John was born on the O'Connor Duke Ranch in the house right by the gate. His fatherâs older brother came in as a slave. John went to school down in Lewis' Bend, the freedman community on the banks of the Santone River. John had twelve children; âOh, Lord-- Delores Dean, Charlotte, Johnny Lee, Birdie May, Dickie, Dovie, Gene, Melody, Maude Elaine, Patricia, Melvin, and Elvin.â John started working for the legendary Louis Power, watching his turkeys for a quarter a day, then went to work for the Shays watching the goats and bailing hay for fifty cents a day. The first time John worked cattle, he rode a horse âOld Stumpyâ. Old Stumpy was a bit ornery and started pitchinâ, but âeven though I had a raggedy saddle with both stirrups broke, I laid wid herâ. John then went to work for Thomas Marion O'Connor with K. J. Oliver for about two months and then went to the O'Connor Melon Creek Ranch for six months and then I went to the O'Brien Ranch in â46 and "I ainât been no further.â John was a wonderful story teller with a huge smile, always upbeat and a pleasure to work with.
K.J. Oliver - Autry.
John Brown - Autry.
K.J. Oliver - Just like you spell Gene Autry.
John Brown - Then Valerie Mae, Hanna, that was Jesse's first wife.
Jesse Jones - We got married right there where he said.. where them pens are at down there. Right there where we got married at.
John Brown - Then Shirley and Jimmy and my brother down there, Willie ...Little Willie, and Bill. And then Frank James, another baby brother, he died.
Louise O'Connor - Children?
John Brown - Oh Lord! I have twelve.
Louise O'Connor - Ok, start naming.
John Brown - Dolores Dean, Charlotte, Johnny Lee...let me get 'em straight now. Oh yeah, Birdie Mae...
K.J. Oliver - He's got so many of 'em, he can't name 'em.
John Brown - Dickie, Dovie, and Gene-that's my son. And Melody. I missed one in there. Maude Elaine, she come in there. Oh yeah, I didn't get Pat, Patricia. And then the twins, the last two, they boys; Melvin and Elvin.