AUGUST 23, 1975


Born September 12, 1913, in Porter Hill, Rhode Island (RI), Brown left school after 7th grade.  His tribal name meant “Deerfoot.” His nickname, “Tarzan,” was due to his athletic build and love of climbing and swinging from tree branches.  In the 1936 Boston Marathon, Brown set a blistering pace at the start and shed his only threat, John A. Kelly, on a Newton hill, now-known as “Heartbreak Hill” because Tarzan “broke Kelley’s heart” there.   On the 1936 U.S. Olympic team, he was in the top 5 in the marathon, but was disqualified when a bystander helped him with his leg cramps.  On October 11, Brown won the Port Chester, New York, Marathon and, the next day, the New England Marathon Championship.  In the 1939 Boston Marathon, he was the 1st runner to break the 2:30 mark on the post-1926 course.  Brown qualified for the 1940 U.S. Olympic team but the games were canceled.  A noted stonemason & skilled shellfisherman, he was inducted into the American Indian Hall of Fame.  Brown died in Westerly, RI.

  Bill Rodriguez, “The Best Racer of All,” Providence Journal-Bulletin, Sunday Journal Magazine, 4/19/1981.  Retrieved 6/15/2020,
Photo:  Leslie Jones (1886-1967), 1939.  Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection, Accession #: 08_06_03069

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