Monday, July 13, 2015

William Brown and Ann Heath Brown of Hampton, New Hampshire

There is not much written about William Brown.  We know he was the son of Benjamin Brown of Hampton and his wife Sarah Brown of Salisbury. His father, Benjamin, inherited much of his father's farm, known as Brown's farm. In a deed in 1720 he gave William two pieces of land and one piece of marsh. William had already built a house and barn and was living on that land when he was finally given the rights to it. This was a common way for a man to hold onto his land until close to his death and yet allow his son to make use of it without outright owning it. 

marriage and children
On 9 June 1701, at the age of twenty one, he married Ann Heath, the sixteen year old daughter of John Heath and Sarah Partridge Heath of Haverhill, MA. Their first child was born, predictably, about a year later. They had at least ten children, William died in 1725, his youngest child was not quite a year old at the time.

Children of William and Ann (Heath) Brown, born at Hampton:

1. Rachel Brown, b. 15 Aug 1702, d. 2 Mar 1773 at Hampton, m. 25 Oct 1722 Nathan Clough

2. William Brown, b. 16 Dec 1703, d. at Kensington, NH, unmarried

3. Sarah Brown, b. 15 Mar 1706, m. 1st at Hampton 19 May 1725 Ezekiel Clough of Salisbury,  m. 2nd 7 Nov 1728 Samuel Eastman (d. 20 Dec 1752 at Kingston, NH)

4. Anna Brown, b. 21 Feb 1708, m. at Hampton Falls 26 Oct 1725 Jonathan Palmer (b. 26 Mar 1698 at Hampton, son of Samuel & Ann (Sanborn) Palmer)

 5. Hannah Brown, b. 22 Jul 1711, d. young

 6. Benjamin Brown, b. 11 Sep 1713, d. 5 Feb 1806 at Kensington, m. at Hampton 10 Jan 1738 Elizabeth Batchelder (b. 10 May 1716 at North Hampton, dau. of Samuel & Elizabeth (Davis) Batchelder)

7. Nehemiah Brown, b. 28 Nov 1717, d. 12 Jul 1793 at Hampton, m. Anna Longfellow (b. 2 Aug 1719 at Hampton Falls, d. 5 Nov 1799, dau. of Nathan & Mary (Green) Longfellow

8. Elizabeth Brown, b. 10 Nov 1720, d. 18 Jul 1799, m. Josiah Blake (son of Hezekiah Blake)

9. Lydia, bp. 12 Aug 1722, d. 23 Oct 1755

10 . Stephen, b. 19 Nov 1724, d. 24 Feb 1786, m. 1st Mary Weare, m. 2nd Patience Dow of Kensington.

land and work
William began buying land in 1707. For the next several years he made multiple purchases of land. Some of it marsh land along the beach and some of it land in the First West Division. From his deeds we know that he was a weaver by trade. He seems to be the first in his family to have an occupation other than farmer. 


At the bottom of this current day map you can see Brown's River and Rocks Road.

On the 26th of August 1725, William Brown was a sick man. He was only 45 years old, but he was dying. He wrote his will on that day. We don't know when he died but it was before the 26th of October, as that was when an application was made to inventory his estate, so he had to have been dead by that date. His will confirms that he was a weaver, as he leaves his loom and tackle to one of his children. He names in his will four sons: William, Benjamin, Nehemiah and Stephen and his daughters: Rachel, Sarah, Ann and Elizabeth and Lydia. 

Rachel, Sarah and possibly Anna were all married before their father's death. The youngest child, Stephen was only about one year old. 

Ann, his widow, never remarried. The land that William had bought in his many transactions was in the First West Division of Hampton. This area was set off from Hampton Falls in 1761 and became Kensington. So although it looks as if the family moved from Hampton to Kensington, it was merely a name change, not a location change. 

Ann and all her sons lived in the Kensington area. She may have lived with one of them. In 1764, she gave her son William's land to her sons Stephan and Benjamin. William Jr. had died with no wife or children, so his mother Ann was his heir. Ann herself died the next year on 7 August 1765 in Kensington. 

In ye Name of God Amen ye twenty sixth Day of August 1725 I William Brown of Hampton in ye Province of New Hampshier in New England yeman—being sick & weake of body " * *

Imprimis—my Will is y‘ all my Just Debts & funerall Charges be Well & truly Paid out of my stock of Creturs—& my Hows & Land which is betwen my brother Thomases Hows & ye Countery Rhood & three quarters of an acre of Land Neear Benjamin greens & two acres & three quarters of Land on ye North Sid of ye mudy Pond and one acre of Land at ye town Neer Benjamin moultons—& if any or what shall remain of these fore mentioned Pertigulers after my Debts & funerall charges are all Paid ye remainder to go to my dafters toward their Portions—And all ye rest of my Lands & marsh in Hampton & Else where I give to my fower sons

William my Eldest son to have a duble Part of all my Land where my Hows stands with one halfe of all ye howsing & orchard y° other halfe of my Howsing & orchard to bee for my wife during her life or widowhood—my son William to have his duble Part of ye Land with ye orchard on ye East side of my Land where my Hows standeth from End to End ye whole bredth till his duble Part is compleated

Item I give unto my son Benjamin his single Part or fifth Part Next to william in Lake maner 
Item I give to Nehemiah ye Next in Like maner with benjmen

Item I give to my son Stephen an Equal Part with Benjamin & Nehemiah & to have my Land at ye great Hill & what that wanteth of his Part by measuer to be made up to him on ye West sid of my Land at home—&_all my mashs to be devided amongst my fows sons after thay all come to one & twenty years of age William to have his duble Part & ye rest all a Like in quantity . 

Item I give to my three Daughters Rachel Sarah & Ann fifteen Pounds Each besids what they have all ready had to be Paid them in one year after my decease by my sone William

Item I give to mary & Elizabeth fifteen Pounds each y‘ is if any thing remains of what I have appoynted to Pay my Debts & Iunerall charges to go to mary 81 Elizabeth & if ye do not amount to fiften Pounds Each to be Paid them by my three sons Benjamin Nehamiah & Stephen all aLike after they shall come to one & twenty years of age

Item give & order my Daughter Lidia to be maintained out of my Whole Estate—& if it shold Please God to order it so y‘ Shee shale marry then to have fifteen Pounds Paid her Every one to Pay his Part according to what he hath of my Lands-—

Item I give all Husbendry tools of all sorts what so ever Without dors to my son William
Item to my son Benjamin my Loom & takling to it _

Item I give to my beloved Wife Ann all my Puter Brass Iron beding 8:. all my moveables with my Hows what so Ever

And Every one of all my Childerin to have his or her Part orPortion as they com to age of one & twenty years of age—but all those childerin under seven years of age to Be brought up by y° whole estate until they be seven years old

I Likewise Constitute make & ordain my Beloved Wife & my sone \Villiam my sole Execntorex & Executor of this my Last will & testiment in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal y“ Day & year above Written
signed sealed Published Pro- william Brown nownced & Declared by y“ said William Brown as his Last Will & testiment in y" Presents of us y° subscribers
Peter Weare
Samuel Clifford
John Clifford
[Proved May 19, 1726.]
[Warrant, Oct. 26, 1725, authorizing Col. Peter Weare and Samuel Clififord, both of Hampton, to appraise the estate.]

[Inventory, Nov. 1, 1725 ; amount, £943.18.o ; signed by Peter Weare and Samuel Clifford.]

History of the Town of Hampton, New Hampshire From its Settlement Vol 1, Joseph Dow
History of the Town of Hampton, New Hampshire From its Settlement Vol 2, Joseph Dow
Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Hoyt
Probate Records of the Province of New Hampshire 1635-1777 vol. 32
History of Rockingham County and It's Representative Citizens, Charles Hazlet
History of Hampton Falls, Warren Brown
Rockingham County Deeds

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Benjamin Brown of Hampton

Benjamin Brown was born in about 1647 in Hampton, New Hampshire. He was the son of John and Sarah (unknown) Brown. John, his father, was one of the first settlers in Hampton, arriving there by 1640. His mother, Sarah, died in 1672. His father did not appear to remarry. 

Benjamin grew up in a large family with lots of brothers to share the work load.  His father was one of the largest landowners in the town and played an important role in town government. Benjamin most likely lived at home and worked with his father until his marriage. Children were a necessary component of farm labor.  Some men would hire farm workers until their own sons were old enough and able to work. Boys would begin doing farm work at around age eight. By their early teens, they were working a full day of hard labor. 

Children, did attend school, but only when they weren't needed on the farm. When Benjamin and his brothers Jacob and Thomas signed a deed, they each made a mark instead of writing their signatures. Jacob's mark looks like a 'J', but Benjamin's looks like a backwards '7'.   

indian wars
In addition to farm work and some schooling, all able bodied men were expected to help in the defense of their towns and province. Boys began training for the militia at about age 16. It is believed that Benjamin and his brothers all served in the militia during the conflict known as King Philip's war. This conflict brought New England to it's knees in 1675/1676. The New Hampshire militia marched to the defense of towns in Massachusetts, some of which are now in Maine. King Philip and his Abenaki Warriors wiped whole towns off the face of the map. Despite the death of King Philip, raids by Indians continued. The incursions in and around Hampton were on a smaller scale than elsewhere, but there was some death and destruction in Hampton. In April of 1677 a farm was torched in Greenland and the owner killed. About two months later an attack occurred in Hampton and four men were killed. On 21 June 1677, Captain Benjamin Swett was ordered to muster his men and head for a rendezvous at Blackpoint in Maine. Benjamin Brown's youngest brother, seventeen year old Stephen, marched off to Maine with Swett and his men.  He did not come home. He was killed in an ambush alongside Captain Swett. 

marriage and children
In 1679 he married Sarah Brown, daughter of William Brown and Elizabeth Murfurd Brown of Salisbury.  He was thirty two, she was twenty one. They had ten children, all but one survived to adulthood.

Benjamin settled on a part of his father's farm in Hampton near the Salisbury, Massachusetts border. It was common for a father to allow a son to establish a separate home on his, the father's, land, not deeding the land to his son until the bitter end. The area where the farm was located became part of Seabrook.  Benjamin petitioned to have a road built to his farm, the road was known as Rocks Road and still is apparently. He was given land in Hampton Falls to compensate for land lost in building the road. There is not much to see on a satellite map of the area other than a Walmart and a power plant.  Seabrook was not incorporated until 1768, so all his life, Benjamin lived in Hampton.

Benjamin and Sarah had the following Children: 
1.William b. June 5, 1680 m. Anne Heath d. Sept 1725, age 45

2.Sarah b. Sept 11, 1681, d. October 1684

3.Benjamin b. Dec. 20, 1683 m. Sarah Gove, lived in South Hampton d. 1766, 83

4.Elizabeth b.July 16, 1686 m. Benjamin Green, lived in Hampton Falls, d. 1769

5.John b. March 18, 1688 m. Abbey Johnson, lived in Seabrook, d. 1765, age 77

6.Jacob b. March 1691 m. Mary Green, Jemima Rowell, Hampton Falls, d. 1762, age 71

7.Stephen b. July 17, 1693 m. Mary Chase, lived in Kingston, d. 1723, age 30

8.Mary b. 1696 m. Thomas Cram, d. 1756, age 60

9.Thomas b. May 21, 1699 Mehetible Towle, lived in Seabrook, d. 1765, age 66

10.Jeremiah b. Nov. 20, 1701 m. Mary Weare, lived in Seabrook, d. 1758, age 57

In 1708 Benjamin and his brothers, Thomas and Jacob, drew up a land deed splitting up the land that had belonged to their brother John.  John died unmarried and childless, so they were his heirs.  Each of the three brothers made a mark in place of a signature, they did not know how to write their names. In 1713 Jacob sold his brother Benjamin his share of this land. 

Benjamin really began buying and selling land in about 1715. He was buying with his son's futures in mind. In 1720 he started the process of transferring his land to his sons. He gave William a deed to the land that he was already living on, including his house. He also gave him some marsh land. Benjamin gave his son Stephen land that he bought in the plantation of Kingston. Benjamin Jr. got the land that was once in Salisbury, MA but because of a shift in the border, was in Hampton. Sons, John, Thomas and Jeremiah split the land that had made up "John Brown's Farm". There were two houses on the land, one lived in by John and the other was Benjamin Sr. house. Thomas and Jeremiah were left this house.  They had to work out how to split it up themselves. 

In 1723 Benjamin gave away the last of his cow common rights and in a final deed gave away all his stock, farm implement and household goods to Thomas and Jeremiah. He probably lived in his house with Thomas and Jeremiah until he died. 


In the bottom left corner of this map you can see Rocks Road and in the middle is Browns River. Brown's Farm would have been somewhere around there. 

civic stuff
Benjamin was a signer of Weare's Petition in 1683. This petition was taken by Nathaniel Weare, a leading Hampton citizen, to London and presented to the King. It was a complaint which resulted in the removal of the  then Governor Cranfield.  

Benjamin was chosen as a selectman in 1696-1705 and 1711. He was also chosen as a Representative from Hampton in 1697. 

Sarah is said to have died around 1730 and Benjamin around 1736. I have no idea where these dates come from or on what document they are based. 


Kulikoff, Allan. From British Peasant to Colonial American Farmer. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina, 2000. Print. 

Rockingham County, NH Deeds

Dow, History of Hampton

Monday, July 6, 2015

John Brown of Hampton, New Hampshire

english origins
It is not known when John Brown of Hampton arrived in New Hampshire nor from where he came from in England. He is often confused with the other John Browns of New England. The John Brown of Hampton did not sail on the Elizabeth in 1635. He did not marry Sarah Walker, he is not the son of Angus Brown. Nothing is known of his or his wife's English ancestry. But, you say, I read it in a book. I know you did, but those books were written a long time ago and new research has been done to straighten out all the JB's that came to New England.

John was first granted land in Hampton in the year 1640. Hampton was a new town and the first land allocation was made in January of 1640. John was given his land in June of that same year, so although he wasn't one of the first settlers, he was hard on their heels.

In the first land grants most of the lots given out were "house lots" the largest of which was 10 acres, but most were much smaller. John Brown was one of about 5 men who were given "farm lots". This land was further out from the town. A document from 1645 show John Brown owning 2 lots besides his farm lot. In another document dated 1663 John is on a list of owners of the "cow common", one he was given and one he bought from Thomas Sleeper. He owned lot numbers 11, 17 and 24. Apparently you were only allowed to graze cows on the common if you owned a share.  

One of the boundaries of the common was John Brown's River. Today, the cow common is known as the Great Salt Marsh of Hampton. John Brown's river ran up to his farm.  Brown's river was named for him as was John Brown's Point, his share of the salt marsh on the east side. He was one of the largest land  owners at that time and on a list of tax papers his name was third in rank of amounts paid. 

In 1680 New Hampshire was separated from Massachusetts and became a Royal Provence. It was to be governed by a president and council appointed by the King and an elected house of representatives. A list of men eligible to vote was drawn up including John Brown, Sr. It is estimated that there were about four thousand white people in New Hampshire at that time. 

John was married by 1642, all we know of his wife was that her name was Sarah. Over the course of sixteen years she gave birth to eight children. All of their known children survived to adulthood. Three of their sons lived well into their late eighties. Their youngest son died in a battle during King Philip's War.

1. Sarah b. 1643 m. John Poor of Charlestown, MA, d. 28 Dec 1678 of smallpox, age 35
2. John b. August 29, 1643 died unmarried 29 August 1683 age 40
3. Benjamin b. 1647 Hampton m. Sarah Brown of Salisbury d. 1736, age 89
4. Elizabeth b. abt 1650 m. Isaac Marston, d. 5 Oct 1689, age 39
5. Jacob b. abt 1653, m. Sarah Brookings, d. 13 Feb 1739/40, age 87 
6. Mary b. Sept 13, 1655, m. Nathan Parker
7. Thomas b. 14 July 1657, m. Abial Shaw, d. 19 June 1744 in Hampton, age 87
8. Stephen b. 1659 killed at the Battle at Blackpoint in 1677, age 18

king philip's war
All of John and Sarah's sons are thought to have fought in the King Phillip's War. Only Stephen was killed. The battle at Blackpoint in Maine was fought between the colonist and the Indians.  The colonist were on the losing side, suffering 50-60 causalities.  This was one of the last battles of King Philip's War.  The following was written in an article called "A Doleful Slaughter Near Blackpoint" by Sumner Hunnewell:
 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 short lived 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.
John Parker was also killed in the fight that day.


In a history of Rockingham County is written the following about John Brown:

John Brown was one of the first company who settled here. He was here in 1640. He built the first "barque" that was built in Hampton in 1641-42, at the river near Perkins Mill. He was a prominent man, became one of the largest land-owners in the town, was one of the selectmen in 1651 and 1656, and in 1663, was chosen "to see that the boys do not play in the gallery." He died in 1686.

In 1680, when John was very old, he divided what was left of his property between his two sons, Jacob and Thomas. These are the only two deeds I can find with his name on it. His wife Sarah had died in 1672, he would live a further six years. According to the Hampton records John Brown was ninety eight when he died. This seems unlikely but then again three of his sons lived into their eighties, so it just might be true. One clue is the fact that he was not dismissed from military training until 1662. If he was born in 1588 then in 1662 he would have been seventy four years old. Most men would have been dismissed at a much younger age, usually by sixty. 

Have a great day!