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Orson Pratt Brown's Father

section header - History

Captain James Brown's 
Journal, Papers, and Letters

Born: September 30, 1801 in Rowan County, North Carolina
Died: Sept. 30, 1863 at Brownsville (Ogden), Weber, Utah

Compiled by Lucy Brown Archer

Letter From Captain James Brown to his Plural Wife Abigail Smith Abbott Brown

When James Brown went into the Mexican War in July 1846. He sent Abigail money from Santa Fe. He had helped her as much as possible in Nauvoo. He must have regarded Abigail as a woman of ability to act and accomplish the care and transport of her family from Iowa to the Salt Lake Valley.  The following is a copy of a letter which Captain Brown sent to Abigail. He followed the Brigham Young Company into Salt Lake Valley by four days and this is one of the first letters written and sent from Utah." --Treasures of Pioneer History, Vol. 2, DUP 1953, pages125-128.:

Camp of Israel, Salt Lake Valley, August 6, A.D. 1847

My dear Abigail:

It is with pleasure I sit down this morning and address you a few lines to let you know where I am, and what my engagements are, and also to let you know that I have not forgotten you and your family.

I also wish to give you some instruction in relation to your movements, and in relation to your family. I would keep them all together, as much as you can, so that you can control the whole matter yourself, until I can see you, which I hope will be soon.
With regard to your moving to this beautiful valley, I wish you to come with the first company next spring. I haven’t been able to assist you but very little since I enlisted. I was detached last October at Santa Fe and sent to Pueblo in command of 107 souls. Since that time Lieut. Willis and Capt. Higgins have reported to me with their detachments, making 170 souls. My expenses has been high and not being able to draw my pay in time to assist you come last spring, you must wait with patience and I will assist you all in my power for I am anxious to see and hear from you. I sent you $25.00 by Brother John D. Lee last October from Santa Fe. I haven’t heard from you since only that you were at Mt. Pisgah and know not whether you have got it or not, if you haven’t received it, it is in the hand of the Bishop at Winter quarters, near Council Bluffs, I hope you will be able to get it. I have sent you one wagon and harness and four mules by the hands of A.J. Shupe and also by the hands of Franklin Allen, one ox team and four yoke of oxen to assist you on your journey next spring, which I hope you will receive and receipt the brethren for the same. I have also sent you by the hand of Brother Allen $30.00 in cash which is all I could sent at this time. I want you to bring all the means for making bread in your power, also flour and meal, as I may want to help you eat it when you come. I hope these lines and the teams will find you at Council Bluffs. So you can come out next spring in the first company.

I received a letter from my daughter, Nancy, and one from Sarah, they calculated on coming this summer in Israel Birche’s company. I am looking for them every day. Brother Kimball says he thinks they will be along this summer. He says that Sister Brown’s health is poor, yet she may recover so as to come this season. I hope she will come. If she does not, I want her to come with you. I sent the teams to you, not knowing but what Esther was on her way. If Nancy and Sarah use all the teams and wagons they have to bring them I want Esther to have room in one of the wagons I sent you. I want her to be made comfortable and to come with you. I hope she will be spared until I see her again. I want you to see her and to comfort her drooping spirit, for she has surely been afflicted since I left her. I shall write to her on this subject, not knowing whether she is coming or not.

My dear Abigail, the time seems long, when I look back, since I last saw you. You may think I have forgotten you, but never, the ties and covenants that bind and united us together are stronger than death and the powers of Satan. I hope I shall ever feel that affection for you and your father that will enable me to do all I can for you and them, but by the help of my Heavenly Father and my brethren, I hope to carry out the principles of salvation and exaltation in all things. My being called into the Army of the United States is no reason why I should cease to serve the Lord. I hope I shall ever remember my covenants and live up to them.

I arrived here with my command on the 28th day of July, one week after the twelve. I was also on their heels and had communication with them from time to time after we got to Fort Johns. I have quartered my company in this beautiful valley, where there is salt water and Sweet water,cold and hot water, in abundance and it looks very much like the one the Lord speaks of in Scripture, where the Lord’s people was to [be] built in the tops of the mountains and I hope I shall see you together with the rest of our friends flowing to it."

I should have returned this fall with the Twelve if I had been counselled to assist you on your journey to this place. I am counseled to take eight men and report myself at San Francisco Bay, on the Pacific Ocean, and meet the Battalion that is near that post. It is eleven hundred miles from this place. I want to return to Salt Lake this fall or in early spring. Brother Brannon, from near the Bay, is here and is going to pilot me; then my business will be to get a discharge for my men and draw their pay and transact other business of importance for the good of the Church.

I shall omit saying anything about my sufferings since I enlisted in the army of the United States. Those things will do to talk about and think about, when we have nothing else to employ our minds. Read this to my brother Daniel, and my sisters, and that will save me from writing to them. Give Moroni a sweet kiss for me, and save the rest for me when we meet. I haven’t heard anything special from Brother Bunker or A. Stephens since they left Santa Fe, only they arrived safe at the and all was well in February last.

There the letter ends. The last page may have been lost. A copy of this letter was given to Belva Rawson Moyle on September 25, 2001 by Shirley Farley of Willard, Utah. In the L.D.S. archives these comments are in the margin of the letter: Andrew Jenson "copied from the original in possession of M.A. Abbott, Richfield, Utah/Co, Utah, June 16, 1907." The original copy is reported to be in the possession of Abigail's grandson, Myron Alma Abbott who died 29 Aug. 1932. In this letter, James mentions that he had heard from both his daughter Nancy and from his wife, Sarah. Both of them wrote saying "they planned on coming to the Salt Lake Valley as soon as James could provide them with wagons and teams." The letter mentions that Heber C. Kimball had been in contact with the Brown families and he reported that Sarah's health was poor and he hoped she would recover enough to come this season. James was also concerned about his other wife, Esther. In Abigails's history it states that James sent the necessary wagons. Sarah and children came in the Brigham Young Company leaving June 1, 1848 and arriving in the Valley on Sep 20-24, 1848.

On August 8, 1847, Captain James Brown, having been given Power of Attorney to collect the Sick Detachment money from Paymaster Rich, he started for California. There were nine men in the company: Captain James Brown, Sam Brannan, who had come East to persuade President Young to settle in California, as guide, Gilbert Hunt, John Fowler, Abner Blackburn, William Gribble [Criddle], Lysander Woodworth, Henry Frauls and Jesse S. Brown, [CJB's son.] When he left the pioneer camp Brigham Young gave Captain Brown a letter to take to Captain Jefferson Hunt, Captain of Company "A", and the members of the Battalion who had marched on to California. Excerpts of this letter follow:

Valley of the Great Salt Lake,
August 7 [8], 1847
To Captain, officers and soldiers of the Mormon Battalion.

"As Captain Brown and escort is about to leave this place for headquarters in California, we improve the opportunity of saying to you, that hitherto the Lord God of Israel blessed us and brought us to a goodly land, where we design to build a house unto Him.

"Therefore, when you receive this and learn of this location, it will be wisdom for you all, if you have got your discharge, as we suppose, to come directly to this place, where you will learn particularly who is here and who is not.

"We are making every exertion to prepare for the families that we expect immediately here. Will spend but little time in writing to you now as Captain Brown can tell you a great deal more than can be written......."

Young then urged them to bring camp equipment, horses and provisions with them, as they would need it..

Captain James Brown was called to complete his mission in the eastern States and from there he was called to be Emigration Agent for the Church. It was while he was on this mission that he had cholera. He was so ill that his friends gave him up for dead. Through his faithfulness he was healed [and able to carry on with his duties.]

He tells about his appointment as Emigration Agent in a letter to his son, James. [part of which is given below:]

New Orleans, February 22 [28], 1854
To James M. Brown and all my family:

I take this course to write you all in one letter to save time and labor, as I am very busy. You, no doubt, will be surprised to hear that I am in New Orleans, but no more than I was when I received orders to come here, but ever feeling willing to be subject to the powers that be ordained of God, I am here on the Lord’s business, for whom I’m an agent. I was making preparations to start to Kainsville on my way home when I received a letter from Bro. Orson Pratt informing me of an appointment he had made for me to come this place as agent for the Saints expected here from Liverpool, to charter boats, buy provisions, etc. and forward them to St. Louis.

When I received the appointment I felt like Jonah, but acted like old Bro. Paul – conferred not with flesh and blood but changed my course and purpose, left Alguma, Indiana, Fayette Co., on Monday the 4th day of February for this place. Landed here in good health. Had a pleasant voyage, good officers, South American Steamer, "Greenleaf", Master, William Clark.

Saturday, the 18th , went ashore, examined 48 ships from Liverpool and found out that there had not any of the Saints had arrived from Liverpool. I hired my board and lodging for $6.00 per week. I have a good comfortable room to myself. My room is on the fifth story of a very large house, as you may know my being so high that I am near to heaven as the best of them.

On Sunday, the 19th, the ship Jesse Munn, with John Duke Captain, landed. She had on board 320 [300] Latter-day Saints on their way to Zion, 20 Germans and 300 others from Denmark and Norway. There are only three or four who speak English and they understand very little better. Leader’s name is Christian Larson. When I went aboard the ship on Monday and introduced myself to their leader and he introduced me to the company, it was truly interesting to hear them, in their broken language, exclaim, "Our brother has come from the land of Zion to help us." With their hands raised to heaven my heart was overflowing and I blessed them in the name of the Lord. Laid my hands on the sick and felt to rejoice that I was where I could do good for the people of God. I feel to pray all the time for the Saints of God, especially for those who are journeying by land and by sea to Zion, for they have many perils so pass through, and I never forget you, my family, that lie so near my heart. Live near the Lord that your prayers may be heard and pray for me that I may be helped in all my labors and live to return home in peace, for there is nothing but the power of God to sustain me in this land of wickedness and death.
I have chartered a boat and laid in provisions for the company. They will start for St. Louis on the 25th. There is only one Mormon family in this place. He is quite poor and not able to do anything for the Saints, not even board me while I am here. I have made arrangements with Mr. Fisher, who is very friendly to our people. He is a wholesalers and retailer in provisions. He furnishes me with all the provisions we want for the Saints a little cheaper than I can get at any other house and I have my board and lodging as long as I stop, free of charge, so you can see the Lord opens the way before me among strangers. I shall remain here until I think it is wisdom to leave [St. Louis,] which will be within time to make arrangements to cross the plains this season if the Lord is willing. Bro. Golden from Alguma will wait at Kainesville until I come and, as I said before, if I can’t do better I will drive his team across the plains.

Do the best you can. Raise good crops, plenty of pigs and chickens. Make some good cheese and have them mellowing. Spin up all the wool you can and have it on hand. I will try to bring the cotton yarn and dye stuffs, for I shall no doubt want a suit of clothes made when I get home and no money to buy more.

James, I want you and the boys to do as I told you in my last letter and get up plenty of hay and wood. Save all the straw your neighbors have to spare.

Give Bro. Birch my best respects and tell him to make me all the lumber he can and let it be drying. Flooring, I want joists for the house I have commenced. Tell Bro. Birch if Bro. Farr can’t have them got out for me as I wrote him on the subject I want. He should have them got out for me and he shall have the pay when I come home. If he takes it he will drive it through.

My hand is heavy and I am in perspiration, therefore, I will draw my letter to a close asking my Father in Heaven to bless you and save you from all sinning against Him while you live and exalt you in the Kingdom for Christ’s sake. Amen.

To All my Family, etc.
James Brown

P.S. I have not forgotten your names, but have not inserted them for want of room. J.B.


PAF - Archer files = Captain James Brown + (7) Phebe Abbott > Orson Pratt Brown > Descendants

Photos and information from

Additions, bold, [bracketed], some photos, etc., added by Lucy Brown Archer

Copyright 2001 www.OrsonPrattBrown.org



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... Easter 1986 through October 2005


... Published December 2007:
By Erold C. Wiscombe

... Published March 2009:
(unfortunately the publisher incorrectly changed the photo
and spelling of Phebe Abbott Brown Fife's name
after it was proofed by this author)
Researched and Compiled by
Erold C. Wiscombe

... Published 2012:
"Finding Refuge in El Paso"
By Fred E. Woods [ISBN: 978-1-4621-1153-4]
Includes O.P Brown's activities as Special Church Agent in El Paso
and the Juarez Stake Relief Committee Minutes of 1912.

...Published 2012:
"Colonia Morelos: Un ejemplo de ética mormona
junto al río Bavispe (1900-1912)"
By Irene Ríos Figueroa [ISBN: 978-607-7775-27-0]
Includes O.P. Brown's works as Bishop of Morelos. Written in Spanish.

...Published 2014:
"The Diaries of Anthony W. Ivins 1875 - 1932"
By Elizabeth Oberdick Anderson [ISBN: 978-156085-226-1]
Mentions O.P. Brown more than 30 times as Ivins' companion.

... To be Published Soon:

Send Comments and Information to: 




... Lily Gonzalez Brown 80th Birthday Party-Reunion
July 14, 2007 in American Fork, Utah

...Gustavo Brown Family Reunion in October 2007

Send Additions and Information to:


...... Wives and 35 Children Photo Chart
...... Chronology
...... Photo Gallery of OPB
...... Letters


...... Biographical Sketch of the Life Orson Pratt Brown
...... History of Orson Pratt Brown by Orson P. Brown
...... Journal & Reminiscences of Capt. Orson P. Brown
...... Memories of Orson P. Brown by C. Weiler Brown
...... Orson Pratt Brown by "Hattie" Critchlow Jensen
...... Orson Pratt Brown by Nelle Spilsbury Hatch
...... Orson Pratt Brown by W. Ayrd Macdonald

- Captain James Brown 1801-1863

...... Wives and 29 / 43 Children Photo Chart
...... Captain James Brown's Letters & Journal
...... Brown Family Memorabilia
...... Mormon Battalion 1846-1847
...... Brown's Fort ~ then Brownsville, Utah
...... Chronology of Captain James Brown

- Phebe Abbott Brown Fife 1831-1915

- Colonel William Nicol Fife - Stepfather 1831-1915


- James Brown of Rowan County, N.C. 1757-1823

- Mary Williams of Rowan County, N.C. 1760-1832

- Stephen Joseph Abbott of, PA 1804-1843

- Abigail Smith of Williamson, N.Y. 1806-1889

- John Fife of Tulliallan, Scotland 1807-1874

- Mary Meek Nicol, Carseridge, Scotland 1809-1850 


- Martha "Mattie" Diana Romney Brown 1870-1943

- Jane "Jennie" Bodily Galbraith Brown 1879-1944

- Elizabeth Graham MacDonald Webb Brown 1874-1904

- Eliza Skousen Brown Abbott Burk 1882-1958

- Angela Maria Gavaldón Brown 1919-1967


- (Martha) Carrie Brown (child) 1888-1890

- (Martha) Orson Pratt Brown, Jr. (child) 1890-1892

- (Martha) Ray Romney Brown 1892-1945

- (Martha) Clyde Romney Brown 1893-1948

- (Martha) Miles Romney Brown 1897-1974

- (Martha) Dewey B. Brown 1898-1954

- (Martha) Vera Brown Foster Liddell Ray 1901-1975

- (Martha) Anthony Morelos Brown 1904-1970

- (Martha) Phoebe Brown Chido Gardiner 1906-1973

- (Martha) Orson Juarez Brown 1908-1981

- (Jane) Ronald Galbraith Brown 1898-1969

- (Jane) Grant "Duke" Galbraith Brown 1899-1992

- (Jane) Martha Elizabeth Brown Leach Moore 1901-1972

- (Jane) Pratt Orson Galbraith Brown 1905-1960

- (Jane) William Galbraith Brown (child) 1905-1912

- (Jane) Thomas Patrick Porfirio Diaz Brown 1907-1978

- (Jane) Emma Jean Galbraith Brown Hamilton 1909-1980

- (Elizabeth) (New born female) Webb 1893-1893

- (Elizabeth) Elizabeth Webb Brown Jones 1895-1982

- (Elizabeth) Marguerite Webb Brown Shill 1897-1991

- (Elizabeth) Donald MacDonald Brown 1902-1971

- (Elizabeth) James Duncan Brown 1904-1943

- (Eliza) Gwen Skousen Brown Erickson Klein 1903-1991

- (Eliza) Anna Skousen Brown Petrie Encke 1905-2001

- (Eliza) Otis Pratt Skousen Brown 1907-1987

- (Eliza) Orson Erastus Skousen Brown (infant) 1909-1910

- (Eliza) Francisco Madera Skousen Brown 1911-1912

- (Eliza) Elizabeth Skousen Brown Howell 1914-1999

- (Angela) Silvestre Gustavo Brown 1919-

- (Angela) Bertha Erma Elizabeth Brown 1922-1979

- (Angela) Pauly Gabaldón Brown 1924-1998

- (Angela) Aaron Aron Saul Brown 1925

- (Angela) Mary Angela Brown Hayden Green 1927

- (Angela) Heber Jedediah Brown (infant) 1936-1936

- (Angela) Martha Gabaldón Brown Gardner 1940


- Stephen Abbott Brown 1851-1853

- Phoebe Adelaide Brown Snyder 1855-1930

- Cynthia Abigail Fife Layton 1867-1943

- (New born female) Fife 1870-1870

- (Toddler female) Fife 1871-1872


- (Martha Stephens) John Martin Brown 1824-1888

(Martha Stephens) Alexander Brown 1826-1910

(Martha Stephens) Jesse Stowell Brown 1828-1905

- (Martha Stephens) Nancy Brown Davis Sanford 1830-1895

(Martha Stephens) Daniel Brown 1832-1864

(Martha Stephens) James Moorhead Brown 1834-1924

(Martha Stephens) William Brown 1836-1904

(Martha Stephens) Benjamin Franklin Brown 1838-1863

(Martha Stephens) Moroni Brown 1838-1916

- (Susan Foutz) Alma Foutz Brown (infant) 1842-1842

- (Esther Jones) August Brown (infant) 1843-1843

- (Esther Jones) Augusta Brown (infant) 1843-1843

- (Esther Jones) Amasa Lyman Brown (infant) 1845-1845

- (Esther Jones) Alice D. Brown Leech 1846-1865

- (Esther Jones) Esther Ellen Brown Dee 1849-1893

- (Sarah Steadwell) James Harvey Brown 1846-1912

- (Mary McRee) George David Black 1841-1913

- (Mary McRee) Mary Eliza Brown Critchlow1847-1903

- (Mary McRee) Margaret Brown 1849-1855

- (Mary McRee) Mary Brown Edwards Leonard 1852-1930

- (Mary McRee) Joseph Smith Brown 1856-1903

- (Mary McRee) Josephine Vilate Brown Newman 1858-1917

- (Phebe Abbott) Stephen Abbott Brown (child) 1851-1853

- (Phebe Abbott) Phoebe Adelaide Brown 1855-1930

- (Cecelia Cornu) Charles David Brown 1856-1926

- (Cecelia Cornu) James Fredrick Brown 1859-1923

- (Lavinia Mitchell) Sarah Brown c. 1857-

- (Lavinia Mitchell) Augustus Hezekiah Brown c. 1859


- (Diane Davis) Sarah Jane Fife White 1855-1932

- (Diane Davis) William Wilson Fife 1857-1897

- (Diane Davis) Diana Fife Farr 1859-1904

- (Diane Davis) John Daniel Fife 1863-1944

- (Diane Davis) Walter Thompson Fife 1866-1827

- (Diane Davis) Agnes Ann "Aggie" Fife 1869-1891

- (Diane Davis ) Emma Fife (child) 1871-1874

- (Diane Davis) Robert Nicol Fife (infant) 1873-1874

- (Diane Davis) Barnard Fife (infant) 1881-1881

- (Cynthia Abbott) Mary Lucina Fife Hutchins 1868-1950

- (Cynthia Abbott) Child Fife (infant) 1869-1869

- (Cynthia Abbott) David Nicol Fife 1871-1924

- (Cynthia Abbott) Joseph Stephen Fife (child) 1873-1878

- (Cynthia Abbott) James Abbott Fife (infant) 1877-1878


- (Diana) Caroline Lambourne 18461979

- (Diana)  Miles Park Romney 1843-1904

- (Jane) Emma Sarah Bodily 1858-1935

- (Jane) William Wilkie Galbraith 1838-1898

- (Elizabeth) Alexander F. Macdonald 1825-1903

- (Elizabeth) Elizabeth Atkinson 1841-1922

- (Eliza) Anne Kirstine Hansen 1845-1916

- (Eliza) James Niels Skousen 1828-1912

- (Angela) Maria Durán de Holguin 1876-1955

- (Angela) José Tomás Gabaldón 1874-1915












Contact Us:
Orson Pratt Brown Family Organization
P.O. Box 980111
Park City, Utah 84098-0111