Brown was an early mill operator in Wheeler County
Robert Theodore (R.T.) Brown was born on Oct. 29, 1853 in Maryland. Little is known of his childhood. He moved to California in 1878. After spending a few years in California, he moved to Oregon in 1882. He met and soon married Laura Johnson on April 13, 1884. Laura was born on Oct. 11, 1863 in Samona County, California. They had four children.
The family moved to Kahler Basin, located about seven miles north of Spray. They established a homestead. They remained at their homestead until 1907 when Robert and his son, Arley, established a sawmill in the Six Shooter vicinity near Richmond, Oregon. They operated the mill until about 1910. Many local homestead homes were constructed from lumber milled at this mill.
In 1910, the mill was moved near Antone, Oregon, on the George Trosper Ranch. Robert built a house for his family nearby. A diminishing timber supply resulted in the mill being moved a few miles south to the Erikson Ranch. R.T. had rather modern mill operations for the time. He had planer equipment and dry kilns. Most of the labor at the mill was done by family members. The individual mills cut about 12,500 board feet per day. Most of the lumber cut was used by local homesteaders and ranchers for building construction.
The Antone mill operated until 1929. At that time, R.T. retired and Arley continued the sawmill business and moved the mill to Mountain Creek, further south. Shortly after retiring, R.T. became ill and he passed away on Feb. 2, 1930. He was buried in the Dayville Cemetery. His son continued operating a mill on Mountain Creek until 1935, when the family moved. Laura lived on for several years and passed away on Aug. 10, 1954. She is buried next to R.T. in the Dayville Cemetery.
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