown was elected to the legislature and served that term. The same year he secured the location of the Southern Minnesota R.R. at Brownsdale.

Hosmer A. Brown was married in St. Paul on January 1, 1870, to Mary L. Frink, born in North Stonington, Conn., her parents being Joseph and Lucy (Billings Coals) Frink, natives of Connecticut. The father was a soldier of the war of 1812. The mother died in 1866, at age 66. The father died in 1871 while visiting his son-in-law, Dr. William A. Babcock, in Illinois.

Mrs. Brown received her education at the Suffield Literary Institute, at Suffield, Conn.

Submitted to MnGenWeb by K. Pike