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Son of Orson Pratt Brown and Elizabeth Macdonald Brown

James Duncan Brown, Sr.

Born: January 10, 1904 at Colonia Morelos, Sonora, Mexico
Died: January 31, 1943 (shot near U.S. border), Yuma, Yuma, Arizona

Compiled by Lucy Brown Archer

J. Duncan Brown was born on January 10, 1904 in the Mormon Colony of Morelos in the Mexican State of Sonora. Duncan's father, Orson Pratt Brown had been called to be the Bishop of this new colony. Duncan's mother, Elizabeth Graham Macdonald Webb Brown, was the daughter of the Juarez Stake President Alexander Findlay Macdonald.

Duncan's mother died shortly after he was born and he with his two sisters and brother were taken by his grandmother Macdonald to Colonia Garcia, Chihuahua, Mexico, where he lived until the Mexican Revolution in 1912 when the family left during the Exodus from Mexico and came to the United States settling in the Lehi Valley near Mesa, Arizona.

The little family endured many unpleasant experiences in Mexico during the revolution and the journey to Mesa. They were only able to take the clothes they were wearing, everything was left behind. Grandmother Macdonald, at the age of 71, with four young children to care for, arrived in Lehi Valley with nothing but courage and determination to raise these children to be honest and industrious, and to live righteously.

They had a happy home even though the food and supplies were meager. Grandma Mac cultivated a close feeling of unity, love compassion, and cooperation in their family, and toward all their neighbors and friends. This attitude soon made them many friends and they became one of the most admired families in the community.

James Duncan Brown c.1920 - Footbal at Mesa High School
J. Duncan Brown was quite an athlete. He played foot ball for Mesa High School and won a starting position on the University of Arizona Football team. His record of 6 touchdown passes during the Mesa vs Tucson game in 1920 remains unbroken. (www.phoenixmetrofootball.com)

All-state tackle as freshman, 1922, then all-state halfback as junior, 1924. Blocked a state record 3 punts against Tucson High in 1922. Set a then-state record and still Mesa standard of 6 touchdown passes against Tucson High, 1924 in 47-13 victory. Selected to all-state basketball teams, 1924, 1925 and was a member of four straight (1923-26) state championship basketball teams. Was 4 year 4 sport letter winner in high school. Played football at U of A, 1926 and 1927. http://www.mpsaz.org/athletic/history/hall_of_fame/athletes.htm

Duncan was inducted into the Mesa Athletic Hall of Fame for his record-breaking accomplishments at Mesa High School.

Duncan married Florence Helen McLellan on November 9, 1929. Florence was born in London, England on June 12, 1904 to Frederick Walter McLellan [b.1875] and Florence Elizabeth Farmer McLellan of East Arosley, York, England.

Children of James Duncan Brown, Sr. and Florence Helen McLellan Brown:
James Duncan Brown, Jr. b. May 13, 1932 in Phoenix, Mariposa, Arizona; md (1) Jane Ellen Murdock on February 11, 1961 in Phoenix, daughter of Don Murdock and Helen A. Murdock (Richardson, was second marriage). Duncan Jr. had two daughters: Andrea Elizabeth Brown (md. Tom Gardenhire), and Meredith Janell Brown (md. John Costa); Duncan Jr. md. (2) Joan---, on February 25, 1995

~Beverly Elizabeth Brown b. December 20, 1934, also in Phoenix; md. Clarence Finch on April 9, 1955 (D). They had two daughters, Kenna Finch and Kara Finch. Married (2) Robert Kennedy.

Florence Brown, Duncan Jr., Duncan Sr. Brown in 1934, Phoenix, Arizona
1934 ~ Florence, J. Duncan Jr.(2), J. Duncan Sr. Brown in Phoenix, Arizona

Duncan, Jr. ,Duncan, Sr., Jimmie, April 1933
Duncan Jr, Duncan Sr., Jimmie,
April 1933
Duncan Jr with Daddy, Duncan Sr. 1933
Duncan Jr. with Daddy,
Duncan Sr., 1933
Duncan 8 yrs, Florence, Beverly 6yrs - Aug 10, 1940
Duncan Jr., Florence, Beverly, Aug. 10, 1940

James Duncan Brown (28) and Dewey Brown c. 1932
James Duncan Brown (28) and Dewey Brown (son of Mattie) c. 1932
probably James Duncan Brown Jr. in foreground

1940 Rafael Navarette bought 3,374 acres near Puerto Peñasco from Mexican Secretary of Agriculture Marte Gomes. Navarette rented sites to Americans for camping and fishing.

1941  Rafael Navarette sold 3,374 acres to J. Duncan Brown, a former Mesa High School and University of Arizona football star who had roots in the Mormon Colonies in Chihuahua Mexico as the son of Bishop Orson Pratt Brown and wife Elizabeth Graham MacDonald, Mormon colonists.

December 7, 1941, Duncan moved his family from Mexicali to Yuma. He had started building a cotton gin in San Luis, Mexico. Duncan spent time away from home while he was working with the FBI rounding up Japanese farmers who had arms, munitions, and short wave radios, etc.—things that could and would be used against the U.S. As the finance manager for Anderson and Clayton Cotton Co., Duncan knew the farmers and had investigated enough to know who had what.

J. Duncan Macdonald home in Sonora c.1940

On January 29, 1943 J. Duncan Brown was escorting some schoolteachers across the border to visit his cotton gin operation in San Luis, Sonora, Mexico. A drunken border guard was offending a woman. Dunc intervened, and the guard pulled a gun, and in a wrestle with him the guard pulled out a second gun and shot Duncan. He was taken back across the border to the Somerton Arizona Hospital, where he died two days later on January 31, 1943.  He was buried at the Mesa City Cemetery on February 3, 1943 in Yuma, Yuma, Arizona. Duncan was the second son of Orson Pratt Brown to die near the Mexican border. The first son was killed in a wagon accident in 1912 at the age of seven years old. Officiating at the funeral were Elder W. Earl Merrill. Speakers were Otto Shill, Arnold Huber, J.C. Anderson. Bearers were Barry Goldwater, Chet Johns, Kemper Marley, Stanley Gray, Wallace W. Clark, Dr. L.B. Stallcup

Gustavo Brown and Orson Pratt Brown at the funeral of his son J. Duncan Brown Feb. 3, 1943
Gustavo Brown (far left) and Orson Pratt Brown (center) at the funeral of his son, J. Duncan Brown, Feb 3, 1943

A Tribute to James Duncan Macdonald Brown

February 3, 1943 at His Funeral Services in Mesa, Arizona
By J.C. Anderson, Duncan’s Math Teacher at Mesa High School

"James Duncan Brown was a man loved by his children, dreamed about by women, and respected by men.

Children loved his cheery smile, his happy attitude, his friendly bearing. 

All women dream of an attractive man, with kingly bearing, manly strength, kindly disposition, one to look up to. Such a one was "Dunc" as he was affectionately called.

Men respected his leadership, his strength in action, his will to succeed. They admired his energy, his resourcefulness, his diplomacy, and his loyalty.

His teachers liked to have him in their classes. He studied like he played. And his friendliness was everywhere shown. Even with the High School Principal he was chummy. One day Mr. Hendricks sent [for] Duncan because of some infraction of school rules. Duncan came into the office and said, “Hello, Herman, you wanted to see me?” With some students this familiarity would have been insolence in most everyone else [but not with Duncan who was friendly with everyone].

He was the kind of an athlete all coaches liked to have on their team. President Theodore Roosevelt advised the young men of his day to “Play the game fair, but to hit the line hard.” This was the way Duncan did things. His opponents did not like him as he hit hard. They forgot to remember that Dunc received the same bump that he gave them. And he could take it, without flinching. He didn’t ask his opponents to go easy, nor did he hold his punches. He willed to win, and had what it takes. When the Mesa Union High School Basketball team went to Chicago to take part in the National Tournament, Coach Stagg of the University of Chicago pointed Dunc out and said, “There is a man who should go far toward success in life. His is a good athlete.”

Not only did he win many athletic honors, but he went after scholastic honors the same way. Bill Cleveland, Captain of the Phoenix High School football team, and a friend of Duncan’s, vied with him for all school honors. Both were on the All State Basketball team for two years, as well as All State Football for two years. Both were Presidents of the Student Body. They were on the debating team, took part in school plays, and Declamatory Contests, and were about tied this far. But Duncan won a championship in Stock Judging, and won over Bill in an extemporaneous oration contest. He was also voted the most valued “Jack Rabbit” in 1923 by his schoolmates.

He was successful in life because he worked as he played, putting everything he had into it. He was big hearted and liked the game, even as he liked life. He was considerate of others. When he refereed the last game Mesa played with Yuma, he was offered the usual check for his services, but refused, which was very unusual for referees, and told them to put the Money in the Milk Fund for the school children.

His fellow students worshipped him. He was the spark plug of the teams he played on. In the State Tournament at Tucson in 1923, it looked as if Mesa didn’t have a chance. Captain Dunc was in the hospital with tonsillitis. Mesa played Wilcox, last year’s champions, the first game, which they won. Then when they beat Nogales the next day, they were in the running. Duncan wouldn’t stay in bed. He got up and went down there and led the team to a 15 to 12 win over Gilbert, though he should have been in bed. In the championship game, Chandler made eight points in the first four minutes of play. Dismayed, Mesa played on and Duncan’s will to win was injected into the others. At the half the score was 15 to 7. The third quarter was all Mesa’s and they lead by one point. The last quarter was a game of seesaw. First one and then the other was ahead. But when the final whistle sounded Mesa was ahead 23 to 22. Mesa won the State Championship again and Dunc was made All State Center. Whenever he made up his mind to do anything he did it. That was all.

He met death as he lived, fearlessly, unflinchingly, in the service of others. How could anyone finish more gloriously? I am reminded of a poem, “He is Not Dead,” by James Whitcomb Riley. May I speak to you the bereaved, in his words:

“I cannot say, and I will not say

That he is dead. He is just away.

With a cheery smile, and a wave of the hand

He has wandered into an unknown land

And left us dreaming how very fair

It needs must be, since he lingers there.

And you—oh, you, who the wildest yearn

For an old-time step, and the glad return,

Think of him faring on, as dear

In the love of there as the love of here.

Think of him still as the same. I say,

He is not dead—he is just away.”

The Great Coach has seen fit to shift players. He has perhaps had Dunc play tackle in the final play to make an opening in the line that separates the Hereafter from the now. And he has gone even as Jesus of Nazareth says, as recorded in the Gospel of St. John, “In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so. I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you,” speaking to his loved ones. It is not at all unlikely that Duncan has done just this.

Be comforted. Dunc has influenced for good the lives of many, many people. Remember him as he was at his best. Try to feel that “he is just away” and remember there will be a blessed reunion in the not far distant future from which there will be not parting.

May God Bless and comfort his widow and children and help all of us to better do our life’s work for having known a manly man.

Right Click mouse on image to view enlarged photo James Duncan Brown funeral program
Account of Funeral of James Duncan Brown as recorded in Diary of Aunt Eliza Brown - September 28, 1973....by M. Shill

Feb. 3, 1943 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Mesa, Arizona

The funeral of our dear beloved. Duncan Brown was held at the Second Ward in Mesa, today at two-oclock P.M..

The high School of Mesa did the singing, which was beautiful. A Brother-in-law, Otto Shill read his life history, and it was very good.. J.C.. Anderson., his former teacher, gave or read reminiscence of his days and accomplishments in school.

Our dear friend Bro. Jacob J..Huber who lived in Morelos, Sonora, México, knew his parents well and was in the house when Duncan was born and was very near to the family. He was clerk in the ward where Orson P. Brown, his father, was Bishop for some years. His (Huber's talk was touching and very good.

Bishop Shill (Otto) from the Lehi ward was in charge & presided. The last song was, Going Home, very beautiful. The closing prayer was by Duncan's cousin Grand Macdonald, Mesa Post Master.. Brother Soren Sorenson of Lehi, Duncan's Uncle, dedicated the grave. The floral offering was so very beautiful. The flowers was a huge mound.

He. Duncan, was Elizabeth (Bessie) Macdonald Brown's son.

His brother Donald & wife, Sisters Elsie Jones & husband, Marguerite Shill & husband; Aunt Mattie's son Clyde & wife Mable: Amy Brown from Mexico; Aunt Eliza Brown; his sister Gwyn and her daughter Valene; Aunt Cynthia Layton, his father's sister, his dear old Father Orson P. Brown from Colonia Dublan, Mexico and a host of relatives and friends were there.

We all went to the cemetery, then bade good-bye to all.

His dear (Duncan's wife Florence) and a son and daughter are left to carry on.

1947  James Duncan Brown's wife, Florence Mc Lellan Brown, and children James Duncan Brown Jr. and Beverly Brown,  are declared the legal heirs and owners of the large tract of Mexican property left to them by Duncan Sr., despite a clause in the Mexican Constitution prohibiting foreigners from owning real estate within 31 miles of the coast or within 62 miles of the border.

Cholla Bay c.1940
Cholla Bay, approximately 7 mi north of Puerto Peñasco, c.1940.

1952 the Mexican government recognized Puerto Peñasco as a city, and a government was established. The government appointed Victor Estrella Bustamante (one of the town's original fisherman & founders) as mayor.

1956 The James Duncan Brown family sold the 3,374 acres of Puerto Peñasco-Rocky Point- Cholla Ba, land to half-brother Silvestre Gustavo Brown (Sr.) de Gabaldón. 

Mesa Tribune - Sports Roundup by Tom Diskin Thursday, Dec 24, 1959 - tribute to Duncan Brown

Florence Helen McLellan died on February 3, 1973, buried February 6, 1973.

On the Brown's cow, 1934
Aunt Molly and Duncan Jr. - 1934
Aunt Molly and J. Duncan Jr. 1934

J. Duncan Brown Jr. with his dog, Nipper, 1934

J. Duncan and his sister, Beverly, 1935Beverly Brown and J. Duncan Brown Jr. 1935
Beverly Brown and J. Duncan Brown Jr. in 1935

Beverly Brown's Daughters with their Families:
Right Click mouse on images to view full-size photo

child, Tom, Andrea, child c.2001
Colton, Stanley, Kenna , Tanner, c. 2001
daughter, John, Meredith, son c. 2001
Kathryn, John, Kara, John, c. 2001

Andrea and Tom with sons2005

Meredith, John, and children 20052005
Right Click mouse on images to view full-size photo


PAF- Archer files = Orson Pratt Brown + Elizabeth Graham Macdonald Webb > James Duncan Brown

J. Duncan Brown Book of Remembrance (collected by Florence McClellan Brown). All materials submitted for inclusion on this website.

Photos of Beverly's children photos submitted by Beverly Elizabeth Brown Finch Kennedy.

Copyright 1999 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:

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... 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