Jason Brown

Mon, Mar 30, 2020

Do You Know My Name? The Life of Jason Brown

Think you live a rugged lifestyle? Jason Brown may have you beat. He moved to Ben Lomond Mountain around 1896, and his cabin was the epitome of simple living. The cabin was thrown together with boards, there were no panes on his windows and no doors. His chairs were boxes and his bed was a bunk of boards.

His lifestyle tells you a lot, he was a minimalistic, humble, and private man. An avid pacifist, abolitionist (he was the son of the famous abolitionist John Brown), and dreamer the residents of Ben Lomond regarded him as a character.

In the 1850s, before arriving in the Santa Cruz County area, Jason Brown experimented with, as his father describes, “a ship that was to sail the air”. He rarely spoke to anyone about it for fear of being seen as a crank, but his idea was based on the movements of birds and utilizing a lighter version of a steam engine. This was all thought of a century before the Wright brothers took flight at Kitty Hawk!

At the ripe age of 90, Jason Brown passed away on a trip to New York in 1912. Alice Wilder, Jason’s adopted daughter, visited his home after his death, and asked his landlord if parts of an airplane had been found. He disbelievingly responded, “I don’t know, but there are all sorts of things scattered around this hillside, including a steam boiler with hand fittings”.

Some MAH staffers and friends were inspired by Jason's portrait and decided to recreate his iconic image at home. Show off your furry friends and be sure to tag us @santacruzmah.

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