Nancy Williams was born April
15, 1827 in Crawfordsville, Indiana. She was one of three sisters, daughters
of Edward and Nancy Williams of Pennsylvania. (The Williams and Brown families
were on the 1850 Champaign County Illinois Census.) She and
John were married September 26, 1847 Wheaton, Illinois. Their first two
children were born there:
|Elias Edward||b. Sept. 3, 1848||d. Feb. 24, 1926||m. Candice Pickett|
|Charles Henry||b. Nov. 6, 1850||d. July 1, 1946||m. Mary Longenfeld|
The other children were all
Californians, born in Del Norte County:
|David A.||b. Aug. 3, 1855||d. Nov. 7, 1937||m. Edith M. Nedry|
|Frank Frederick||b. Jan. 1, 1858||d. Sep. 28, 1916|
|Sarah J.||b. Apr. 1, 1860||d. Apr. 9, 1860|
In 1869, John Brown bought 480 acres of land on the south side of Cottonwood Creek. This included a hotel, a tavern, general merchandise store and a toll bridge with the right to collect tolls from people who wanted to come to Shasta County or leave. The cost was $1.00 for a six horse team and $.50 for two horses. He also became Cottonwood's Postmaster.
When Jacob Foster negotiated with the Central Pacific to locate the Cottonwood depot on the north side of Cottonwood Creek, in 1872, John began to sell off the property. The hotel became the Barry farmhouse; the north half of the bridge was sold to Shasta County and the north half of the bridge was sold to Shasta County and the south end to Tehama County.
John and Nancy, with the younger boys, moved to San Leandro, but Elias and Charles had ranches near Cassel. In 1879, John bought a ranch near Ball's Ferry which he let Wes manage and in 1884 he purchased the Crystal Lake Ranch from son Charles. He sold a half interest in the ranch to his sons, Frank and William.
In 1886, Nancy's brothers-in-law, the Culbertsons, were the first to bring Hereford cattle from England. They notified their California relatives and Wes arranged to have a freight-car load delivered to Redding so Shasta County was one of the early places to raise Herefords.
John died at their home in Cassel August 14, 1901 and Nancy died there on January 18, 1902. Many of their descendants still reside in Shasta County, and like them have contributed to its growth.
Source: Shasta Historical Society - May 1997