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

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1Asa Warren Brown, “From the Exeter News Letter, October 27, 1851: The Hampton Brown Family” (unpublished manuscript, Personal Papers of Ronald Dalrymple Brown, n.d.), 2-3.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

John Brown (~1595-1686): A London Baker Sets Sail for New England with a Bunch of Other People

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I found Asa Brown’s account of John Brown (~1595-1686) and his immediate descendants among the papers of my grandfather, Ronald Dalrymple Brown (1899-1985). The version I have is typewritten on onion skin, and judging from the blurriness of the typeface it’s a carbon copy. My understanding is that Asa’s 21-page manuscript has been used extensively by subsequent researchers of John Brown’s descendants and the founding of Hampton, New Hampshire. For more information about the source, please click on Bibliography on the main navigation menu above.  Asa’s write-up of John Brown originally appeared in The Exeter News Letter, October 27, 1851:1

John Brown, the son of a Scotchman, was born in England, was a baker in London, (if we may judge from his age) for some years previous to his emigration to this country. In 1635, on the 17th of April, he embarked on the “Elizabeth” for New England, and landed at Boston on June following. Among his fellow passengers were, “James Walker, 15 years, and Sarra [sic] Walker, 17 years”. The former of whom had been employed by him in his bakery, and the latter afterwards became his wife, and was probably a sister of James. She had been in the employ of Wm. Brazey, linen draper in Cheapside, and it is an interesting fact, that Wm. Bracey of Scarborah and Saco was, years after, married in Hampton to one of the daughters of John Brown and Sarah Walker. The similarity of the name, and the circumstance itself would seem to intimate that Wm. Bracey of Saco was a grandson of Wm. Brazey of Cheapside

Another passenger was “Jo. Cluffe 22 years”, who settled in Salisbury, Mass., and was the ancestor of Clough, who intermarried with the Browns. We find, also, two more of the name of Walker, Rich’d 24 years, and Wm. 15 years. The former afterwards settled in Reading, Mass., and the latter perhaps in Portsmouth, N.H., for about sixty years after, in the settlement of the estate of Wm. Brookin of P., among the claimants were Jacob Brown of Hampton and Sarah, his wife, one of the daughters of said Brookin and Wm. Walker, and Mary, his wife, widow of the same.


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.

Found Him! Asa Warren Brown (1827-1907)

I found the following obituary  for Asa Brown in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register.1

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According to his death certificate, the cause of death was senility  and inanition, bronchitis, and rheumatism as a contributory factor: 2

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Mosby’s Medical Dictionary defines “inanition” as follows:3

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Rest in peace, Cousin Asa!


1 William Richard Cutter, A.M., “Memoirs of the New England Historical and Genealogical Record,” The New England Historical and Genealogical Register LXII (January 1, 1909): xlix-xlx.

2“Massachusetts Deaths, 1841-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DYC2-GD?cc=1463156&wc=MJCP-168%3A1043026501 : 20 May 2014), > image 2122 of 2139; State Archives, Boston.

3inanition. (n.d.) Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 8th edition. (2009). Retrieved February 26 2017 from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/inanition

One Step Closer to Asa Warren Brown?

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Hiram Brown Letter, photograph, Heirlooms Reunited, August 3, 2012, accessed February 12, 2017, http://www.heirloomsreunited.com.

This week finds me still obsessed with finding Asa Warren Brown. If you’ll recall, he wrote History of the Hampton Browns tracing his lineage to John Brown (~1595-1686), who is my progenitor as well, although through a different son.

I thought I was one step closer to finding the man I now consider my snarking cousin several times removed when I found a letter to him from one Hiram Brown on Heirlooms Reunited, which has been transcribed by Pam Beveridge on Heirlooms Reunited:

http://www.heirloomsreunited.com/search?q=hiram+brown

Alas, there was no corresponding letter from Asa in response to Hiram’s inquiry.

Curses, Foiled Again!

Sibling Saturday – Unlock the Bathroom Door, George!

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One of my earliest memories is of the time my family lived in Coventry, Rhode Island. The day I’m remembering would have happened in 1958, about a year after this picture of my baby brother and me was taken.

Once George had grown out of infancy, he was a mischievous little fellow, and one day he somehow locked himself in the house’s one bathroom, which I discovered when I couldn’t get the door open.

I yelled for my mother because I had to go, and she stood outside the door and tried to explain to George how to turn the lever below the doorknob. She must have thought that since his stubby little fingers had managed to lock it, his stubby little fingers should be able to unlock it.

Nothing but a stream of giggles came from behind the locked door. At that point, I was shrieking because I HAD TO GO, and my mother went next door to get help in the form of a neighbor’s young son, who wriggled through the bathroom window and unlocked the door.

Liz & The Little Neighbor Boy Who Saved the Day