The Toll Road

One of the historic roads built in 1861 was the John Brown Toll Road. It was established to connect the desert with the outside world. John Brown, Sr., was a man of great activity and spent a long life helping the desert to advance. When San Bernardino was made a county he was one of the first legislators. He had been a member of Fremont's expedition at one time. His Toll Road was twelve miles long and was a vital link in the progress of the desert country. With Henry Willis and George L. Tucker of San Bernardino, Brown secured a twenty-year franchise for operating the road. The road came through Cajon Pass to the floor of the desert and connected with the Van Dusen Road built from Holcomb Valley to the desert. After operating the Toll Road for eighteen years, Brown leased it out for the two remaining years. Afer that the road became a free county road. John Brown, Sr., was a colorful character. He was a miner, cattleman, road builder, and tireless in his activities in building for the desert's future. He lived to a good old age. He had ten children; four of them were boys who, in maturity owned land in the desert.'

(Ellsworth A. Sylvester, Mohahve, No. II (Mohahve Historical Society, 1964).)
The Mojave River and its Valley -- Erma Peirson