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Samuel Brown

Samuel Brown 1902-1903

Born: May 23, 1852, in San Francisco, California

Samuel Brown was a blacksmith who came to Tempe in 1878. His father, Jeffrey Brown, was a ship's captain from Maine who settled in California in 1848 and married Bertha Braza, a Mexican woman. As a young man, Samuel worked as a blacksmith's apprentice for about five years in Los Angeles. When he came to Tempe in 1878 he started working for Charles T. Hayden. By 1883, he opened his own blacksmith shop at 6th Street and Mill, along with a partner named White. He later had a partnership with Alejandro Moraga, with a shop at 7th Street and Ash Avenue. He also operated a saloon.

Brown was actively involved in local and territorial politics. He was elected to the 20th Territorial Legislature. He then served two terms on the Tempe Town Council, from 1898 to 1904, and was Mayor of Tempe, 1902-1903. On May 4, 1903, he resigned as Mayor to take the position of Town Marshal. At the time, the marshal also served as the tax collector and supervisor of streets. He served in that position until 1912. Brown was also on the Board of Trustees for both the Tempe Elementary School District and the Tempe Union High School District.

Samuel Brown was also an important Mexican-American leader. In 1897, he helped organize Lodge No. 5 of the Alianza Hispano-Americana (Spanish-American Alliance). This organization helped protect the legal rights of Hispanic people throughout the Southwest, and fought against segregation and racial discrimination. Samuel Brown served as Supreme President of the Tucson-based Alianza Hispano-Americana for 26 years, from 1902 to 1927.

Samuel Brown married Bertha Gallardo in Los Angeles, California, in 1878.

Brown's home, now known as the Brown/Strong House, still stands at 604 S. Ash Avenue. He lived there from about 1883 until 1905.