Charlie Brown, born a slave in the late 1820s, came to the Brazoria County area from Virginia before the Civil War. Despite being illiterate and using an X for his mark beside his name on legal transactions, Brown acquired a vast amount of land according to the Brazoria County tax records. Between 1889 and 1910, he owned approximately 3,000 acres, including much of the land in West Columbia. He donated some parcels for area churches and schools. In 1896, Brown deeded land in School District Sixteen (Colored) within the city limits of West Columbia. This school at West Bernard and Brown Street, was the first in the community to serve African American students and was later named Charlie Brown School in his honor. Brown married Isabella, a former slave from the Dance Plantation. When he died in 1920, he owned several businesses, including grist, sugar and saw mills and the countys first cotton gin. A Houston Post article identified him as a millionaire and the wealthiest African American in the state. Brown was the single largest landowner and taxpayer in Brazoria County and was appreciated by a diverse citizenship of West Columbia. He was buried in Brown Family Cemetery at Danciger. The City of West Columbia formally honored Brown at least twice. At a special session of the City Council on February 28, 1955,, Brown Street was named for him. The city also proclaimed August 30, 2014, to be observed as Charlie Brown Day. On February 24, 2015, the State of Texas recognized Brown when the 84th Texas Legislature passed House Concurrent Resolution 58 for this man whose life and legacy are indeed worthy of tribute. His impact on his neighbors and his community continues to be felt today.

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by Texas Historical Commission #18127 of the Texas Historical Marker series

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