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Afe Brown (1883-1953)

Highlights of History from The Whitehorse Star

The Whitehorse Pioneer Cemetery

Whitehorse Star - Friday, July 17, 1953

Yukon Old Timer Afe Brown Passes

    The many friends throughout Yukon Territory and cities along the Pacific Coast were saddened to learn of the death of Mr. Afe Brown of Carmacks on July 6, 1953, as the result of a stroke suffered two weeks previously.

    With the passing of Mr. Brown the Yukon,loses a well experienced traveller of this northern country and a frontiersman and prospector par excellence.

    Born on August 1, 1883, the deceased came to Yukon in 1908 from his home state of Tennessee. He was employed for several years as a freighter by the White Pass & Yukon Co. For two or three summer seasons he was employed as a packer on the survey of the international boundary between Yukon and Alaska. In 1913, while serving as packer for Dr. D. D. Cairnes of the Geological Survey of Canada, news of the placer gold strike in the Chisana district of Alaska became known and Mr. Brown acquired a placer claim with Fred Best and which they sold in 1915.

    For the next few years the deceased and Frank Rae of Dawson were prospecting partners and in 1917-18, in company with Jack Lake, they went up McQuesten River and the North Fork of that stream, crossed over to the headwaters of Hart River and continued along the height of land to the International Boundary where they bade Lake goodbye, Lake continuing on into Alaska while Brown and Rae returned to Dawson.

    In May of 1919 the deceased, accompanied by Frank Rae and W. J. Langham, left Dawson on a trip that took them up the Pelly River to Pelly Banks, thence to Frances Lake Where a base camp was established. From Frances Lake trips to Sayyea and Scurvey Creeks (tributaries of the Liard River) were made and in 1921 the party crossed Hyland River and over onto the headwaters of Flat River in Northwest Territories, down Flat River to Borden Creek and on to the South Nahanni River. The party returned to Dawson in late October of 1921 after a trip lasting 30 months.

    After a short stay in the Mayo area in 1922, Mr. Brown established his home at Selkirk and married Miss Leta Van Bibber. Two sons, Allen and John, were born to this marriage.

    In 1932 the deceased acquired an equity with George Fairclough in a group of gold quartz claims on Mt. Freegold, Carmacks area. In 1944 and 1945, working with Mr. George McDade, they uncovered the vein in the vicinity of Victoria Creek, Nansen area, that they optioned to K. J. Springer and associates, Mr. Springer subsequently forming the company known as Brown - McDade Gold Mines Limited.

    The deceased is survived by his two sons, Allen and John, who operate the Brown Bros. sawmill, 30 miles south of Carmacks, one sister and three brothers residing in Tennessee and a niece now residing in Seattle.

    The funeral services were held at the Old Log Church on Thursday, July 9, 1953, the Right Reverend Bishop Greenwood officiating, and many friends of the deceased attended.

    Afe Brown is in the Yukon Prospectors Hall of Fame as co-discoverer of gold-silver showings in the Carmacks area.