b.17 Dec 1919 - d. 01 Aug 2003
James Fate Brown was born on a cold December day in 1919 in what was called the "Middle Hege House" in Beersheba Springs. He was the youngest of four children born to Henry and Anna Medley Brown. Henry Brown was known as a builder of some repute and build many homes and local landmarks, some of which are standing today: including the Beersheba Springs Library and Coalmont United Methodist Church. In the 1920's Henry took his family where there was work and soon the family was living in the Red Bank neighborhood of Chattanooga. When the Depression hit the Browns lost their beautiful home in Chattanoonga and, as a result, the family returned to their home on Beersheba Mountain.
Young Jamie was a good student - he was bright and a hard worker. Consequently, he was accepted to college in Johnson City. It was a rare thing, indeed, for a mountain boy to be going to college during the Depression. Before finishing, however, James had to return to the mountain to help support his family during the hard times of the 1930's.
While in Johnson City, James met his first wife, Clera Baskin of Murfreesboro. They married in 1942, had one daughter, Carolyn Marie, and subsequently divorced a few years later. After this, James lived with his mother, Anna and sister, Margaret in the family home on State Highway 56 in Beersheba.
In 1957 a devastating fire swept through Beersheba, destroying many buildings. The family home had been among those lost in the fire. After this, the people of Beersheba realized their need for a volunteer fire department. James convinced the city to purchase a fire engine and he and his brother, Carlos, went to Soddy Daisy to buy Beersheba's first fire engine.
In 1958, while on business in Chattanooga, James met a lovely young secretary, Odessa Morris, who was to become his wife, best friend and soul mate of 40 years. James and Odessa and their shop "Cumberland Supply" quickly became local landmarks in Beersheba Springs. The Browns' shop not only offered saddles, appliances and plumbing and electrical supplies to the community - a smile, a joke and a friendly conversation were always on offer too.
After retiring from business, James remained a vibrant and active focal point of the community from his home on the Backbone Road for many years. James and Odessa enjoyed their two grandsons and four great-grandchildren. James also enjoyed horses, motorcycles and working in his leather shop. Belts and keychains made by James Brown have found their way all over the United States. He was also a loyal and active member of Coalmont United Methodist Church and Sewanne Lodge F&AM. As age began to make horseback riding more challenging, James turned his interest to buggies. Hundreds of kids, young and old have spend untold hours of happiness riding in Mr. Jamie's buggies. James Brown was known by all for his humor, wisdom, kindness and quiet generosity.
James Brown died on August 1, 2003, after a long and useful life surrounded by family and friends, much loved and greatly missed.