RONALD GALBRAITH BROWN 1898-1969
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|First child of Orson Pratt Brown
& His Second Wife, Jane Bodily Galbraith Brown:
Ronald was born on 11 April 1898 at Colonia Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico to and Jane Bodily Galbraith and died 17 July 1969 in the Soldier's Home in Orting, Washington. His ashes were scattered by airplane over Silver King Mountain near Lincoln, Montana. He was the oldest of seven children, followed by Grant Galbraith Brown, born 18 September l899 (died in Port Angeles, Washington on 28 September 1992 and his ashes scattered in the Straight of Juan De Fuca); Martha (Mattie/Betty) Elizabeth Galbraith Brown, born 19 June 1901 in Colonia Dublán, Chihuahua, Mexico and died in San Francisco, California in 1970; Pratt (Orson) Galbraith Brown, born 17 January 1905 in Colonia Morelos, Sonora, Mexico and died on 10 May 1960; William Galbraith Brown (twin of Pratt) who died on 13 August 1912 by being run over by a wagon during the family's exodus from Mexico; Porfirio Diaz Brown (later changed to Thomas Patrick Brown) was born in Colonia Dublán, Mexico on 19 July 1907 and died 26 June 1978; Emma Jean Galbraith Brown was born 12 October 1909 in Colonia Morelos, Mexico and died 19 May 1980.
In 1952, Ronald stated: "(I was born) in Mexico, April 11, 1898 and from there we moved to Colonia Morelos in the state of Sonora, (Mexico). My Mother's name was Jane Bodily Galbraith from Colonia Diaz, Mexico. My father was Orson P. Brown from Ogden, Utah. I will try to clarify the incidents as we talk."
"Now as I remember the story of Father. Father left Ogden, Utah when he was a young man of about 18 years old. He had one dollar when he moved to Mexico and a mule that was blind in one eye. From there he started. He became a partner with a fellow by the last name of Taylor. They leased a number of acres of land and ran cattle on shares. Eventually they split up, and Dad took his portion of the Las Sparas Ranch, in the state of Chihuahua, right on the Chihuahua-Sonora border, west of Colonia Dublan. From there life continued on and Dad had various ventures and tried various things. He had the Lawana mine out of Oaxaca in the El Titre country, and from there he traded a lot we owned to Mr. Haynie for the Petacachi Ranch. I don't remember the details. The Petacachi Ranch was in Sonora, Mexico, about 40 miles southeast of Douglas, Arizona, between Morelos, Mexico and Douglas, Arizona. He built the canal from the Casas Grandes River over to the reservoir southeast of Colonia Dublan. He tried to promote rubber plants.
After our families, Aunt Mattie Romney, and Mother Jane, and Aunt Eliza Skousen, all came to the States, I guess he did the best he could, which naturally, he would. He bought properties here in the States for his sons to run, trading stock (cattles, etc.) for properties, and then he went back to Mexico. From there one, I rather let somebody who has more authority on what he did in later years, his ventures, and so on, tell about it. I last saw my father, O.P. Brown, in 1914. These incidents that I am talking about you can trace them back through historical facts."
"We lived in Colonia Juárez, until I was three or four years old. From there went to (Colonia) Morelos, after that we moved to Oaxaca. From Oaxaca we moved to (Colonia) Dublán. In Dublán, we lived just north of Bowman's mercantile store, on the west side of the railroad tracks. I went to the general school in Dublán. Ronald's brother Grant Brown remembers "one incident that happened to Ronald. We had lived in a different place there in Dublán, across the railroad tracks and Mr. Bowman, who owned the mercantile store, had a large dog that took Ronald and chewed him up pretty bad. In fact, he dragged him about 100 yards down the track by the legs." We moved to a brick house southwest of the mercantile store across the railroad tracks. We stayed there for three or four years and then we moved back to Morelos." Ronald remembers that "in (Colonia) Morelos, Grandma Fife (Phoebe Abbott Brown Fife, 0. P. Brown's mother) lived with Mother, and Mother took care of her for a number of years. Grandma Fife was very fond of watercress, and she used to bribe us younger children to go get her watercress. She would get packages of funny papers. I remember distinctly Captain Jammer and his Kids was the funny part of the papers. She would read us the funny papers. That was when I was 6 or 7 years, not over that. That would be in about 1905."
Another time, while Jane and her children lived in Colonia Oaxaca a terrible flood leveled most of the homes and Jand lost most of her belongings. Grant recalls that "Ronald, who was quite adventurous and being the oldest, he went back into the flood area to try and turn a calf loose and almost lost his life!" "From Morelos we moved to Oaxaca in the north. Then coming back from Oaxaca we went to Morelos and on to the Petacachi Ranch (which is between Morelos and Douglas, Arizona.) We left the Petacachi Ranch in 1911 (1912) and came out of Mexico to Douglas, Arizona. We stayed the 1911-12 (1912-1913) winter in El Paso, Texas. From El Paso, we came to Salt Lake City, Utah and incidentally from then on we moved to various places."
"The second year of the Revolution in Mexico was why we left. When General Blanco moved in on the Petacachi Ranch, we had to get out! They took over the Ranch, took the beef away from us, and so on and so forth. We were told to either leave or fight, and we couldn't fight, we didn't have enough people with us to take care of our needs. I left Mexico when I was 14 years old."
"After we moved to Texas and Utah, it was pretty rough. We lived on 6th or 7th in Salt Lake the first winter, then from there we moved to Kaysville, Utah, and stayed with my grandmother. Then we moved back to Salt Lake and stayed with my Grandmother Galbraith on Social Hall Avenue. The hardest period of our lives, after coming out of Mexico, was when were living in Social Hall Avenue. Then I went to Idaho and stayed with an Uncle I have up there. After that I eventually went to the war (World War I), came back and got married. After that I lived all over the Northwest since."
"I married a girl from Murray, Utah, a Mormon girl. Her Grandpa was John Werner Lawson, a harness maker. He had a harness shop in Murray, Utah. His last works on this earth were in the temple at Salt Lake City. Her grandmother's name was Carolina Dahlquist Lawson and she died a few years ago (1940) in Salt Lake. Her (Afton's) mother, Hilma Louisa Lawson Anderson, died at childbirth and her father, Julius F. Anderson, remarried, so her grandparents raised her."
Ronald had joined the army in 1917 or 1918 where he was a cook stationed in Yuma, Arizona. After being discharged from the army, he attended the University of Utah until he married Afton Louise Anderson, on Sunday, July 4, 1920.
Afton adds "I was married to Ronald G. Brown on Sunday, July 4th, 1920 by Reverend Davies at Presbyterian church in Salt Lake City. We had a double wedding with Bea Young and Fremont Wright at high-noon...We had gotten our license in Ogden, Utah the day before as we didn't want my folks to know anything about it. I had first met Ronald at a pre-season dance at Great Salt Lake in May 1920 but he had a date with my girlfriend Bea Young. I was standing, waiting for someone I knew when I was grabbed and pulled out on the floor for a dance. It was Ronald and he said to me that he was going to marry me and that he knew that when he first saw me that I was going to be his wife. I told him it was the most ridiculous thing I'd ever heard, but he sure rushed me and we were married in less than a month. I really didn't know his full name until he signed the marriage license."
According to Afton, when they first were married they had five dollars between them. They first lived in a boarding house which became an intolerable situation. Then they moved to their own apartment on 2nd West, in Dr. Bowman's house. "There was a piano in the apartment, one reason we rented it, but the landlady was so snoopy we moved to a basement apartment on "T" Street with a private entrance, It was above Eagle Gate. Ronald's half-brother, Miles Brown, used to come often and have dinner with us. I couldn't cook so Ronald did all the cooking, I learned alot from him."
Afton adds here that "Mother Jane Brown used to come and see us often. It was about then I found out I was pregnant and she insisted that she take care of me and Ronald had so much confidence in his mother's nursing ability we moved in with his mother and girls (Matty and Emma) after Christmas 1920. During this time, Grant Robert Brown, born 25 May 1921" (died in Helena, Montana on 18 September 1992 where he is buried). I had a terrible time giving birth to Grant and then had an internal hemorrhage. I almost died and would have if it hadn't been for Mother Brown, she knew just what to do. Everything went on fairly well, Mother Brown was so good to me, but Mattie was a problem, she was naturally a jealous trouble maker. Emma was 11 years, was very close to her mother. "
Ronald worked at several jobs in Salt Lake City, including doing a little bootlegging which caused him to spend some time in jail.
"We stayed with Mother Brown all that summer at 4th East and 7th South, Salt Lake City. Then she rented a big house close to the University of Utah and took in girls that were attending the University. She insisted we move with her and we stayed a couple of months, and with Mattie and Emma, and all those girls it was an impossible life, always complaining, the girls didn't like the idea of having a young man around them, even if he was married. We got a little three room house close to the University as Ronald was still attending. It was wonderful to have our own place at last and were really happy for awhile. We walked over to the big house to see Mother Jane and the girls but got such a cool reception we never went back. Ronald graduated from the University of Utah and got a job in Albuquerque at the Morning Journal as advertising manager. He did well on this job. We had to break up our little home and store our furniture. Ronald went down to Albuquerque and was going to send for us as soon as possible. The baby and I went to live with Aunt Anna; Mother Brown and girls sent me a message to bring Grant to them so they could see him before we left but I sent a message back saying if they wanted to see him they could come over where we lived. The only one that came was Emma."
Afton continues: "Orson was living at Kaysville on a garden or vegetable farm. He worked and went to school and these people bought his clothes and treated him very good. Porfie was a very odd child, he was scared to be in the same room with me and wouldn't eat at the same table. He never talked when he came home from Bountiful to visit on Sundays. He was staying with a farm family and went to school and they bought his clothes and bedroom, but he was strange with everyone; just the opposite from Orson, a likeable 15 year old."
Kenneth Werner Brown was born 21 January 1923 (died in Pahrump, Nevada in February 2001)
Hope Brown was born 12 September 1924 in Soldiers Summit, Utah where Ronald worked for the railroad. She died on 6 May 2002 in Helena, Montana and was cremated.
Ronald Keith Brown was born 28 May 1928 in Duchesne, Utah. Ronald was working for the Southern Pacific Railroad as a car inspector and the Denver & Rio Grnade Railroad. In 1929, after the Stock Market crash, Ronald and Afton took their four children in a new 1928 Model A Ford and began an odyssey traveling from place to place looking for any way to make a few dollars to feed the family. They traveled (in a camping mode) to New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada and eventually wound up in Leavenworth, Washington where the last child, Kent Afton Brown was born 16 July 1932. Ronald had a contract with the Northern Pacific Railroad to cut railroad ties. Around November 1941, he and the family moved to a 160 acre ranch in Tom's Gulch about 18 miles from Lincoln, Montana at the foot of the Continental Divide. He worked for the U.S. Forest Service for 30 dollars a month. He had been receiving 21 dollars per month from the Veterans department for a knee injury he received while in the army, but it was stopped during the Hoover administration. He later (about 1936) had his disability pension reinstated but also received a substantial amount of retroactive pay. He used this back pay to buy a new 1936 Plymouth for about $650.00.
Living on the "Ranch" in Tom's Gulch was very primitive. He built a log cabin and dug a well for water and of course, an outhouse made of small logs. The winters were brutal, deep snow and temperatures as low as 50 degrees below zero. At times they were snowed in and had no contact with the outside world except for the Airline radio which operated on an "A" and a "B" battery. The radio could only be on for very short periods of time because the batteries were expensive and non-rechargeable. Of course, there was no electricity and lighting was by kerosene lamps.
While living in Lincoln, Montana during the 1930's he worked for the U.S.Forest Service as a cook in the CCC camps while they were cutting trails in the wilderness areas. In the late 1930's he obtained a formula for a balm for milk cow udders called Yucca Balm. The balm was cooked on the kitchen stove and put in cans and labels attached. It was a family operation, or at least Hope and Ronald K were a large part of the operation. He bought a new 1929 Plymouth and went on the road selling Yucca Balm. While he was thus engaged, the family moved to Missoula, Montana and then to Spokane, Washington. While the family was in Spokane, Ronald had a car accident which broke his neck and with no means of support the family moved to Yakima, Washington. After he had healed, he took his family to Sunnyside, Washington and lived on a 20 acre farm. This endeavor did not turn out favorably and the family moved to Carson, Washington where he again worked as a cook in a "CCC" camp. In 1931, he took the family to Milwaukee, Oregon where he worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad as a car inspector.
Sometime around 1950, he and Afton were divorced. They later remarried and again divorced sometime in the 1960's. Ronald had developed a problem with alcohol, which was the root of their problems. He also liked to gamble and was not very good at it.
Ronald was an extremely intelligent man. He could speed read and had a great memory. He could never stick with anything for any period of time and as a result, he never really used his talents of intelligence and knowledge to make his mark in the world. Considering his transient upbringing, he raised five children who never went hungry or naked in very trying times. He was nearly fearless, sometimes to the point of foolishness, but he never backed down to anybody. He lived his life as he had been raised which is not unusual. Although he had his flaws, (including a fiery temper), he raised five children who made their own way in life.
After the final divorce, he lived with his brother Grant and they traveled to Mexico and Texas, etc. He finally went to live in the Veteran's Home in Orting, Washington, where he died of a heart attack in his sleep on 17 July 1969.
Thanks to all of our family members who shared their memories, especially Ronald K. and Kent Brown.
PAF - Archer Files = Orson Pratt Brown + Jane Bodily Galbraith > Ronald Galbraith Brown
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