Susan Sorrells

Here is a fine lady of local origin who went on to see the world, and then returned to the humble region around Shoshone, California, where she grew up as a member of the Fairbanks Brown pioneer family. Susan has a special tie to this Land of Legend because members of her own family played fascinating roles in it. For example, Charles Brown, the Sheriff of Greenwater copper rush times, was her grandfather.

She and her husband are presently the driving force behind the small town of Shoshone, California, and they operate a propane business in Pahrump, Nevada. Susan is also the Co-President of the Amargosa Conservancy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the natural world of the Amargosa country.

Any folks who wish to hear some of her appealing story about Sheriff Brown, and how he captured a criminal one night while barefoot, can purchase a documentary at the Furnace Creek Visitor’s Center called Ghost Towns of Death Valley, where she is one of the folks interviewed about regional history. It is quite engaging and definitely brings history alive in a more personal manner.

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9 responses

  1. David Dennis


    Hi Susan

    You may or may not know me, but I knew your mother,
    father, brother, and your grandmother. I went to
    Death Valley High School, 1964 to 1968. I remember your
    mon and dad very well. As a young boy I used set and
    listen to your grandmother talk about the old days in
    Shoshone. I also, remember the day that your father
    got killed in the airplane crash, I was the first one that
    was on there on site.
    I had some great times there in Shoshone, and I will never forget them. I have taken my family back there many times
    and they all loved it there. Your grandmother Stella Brown
    was the nice person I have ever know, even to this day.
    My mom and Dad, Bill and Betty Dennis, used to live in the
    little house that’s now a infromation center, or was at one
    time. I also knew your brother Charles Jr.
    I hope your family is doing well these days.


    David Dennis
    Po Box 1043
    Greenville, CA.

    September 5, 2009 at 11:45 am

  2. Hi David,

    This is Steve Greene, the originator of The Death Valley Journal. I have emailed a copy of your posting directly to Susan this morning (Sunday, September 6, 2009). I have provided her your email address also. Perhaps you will be hearing from her in the next week or two. She is very busy these days, so don’t be discouraged if she takes a while to reply. Susan is usually quite diligent about getting back to my emails. It sounds like you have quite a knowledge of the area history! Thanks for sharing.


    September 6, 2009 at 5:48 am

  3. Tom Porter

    Susan Sorrells,
    I am a relative of Charlie Brown from Georgia and wanted to know if your article “Charlie and Stella Brown by Susan Sorrells” was available for sale. I would be interested in any information on him.

    Tom Porter III
    Charleston , SC 29410

    October 7, 2009 at 12:19 pm

  4. Earl Sorrells

    I am not sure if we have any ties. My great grandfather was Hiram Harvey Sorrells. He lived in Kelso Valley, Ca. There is a peak named after him. Also, there’s a family ranch there. I have never been there, but as I get older, as I have more interest in the past. My great grandfather, great grandmother, and uncle Sam are buried in the Mojave cemetary. My grandfather is also, Hiram Harvey. We lived in Trona a good part of my life.
    Please let me know if there is any connection.
    Thank you for your time.
    Sincerely, Earl Sorrells

    October 11, 2009 at 3:06 pm

  5. Susan, my name is Patrick Sorrells, and although we are not related, as far as I know, I have a sister named Susan as well. I grew up in the Chicago area. Back in the late 80′s I think I saw an article in People magazine about you, and the city of Shoshone. I know that you probably won’t get this message but, just for heck’s sake, thought I would leave this message here, to see if you would respond.

    June 22, 2010 at 1:20 pm

  6. mark lindstrom

    dear Susan,
    We traveled through Shoshone this winter and met Len Warren. We just want you to know that we deeply enjoyed the day we spent with him as he shared the Shoshone ecosystem with us. He is a great naturalist! We highly recommend spending a few hours with Len as he guided us through your community and gave us a better understanding and appreciation for the Oasis that is Shoshone.

    February 25, 2011 at 11:41 am

  7. Ronald Wayne Stevens

    Dear Susan,
    For a very short time in 1963 I lived in the trailer park up by the swimming pool. I attended school in the one room school house, As a child I would stop by the museum, post office
    and listen to an old man tell stories of how things in the museum where brought out to Shoshone by his parents in covered wagons. This old man passed away and one day the school was let out and we where taken to the cemetery on the hill across the road for his funeral. To this day I can still remember looking both up and down the street and as far as you could see where cars, pick ups and semi trucks and trailers. I remember thinking to my self, where did everybody come from and why to the funeral of an old man who liked to tell stories. It was not until many years later did I learn who he was.
    My wife and I where just visited Shoshone the week of Sept 21, 2011. It was my first back.
    It was truly a great trip back in time for me. The school, the park, even the pool where we swam as children still standing as time had almost stopped. Just wanted to share this memory of my time in Shoshone.

    Ron Stevens, Sierra Vista Arizona

    September 2, 2011 at 4:33 pm

  8. Raymond S. Sorrells

    Susan, I find it hard to believe that we both have fathers named Hiram Harvey Sorrells, Jr. & grandfathers Hiram Harvey Sorrells, Sr.–any clues? I was born in Trona in 1941, which is on the way to Death Valley. Raymond Samuel Sorrells

    July 16, 2012 at 6:46 pm

  9. Yvonne M. Brown

    Dear Susan,

    I am putting together a little article about Beaulah Rosenberg from when I knew her in the late 80′s and some of her memories. I met Stella Rook through her and daughter Ethel. Anything you can tell me about any of the ladies, marriages, work, I would appreciate. I was a care taker and took Beaulah to doctor appointments, meeting at Delilah’s Delight dances and baths.

    Yvonne Brown

    February 14, 2013 at 1:58 pm

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