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Reed Charley Finds Indian Artifacts on Grandfather’s Homestead


The community of Brownsboro east of Eagle Point, Ore., takes its name from an early settler, Henry Brown, who received a Donation Land Claim on Little Butte Creek in the early 1850s.  He hunted and raised cattle in the Brownsboro area and sold the meat to Jacksonville miners. 

In 1854, Brown returned to his home in Wisconsin to fetch a new wife to Oregon. 

Together, the Browns accumulated more land until the homestead was more than three miles long. Brown was friendly with area Indians, arranging for one of them to watch over the cattle and horses when Brown was away from the ranch.  

Brown’s grandson, Reed Charley, born on the family homestead in 1897, nearly 40 years after most native people were forcibly removed from the Brownsboro area, discovered signs of Indian habitation still visible in the early 1900s.  Stone utensils were left on the ground as well as tool-making shards.  Several round home sites, with the dirt still scooped out from the center, marked the spot of the Indians’ winter camp. 

The ranch has been partitioned over the years, but many of the Browns’ descendants still live in the area today.

Sources: Atwood, Kay. Recollections: People and the Forest, Oral History Interviews. Vol. 1: Rogue River National Forest, 1980. Print.

Amy Couture has a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Oregon, a master’s in teacher education from Eastern Oregon University, and a master’s in history from Minnesota State University, Mankato.  A former teacher and cross-country coach, she is the author of 14 historical vignettes in the book, Astorians: Eccentric and Extraordinary.