Mathias M. Brand was born June 23, 1825 near Plattsburg, Clinton County, New York. Mathias was the fifth of ten children born to Stephen Brand and his first wife Electa Mason Brand; Stephen and his second wife, Phoebe Moore Brand had at least ten more children. Under these circumstances, we can presume he left home early though nothing is known of his activities until he arrived in California.

Matt Brand is not listed in Shasta County in the 1850 Census but he was described as a "pioneer of '49' and partner and friend of James La Tour". The partners invested time and money in freighting, cattle raising, and the operation of a trading post at Deer Flat. The partners hauled the first bullion from Shasta County to Carson City, Nevada where a United States mint was located.

Harriet D. Butler was born in New Vineyard, Frankin County, Maine on March 26, 1826. Her parents, Elijah Butler and Naomi Viles Butler moved the family to Wisconsin where Harriet married John Leaman, a sailor; the couple had two sons. After John Leaman was lost at sea, the young widow left her sons with her parents and came to California in a covered wagon.

There is no information as to why or with whom Harriet came to Shingletown, but she and Matt Brand were married there, November 8. 1859. Their only son, Stephen was born December 23, 1860. Their second child, a daughter, Mary Electa was born June 21, 1862, four months after Matt Brand's death.

After Brand was married, La Tour spent the winters in Carson City blacksmithing or doing hauling with his oxen. On his return trip each spring, he brought supplies for the ranch and trading post. When La Tour learned of his partner's death, he sold his wagon and oxen, and with Jim Beckworth made the trip through the snow covered mountains to Shingletown on foot.

La Tour helped the widow and her children (in later years Stephen Brand called a La Tour girl 'Sister'.) La Tour built a road-house and relay station which Harriet helped him run through the 1860s. From 1872 through 1883 Harriet bought, sold, and farmed several pieces of land.

From 1882, Stephen and his bride lived near his mother; they had five children. Then in 1888, Mary Brand Aldridge died and Harriet raised her two motherless grandchildren.

In 1902 Harriet sold the Brand Place to Northern California Power Company and moved, with son Stephen and his family to Palo Cedro. Later the family moved to Churn Creek where Harriet died in 1907.

Source: Shasta Historical Society

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