James Brown, Multi-Millionaire, Once Denverite Gained Riches at Leadville
James J. Brown, former Denver multi-millionaire mine owner, who became famous as one of the four original owners of the Ibex or Little Jonny mine at Leadville, Colo., died late yesterday afternoon at the home of his daughter, Mrs. George Benziger, at Hempstead, N.Y., according to telegraphic advices received by Denver friends early last night.
No information was received as to the nature of the ailment that caused Mr. Brown's death, but it was said by friends here that he had not been well for several months.
Mrs. Benziger, who before her marriage was Miss Helen Brown, was at her father's bedside when the end came, according to the advices. Lawrence Brown, the elder Brown's only son, is at present in LaJolla Calif. Mrs. Brown, who was famous as one of the survivors of the Titanic disaster in 1912, is living at her fashionable home in Newport. Mr. and Mrs. Brown had been living apart for a number of years.
Denver friends of Mr. Brown said their advices announced that his funeral will be held tomorrow at Mrs. Benziger's home at 610 Fulton Street, Hempstead, N.Y.
Mr. Brown was a long-time associate of the late John F. Campion, the late Byrd Page and A. V. Hunter, of Denver, chairman of the board of directors of the First National Bank here, president of the Carbonate National Bank of Leadville, and one of the chief stockholders of the Ibex Mining Company. These four men were the original owners of the Little Jonny mine at Leadville, which is the main property of the Ibex Mining Company. The mine was the largest gold mine in the Leadville district and developed great wealth for its owners.
Mrs. Brown, who was Miss Margaret Tobin, was returning on the Titanic from a tour of Europe when the great ship, then the largest afloat, struck an iceberg the night of April 14, 1912, and sank four hours later with a toll of 1,764 persons drowned.
Mrs. Brown was noted as the outstanding heroine of the disaster, as she personally saved lives of several helpless women, putting them in lifeboats, and refusing to go into one herself until forced by two men into the last boat to leave the ship. In the fight for existence on the ocean after leaving the sinking ship, Mrs. Brown took one of the lifeboat's oars and rowed with the men until finally rescued by the White Star liner Carpathia .
Mr. Brown was born in Wymart, Wayne County, Pa., Sept. 27, 1854 (sic) and was the son of Mr. and Mrs. James Brown of that city. As a boy, he had little money, and he found it necessary to work his own way thru the primary and high schools in his native state. When still a youth, he was attracted by the mining excitement in the Rocky mountains. I 1877 he followed the gold rush to the Black hills in the Dakotas, and two years later he moved to Colorado, settling temporarily at Georgetown.
He engaged in mining enterprises in the Gunnison district and at Aspen, and the old mining town of Ashcroft, later settling for several years in Leadville. He married in Leadville in 1886 Miss Margaret Tobin, and it was during his residence in Leadville that he, in company with Byrd Page, John Campion and A. V. Hunter, obtained the properties later known as the Little Jonny. They formed the Ibex Mining Company which developed the Little Jonny property.
Mr. Brown was also associated with the late David H. Moffat, and the late Eben Smith, in whose employ he worked for fourteen years as a mining expert. He developed many of the most valuable properties then owned by the Moffat and Smith interests. When he left their employ in 1894, he engaged in mining at Creede, giving that town its first real mining boom. From mines in Creede and several in Arizona, and from the Little Jonny, Mr. Brown gained great wealth.
Mr. Brown was a life member of the Elks at Leadville and the Denver Athletic club.