|Notes for Inez Lucile BROWN|
|19Charles Brown, Hockinson Pioneer|
My father, always known as Charles Brown although his legal name was Charles Junel, was born on Dec. 8th 1846 in Gamlakarlepy, Finland. At the age of 15 he went to sea making about twenty crossings of the Atlantic in the next few years. About the year 1871 when his sailing ship landed in America he decided to seek his fortune in this new land hoping to make a home for the wife he left in Sweden.
He worked on a steamboat on the Mississippi River until he could come to Washington Territory around 1873 to join his brothers Andrew and Leonard who had homesteaded in what is now Hockinson. After securing a homestead of 40 acres on the hill directly east and above what is now Hockinson (and which has often been known as Charlie Brown's hill) he sent for his wife and the two year old son he had never seen.
The homestead cabin, which still stood well into the 1930s, was constructed of cedar which he handcut and carried a quarter of a mile uphill. Eventually 10 acres of land needed to be cleared around the cabin to keep it safe from the tall old growth trees in case of wind. All was handwork, no blastinf powder or stump pullers as yet. The fourteenmiles to Vancouver over a dirt road took two days for the roundtrip when provisions were needed. The loads of wood he haled to town provided the necessary money.
It took about 4 to 6 months to clear an acre of land to grow grain and vegetables it was necessary for him to fish in the Columbia River during the summer months in order to support his growing family. As soon as his boys were old enough to help he bought and cleared another fifty acres of land at prices ranging from 5 to 15 dollars per acre. For a time he owned about 190 acres of land valued at 10 dollars per acre. By the way, these sons, Care, Alfred and Otto Brown were probably the Brown Boys referred to by Zachary Sakrison as sinking the dugout canoe in Battle Ground Lake as they would have been the right age for that kind of an adventure. This could be the dugout boat in the museum now.
Oxen were still in use when Charles Brown first homesteaded but he used a horse to turn the wood lathe with which he fashioned many pieces of furniture for himself and the neighbors. During these years many a family turned to him for help during sorrow and the old cemeteries near Brush Prairie still have crumbling cement tombstones made and crudely engraved by him. he also "laid out" the dead and made their coffins as there were no funeral parlors until in the early 1900s. With a few scattered neighbors my father helped to build the cabin that served as the first real schoolhouse in Hockinson.
In 1889 his wife Maria died leaving him with seven children ranging in age from 4 years to 15 years. His eighth child had died as an infant. Later he remarriedonly to lose his second wife in a short tim when she too died.
Although his rugged childhood as the son of a fisherman in Sweden and Finland left little tim for formal education my father spoke Swedish, Finnish and English fluently although he could only read in Swedish and Finnish. Along with Ambrosious Hokenson (for whom Hockinson was named) Charled Brown became a leader in the community, church and school life. On march 22, 1884 a swedish Lutheran Church, Elim, was organized by the Rev. L.C. Lindh with these two and other pioneers as charter members. Carl Brown, the oldest son, was in Elim's first confirmation class.
When his first family was grown and gone and his farm was a prosperous 4000 acre tre prune ranch Mr. Brown married teh widowed Ann Christine Ellertson in 1910 and brought her and her small son Homer Ellertson to life in a new home built to replace the house which burned in the 1902 Yacolt burn.
Charles Brown died in 1923 at the age or 76 and is buried beside his third wife in Elim cemetery at Brush Prairie. The pioneer graves of his first wife and children are in the old Baptist Church cemetery south of Brush Prairie
[list of Charles Brown's children]
All are now deceased except Inez Lucille Goings who lives in Vancouver.
To the best of my knowledge and from old family records this is the story of Charles Brown, a pioneer in Hockinson.
Explanation of the Junel name: When my father came to Hockinson he found his two brothers Andrew and Leonard were using the name Brown so he did the same although his name was never changed legally.
August 21, 1975 (Inez Lucille Goings)
|Last Modified 20 Mar 1999||Created 23 Mar 2002 by Reunion for Macintosh|