The Founders

James Henry Brown

James Henry Brown

James Henry Brown was born on September 5, 1855 to William Curtis and Elizabeth Bucher Brown in Adrian, Michigan. William was born in Connecticut and moved to New York early in life. Elizabeth and William BrownElizabeth was born in Canton, New York. Soon after their marriage, they moved to Michigan to farm. By 1859 the small family had moved back to New York where James received his education in the public schools of Corning, New York.

His early working career began with employment by The Newark News Company in New Jersey. Later he was transferred to a related concern, the Western News Company of Chicago. He was there only six months when he accepted a position in Echo, Utah with the Beckwith Commercial Company who owned stores in Utah and Wyoming.


James H. was promoted quickly to head bookkeeper at the Echo store and was summoned by A.C. Beckwith via telegram on March 18, 1885 to go to Rock Springs, Wyoming.

James enjoyed a successful business career in Rock Springs and was also elected to the last Wyoming Territorial Legislature in November of 1888. Wyoming was granted statehood in March of 1890.

While in Rock Springs, James befriended Dr. E.D. Woodruff. Woodruff came to Rock Springs as a physician/surgeon with the Union Pacific Railroad and Union Pacific Coal Company. Both James and Dr. Woodruff left Rock Springs in 1890 and headed to Salt Lake where James joined Woodruff's enterprise.

In 1883, in a growing Salt Lake City, a firm by the name of Bast, Terry and Woodruff began the Troy Laundry. In addition to the laundry, they also established a haberdashery.Utah, A Centennial History Both enterprises were located at 142 South Main Street. When James made the move to Salt Lake he joined the firm and the name was changed to Brown, Terry and Woodruff. Soon after the formation of the new partnership, the haberdashery moved to 166 South Main Street and the Troy Steam Laundry to 431 South 6th East.

Brown, Terry and Woodruff realized tremendous success with the Troy Steam Laundry as it grew to be one of the largest laundry facilities west of the Mississippi and at times employed upwards of 300 people.

Troy Laundry 1913
Troy Laundry in 1913 with motorized delivery wagons
Salt Lake Tribune, Jan 1, 1894
Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1894

James also developed interests in many other endeavors. He was listed as an incorporator and stockholder of the Great Salt Lake Natural Mineral Water Company (October 9, 1892), the Cooper Pharmacy (or Pharmacal) Company (November 7, 1907) and mining enterprises in the Tintic Mining District (Juab County, Utah).James's wife, Leoline, made several diary references to James' travels to the Tintic area.

After 17 years of operating the leading haberdashery in Salt Lake City, Brown Terry and Woodruff sold the store to Fife and Company in 1907 and concentrated their efforts on the continued growth of the Troy Laundry.Leoline's Diary entry, September 5, 1907.

James H. Brown was active in social and community circles as well. He was a long time Mason being initiated in April of 1899. He was his Lodge Master in 1904, elected to Junior Grand Warden in the Grand Lodge of Utah in 1905 and became Grand Master in 1908. He was also a member of the Rotary, Commercial and Alta Clubs.

James H. Brown died on January 31, 1932 in Salt Lake City, Utah following cancer surgery. He was buried in Los Angeles, California.

Leoline Woodmansee Brown

Leoline Woodmansee Brown

"...so long as I have known her she has been a perfect example of this, to me, unattainable dignity, of knowing how to keep herself thoroughly in hand, that no circumstance could induce her to express an unworthy feeling."This is an excerpt from a letter dated December 24, 1916 from Susan Stokes to Leoline's sisters, Winifred and Ethel, consoling them following Leoline's death. The entire letter can be seen in Appendix C.

Leoline was born on March 1, 1863 in Salt Lake City to Joseph and Lavinia Hawkins Woodmansee. She was the third of eight children born to the Mormon pioneer couple.

Joseph and Lavinia Woodmansee
Joseph & Lavinia Woodmansee
Joseph had two other wives, eventually 13 children with those wives and was a devout Mormon in good standing. Lavinia had immigrated at age 20 to Utah with her Mormon family from England in 1852. Although she remained married to Joseph until his death in 1899, Lavinia drifted from the grip of the Mormon Church, embraced Christian Science and passed that sentiment on to her children.

So, even though born of originally strong and prominent Mormon parents, Leoline and her siblings did not embrace the Mormon faith. Leoline attended and graduated as valedictorian from the Episcopal St. Mark's School in 1881.

After graduation, Leoline taught school in a small, one room building in Echo, Utah.

Echo School House
Echo School House still standing in 2008 and used as a museum
Echo is near the north end of Echo Reservoir in Summit County west of the current junction of I-80 and I-84. Between 1854 and 1861 a stage station, Pony Express office and a telegraph company were established so the town of Echo became an important communication and travel stop. It rose to even more importance in 1868 when the Union Pacific Railroad came through pushing the community into a modern-day railroad boomtown.

It was while in Echo that Leoline met James H. Brown. They wed on October 24, 1883 at St. Mark's Cathedral in Salt Lake City.

Much of Leoline's time after marriage was spent in Salt Lake City while James worked and lived in Echo. She gave birth to their first child, James Creighton, on August 20, 1884 in Salt Lake City. Considerable correspondence between Leoline and James exists from those early years of their union. In 1885 James was transferred to Rock Springs, Wyoming with the Beckwith Company. The couple's second son, Harold Ross, was born in Rock Springs on December 27, 1886 as well as a third son, Tertius, born November 21, 1888. Tertius survived 12 days.

Leoline still seemed to spend a good deal of time in Salt Lake City. Many letters were written between the couple from 1885 to 1890 when the move to Salt Lake became permanent.

Leoline gave birth to five more children after moving to Salt Lake: Edward T, November 24, 1890; Marjorie, August 4, 1893; Lavinia December 30, 1895; Elizabeth, July 3, 1899 and Leoline, January 10, 1902.

As James' business career flourished, Leoline became more settled in her life in Salt Lake. They resided at 825 South Lincoln Avenue (approx 940 East) next door to her parents, Joseph and Lavinia, at 839 Lincoln Ave. In addition to caring for her growing family, she spent considerable time reading, taking piano lessons, sewing and attending lectures and classes on various subjects. She always had hired help for housework and cooking.

Beginning in 1898 most Julys and Augusts were spent in Brighton to escape the higher temperatures of the Salt Lake Valley. Orange Drive House
164, 184 and 1784 Orange Drive, Hollywood, CA
Because of health concerns beginning in 1907, Leoline explored winters in warmer areas. 1907 was spent in California, 1908 in Moapa, Nevada and 1910 again in California. Through the next several years she would spend an increasing amount of time there, returning to Salt Lake progressively later each spring and some years not at all except for a short 2 or 3 week visit.

After 1910 her diaries and letters mention little of Brighton. In January, 1910 she and James purchased a home at 164 North Orange Drive in Hollywood, California.The address is confirmed from references in letters and diary entries. The four girls lived there with their mother and all began school. Leoline's coughing spells were becoming more frequent and vigorous. Orange Drive House
Leoline on the front porch

On March 11, 1910 Leoline wrote in her diary:

"I went to bank in morning, bought new number for house making it 184."

This new address is confirmed in the 1910 census and letters. A letter dated July 1, 1912 marks the first reference of yet another new address of 1784 Orange Drive. Hollywood was a relatively new community, becoming a municipality in 1903 and annexed into Los Angeles in 1910. Consequently, it would not be unreasonable to see restructuring and renumbering of addresses in its early, formative years. In a July 4, 1912 letter Leoline writes:

"There is no further word about the name of this street but 1784 is on the door, and Orlando is at the corner of the street."

The reference to "Orlando" is unknown. Orange Drive intersects with Franklin Blvd on the north end and Hollywood Blvd on the south end.

James received a letter dated April 14, 1910 from his niece, Dorothy Doty, who was staying with Leoline in Hollywood. The letter gives James a third party observation of Leoline's condition at the time. Dorothy was concerned that Leoline's worry of her mother's health was adversely affecting her own. Leoline's mother passed away on April, 28, 1910.

Leoline's pulmonary tuberculosis continued to progress early in 1913. She keeps James up to date on her condition in frequent letters.

April 22, 1913: "...Mrs. Stratton thought I was looking better than she had ever seen me. She attributed it to your visit. So in spite of heart (and bugs, for they were found in the analysis) I am progressing. Dr Clarke considered the analysis favorable as there were no cells found, which seems to indicate that the bugs have as yet secured no foothold, and their eradication is not so difficult."

April 28, 1913: "I do not enjoy the trips to Dr. Clarke. It is the rest and food and fresh air that is to exterminate the bugs. Her treatment will relieve the heart."

The descriptions of her condition were always brief with an obvious effort to minimize concern. Then she would elaborate on the day's activities and what was affecting their children's lives. Another topic of discussion in early 1913 was a trip to Europe that was planned for the summer. She and two of her children, Ted and Marjorie, were to leave June 1.

At this time her younger sister, Sylvia, was also suffering from tuberculosis. Their parents were deceased by now and Sylvia lived in the house at 839 Lincoln Avenue with three other sisters, Edith, Winifred and Ethel. Work was being done on the house to prepare it for sale when Leoline wrote to James:

May 1, 1913: "I wish Sylvia would change her mind and go over to 825 while the improvements are going on. I do hope she will get better soon."

Sylvia passed away on May 20 at age 41.

There are no other letters to James until June 8 when she had reached the east coast for a visit with James' siblings in Newark, New Jersey while in route to Boston to sail overseas. The only additional words referring to Sylvia were on June 22 sent from Boston simply reminiscing that the next day was Sylvia's birthday.

While initially the trip was a concern, Leoline actually felt stronger after her European adventure. On the return trip, she spent some more time in New Jersey with relatives before returning to Hollywood to supervise some remodeling on the Orange Drive house through the end of that year.

Jan 31, 1914: "I have had my last treatment for a while. It certainly makes me want to lay around for the rest of the day. I have coughed very little lately but instead have had that dreadful pain in the limbs which I used to have so much in Salt Lake and always have when I go back now, especially in the left limb Twice this week I have not been able to go to sleep until after two. Last Wednesday when I explained it to her she gave me special treatments for the sciatic nerve but I was worse that day and night than I have been yet since the treatments, but I did not cough once in the night nor on going to bed. Dr. Clarke thinks I should have at least one treatment a week but I will let it go for awhile anyway."

Feb 18, 1914: "About my health. I am steadily gaining. My heart is much stronger. I have to avoid anything that would flurry me. I have my morning cough, but not so severe. I have some during the day but I can go out with as much or more comfort than while I was abroad."

At this time the four girls; Marjorie (20), Lavinia (18), Elizabeth (14) and Leoline (12), are still living with their mother in California when not away to school. Ross and Ted work and live with James in Salt Lake. Creighton is married to Flora (Twelves) and has a 2 year old daughter named Barbara ("Bobbie") living in Los Angeles. Leoline's health seems to be stable, but she fatigues easily and tends to go out less frequently, so visitors to the house at 1784 are common.

In the summer of 1915, Leoline returned to Salt Lake for one of her last visits. James' mother, Elizabeth, was also in Salt Lake visiting her son. This was when Leoline visited Balsam Hill Cabin and Brighton for the final time. Grandma Brown accompanied Leoline back to Hollywood. In a letter dated September 21, 1915 Leoline notifies James of their safe return. In a postscript she writes:

September 21, 1915: "P.S. There is a Brighton pillow case of blankets, sheets and cases, which should be washed sometime before they are taken again to the mountains. I left it standing on the floor in the south room (my room) closet."

The photograph of she and her daughter, Elizabeth, on the front porch of the Balsam Hill Cabin was taken during that last visit.Leoline and Elizabeth
Leoline and Elizabeth. The Last Visit

Grandma Brown spent several weeks in Hollywood and then returned to Salt Lake for another extended visit with her son.Four generations
Four Generations: Grandma Elizabeth Bucher Brown,
Flora, Leoline and Barbara
Fall 1915, Hollywood, California

For well over two years, Leoline had not mentioned the status of her condition in letters. She seems quite active in California; trips to Balboa, frequent drives, considerable involvement with Creighton, Flora and Barbara and a reasonably active social life with friends. Leoline and James had even taken a month long trip to Honolulu in the spring of 1916. In a letter dated June 27, 1916, she comments on Ross' just announced engagement to Norinne Thompson, but her diary mentions nothing of the engagement until August 23rd.

August 23, 1916: "A hot day. I wrote to Norinne Thompson welcoming her to our family."

In a birthday wish letter to James dated September 3, 1916 she also states:

September 3, 1916: "I should like to be in Salt Lake for the wedding if I felt well enough to be no drawback to the gladness. I am very well today. If the scales at the door of an Owl Drug Store are to be believed, I have gained ten pounds since you were here. I have not been sleeping well but did better last night. ... Wishing you again many happy birthdays."

Her last letter in the collection is dated Oct 9, 1916. Only events of the day and a brief acknowledgement of the upcoming November 1st wedding of Ross and Norinne are spoken of.

October 9, 1916: "That was a very good picture of Norinne in Goodwin's Weekly. So the wedding is to be at the house in the evening."

Leoline felt well enough and began planning for the trip to Salt Lake and in October she purchased a garnet colored satin dress for the wedding. She boarded a train for Salt Lake on October 22, arriving the next day. She was able to enjoy some of the pre-wedding festivities, but tired easily and opted out of many. Dinners and parties honoring the couple were held daily at the Alta Club, friend's homes and the home of Norinne's parents. Leoline managed her energy and illness well in preparation for Ross and Norinne's wedding day.

November 1, 1916: "Ross' Wedding Day. Clear & fine. Ross packed, went to town back and forth. We went early to the wedding - in two relays. More beautiful presents. House decorated in rare flowers. The ceremony went off beautifully. Norinne looked very pretty in her wedding gown and veil. Ross was noble. Reception followed. House filled with friends. Supper later. I was very comfortable during the evening. Many handsome young people there as well as their parents. We got home by midnight. Ross and Norinne had gone away before that."

Until I discovered Leoline's 1916 diary, the only indication that she did, in fact, make it back to Salt Lake for the wedding was a newspaper article describing the festive affair.

Newspaper Excerpt
Newspaper Excerpt (entire article)

Diaries from the last few years of Leoline's life had been placed deeper in the closets of Kif's 39th South home than the earlier ones and I didn't discover them until a year after the first box. In the back pocket of the 1916 diary was a receipt for a blue suit she purchased in September and several small newspaper clippings consisting of a receipe for Marmalade, Ross and Norinne's wedding announcement from the Salt Lake Tribune on September 23rd, an article describing the wedding and a twenty-eight year old clipping with a handwritten date of December 4, 1888 describing the funeral service of her third born son, Tertius. When I discovered that clipping, I wondered if it had always accompanied her current diary.

James and Leoline returned to Hollywood on November 16th following Ross' wedding. Leoline continued to write in her diary almost daily, but her handwriting became strained and strayed from the disciplined structure of the past. Some days are better than others. Some days there are no entries at all. She stayed in bed much of the day and her daughters spent time reading to her. Occasionally she felt well enough to dress, with help, and join the others for meals.

Her last entry was on December 7, 1916.

December 7, 1916: "Bright and cold, some wind. My new toy, a wheeled chair, which JH bought in town yesterday, came home early this morning. It is not very comfortable, but a good and well built chair. He took me around the home in it inside, then outside the house in coat. Mrs. Stratton came over and walked about the yard with us. Flo and Barbara went to town. In PM Flo and B and girls went in Super Six with John - X-mas shopping, I suppose."

It has been said that Leoline sequestered herself in the cupola of the Orange Drive house to protect her daughters and others from contracting tuberculosis. Given her activities through November of 1916, her frequent guests and dinner parties and her attendance at the wedding, no indication of that self-imposed quarantine can be confirmed.

Leoline died in Hollywood on December 18, 1916 at the age of 53.