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Abraham Brown (1579-1650)

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Abraham Browne was born 1585 in Hawkedon, Suffolk, England to Edmund Browne and Mary Cramphorne and died 1 October 1650 in Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts of unspecified causes. He married Joan Shelton (c1590-1628) 1625 in Hawkedon, Suffolk, England. He married Lydia Ann Brown Hodges (1608-1686) 1630 in Hawkedon, Suffolk, England.
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1630 Puritan Immigrant with Gov Winthrop's Fleet

Abraham Browne, a younger brother, or a nephew of the Elder, Richard Browne. He was a very early settler, perhaps one of the first of Watertown, and was admitted freeman, 6 Mar 1631/1632. He was a land surveyor, and, as is manifest from the records, in the early municipal transactions of the town, he received important appointments, and trusts more numerous than were conferred upon any other person. No two men were more respected and confided in, than he and his relative, Richard Browne.

This page is quite incomplete - see Brown and Shattuck Gen Links below.

Vital Statistics

  • He was the son of Edmund Browne and Mary Cramphorne.
  • 1588 : Birth - He was chr. on 22 Oct 1588
  • 1st Marriage - Joan Shelton (?) - Death 1628
  • 2nd Marriage - Lydia who after Abraham's death married Andrew Hodges (?)
  • 1648 : Death - 1648 in Watertown, Middlesex Co, Massachusetts Colony

Biography

Parentage

Born in England and possible an younger brother or nephew to immigrant Richard Brown. However I can't find anything definitive about his parentage or his wife other than he was born in England.

Abraham Browne - was chr. on 22 Oct 1588 and died in 1645/1648 in Watertown, MA . He was the son of Edmund Browne and Mary Cramphorne. Abraham married Joan Shelton. Joan was born about 1599. She died in 1628 .

Life in England

ABRAHAM BROWNE — Abraham Browne was baptized 22 Oct 1588 at Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, and died in 1650 at Watertown. He was a surveyor and was in Watertown by 1631 [GMB 244–246, 2087]. LYDIA (_____) BROWNE — wife of Abraham Browne, presumably came to New England with him. They were married by 1631, and perhaps by 1627. She died 27 Sep 1686 at Watertown.

Migration to Massachusetts Bay Colony 1630

Sailingship2012

He was a passenger on the English Winthrop Fleet, which sailed under direction from Gov. John Winthrop from England in 1630 bound for to settle Massachusetts Bay Colony, landing first at Salem. The ship arrived safe at Massachusetts Bay. But nearly 200 of the 600 passengers onboard died in the first year there.

Abraham - Admitted as freeman at Watertown, MA Mar. 6, 1631/2. He appears in the town records in various public positions from 1634 to 1647, notably those associated with survey work and land distribution. His lands inventory (1694) amounted to 191 acres in 5 parcels. The home lot of Abraham BROWNE passed to his grandson Capt. Abraham BROWN, and the home as rebuilt by the latter remained in the family for over 200 years, and is currently owned and operated by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. Will filed Oct. 1, 1650, Middlesex Co., MA. His estate was not settled until Jan. 22, 1693/4 when it was divided between five claimants, with a double portion going to the estate of Jonathan, eldest son of Abraham. The original will has not been located, but the settlement provisions were apparently in disregard to its terms as summarized in an abstract found in the County Court (1670).

The Mary (Browne) who married John Lewis in 1650 is the daughter of Abraham Browne, Sr. and Lydia/Lidea ( ? ) Browne Hodges. Abraham & Lydia Browne came from England on Winthrop's Fleet in 1630-1. Abraham Browne Sr. born 1585 in England, died in 1650 in Watertown, MA. His will & settlement pleas appears in Middlesex Co. Probate Records, Vol. 1, pgs. 21 - 24. It includes wife Lydia and daughter Mary Browne in the 1650 will and the heirs of Isaac Lewis in the 1691 land settlement. Abraham Browne's wife Lydia Browne later married Andrew Hodges. Their son Abraham Browne, Jr., born 1639-40 died 1667 Watertown, MA, m. 1663 Mary (Dix). She remarried ca. 1670 to Samuel Rice of Marlborough, MA. I am a descendant of Mary (Dix) Browne, daughter of Edward Dix, through her second marriage to Samuel Rice.

1691 Estate Probate

Although Abraham died in 1650, his estate did not get fully settled until 1691 in a series of court hearings:

p122: "...The records of Boston and of the county of Suffolk MA show that there was an Edmund Browne, a proprietor of Boston, as early as 1647, who mar 14 Dec 1653 Elizabeth Oakley (Dau of 'Mary the relict of the late Robert Bouchier, alias Garret' [?Gannet]. She was probably a daughter by a former marriage, or a widow at the time of hermarriage to Browne.) They had two children. Mary b 15 Dec 1656 and John b 9 Oct 1660. He died, after an absence of several years, at Sardainham [?Surinam].


"Both of his chil. also died early and Jonathan, the son of Abraham Browne, or Watertown, inherited his land as next kin. In a deed, dated 1 Jan 1672/1673 from Jonathan to one Richard Taylor, conveying the reversion of some of Edmund's real estate, he recites that he is 'cousin and next heir of said Edmund,' and afterwards,in the same instrument he calls Edmund his uncle. In a suit for possession of a piece of land belonging to the estate, Edmund (1682) is incidentally several times called the uncle of Jonathan...It is believed, according with the first recital in said deed, that Edmund was a nephew of Abaham, and brother to John, of Watertown, and a son of John, of Hawkedon. His birth does not appear in the table of pedigree; but the early parish register (commencing 1538) is lost. There is now none dating back beyond 1709. It was the custon, as early as 1560, for clergymen to deposit certified copies of these registers each year in the Will offices. Very few of these copies are now in existence. It was amongst those remaining in the officeat Bury St Edmunds, relative to Hawkedon, that were found the baptisms of Mary and John, the chil. of John and grand chil. of Thomas of Hawkedon. the births and baptisms of no other grand chil. of said Thomas have been discovered.

"We have scarcely a doubt that Edmund was the son of John, of Hawkedon. This supposition best harmonizes all known facts. The name of his son, John, for his supposed paternal grandfather- the daughter being named Mary for her maternal grandmother- is confirmatory of it. It is possible that Abraham, of Watertown was also son of John of Hawkedon, and that his place in the table should be a degree below that of Abraham of the pedigree, with whom we have identified him, but the balance of probabilities inclines the other way..." p124: "Abraham Browne, a younger brother, or a nephew of the Elder, Richard Browne. He was a very early settler, perhaps one of the first of Watertown, and was admitted freeman, 6 Mar 1631/1632. He was a land surveyor, and, as is manifest from the records, in the early municipal transactions of the town, he received important appointments, and trusts more numerous than were conferred upon any other person. No two men were more respected and confided in, than he and his relative, Richard Browne. The records of the town do not embrace the transactions of the first four years after the settlement. They commence in 1634, extend to 28 Nov 1643 when there occurs a hiatus of four years, and recommence 8 Nov 1647. He was selectman from 1636 to 1643, inclusive. In 1634, he was appointed, in conjuction with Robert Seeley, 'to survey all the lots that are granted'; and they were also appointed 'conservators of timber trees'- none to be cut down without their assent. In 1635, he was one of the seven freemen appointed to divide every man 'his property' of meadow and upland, that is ploughable, and the rest to lie common. In the same year, he was appointed, with John Warren, to lay out all highways, and to see that they are repaired. Also, to survey the lots granted by the selectmen. In 1638, ordered that all lots, both of freemen and foreigners, shall be measured and bounded by Abraham Browne, who shall give a note of each survey to be enrolled in the town books. In the same year, he and Thomas Bartlett were appointed to measure and lay out the remote meadows, according to their best judgments. He was also appointed, with four others, to lay out the farms as they are ordered, and they were authorized to include any rock or swamp in any survey, not counting it in the number of acres. In 1639, the highway from Dorchester Field to the Flats, as Abraham Browne laid it out, was confirmed forever.Also, the highway leading from Robert Jennison's to the river, betwixt the lands of John Barnard and Jeremiah Norcross, together with about half an acre of land on the river, for the landing of goods, was ordered to remain forever, as laid out by Abraham Browne 30 Apr 1639. Also, that when Abraham Browne shall lay out any whole squadron of the great lots, they to whom the land belongs shall make him present pay. In 1640, Abraham Browne, 'Surveyor of the Town,' was directed to survey the subdivisions of the Hither and Further Plains; and the next year (1641), he was directed to do the same. Also, it was ordered that he have 4d the acre for surveying the two plains and the remote meadows. Also, he was empowered, 1643, to warn trespassers on public timber, and to have one-fourth of the fines. 7 Oct 1641, the General Court appointed him one of the committee for laying out the 1000 acres of land granted to the Artillery Company at its first organization.

"The Court Records of Middlesex County show that 1 Oct 1650 his Will and Inventory were 'accepted at court.' And an order of court mad 6 Oct 1691 respecting the final settlement of his estate recites him as 'deceased in the year 1650.' These dates indicate, it is thought, satisfactorily, the year of his decease; though there are some circumstances that favor the belief that he died between the close of 1643 and 1648. The latest mention of his name in the Town Records, is 28 Nov 1643 whichis the latest date previous to the before-mentioned hiatus of four years. It is, therefore, unknown when his public services terminated. As his name does not occur in the Records between 8 Nov 1647, when they recommence and in 1650, the supposed date of his decease, it is probable that ill health or bodily infirmity had compelled him to withdraw from his very large participation in public business.

"No original Will of Abraham Browne has been discovered, but in the files of the County Court for 1670, is found the followeing, which, by the concluding certificate, purports to be copy of it. 'The Last Will and Testament of Abraham Browne, of Watertowne, dec'd; being of good and perfect memory but Weake, as is witnessedby us whose names are here under written. Impr: after the decease of his wife, he gave and bequeathed unto his two sonnes, Jonathan and Abraham Browne, his house and lands; but giving liberty to his wife, that if shee had need shee might sell some parcells of it. Also, he gave and bequeathed unto his two daughters, Sarah Browne and Mary Browne, each of them one ewe sheep, ahving each of them one fefore, as was testified. The rest of his goods and state he gave unto Lydea, his wife, making her his sole executrix to perform this, his Will and Testament. Witnesses, Richard Browne, John Whitney. Entered out of the original on file with the Register, at Cambridge, in the County of Middlesex in New England, and is a ture coppie(sic), being compared and examined by Thomas Danforth, Recorder.'

"This instrument resembles a synopsis, more than a literal copy of an original Will. It is not improbable that it was a nuncupative Will, and the above a copy of the declaration by the witness of its provisions. "There was much delay and probably some difficulty in settling his estate. and the settlement seems to have been made finally, in entire disregard of the provisions of the Will. On the 6th Oct 1691 the Court ordered the parties concerned in the estate of Abraham Browne, of Watertown, deceased in the year 1650, be sent for, to attend the adjournment of the Court, in order to a settlement of said estate; and they appointed a committee consisting of John Ward, Jonathan Remington, and Thomas Greenwood, to make proposals for said settlement. The claimants were: 1. The heirs of Jonathan Browne, deceased, the eldest son. 2. George Woodward, in right of\ his wife, only dau of Abraham Browne, Jr, deceased. 3. John Parkhurst, son of one of the daughters of said Abraham Browne, Sr. 4. The heirs of ?Isaac Lewis, decased, who were children of another dau of said Abraham Browne. 5. William Lakin, in right of his wife, youngest daughter of said Abraham Browne.


"Owing, as they said, to a change in the government of the Colony, by the coming over of a new Charter, the committee did not report until 22 Jan 1693/1694. They assigned 2/6 (double portion) of the estate to the heirs of Jonathan, and the other 4/6 to the other four claimants. At the same time they recommended that these four claimants should sell their shares to Abraham Browne, eldest son of Jonathan, deceased, who was then ready to purchase; and inthat manner the estate was settled.

"It appears from the schedules of possessions, that, besides a pond of one acre, 11 lots of land were granted to Abraham Browne, the town surveyor, and that previous to 1642, he had purchased 4 other lots, amounting to 39 acres, one of which, a 30 acre lot in the Great ____ lands, had been granted to his kinsman, John Browne. Two of the lots granted him were homestalls. The first upon which he probably settled at first, contained 10 acres, and was at the east of Mount Auburn. His second homestall of 28 acres, to which he is deemed to have removed very early, was bounded on the east by the way to the Little ____ (now Howard Street); N. by Sudbury Road (now Main Street); S. by the way to ____ Plains, sometimes called the way betwixt lots (now Pleasant Street); W. by his ____ land. Two other lots granted to him, on of 10 acres and the other of 6 acres, were con____ to this homestall of the West, and in the schedule of 1642,they were deemed part of the homestall, which was then enrolled as 40 acres. He must have purchased other adjoining lands not long afterwards, as in the final settlement of his estate in 1694, his homestall contained 60 acres. The Committee, appointed by the Court to settle the estate, ____ Inventory, in 1694 (of lands only), amounting to L187; viz: homestall 60acres L100; remote meadow 10 acrews L12; salt marsh 4 acres L20; farm land 107 acres L15; lot on Charles River 10 acres L10.

"This is probably the only instance (unless the grant to Deacon Simon Stone be an exception) where an original grant has remained in the possession of the direct descendants of a grantee to the present time. As above stated, this property passed by inheritance and purchase, to his grandson, Capt. Abraham Browne. Although it is stated in the report of the committee for settling the estate, that Abraham 'was ready to purchase' the shares of the other claimants, subsequent transactions render it probable that he acted in behalf of the widow and other heirs of his father, and that he never became the proprietor of thewhole homestall of 60 acres. From Capt. Abraham B, a part of the land belonging to him passed by Will tohis son Samuel, who occupied a part of his house. After his death his son Samuel, about 1739, moved to Leicester, and not long after this, the property was mortgaged to Capt. John Homans, who probably occupied it only a few years, when the mortgage was cancelled by Jonathan, eldest son of Capt Abraham. From Jonathan it passed to his son Jonathan Jr Esq. From him it passed to his son Major Adam Brown, and it is now, at least a part of it, in the occupancy of his heirs.

"The dwelling-house, now standing, on this ancient homestall, is probably, with the exception of the ancient 'Nathaniel Bright house,' considerably older than any other in the town. The 'new part,' next the road, was built and occupied by Capt Abraham B, when he relinquished the old or south part to the use of his son Samuel. The accompanying cut is a view of this house, as at present seen from the northeast: "[line figure 18.] "Mansion of Capt. Abraham Browne."


Marriage & Family

1st Marriage

  • Sarah Brown (1620-1645) - m. George Parkhurst Jr.
  • Hannah Brown (1622-?) - d. young
  • Mary Brown (1624-?) - m. John Lewis

2nd Marriage: Lydia Hodges

Abraham's widow Lydia Ann Brown Hodges (1608-1686) married, November 27, 1659, Andrew Hodges, of Ipswich, and after his death, December, 1665, she returned to Watertown, where she died September 27, 1686. The earliest record of a birth in Watertown was that of his daughter Lydia. Children of Abraham and Lydia Browne were: Sarah, born in England, married, December 16, 1643, George Parkhurst, Jr.; Mary, probably born in England, married, April 10, 1650 John Lewis; Lydia, born in Watertown, March 22, 1632-33, married Lieutenant William Lakin, Jr., of Groton; Jonathan, see forward; Hannah, died March 15, 1638-39, aged fourteen days; Abraham, born March 6, 1639-40, died 1667; married Mary Dix, February 5, 1662-63.



Children


Offspring of Abraham Browne and Lydia Ann Brown Hodges (1608-1686)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Johnathon Brown (1635-1691) 25 October 1635 Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts March 1691 Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Mary Shattuck (1645-1732)

Abraham Browne (1639-1667) 6 March 1639 Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts 28 September 1667 Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Mary Dix (1639-1675)

Siblings

Brown Family Ancestry

References




Sources and notes

Contributors

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