Finding Jonathan Brown

The Lexington Connection

My maternal grandfather’s family, the Browns, were from Lexington, Massachusetts, where they did quite well for themselves in a prosperous Victorian kind of way.

prosperousvictorians

The New Hampshire Connection

Growing up, I was vaguely aware of a New Hampshire connection, but I didn’t know what it was until my husband and I moved back to New England in 2001 and bought a house in Nottingham, New Hampshire.

Turns out, the prosperous Victorian generation of Browns had grown up on their father Jonathan’s farm in Candia before leaving to make their fortune in Massachusetts. And where is Candia? Right next to Nottingham. Connection!

The Cemetery Connection

In 2004, one of Candia’s cemeteries was hit by vandals:1

cemetaryvandalized

When I saw the dates of the headstones that had been vandalized, I wondered if Jonathan might be buried in that cemetery. My husband and I jumped in the car and headed over to Route 27, where we found the cemetery next to the Congregational Church. We walked most of it before finding Jonathan’s grave where we least expected it, right up front by the road.

holbrookcemetery

I remember scrubbing off the lichen with my fingers to reveal the inscription more clearly and feeling comforted by the fact that Jonathan’s gravestone was too substantial to have been damaged by the vandals. So it now seems fitting that I begin the story of my family’s genealogy with Jonathan.

jonathanbrowngrave

Full Disclosure

When I did my due diligence to fact-check this post, I discovered that Jonathan was not buried in the cemetery that had been vandalized. He’s buried in Holbrook Cemetery–but the first version makes for a better story, don’t you think?


1Yes, I’m too cheap to spring for the $2.50 to acquire the entire article. You’ll just have to take my word for the fact that I read it in 2004.

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