The doctor came to Madera in April 1877, when the town was just six months old. The young, upstart village then consisted of 25 buildings, most of them dwellings. It could hardly compare with the mining community of Buchanan, from whence C.E. Brown came, but it had promise. That’s why he decided to become and remain Madera’s first physician.
When Dr. Brown walked up the trail that was to become Yosemite Avenue on that April afternoon, it was already adorned by two saloons. Charley Strivens had a comfortable, neatly finished watering hole, and right next door was Mr. Sanford’s smaller establishment. Dr. Brown decided to put the latter out of business by buying him out.
Once Sanford’s saloon belonged to him, Dr. Brown took every bottle of whiskey out of the building and poured the contents out into the street. The dust and dirt of Yosemite Avenue quickly absorbed the liquor in that terrible drought year. Brown turned the former saloon into a pharmacy and proceeded to tend to the ills of Madera’s pioneer residents.
Brown had been born in 1848, in the city of Manchester, England. When he was seven years of age, his family moved to Canada. During his youth, he spent most of his time on the family farm...