Saturday, February 08, 2014

Requiem for a Sheriff

There is a mystery surrounding
Sheriff Brown:  No known photo
has ever been found of him...yet

He has become an icon of our local history.  Much of that is thanks to his young cousin, Charles Walker.

Sheriff Charles J. Brown, popularly known as Charley Brown, came from a distinguished family.  He chose the life of a warrior.  First as a Union soldier in the Civil War, later as a soldier posted at Fort Pembina, and finally as Sheriff of Pembina.

He only lived to age 39, but he packed a lot of living into those years.  I, for one, am glad he shared 14 years of them with us.

NOTE:  What you read below, is thanks to new information shared by Jim Benjaminson...

Resolution of Respect & Condolences
County Commissioners Proceedings
Tuesday, Oct. 7th, 1884
Page 200
Whereas, it has pleased God to remove from our midst our late sheriff Charles J. Brown. It is but just that a fitting recognition of his many virtues should be had. 
Whereas, we the Board of County Commissioners of Pembina County, Dakota Territory on behalf of the people of said county decree it a fitting tribute to his memory that the following resolutions be placed upon the Records of this Board, therefore be it. 
Resolved, that in the death of Charles J. Brown our late sheriff the community has lost a good and faithful officer who his served this county efficiently in the capacity of Sheriff for the past eight years and that the county has lost one of its chief public officers who could always be relied upon to perform his duties without fear, favor, or partiality. 
Resolved, that the heartfelt sympathy of this board be extended to his bereaved Mother in her affliction. 
Resolved, that these resolutions be placed upon the records of this Board and a copy thereof be transmitted to the Mother of the deceased.
County Commissioners Proceedings
Tuesday, Oct. 7th, 1884
Page 201

Moved by J. D. Wallace, seconded by J. J. Hurley, that Mr. W. S. Thomson be appointed sheriff of this county to fill the vacancy caused by the death of the late C. J. Brown.  For the motion J. D. Wallace and J. J. Hurley; against the motion F. C. Myrick & Chas. McLeod. 
Moved by Chas. McLeod & seconded by F.C. Myrick that John Kabernagle be appointed sheriff of this county to fill the vacancy caused by the death of the late C. J. Brown. For the motion F. C. Myrick & Chas. McLeod; against the motion J. D. Wallace & J. J. Hurley. 
As reported by the Pioneer Express (but missing from the commissioner proceedings)
County Commissioners Proceedings
Wednesday, Oct. 8, 1884

Afternoon session – Moved that John Kabernagle be appointed sheriff of Pembina County to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Chas. J Brown – carried. 
Pioneer Express, October 8, 1884 – “Around Town” column – W. S. Thomson has been appointed deputy sheriff. 
Same – J. Kabernagle, who has been acting as deputy sheriff for several months past, has been appointed sheriff of Pembina County, to fill out the term of the late C. J. Brown.
Obituary Notice
Pembina Pioneer Express
October 10, 1884 Vol. VI No. 11
Page 5

Chas. J. Brown

Although for weeks the demise of C. J. Brown was looked for almost hourly, yet the news of his death last Saturday evening cast a gloom over the town and county. Looking back a few short months it seems but yesterday when we saw him in full health and vigor, attending to the duties of his office as sheriff of Pembina County, but the place that knew him once will know him no more.

The subject of the sketch was born at Berlinsburg, West Virginia August 14, 1845. His father, Thos. Brown, was sheriff of Berkely County, W. Virginia for twelve years and his grandfather on his mother’s side, was Admiral Boarman, of the U.S. Navy. In 1861 he enlisted as a soldier and served until the end of the war and although he fought in many bloody battles, was captured and imprisoned, he escaped without a wound. At the close of the war he engaged in mercantile pursuits in his native state, but only for a year, when he again enlisted as a soldier at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, his regiment being transferred to Fort Pembina in the year 1870.

In 1875 he left the army and his subsequent life in Pembina County is too well known to require further detail. The funeral last Monday was very largely attended, people assembling from all parts of the county to show their respect for the deceased.

The body was interred with Masonic honors, and a company of soldiers from Fort Pembina also joined the procession. Of Chas. J. Brown it may be said, he had many friends and few enemies. In his official capacity he never showed a disposition to render any harsher the decrees of law which it was his duty to execute. With pronounced criminals he was decided and prompt in his treatment, but an element of misfortune always awakened his sympathy and consideration.