That’s Not the Way It Happened!

I’ve always been fascinated by the stories families tell about each other, particularly when the stories conflict.

The event that occasioned my weaning from the bottle has always been one of my favorites. My father told me his version throughout my childhood to demonstrate what I spirited little thing I was, and I reveled in the drama of the image that the story evoked.

I didn’t think to ask my mother for her version until I was an adult and had a child of my own.

Weaning Baby Liz from the Bottle

According to my father, I was weaned from the bottle on the day that my mother came into my room to get me up from my nap and I was so happy to see her that I tossed my bottle out of the crib with such gay abandon that it smashed on the floor like a wineglass, spraying milk and broken glass all over the room. And my mother vowed, that as God was her witness, Liz would never drink from a bottle again!

My mother’s version of the story is that I woke up from my nap and unscrewed the top from the bottle, dumped the milk on myself, then waited miserably in my wet nightie in my wet crib for someone to come in and clean up the mess.

Killed in the Indian Wars

kingphillip

Asa Brown’s history of the family indicates that all five of John and Sarah’s sons were involved in conflicts with the Indians:

If we may put confidence in tradition, all five of his sons were engaged in the conflicts with the Indians, but with respect to three of them, it is certain. During King Philip’s War in 1676, John and Thos. Brown were among those to whom Hampton was to pay certain sums for military services, as may be seen by the record of expenses in that war, still preserved at Boston, and they seem to have been under Major Appleton. In 1677, Stephen, the youngest son, being but 18 years of age, enlisted, and accompanied the expedition to the eastward, and in the unfortunate battle at Black Point, when 60 out of 90 men lost their lives, he was killed on the 29th of June, 1677.

The Court of Middlesex County at Cambridge, on the 28th of September following, granted administration to “John Poor of Charleston on the estate of his brother-in-law, Stephen Brown, lately slain by the Indians at Black Point”, &c.1

“The Battle at Moore’s Brook, Scarborough, Maine, June 29, 1677” by Sumner Hunnewell provides a detailed accounting of the battle in which Stephen Brown was killed. The article, which appeared in the August 2003 issue of The Maine Genealogist, was prompted by“[t]he rediscovery of a 1677 casualty list of men wounded and killed in Maine’s last pitched battle of the King Philip’s War.”2

Stephen is mentioned twice in the article:

Only one man from Swett’s town of Hampton was recorded to have accompanied him. STEPHEN BROWN was a teenager probably living with his widowed father, a first settler and prosperous landowner in Hampton. It may have been a shortlived but merry meeting for Stephen and John Parker of Andover. Stephen’s older sister had married John’s oldest brother. Some (if not all) of Stephen’s brothers were soldiers during the war and now it was his turn to play the man.3

STEVEN [sic] BROWN died and like his commanding officer would no longer return to his beloved Hampton.4

 

You can find a link to “The Battle of Moore’s Brooke” on the Lane Memorial Library’s website: http://www.hampton.lib.nh.us/hampton/history/military/doleful2.pdf.

After finding a 21st-century perspective on King Philip’s War, I was interested to see what a 19th-century historian had to say. I found Pictorial History of King Philip’s War by Horace Wentworth, published in 1851 with the somewhat overwrought subtitle, Comprising a Full and Minute Account of All the Massacres, Battles, Conflagrations, and Other Thrilling Incidents of That Tragic Passage in American History.

Imagine my surprise at the view of King Philip presented in the book’s introduction:5

introkingphillip

I think the last sentence says it all, don’t you?

1Asa Warren Brown, “From the Exeter News Letter, October 27, 1851: The Hampton Brown Family” (unpublished manuscript, Personal Papers of Ronald Dalrymple Brown, n.d.), 1-2.

2 Sumner Hunnewell, “‘The Battle at Moore’s Brook, Scarborough, Maine, June 29, 1677,'” Lane Memorial Library, accessed May 7, 2017, http://www.hampton.lib.nh.us/hampton/history/military/mooresbrook.htm.

3Hunnewell, “‘The Battle,” Lane Memorial Library.

4Hunnewell, “‘The Battle,” Lane Memorial Library.

5Daniel Strock and William Croom, Pictorial History of King Philip’s War: COMPRISING A FULL AND MINUTE ACCOUNT OF ALL THE MASSACRES, BATTLES, CONFLAGRATIONS, AND OTHER THRILLING INCIDENTS OF THAT TRAGIC PASSAGE IN AMERICAN HISTORY. (Boston: Horace Wentworth, 1851).

A Good Catch Was John Brown (~1595-1686)

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Here is Asa Brown’s assessment of John Brown as husband material:1

From the fact that, at the time of the oldest tax list in Hampton (1653), the tax of John Brown was third in amount, and also that he was a single man 40 or 46 years of age when he came to this country, it is to be presumed he did not leave London entirely destitute of property, but that he was a man of considerable wealth. This may have been one reason why Sarah Walker married a man so much older than herself, and, besides, as he lived to be over 90 years of age, and as his descendants are generally well built, rugged and healthy, he was doubtless a well formed, handsome man, appearing much younger than he really was.

I assume that Asa would have counted himself among John Brown’s descendants who were “generally well built, rugged and healthy.”


1Asa Warren Brown, “From the Exeter News Letter, October 27, 1851: The Hampton Brown Family” (unpublished manuscript, Personal Papers of Ronald Dalrymple Brown, n.d.), pp.1-2.

Image: The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Art & Architecture Collection, The New York Public Library. “Farmer’s boy.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 27, 2017. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dd-e2be-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

John Brown (~1595-1686): Shipbuilder, Landowner, Litigant

ox

Asa Brown provides the following account of John Brown’s activities as one of the founding fathers of Hampton, New Hampshire:1

From 1635 until 1638, he remained in Salem or Lynn [Massachusetts] (tradition says Salem); he was one of the first proprietors and settlers in Hampton, 1638. About 1648 he appears to have been engaged somewhat in shipbuilding, for “he built a barque, at the river near the present sight [sic] of Perkins mill, supposed to be the first craft, larger than a common row boat, built in town”.

He was one of the largest land holders in Hampton, being owner of one of the four farms, and tradition asserts that he and his sons were engaged considerably in raising stock. This is, no doubt, correct, for from the records of the Court, it appears that John Brown in 1654 sued Thos. Swetman for a “debt due for two fat oxen” for the want of which money he claimed to have been much damaged. In 1673 and 1674, he, with his son John, brought suit against the “prudential men” and also against the town of Hampton for not causing a road to be built to his farm near the Falls River towards (now Seabrook). The Court decided that the road should be built.

Now, this next bit would appear to be a case of damning with faint praise:2

In the management of the affairs of the town and church, Mr. Brown never seemed to have taken a very active part, nor to have been very prominent; in 1651 and 1656 he was one of the selectmen. It is doubtful if he was ever a member of the church; in 1664 he was one of those chosen to watch over the boys in the gallery.

All in all, though, not a bad fellow:3

Concerning the moral character of the man, and the estimation in which he was held by his townsmen, little can be known; but he was sober, industrious, hard working, and enterprising.

1Asa Warren Brown, “From the Exeter News Letter, October 27, 1851: The Hampton Brown Family” (unpublished manuscript, Personal Papers of Ronald Dalrymple Brown, n.d.), 2-3.

2Brown, 3.

3Brown, 4.