Bio-Pen Pictures

Chief of Police of San  Jose, is one of those men who by sterling worth and innate fidelity to duty has acquired the confidence of his fellow-citizens, and to that degree that he has not only been promoted to his present position by the suffrages of men in his own party, but has the active approval and support of hundreds of voters of opposing party affiliations. This is evidenced by the fact that he has won his way up from the ranks, and that, while his first election showed a majority of only ninety votes, at the next election it was 340, and at the election lately held (April 9, 1888) he received a majority of 1,062 votes.

        His parents, William and Catherine (Daley) Brown, were natives of Ireland, who emigrated in 1840 to Australia, the subject of this sketch being born in Sydney, two weeks after the arrival of his parents. In 1849 they came to California, attracted by the prospects of fortune to be wrested from the streams and hill-sides by strong hands and willing hearts. The father went at once to the mines in Stanislaus County, remaining for about six months, while the mother established and kept the hotel known as the "Maid of Erin," on Broadway, near Ohio Street, in a building brought in sections that year from Australia.

        In 1851 the subject of this sketch was brought to Santa Clara College by Father Nobili, then in charge of that institution, and remained there for one year, returning again in 1858, and remaining another year. There is hanging up in a modest frame, in Mr. Brown's office, a catalogue taken from the San Francisco Daily Herald, of July 14, 1852, of the exercises and premiums awarded, as well as the names of the pupils attending this examination. In this list is the name of William D. Brown, and among the other twenty-six pupils comprising the class are: Ignacio Alviso, Joaquin Argues, John M. Burnett, son of the first American Governor of California, John T. Calahan, Martin, Bernard, and Patrick Murphy. Mr. Brown appears as having taken a premium in the second class in the Spanish language, also in the third writing class. The parents of the subject of our sketch, in order to be near their son, removed to San Jose, his father opening a butcher shop, the second one in the town, while his mother engaged in the hotel business. His father purchased, in 1852, a ranch near what are now the Guadaloupe quicksilver mines, where he devoted himself to farming and stock-raising for the remainder of his life, he dying there in 1854, and was buried in the old Mission Dolores Cemetery, in San Francisco.

        The subject of our sketch worked on his father's farm until 1858, when he attended another year at Santa Clara College. He later worked at black­smithing and mining at the Guadaloupe and Hewriquita quicksilver mines for a number of years; followed various occupations until he entered the service of the city in the Fire Department, being later appointed Special Officer of the American District Telegraph Co., working in conjunction with the regular force; and on the death of Mitchell Bellew was appointed police officer. From this position he was promoted through the various grades until elected Chief.

        He married, January 8, 1860, Miss Johanna Cunningham, a native of Ireland, and sister of Richard Cunningham, who now owns the San Bruno House, at San Bruno, California. They have had twelve children, of whom three died in infancy. Those living are: Johanna, now the wife of James Hogan, Superintendent of American District Telephone Co., of San Jose; Katie, now the wife of Albert Richards, bookkeeper for Edward Wail, of San Jose; Peter, now in business in San Francisco; and Tessie, William, Richard, Virginia, Georgiana, and Bud, still under the paternal roof and attending school. Mr. Brown is a member of Mount Hamilton Lodge, of A. O. U. W., also of the American Legion of Honor, and of the Knights and Ladies of Honor. He is a member of the Democratic party.

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. 664-665


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight