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Brownsville is a small city in the southeastern corner of Houston County, in eastern Minnesota, on the Mississippi River, which forms the eastern boundary of the city and state. Wild Cat Creek flows from the west into the Mississippi River. Brownsville was settled by Job Brown in 1848. His brother, Charles Brown, his brother-in-law, James Hiner, and others came that winter. Other early settlers included George Shrof, John Whitlow, and a couple of men named Stone and Watson, who settled on a ridge to the north. Also, there was Dennis Sheehan, who came in 1853, and William Power and James Hickey, who came in 1854. John Shelly first built a few miles above the village, but later moved into town. The first building in town was made of logs, and moved to the village from an island opposite the mouth of the Root River. Charles Brown put up the first frame building in 1850, which was later used as a school house. Brown also built the first public building, used as a church and school house. In the beginning of 1855, the town had a population of about fifty but by the end of the year there were more than two hundred. The village was platted by Job and Charles Brown shortly after the county was organized, and it was incorporated in 1858. Brownsville is across the river from Stoddard, and southeast of Hokah. Other nearby communities include Chaseburg, Coon Valley, Genoa, La Crosse, Newton, and St. Joseph, Wisconsin, as well as Caledonia, Freeburg, Houston, LaCrescent, Reno, and Sheldon, Minnesota. Rochester, Minnesota is just over seventy-five miles west of Brownsville.



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