Samuel Brown was born in Tennessee in 1828. Earliest records indicate that Brown had served as Merced County Coroner for three terms, prior to his becoming the Democratic candidate for sheriff in the election of 1869. Brown won the election and served from 1870 through 1872. He attempted to run again but lost his party’s endorsement to A. J. Meany, an “up and comer.” Brown made another run at the position again in 1877, but Meany had firmly established himself in local politics and retained the office of Sheriff.
Brown had married Miss Lucy Walker in December of 1875 and contemporary ads of the time show that he owned an oyster house and restaurant on Front (16th) Street and the Provision Market on L (Canal) Street.
An article in the Merced Express reported that Samuel Brown had left to live in Bodie, California in June of 1879. He is not mentioned in the 1880 census. There is some speculation that he returned to Merced and opened another store. There is no record that he ever held another public office.
From the Merced Express, June 21, 1879:
Sam Brown, John Judge, and G. F. Lawrence bade their many friends' good-bye last Thursday and left for Bodie, where they expect to permanently locate.