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. 


Sumner G. Hunnewell said...

Glad that you found and liked my article about the King Philip's War (the one that mentions Stephen Brown). The battle site can be found in King Philip's War by Ellis & Morris, opposite page 312. This is the junction of Spurwink Rd (Rt 77) and Black Point Rd (Rt 207) in Scarborough, Maine.

Sumner Hunnewell
Arnold, Missouri

Unknown said...

My family line is from Jacob. We are known as the blue line.

Unknown said...

My family is from Jacob. We are known as the blue line.

susie said...

my family I believe is from Jacob. I see you discount the arrival on the ship Elizabeth. do you have better sources. I am always trying to prove the lineage. what do you think of the book by Marguerite Willette Brown of the ancestry?GENEALOGY OF JOHN BROWN OF HAMPTON, NEW HAMPSHIRE
Marguerite Willette Brown
Published by Hillside Publishing Co., Amesbury, MA
thanks, Susan

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