Salem Pioneer Cemetery ~ Isaac Brown ~ part of the Marion County Pioneer Cemeteries of Oregon
Isaac Brown
BORN: Bet. 1800 - 1808 DIED: Oct 1881 BURIED: 17 Oct 1881
BIRTH PLACE:  Maine or New York
DEATH PLACE: Salem, Marion Co., Oregon
IOOF Register: 17 Oct. 1881, Lot number not given, Brown, Isaac, age 73, death due to dissapation and old age, died at Mr. Woodworth's in south Salem, nativity not known; remarks: deceased lived on an island, a short distance above Salem, which takes it's name and is known as, Brown's Island. [Brown's Island was in Polk Co., prior to the flood of 1861 when the main channel changed course. It is now in Marion Co. ]

Isaac Brown, age 60, b. in NY and listed as a seaman in the 1860 census of Gold precinct, Polk County, Oregon. Isaac Brown is shown as owning real estate valued at $500 in 1860. 

The 1880 census shows an Isaac Brown, single, age 72, b. in Maine (parents in New Hampshire) and a farmer. 

SAGA OF WHISKEY BROWN TOLD BY PIONEER ED CROISAN (Whiskey Brown, Founder of Brown's Island, remembered by the son of pioneer Donation Land Claimers G. H. and E. Croisan)
 "Those early Salem Brown," Ed Croisan mused, "Yes, I remember som of them." Then Ed, who is truly a pioneer and among the oldest residents (he was born near Salem, March 27, 1855), lifted the veil of time to reminisce about those Browns who were characters about town 60 and 70 years ago. Now there was "One-arm" Brown, who signed his name O. A. Brown. He carried the stump of his arm in a sling. He was fastidious and esteemed fair ladies. At one time he was a marshal working under the Indian agent and his duties seemed to consist of riding around looking for wayward Indians who had fled the reservation and come to town for a frolic. Then there was "Post Hole" Brown, an industrious citizen who gained his cognomen as a result of hard work digging post holes. When Ed became sheriff of Marion county in 1888, Post Hole Brown was janitor at the court house.
Here 80 Years Ago 
Most illustrious of all the Browns was Whiskey Brown

He attained his nickname because of his inordinate appetite for whiskey, and to distinguish him from less bibulous Browns. Isaac was his real name, but he got his cognomen early and it remained until the end. Whiskey Brown was prominent 80 years ago. 
What Ed Croisan has forgotten about him is recalled by C. B. Woodworth, whose recollections about Brown's island were published by Earle Richardson as "Polk County Pioneer Sketches." 
Isaac Brown was a seafaring man and last sailed on the bark Mindora. On January 12, 1853, she struck on Sand island and went to pieces. Brown acquired one of the ship's boats, loaded his dunnage aboard and started rowing up the Columbia. He rowed and rowed some more and finally reached what is now called Brown's island in the Willamette south of Salem. There he decided to remain and build himself a cabin. Danger of flood impressed Isaac Brown. 
Prudently enough he built his cabin on stilts seven or eight feet above ground. In addition, he constructed a scow of ample size and always kept it caulked and water tight. If a freshet threatened his cabin he could go aboard his scow and ride out the flood. And the flood did come. Rampant and swooshing, it came to roll over Brown's island in December, 1861. Old Man Brown loaded his livestock and all his possessions aboard his ark and sat through the flood in security, if not in comfort. 
Weary Dog Surprised Them 
Neighbor Joe Menoir and his family didn't fare so well. Whiskey Brown's cabin on stilts and the scow had always seemed a little silly to Joe Menoir. Now things appeared differently. Joe and his wife were frantically trying to build a raft upon which they hoped to drift until rescued. Whiskey Brown was not perturbed. He didn't like the Menoir family too well. A rescue party moved the Menoir family of two adults and two infants, and the raft approached Salem. Joe hastened to the Croisan place. It was dark and the terrible flood was the living room discussion. A feeble scratch was heard on the outside door. When it was opened, Menoir's exhausted dog, who had been abandoned when the family took to the raft, staggered in. He had swum the raging torrent to reach shore more dead than alive. Therafter Menoir's dog remained in the Croisan family. Whiskey Brown grew garden truck and his melons were far famed. Ed recalls that the boys used to raid Brown's melon patch and otherwise harass him. His melons were delicious and it was fun to hear him shout and swear. On one occasion their deviltries exceeded human endurance and Whiskey Brown whanged away at his tormentors with a muzzle loader. One of the shots clipped the posterior of a mount and the boys let Brown alone for a while. "You Know, " Ed mused philosophically, "Brown was both a producer and a consumer. Money was just a medium of exchange between garden truck and whiskey." 
Used Foresight on Sprees 
An ordinary "bit" drink didn't satisfy Whiskey Brown. He tossed down two bit's worth at a time. His sprees were glorious, sustained and impressive. Even so, he was just as foresighted about his jags as he had been about high water. When market day was over he loaded his skiff with enough supplies to last a while and then cut loose. 
"Cussin" was a fine art with Whiskey Brown. He knew how to accent and embellish all the words and, besides, had a fine repertoire of foreign profanity. When he became well loaded, and decided to give an exhibition in cussing, delicate ears were muffled and children taken indoors. Yet, Whiskey Brown was not a bad man or a misanthrope. He was industrious in growing garden truck. He was no deadbeat. Woodworth affirms he was very hospitable, generous, a good entertainer and a first class liar. 
Whiskey Brown had many visitors, but not everyone cared to remain for dinner. His bed was home-made and consisted of a mattress of sheep's skins with the wool left on. His unwashed pillow was an old dunnage bag stuffed with feathers. And his dishes--well, they never got washed. His coffee cup never faded from Woodworth's memory. It was colored like a meerschaum pipe after excessive usage. From the rim down to the coffee level it was caked with grounds. On one side a crescent shaped white place indicated where Brown sipped. 
Died Looking at Rafters 
Log rafters sometimes tied up at the island and spent the night swigging Brown's whiskey or their own. Indians were familiar with his hospitality and their canoes often pulled up at the island. Brown grew his own tobacco and swapped it with the tribesmen for pelts. 
Whiskey Borwn was a strong, well preserved man, but old age was creeping upon him. On September 20, 1873, he deeded his interest in Brown's island to W. G. Woodworth for a consideration of $500. He realized, perhaps, that the end was near. "One day," Woodworth recalls in the Polk County Pioneer Sketches, "Brown came staggering to our home in Salem (in 1873 the Woodworths lived on Commercial street between Oak and Leslie) deathly sick. We put him in a room, but he was not satisfied. He wanted a place where he could see the rafters. We made him a bed in the loft of the barn where he could hear the cow chewing her cud and the chickens cackling. He was contented but lived only a few days. His name is perpetuated in Brown's island." 
Ben Maxwell column;Capital Journal, 9 February 1946 
and reproduced in ILLUS. MEMOIRS & HISTORY OF THE LIVESLEY-- ROBERTS COMMUNITY: 1840's to 1940's by Doug Chambers p. 9 and 10
No Oregon Statesman for 1881
No marker
IOOF Register 
1860 Census of Gold pct, Polk Co., Oregon 
1870 Census The 1880 Census of Eola, Polk Co., OR, pg. 461-A 
Chambers, Doug, Comp., ILLUS. MEMOIRS & HISTORY OF THE LIVESLEY-ROBERTS COMMUNITY: 1840's TO 1940's pg 9, 10