In 1769, in Massachusetts, John Brown, an early American settler, married Hannah Bosworth whose family had been in America for one hundred years. May 11, 1825, their grandson, John A. Brown, was born in Bloomington, Indiana.

Nancy Williams was born April 15, 1827 in Crawfordsville, Indiana. She was one of three sisters, daughters of Edward and Nancy Williams of Pennsylvania. (The Williams and Brown families were on the 1850 Champaign County Illinois Census.) She and John were married September 26, 1847 Wheaton, Illinois. Their first two children were born there:

Elias Edward b. Sept. 3, 1848 d. Feb. 24, 1926 m. Candice Pickett
Charles Henry b. Nov. 6, 1850 d. July 1, 1946 m. Mary Longenfeld

In 1847, John's older brother, Elias had died on the Oregon Trail and his widow and children continued the trip to the Willamette Valley in Oregon and were living in Corvallis. One reason for John and Nancy's 1852 emigration was to see Elias's children. After visiting Elias's widow and children, the family moved to Forest Grove, Oregon where William Wesley (known as Wes) was born Jan. 19, 1853, died May 24, 1947 in Oregon.

The other children were all Californians, born in Del Norte County:

David A. b. Aug. 3, 1855 d. Nov. 7, 1937 m. Edith M. Nedry
Frank Frederick b. Jan. 1, 1858 d. Sep. 28, 1916
Sarah J. b. Apr. 1, 1860 d. Apr. 9, 1860

They lived in Crescent City about sixteen years; John's ledger shows that he raised vegetables, milked cows, and cut wood to support the family. (Many of his records are obscured by recipes which may be the reason the book was saved by the family.)

In 1869, John Brown bought 480 acres of land on the south side of Cottonwood Creek. This included a hotel, a tavern, general merchandise store and a toll bridge with the right to collect tolls from people who wanted to come to Shasta County or leave. The cost was $1.00 for a six horse team and $.50 for two horses. He also became Cottonwood's Postmaster.

When Jacob Foster negotiated with the Central Pacific to locate the Cottonwood depot on the north side of Cottonwood Creek, in 1872, John began to sell off the property. The hotel became the Barry farmhouse; the north half of the bridge was sold to Shasta County and the north half of the bridge was sold to Shasta County and the south end to Tehama County.

John and Nancy, with the younger boys, moved to San Leandro, but Elias and Charles had ranches near Cassel. In 1879, John bought a ranch near Ball's Ferry which he let Wes manage and in 1884 he purchased the Crystal Lake Ranch from son Charles. He sold a half interest in the ranch to his sons, Frank and William.

In 1886, Nancy's brothers-in-law, the Culbertsons, were the first to bring Hereford cattle from England. They notified their California relatives and Wes arranged to have a freight-car load delivered to Redding so Shasta County was one of the early places to raise Herefords.

John died at their home in Cassel August 14, 1901 and Nancy died there on January 18, 1902. Many of their descendants still reside in Shasta County, and like them have contributed to its growth.

Source: Shasta Historical Society - May 1997

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