Native Americans

  • Scenes from a Western Journey: Excerpts from John Mason Brown’s 1861 diary

    By Sara Elliott, Director

    Map RouteMap showing the route taken by John Mason Brown on his trip to the Northwest in 1861, The Filson Club History Quarterly, 1950.

    John Mason Brown, the son of Mason and Mary Yoder Brown, was born at Liberty Hall in April 1837. A graduate of Yale, Brown taught school in Frankfort, worked for the Kentucky Geological Survey, studied law and shortly after being admitted to the Kentucky bar, followed his half-brother, Benjamin Gratz Brown, to St. Louis in 1860.

    Brown was interested in history, geology, geography, and languages. Therefore, it is not surprising that the lure of the west—the west that Lewis and Clark had seen a little over 50 years before—would lead him on a six-month adventure that, fortunately for us, he chronicled in his diary.