Dorothy Sloan – Books

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[BIOGRAPHY]. BROWN, James Stephens. Life of a Pioneer. Being the Autobiography of.... Salt Lake City, Utah: Geo. Q. Cannon & Sons Co., Printers, 1900. [i-iii] iv-xix [1, blank], [9] 10-520 pp., frontispiece, 1 plate. 8vo (22.3 x 15.5 cm), original brown gilt-lettered cloth. Spine with two small splits, cloth worn and faded, corners bumped, hinges open. Lightly waterstained at beginning, a few scattered stains, frontispiece with small hole. Overall, a fair copy. Only one copy at auction in over thirty years.

First edition. Clement, Mormons in the Pacific: A Bibliography 148. Cowan II, p. 77. Eberstadt 104:29; Flake 900. Graff 135. Howell 50:329. Howes B849. Kurutz 86. Mattes 1663. Norris 410. Plath 110. Randall 65. Rocq 1811. Wheat, Books of the Gold Rush, 22.

Brown’s experiences as part of the Mormon Battalion are covered on pp. 25-90. He writes from the perspective of the common soldier, complaining about such things as bad officers and expressing relief when Cooke assumes command. He also complains about the legendary Dr. G.B. Sanderson, also complained of in other accounts: “He proved to be so cruel and tyrannical as to incur the ill-will of every man in the command” (p. 31). He quips that by the time the men were fully equipped they were too overloaded to either march or fight.

Brown (1828-1902), as member of the Mormon Battalion, crossed the plains and reached California in early 1847. After the war, he joined with Marshall and Sutter in the erection of the mill at Coloma. It was he who was with Marshall when the first metal was discovered, and to whom remains the honor of having been the first man to declare it to be gold. Brown returned to Salt Lake City in June, 1848, but returned to the California gold fields in 1849 and 1850 (travelling via the Southern Route). A goodly portion of this autobiography covers Brown’s activities as a Mormon missionary in the South Seas (especially Tahiti), sailing there from California in April, 1850. Later in life he was appointed President of the Society Island Missions.


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