Fruit Grower

 Bio-Pen Pictures

one of the successful horticulturists and farmers of the Jefferson District, owns seventy-eight acres of finely cultivated land, situated on Wilcox Lane, north of the Kifer road, and about two and one half miles northwest of Santa Clara. He devotes thirty acres of his land to strawberry culture, the principal variety being the Longworth Prolific. Ten acres are set with fruit-trees, chiefly Bartlett pears, this orchard land being also utilized for the production of strawberries and blackberries. Eight acres are used exclusively for raspberries and blackberries, while another ten acres grow alfalfa. The remainder of the land yields hay. Upon the property Mr. Brown has a comfortable cottage home, surrounded by choice flowers, shade-trees, etc.

        The subject of this sketch was born in Gloucestershire, England, and came to America in 1861. He went to Hamilton, Canada West, and remained there until the following year, when he left for California, by way of the Isthmus route. He reached San Francisco in April, 1862, and, after a short stay in that city, went to Alameda County, where he spent about two years, engaged in farm labor. He then extended his travels as far north as British Columbia, where he took up government land, and opened a farm near Nanaimo. Not being suited with his location, after a stay of two years he returned to California. For three years he worked in Alameda County, coming to Santa Clara County in 1867, and purchasing the property where he has since made his home. He has directed intelligent efforts toward the improvement of his land and the cultivation of small fruits and berries, and finds those efforts well rewarded in the results which he obtains. A public-spirited and progressive citizen, he is a useful member of society. He is a member and strong supporter of the Episcopal Church, and is identified with the Republican party, taking an intelligent interest in all that concerns State and nation.

        In 1885 he wedded Miss Emma Lobb, daughter of Henry Lobb, of San Jose. Two children have blessed this union, viz.: Alfred Lee and Ella.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.
Pg. 483

Interesting, in-structive and inspiring is the story of the part played bv the many sons and daughters of historic old England who, in settling as pioneers in California and the neighboring sister states, have contributed mightily, through hard work, venture and sacrifice, to the upbuilding of great commonwealths. Promi-nent among such worthy pioneers of the "right little, tight little island" who have helped to lay broad and deep the foundations of romantic California, and in doing so best developed the resources of the Golden State, is George Miller Brown, a native of Gloucestershire, England, long prominent as. one of the most successful growers of Bartlett pears in the Santa Clara Valley, and very influential-fortunately always in the direction of ennobling Christian endeavor and moral uplift-as a far-seeing capitalist.

Mr. Brown was born at Stow-on-the-Wold, in Southwest England, on August 16, 1843, fortunate ill his honorable parentage, but unhappily the family was so soon broken up that at a very early age he was compelled to push out into the world and struggle for himself. He went to school only until his eighth year, but being naturally apt, got more out of his books and teachers than many a child of less necessity. At nine years of age he drove a four-ox team hitched to a plow, being given that re-sponsible job because he could "fill the bill" better than any grown-up workman on the place. Seeing the promise in the lad, his employer remarked, "George, you will beat your master yet," and this prophecy was, in time, literally fulfilled. He con-tinued to work at farm labor on a large English estate, and when he was only fifteen he was made foreman and given charge of the cultivation of 300 acres, with a dairy and sheep, cattle and horses.

In 1861 Mr. Brown left England for the United States, and landed in New York, then seething with its first year's participation in the Civil War; and probably on account of the disturbed conditions there, he went on to Hamilton, Canada, on the north shore of Lake Ontario. He accompanied his brother, James M. Brown, a tailor, who previously had made a trip to the United States, had gone as far as California, and had seen the stirring life of the gold diggings in 1850. George Brown entered the employ of a Hamilton doctor, and he continued wth him until he came out to California.

The steerage ticket to San Francisco at that time cost $100, which represented all the money Mr. Brown had been able to save; but a friend who was  anxious that he go with him, and who had a small capital of $2,000, advanced him enough cash to en-able him to reach the Promised Land. When he reached California, however, he had only twenty dollars left, so he went to work at once on a farm in Alameda County and stayed there a year. He repaid the thirty dollars advanced to him by his friend-repaying in shining gold-all within sixty days after his arrival in the Bay City in April, 1862. When he had been in California two and a half years, Mr. Brown followed his brother to Vancouver Island, where he preempted some land near Nanaimo, taking up 100 acres, and having brought with him, by boat, a yoke of oxen and four cows, he set to work to do the best he could with the undeveloped tract.
At the end of two years, however, Mr. Brown was not suited with his location, and so he turned his claim, stock and all other possessions over to his brother and came back to California. He had a capital of $600 when he arrived at Nanaimo, and when he arrived in Alameda in 1866 his last two-bits were gone. He found his place open on Judge Hastings' farm and for ten months continued in his employ; and then he worked for Franklin Pancos, the pioneer strawberry grower, with whom he came to Santa Clara County and formed a partnership. They rented thirty-six acres in the Jefferson district, in Santa Clara County, in 1868, and put the entire tract in strawberries; later he formed a partnership with another young man who had set out ten acres to strawberries on a part of Mr. Brown's patent land. About 1871 he bought out his partner, and then he continued to raise strawberrie:; on rented land. He had twenty-two acres in berries and in the height of the season it took ninety-eight men to pick them before they spoiled, and when all his expenses had been paid, he had just ten dollars left. It took him thirteen years to pay for his first. twenty-two acres, the nucleus of his present place; since then he has added by purchasing adjoining until he has 102 acres in a body, and it took forty-four years to pay for it with all the improvements, for he kept right on improving.

About forty years ago Mr. Brown helped put out the pear trees on what is now Mrs. Weston's place. There were some trees left, so he set them on his own place, which was the beginning of his present orchard, in what is now the greatest Bartlett pear district in California. Mr. Brown alone has 102 acres, which is said to be the finest Bartlett pear orchard in the United State-decidedly  an inspiring triumpg, after years of hardship and discouragements. Mr. Brown and his wife also have other valuable realty holdings and are active in financial as well as commercial circles.

In San Jose, January ·29, 1885, Mr. Brown was married to Miss Emma Lobb, also a native of England, who was born at St. Hoswell, a daughter of Henry and Jane Lobb, who emigrated with their family via the Isthmus of Panama in 1869, to Nevada County, Ca1.; the father was a miner in Grass Valley until they came to San Jose, where he and his wife passed their remaining years. The union of Mr. and Mrs. Brown has been blessed with the birth of five children: Alfred is the foreman of his father's ranch and is also the owner of pear orchards and a prominent nurseryman, raising all kinds of fruit trees for the wholesale and retail trade. He has come to be known as an authority on horticulture and his advice is frequently sought by others. Albert is engaged in auto transportation, having a fleet of trucks for the purpose; he married Miss Viola Chew and they have three children. His headquarters are in San Jose where he resides with his family. Walter, when only seventeen, enlisted for service on the Mexican border, was later sent to France, where he was wounded, and was honorably discharged at the completion of his patriotic service; he married Isabel Shirley and they have one son. Ella L. is a graduate of the San Jose State Normal, and during the World War served for ten months in the Red Cross as a field volunteer, paying her own expenses. She went    overseas, serving in France, and since her return makes her home with her parents. She is very fond of travel and is somewhat of a globe trotter, having visited every continent, as well as the South Seas, Philippines, New Zealand,· Australia, West Indies and Azores, and has also dug gold in Alaska. She has crossed the Arctic Circle and has sailed almost to the Antarctic Circle. She is now in charge of the relief work for San Jose Post No. 89, American Legion, and is a member of American Women's Overseas League of San Francisco. Edith, a graduate of the Santa Clara high school, was also very patriotic and was placed in charge of Red Cross work for the JefIerson district during the war. She is now the wife of Floyd Jamison, who served with the A. E. F. in France; he is an electrician, and they make their home in San Jose, where she is active in the work of Trinity Episcopal Church.

In national political affairs a Republican, and in respect to creed and church membership an Episcopalian, Mr. Brown and his wife are broad-minded citizens, delighted when participating in church work under any. acceptable banner. Mr. Brown's life is guided by the Golden Rule of doing unto others as he would be done by. He is one of the most liberal and enterprising men in Santa Clara County, and there is no worthy movement that has for its aim the betterment of the conditions and the eahancing of the happiness of the people of his community that does not receive his hearty support. He is well known as a very liberal contributor to civic organizations and the Red Cross, as well as other humani-tarian societies. It is to men of the type of George Brown that California owes much of its present development, for he was not afraid to venture and work to develop the raw land until the orchards of the valley have become a world-famous garden spot. Mr. Brown is well read and well iniormed, and having a retentive memory and being a good narrator of events, is an interesting conversationalist. He has a comfortable home, and being a big-hearted man, he loves to dispense the old-time California hospitality, so that it is indeed a pleasure to enjoy a visit with this pleasant old pioneer.

from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922.
page  333