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.
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.
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.
WILLIAM BROWN 1725 HAMPTON
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
[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 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