Diamond "R" Brown



James William II BROWN was born September 5, 1841, in the Hillsboro Area in Ohio, to James BROWN and Elizabeth COOPER Brown, both formerly of Virginia.

His mother and father were both of Pennsylvania Dutch Ancestry.  Very little is known of his parents, 
only that his father died at Milford, Ohio, in 1850.

James William attended the public schools of Hillsboro until he left home in 1858. He then worked 
for three years in Illinois as a farm hand.

At the first call for troops in the Civil War, he enlisted in the Twentieth Illinois Infantry, and 
served from June 1861 until July 1864.  He was wounded at Fort Donelson, Shiloh and Vicksburg.  
After his muster-out at Nashville, Tennessee, in February, 1865, he re-enlisted for a year in the 
Fourth Veterans' Regiment, known as Hancock's Corp, and for a time served duty as a guard for 
President Abraham Lincoln.

At the time of the assassination of President Lincoln, April 14, 1865, his regiment was immediately 
placed on provost duty in Washington, D.C., and continued that service until after the execution of 
those convicted of complicity in that tragedy.  In the fall of 1865, he went to Camp Chase in 
Columbus, Ohio, and was mustered out on February 7, 1866.

In the summer of 1866, James William decided to come West, and engaged in employment as a "Bull 
Whacker" between Nebraska City and Salt Lake City, concluding the journey in August.  He then 
immediately loaded for Helena, Montana, which he reached in September.  From September, 1866 through 
the fall of 1867, he worked as a wagon master for Cornell, Steele and Hubbell, who were under a 
hauling contract for the U.S. Government.  
Freight was hauled between Helena and St. Peter's Mission.  He also took government freight to Fort 
Benton, Montana.  Upon completion of this contract with the C.S. and Co., He entered into a contract 
with the I.G. Baker Co to take charge of a pack train to carry provisions to Fort Holly on the Missouri, 
and guided a party of soldiers back to Fort Benton.  By this time, James William had established his 
reputation as a wagon master, and an honest trader.

In the fall of 1867 James William was freighting merchandise to Canada, and spent the winter trading 
with the Peigan Indians.  While there, he met Sarah BULL, daughter of Melting Marrow and Bird Sailing 
This Way.  

In the spring of 1868 they were married by Indian custom.  He took his bride to Fort Benton, Montana, 
where they made their home.  In the spring of 1868, Carroll and Steele Co bought the Diamond "R" 
Freighting Co., and hired James William to be there wagon master, and from that time on. James William 
was know as Diamond "R" BROWN, a nickname that stayed with him until his death.  He continued to work 
for the Diamond "R" Trading Co until 1871, at which time he entered a partnership with Joseph Kipp and 
they built their First Trading Post on the Belly River.  At this time James William located a ranch at 
8 Mile Spring, but remained there only a short time.  The following year, he and Kipp erected another 
Trading Post at High River.  In 1874, he erected another Trading Post in the Three Forks Area in Montana, 
This venture was subsidized by the American Trading Co.  Due to a change in trade routes, the store had 
to be closed and in 1875 to 1881 he entered the employment of the Hon. T.C. Poer as manager of a Trading 
Post at Fort McLeod in Canada.  Later he spent two years at Fort Benton, and then moved to Choteau, 
remaining there until 1890, three years of which time he was assistant farmer at the Old Indian Agency.

In 1893, he secured a ranch of 1,000 acres on the South Fork of the Milk River on the Blackfeet 
Reservation, where he conducted a profitable cattle business until his retirement, at which time he moved 
into Browning.

He and his wife Sarah had a very close marriage, and she and their children accompanied him to the 
various posts where he was employed.  Of this marriage, Seven children were born: Geneva-(1869) 
James William, Jr-(1872) Joseph-(1874) Gerusia-(1877) Josephine-(1880) Jesse-(1882) and Leo-(1896).
In 1891, they were able to have their marriage blessed by a Catholic Priest, at the Holy Family Mission.

When he and Sarah left the ranch to moved into Browning, their son, Jesse, and his wife moved into the 
home ranch.  James William Jr and his wife, Victoria, built their home ranch about three miles west, and 
Joseph built his ranch on Greasewood, which was about seven miles south of the home ranch.  Geneva and 
Leo made their homes in Browning.

Sarah was known as a very kind and compassionate person, who was devoted to her husband and children.  
She easily adapted to the ways of her husband, and raised her children to be upstanding citizens of good 
character.  Their home was of a warm and loving atmosphere, and theirs was a very close-knit family -- 
These traits have filtered down through the families of their children and grandchildren.

Sarah died December 12, 1912, at the age of 58 years.  Upon her death, James William made his home 
with his daughter Geneva in Browning until his death, December 23, 1927, at the age of 87 years.


NOTE: Some of the above information on James William BROWN Sr was taken from the publication titled 
"Progressive Montanans", and received from the Montana Historical Society.

Charlotte Curlee Ramsey

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