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Samuel A. Brown. In view of his early and prominent association with the inception of agricultural industry in Oklahoma, there is not a little consistency in the fate that today Mr. Brown controls a substantial business in the handling of real estate in the commonwealth within whose borders he was one of the first to initiate and successfully develop the agricultural resources of the state, this work having been achieved by him more than a quarter of a century ago, and prior to the organization of Oklahoma Territory. It thus becomes evident that he is entitled to full pioneer honors, and it may further be stated that he has been distinctively one of the founders and upbuilders of the vital young commonwealth in which he has long maintained his home and in which his circle of friends is coincident with that of his acquaintances. He now maintains his home in the fine little Town of Aylesworth, Marshall County, where he is successfully engaged in the real-estate and loan business, as one of the prominent representatives of this line of enterprise in that vigorous county.
An excellent account of the early activities of Mr. Brown after he had come to Oklahoma has been given by one who made close investigation, and from this record are taken, with but slight paraphrase, the following interesting quotations:
“The year 1888 found agricultural industry in its very infancy in Indian Territory, and for that reason the man that made an appreciable pretension toward developments along this basic line of enterprise was looked upon as exceptionally energetic and progressive, and those pioneers who were thus the forerunners of material development and advancement in Oklahoma merit special consideration in the history of the state. In this connection it is interesting to note that Samuel A. Brown, now one of the leading business men of Aylesworth, established in 1888 the largest farm in the Chickasaw Nation. It comprised 4,000 acres, and of this extensive tract he placed 2,600 acres under effective cultivation, while upon the estate lived the families of the twenty-six men whom he employed in carrying forward the farming operations. Each man cultivated an average of 100 acres, and each was taught the most advanced methods of growing cotton, corn, wheat and oats. In that particular section of the Chickasaw Nation–the Brown ranch being eleven miles west of the present town of Ardmore–little serious attention had been previously given to agriculture, by reason of the presence of only a comparatively small contingent of white men and because of the lack of an accessible market for products. However, two years before Mr. Brown came to the front in tnhis important field of development, the Santa Fe Railroad had built its line from north to south through Indian Territory, and it was not until a year later that the town of Ardmore was platted and its upbuilding initiated. With the coming of the railroad market facilities were provided and the way was opened for successful agriculture.
"For seven years Mr. Brown had been engaged in ranching in the Indian country, and at intervals he was in the employ of Suggs Brothers, whose large ranch, on which is situated the present town of Sugden, was one of the historic places of the Chickasaw Nation. At other times Mr. Brown was employed by W. E. Washington, a pioneer ranchman of Marietta, and Pick McKish, a picturesque and progressive Indian of Ardmore, whose activities in later years had much to do with the development of this section of the country. Discerning the opportunities and possibilities for successful exploitation of the agricultural resources of the section with which he had been thus identified, Mr. Brown procured leases of sufficient Indian land to establish a ranch of his own. The first winter after he entered the employ of Suggs Brothers he was sent to Fort Sill to superintend the filling of a beef contract into which his employers had entered with the United States Government. This contract provided for the sale of beef cattle to the army officials, both for their own use and for supplying the Kiowa and Comanche Indians of that region. Mr. Brown experienced some trouble with the Indians, who at the time were making their first experiments in the customs and vocations of civilization, and who burned some of Mr. Brown’s property and threatened to steal his horses and cattle. He formed the acquaintance of Quanah Parker, chief of the Comanches, and other Indians of note in the Comanche and Kiowa tribes.
"In the following year, 1882, Mr. Brown was sent by his firm of employers to Goliad, Texas, where he purchased for them and in due time delivered 1,200 head of cattle. In July of that year he was made superintendent of the drive of a part of this large herd to Wyoming, and thus he had the privilege of acquiring the trail experience that other pioneer ranchmen had encountered in earlier years. In Wyoming the cattle ranged on the Powder river, near the Bighorn mountains.
"After engaging in the farm and ranch business in an independent way Mr. Brown took up also the business of speculating in land, and this enterprise became eventually equal in importance to his live-stock business. For seventeen years he remained on his pioneer ranch, which became known all over the Chickasaw country, any pioneer of that section being able to impart knowledge of the history and the unbounded hospitality of the ’Sam Brown Ranch.’ On his extensive domain Mr. Brown erected a ten-room house of modern order, and this ranked among the finest in the Chickasaw Nation. The country had previously been sparsely settled by Indians and intermarried white persons, and no progress had been made in the providing of educational facilities. Mr. Brown’s colony of tenants embraced a considerable number of children of school age, and it became imperative to provide a school house and teacher. Under these conditions he himself bore the most of the expense of erecting the first school house in that locality, the same having been situated on his land. Teaching the rudiments of education in those days was an heroic task, for the country was infested with nomadic outlaws and surreptitious peddlers of whiskey, so that any ambitious and faithful instructor of the youth found it well nigh impossible to draw the attention of boys and young men to mental discipline, as they found more to their liking the discussion of the unlawful activities of the frontier malefactors. Neighboring communities contained nothing of educational facilities. One of these, to the north of Mr. Brown’s ranch, was populated with Chickasaw freedmen, and though they were in the main peaceable they were barred from neighborly intercourse with the white settlers.”
The foregoing narrative shows how closely and prominently was Mr. Brown concerned with the initial stages of civic and industrial development in what is now one of the advanced and prosperous sections of the great State of Oklahoma, but his beneficent influence and productive activities have extended" much further. Much credit for the material progress of Aylesworth and vicinity is due to him. He sold his property near Ardmore, Carter County, in 1905, shortly after the Town of Aylesworth, Marshall County, was established, and at the latter place he made investment in townsite property. The village then had a population of about fifty persons, while today it is a thriving community of about five hundred population, the advancement of the town being the more noteworthy by reason of the fact that it was accomplished during a period marked by short crops’ and financial depression. During his residence at Aylesworth Mr. Brown has given his attention not only to the real-estate, loan and insurance business, but has also found much requisition for bis services in the practice of law, study and practical application having given him no little facility and prestige in connection with such professional service.
In 1910, in line with his well conceived ideas of progress, Mr. Brown promoted at Aylesworth the organization of a rod and gun club, the membership of which has now reached 100, a majority of the members being residents of Durant and Madill, with a representative contingent from Aylesworth. The organization is known as the Madill-Durant Rod and Gun Club, and it owns 100 acres of land on the Washita River, two miles distant from Aylesworth, and embracing twenty-five acres of water that has an average depth of fifteen feet. The ideal domain thus segregated by the club seems to have been designed by nature for the purpose. It is one of those Washita River cutoffs that form inland lakes, the latter being commonly designated in history and in the records of the United States Geological Survey as “horseshoe ” or “oxbow” bends. The club has erected a specially fine clubhouse and the lake has been stocked with the best varieties of game fish. Mr. Brown continued to take deep interest in the club and to avail himself of its splendid facilities, it having been his privilege to serve for a number of years as its vice president.
The influence of Mr. Brown in the development of the Aylesworth region was again manifest in the establishing of a sawmill near the village, this enterprise having been carried forward by a company of Louisiana capitalists, headed by H. A. Waddell, of Morgan City, that state, who is president and general manager. The company is capitalized for $100,000 and its plant represents an investment of $65,000. This large and thoroughly modern mill has an output capacity of 30,000 feet of lumber per day.and the plant is kept almost continuously in operation, so that the enterprise proves of inestimable value to the community in which it is conducted. The company derives its timber from a large tract purchased by it at a distance of 250 miles from the mill, and up the Washita River, by means of which the timber is rafted down to the mill with much facility and at little expense. In 1915 the timber holdings of the company represented a total of sixty million feet, an amount adequate to keep the mill in operation for a period of ten years. This represents one of the most important industries of Marshall County.
The site of Aylesworth is a spot of much historical interest, since here was formerly maintained the home of Governor Ben Burney of the Chickasaw Nation. The land was purchased by the A. & C. Railroad Company, and later passed into possession of the Washita Company, of Denison, Texas, from which corporation Mr. Brown purchased its interest in the townsite. Possibilities of successful development in the oil and gas field in the vicinity of Aylesworth are in evidence, and some important gas-producing wells have here been sunk in recent years. Mr. Brown keeps a steady hand on the helm of Aylesworth’s development and progress and is a recognized leader in popular thought and action in this section of the state.
Samuel A. Brown was born in Collin County, Texas, in the year 1802. and is a son of Azariah R. and Jennie (Alderman) Brown. His father was born in the State of Tennessee, and is today one of the venerable pioneers of Texas, where he established his home in 1846, the year following that of the admission of the state to the Union. His was a broad and varied experience in connection with life on the frontier and he represented the Lone Star State as a valiant soldier of the Confederacy in the Civil war. Before the building of railroads in Texas he carried the first mail from McKinney to Dallas, that state. In 1874 he removed to Gainesville, Texas, and six miles north of that place he established what has been known for nearly half a century as Brown’s Ferry. Where he thus operated a ferry across the Red River was later selected as the crossing place of the line of the Santa Fe Railroad. He laid out the first road, by way of Brown’s Ferry, from Gainesville to Beef Creek, in "the Chickasaw Nation of Indian Territory. He continued the operation of his ferry until 1889, when he established his residence at Davis, Indian Territory, this now thriving little city of Murray County, Oklahoma, being still his home. This sterling Texas pioneer celebrated in 1915 his eighty-first birthday anniversary. It is of historic interest to note that Azariah Brown was pilot for the surveyors who selected the route of the Santa Fe Railroad across the Chickasaw Nation. In the colony that the Browns established in Collin County, Texas, was Garland Martin, maternal great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch, and that worthy pioneer of Texas attained to the patriarchal age of 100 years.
Mr. Brown acquired his early education in the public schools of Gainesville, Texas, and one of his teachers was Rev. J. F. Alderson. D. D., who is now one of the most distinguished leaders of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Mr. Brown is a democrat in politics, and is affiliated with the lodge of the Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks at Durant, and with that of the Knights of Pythias at Madill.
In 1889 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Brown to Miss Mattie C. Jones, daughter of Woody Jones, a well known pioneer of Cooke County, Texas. Mrs. Brown is a niece of T. B. Jones, a prominent and influential citizen of San Antonio, Texas, who died on the 15th of December, 1914. He was a former partner of the late Jot Gunter, whom every old-time Texan knew either personally or by reputation. Mr. and Mrs. Brown have three children, Harry A., Andrew C. and Doris, the elder son being associated with his father in the realestate and insurance business.