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The History Mystery #53

By Roger Mitchell —

A few years ago, I was attending a wedding reception, talking to a gentleman who seemed to be very knowledgeable regarding Madera County history. Somehow the subject of the oldest dwelling structure in what is now Madera County came up. I had researched that very subject once, and I felt confident when I expressed the view that it was the old Jeremiah Brown House.

Although it has been modified and altered over the years, the basic structure of the old Brown home and Way Station still stands today. The gentleman I was telling this to smiled, and said he agreed with all of my facts, except one. He claimed the old Brown house was the second oldest residence in today’s Madera County.

History Mystery #53 Brown house in 2006

In 1853 Brown brought his wife and their young daughter down the badly rutted wagon road, the first North-South “thoroughfare” in the valley. It connected Stockton and Rootville (Millerton). They stopped at a little spring that is now on the Wide Awake Ranch, and made camp for the night.

In the morning, they decided they liked the place so much that they built a house and a Way Station there where weary travelers could stop, rest for a while, and perhaps, even enjoy one of Mrs. Brown’s good home cooked meals.

The great mystery is, was he correct? Is the Brown house truly the second oldest surviving residence in Madera County? If anyone can shed any light on this matter, please tell us in the comments below, or on the Facebook site for Sierra News Online.

You can also call 559-676-5228 to pass on any information.

Roger Mitchell
Fresno Flats Historical Park & Museum

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The History Mystery #52

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