Martinez Historical Society

Cemetery Tour of Martinez


brownvaultThomas A. Brown

Brown Vault - Thomas A. Brown, an engineer, was hired by Col. Smith to survey and plot the city of Martinez for a fee of $2,500. He did this with the help of his brother Warren. Five years earlier, Thomas had laid out the City of Portland, Oregon Territory. Following the Smith assignment, he was hired by the William Welch heirs to survey another 500 acres east of Alhambra Creek to be added to the new city. He received nearly 1/3 of the land surveyed as payment. Thomas was a partner in a trading post located in town. He was appointed Alcalde of the territory in 1849 and was elected first County Clerk and Recorder when Contra Costa County was formed in 1850. He retired from that post in 1855 to become a County Supervisor. While serving as County Clerk, he studied law and was admitted to practice in 1855. He became a County Judge in 1856, and served until he was elected to the Assembly in 1864 where he served 2 terms. When the Superior Court was created, he became the first Superior Court Judge (a post he held until just weeks before his death). His father and mother lie in the grave immediately to the right.