Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


James A. Brown, a wholesale bulb grower, of Brown's Bulb Ranch in Santa Cruz county, is an exceptionally energetic man of affairs, whose particular enterprise, in which he has attained to enviable success, is more than ordinarily interesting. He was born at Noblesville, Indiana, July 20, 1882, the son of Alonzo and Jennie Stafford Brown, the former, now a highly esteemed retired financier, having been president of the Wainwright Trust Company from 1901 to 1919. Major Wainwright founded the bank and early induced Mr. Brown to associate himself with it, so that he was connected with the institution, all in all, for thirty-four years.

For a while James A. Brown attended the public schools of Noblesville, Indiana, and after coming to California when he was seventeen years of age, he continued his studies at Santa Rosa. When twenty-one years of age, he found employment in the hardware business, first at Healdsburg and later at Santa Rosa, and for four years he was manager of the Consolidated Vehicle Company, with a home in San Francisco. In 1912 he came to Santa Cruz and erected his first buildings, being first engaged in the growing of berries. Gradually, he drifted into the growing of bulbs, and now he is the largest grower here and one of the largest in the country, with a very extensive investment. To get fertilizer for his bulbs, he bought a few cows; and thus, more or less unintentionally, he found himself dairying. Today, he has one of the finest registered Guernsey herds in the state, and the milk of this herd is in such demand that it is served on the dining cars of the principal railroads in California and also in adjacent states. This herd also has two of the finest cows in California, and they have taken many ribbons. In his business Mr. Brown employs forty people. He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and belongs to the Rotary Club. He is fond of dairy shows and takes his stock to them. He grows begonia bulbs but specializes in gloximias, which he imported from Europe, thus becoming a pioneer grower. Recently, he has added an ice cream plant to his business, to make that popular product in wholesale quantities.

Mr. Brown was married in Noblesville, Indiana, to Miss Rura Roberts, of that state, who is an accomplished lady and vies with her husband in social popularity. They have two children: Allen, who was graduated from the Santa Cruz high school and is now attending college at Pullman, Washington; Worth, a student in the Santa Cruz high school. Allen was a champion among high school athletes on the coast.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.