On the Sioux Trail: Joseph R. Brown

U.S. – Dakota War of 1862, Part IX

Joseph R. Brown circa 1853

Joseph Renshaw Brown was a politician, trader, businessman and Indian Agent. Born in Pennsylvania in 1805, Brown would marry Susan Freniere, a member of the Sisseton tribe of the Dakota.

Joseph R. Brown Wayside rest
The Joseph R. Brown Wayside Park near Sacred Heart, MN

Joseph Brown had built a mansion of a home after losing his post as Indian Agent in 1861. The three story, pink granite structure overlooked the Minnesota River Valley, near what is now Sacred Heart.
Brown was away from Minnesota on business when the Dakota warriors raided his home early in the War of 1862. Brown’s wife and 11 children were taken captive, but were not harmed due to her Dakota heritage. The Brown’s three-story home was then set ablaze and the mansion was gutted by the fire.

Brown home ruins

Brown’s family was later released with the rest of the captives at Camp Release.

Brown house ruins

The granite ruins of the impressive home still possess a beautiful view of the Minnesota River Valley. The site is now a state wayside park along Renville County Road 15 near Sacred Heart.

Joseph Brown monument
The Joseph R. Brown monument in Brown Cemetery near Henderson, MN

Joseph Brown died in New York in 1870, and was buried in Henderson, MN.

About icefogger

Just a basic, down to Earth, laid back type of guy here, who loves the outdoors, the indoors, jazz on the turntable, a fire in the woodstove, the northern lights blazing across the sky, and the company of good friends. View all posts by icefogger

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