PUBLISHER: J.H.BEERS & CO., CHICAGO; 1903          P.  1261

STEPHEN P. BROWN, a successful farmer and dairyman of Mansfield, Tolland county, has descended from one of the first settlers of Windham and the family has been a very numerous one in years past. The street leading from Willimantic cemetery to Perkins’ Corner in Mansfield, was formerly called Brown street on account of the numerous residents of that name residing on it.

(I) John Brown, the first settler of this family in America, was a very distinguished man in his day. Stephen Brown, the Willimantic settler, was a grandson of Major John Mason, of Norwich, the hero of the Pequot war. The first conveyance of any of the land given by Joshua to the Norwich legatees was by Samuel Mason to his brother-in-law, Capt. John Brown, March 2, 1677, when he gave to him a 1000 acre right on which Stephen, the son of Capt. Brown, settled. A part of this land, embracing the home farm or at least a considerable portion of it, is now owned by Elias P. Brown’s children, and has remained continuously in the possession of the Brown family for 226 years, and during six generations.

John Brown was acquainted with the Pilgrims of Leyden before 1620, but the year of his coming to this country is unknown. He settled in Plymouth Colony, was at Duxbury in 1636 and was an original proprietor and early settler of Rehoboth. The following notice is made of him in Morton’s “New England Memorial:” “In his younger years traveling into the low countries, he came acquainted with and took a good liking to the revered pastor of the Church of Christ, at Leyden, as also to sundry of the brethren of that Church; which ancient amity induced him (upon his coming over to New England) to seat himself in the jurisdiction of New Plymouth, in which place he served God and the country, several years, he was well accomplished with abilities to both civil and religious concernments and attained through God’s grace, unto a comfortable persuasion of the love and favor of God to him; he falling sick of a fever, with much serenity and spiritual comfort, fell asleep in the Lord, and was honorably buried in Wannamoiset, near Rehoboth.” Bliss, in his “History of Rehoboth,” says: “He was first elected to the office of assistant in Plymouth Colony, in 1636, which office he ably filled for seventeen years. He was also one of the Commissioners of the United Colonies of New England from 1644 to 1655.”

John Brown was one of the original proprietors of the town and owned large estates in land located both in Rehoboth and at Wannamoiset. He was a friend to religious toleration, and was the first of the Plymouth magistrates to express scruples as to the expediency of coercing the people to support the ministry. He was a man of talent, piety and integrity, and his death was deeply felt throughout the whole colony. He had at least the following children, all born in England: James, who married Lydia Howland, was an assistant of the colony in 1665, and died at Swansea, Oct. 29, 1710, aged eighty-seven years; Mary, who married John Willett, July 6, 1636; and John, Jr.

(II) John Brown (2), son of John the immigrant, was probably born in England and married a daughter of William Buckland, dying March 31, 1662. These were his children: John (3), born in September, 1650; Lydia, Aug. 6, 1655; Annah, Jan. 29, 1657; Joseph, April 9, 1658; and Nathaniel, June 9, 1661.

(III) Capt. John Brown of the above family seems to have been held in high esteem by his Mason relatives and the Mohegan Indians. Samuel Mason gave to him 1000 acres of land in 1677, a dozen years before the settlement of Windham, Conn., by Cates, said land being situated on the Willimantic river, extending north from Willimantic cemetery to Perkins’ Corners; and in the deed of gift to Capt. Brown by Oweneco in 1689, the captain was highly spoken of and his military powers hinted at. As he lived in the times and among the stirring scenes of King Philip’s war, it is quite probable that he saw active service in that struggle, in which Oweneco and the Masons participated. It would seem that much effort was made to induce Capt. Brown to settle in Windham, but without avail. The exact date of his death is not found, but it was previous to 1711, although probably not long before. The home farm of Capt. John Brown was laid out on Willimantuck river, in April, 1706, as follows: “abutting south-west one hundred and fifty rod, the west corner a stake against the mouth of Hop river; the south corner is a double whit oak; abutting south-east on Mr. James Allyn lot; one hundred and sixty-four rod the east corner being a whit oak bush on the plain; abutting north-east on the Commons one hundred fifty rod; the north corner being a whit oak abutting north-west on Commons and addition land of Capt. Brown a hundred and sixty-four rod; which addition land abutteth on the river seventy-two rods then an easterly line eighty rods to meet with the line of the first lot; the lot with the addition contains one hundred and sixty acres besides allowance for a highway.” The home lot was laid out in the crotch of the river, Dec. 26, 1699, and the home farm added as above.

Capt. Brown married Anna Mason, a daughter of Major John Mason, of Norwich, Nov. 8, 1672, and these children were born: John, April 28, 1675, who married Abigail Cole, July 2, 1696, and died in 1752; Lydia, who was married March 16, 1697, to Joseph Wadsworth, of Lebanon, Conn., and died Dec. 27, 1759; Martha, Nov. 20, 1681, who married Deacon Eleazer Fitch, her cousin; Daniel, in October, 1683, who died in infancy; Ebenezer, June 15, 1685, who married Sarah Hyde, Feb. 25, 1714; Daniel (2), Sept. 26, 1686; Stephen, Jan. 29, 1688, who settled at Windham near the Willimantic river; and Joseph, May 19, 1690.

(IV) Stephen Brown, son of Capt. John, settled at Windham before 1720. Tradition makes him a man of courage and determination with a good degree of the Mason blood and spirit. He took part in the famous “Hartford Riot,” in 1722, in which Jeremiah Fitch, his cousin, of Coventry, was liberated from the jail where he was imprisoned on account of some decision respecting the Hop river lands. He married first Mary Risley, in June, 1729, who died April 2, 1730, and then he married Abigail, the daughter of Thomas Rugg, March 4, 1731, and she died in November, 1731; his third marriage was to Mary Jacobs, of Mansfield, in November, 1734, his death occurring in October, 1766. The only child of the first marriage was Stephen, Jr. By his second marriage was born Abigail, Nov. 2, 1731, who married George Anderson, of Mansfield. By his third marriage were born: Mary, April 18, 1738; and John, June 18, 1742.

(V) Stephen Brown (2), son of Stephen, was the great-grandfather of Stephen P., and was married Dec. 3, 1760, to Mary, daughter of Nathaniel Shattuck, these children resulting from the union: Eunice, Lucinda, Hannah, Joseph H., Stephen, Ambrose, Jerome, Elijah, Mary and Annis.

(VI) Joseph Hill Brown resided in the town of Windham and followed a farming life all his days. Later he moved to the farm now occupied by his grandson, and spent his last years in the home of his son, Henry Brown. His wife was Martha Barrows, of Mansfield, and they had these children: Fanny; Washington, a farmer who located in Rockville, where he died; Almira, who married Lemuel Palmer; Henry; Joseph Hill, Jr., who married Nancy Lyman, was a farmer in Mansfield, and later moved to Rockville, where he died; Martha, who died a maiden lady; and Elijah Nelson, who married Clarissa Campbell, was a farmer and resided in Mansfield, Ashford and later in Willimantic, where he died.

(VII) Henry Brown, the father of Stephen P., was born in December, 1797, in Windham, near the Mansfield town line, where he grew to manhood. As a young man he worked out and later owned the property occupied by the Windham town farm; he also owned a lot, which he sold to the town of Windham, and which is now used as a burying-ground, at Willimantic. In April, 1831, he sold his farm there and removed to Mansfield, where he purchased of a Mr. Hovey the farm now owned by his son Stephen, where he continued farming until his death. He erected the present family home and live until June, 1890, reaching the advanced age of ninety-two years, still being remarkably active up to the time of his death, and doing light work on the farm. A life-long Republican, he always advocated the views of that party, but never accepted office. In the Congregational Church he was active and was valued as a man of probity and Christian character. Mr. Brown was married four times, first to Mary Geer in 1823; second to Mrs. Cushman in 1832; third to Fanny Porter Storrs in 1856; and fourth, in 1869, to Mrs. Mary E. (Stearns) Tilden, who had been twice married previously, first to a Mr. Marsh and then to Mr. Tilden. A child of his second marriage was born in 1834, Mary E., who died in 1840. The children of the third marriage, that with Fanny Porter Storrs, born Oct. 21, 1818, a native of Mansfield, and a daughter of Experience and Sophia (Arnold) Storrs, were: Julia A., born Nov. 2, 1856, who was unmarried and resided with our subject until her death, Sept. 23, 1901; Henry S., born Jan. 24, 1860; and Stephen P. Henry S. Brown is now assisting our subject in his farming operations. He has always been engaged in farming in Mansfield and for nine years from 1887 to 1896, he owned one of the neighboring farms. In his politics he is a Republican, and is a member of Elmwood Lodge, No. 47, A.O.U.W.; he is a member of the Mansfield Congregational Church, in which he has for many years been a deacon and clerk of the church. He was married Oct. 20, 1887, to Addie E., the daughter of Deacon James J. Slate, born Dec. 1, 1863, who died Nov. 7, 1900, and since that sad time he has resided with his brother.

(VIII) Stephen P. Brown was born Aug. 10, 1862, in the house he now occupies, was educated in the district schools, assisted his father, cared for him in old age, and after his death bought the interests of the other heirs, and now owns a farm of 200 acres, which he has improved and made one of the most valuable in the town. In connection with his farming interests, he carries on a successful milk business, beginning his dairying in 1891, and now has one of the best in Willimantic. His political sympathies make him a Republican, although not an office-seeker, and he is a member socially of Elmwood Lodge, No. 47, A.O.U.W. In the Mansfield Congregational Church he has faithfully served as treasurer, and liberally supports all of its charities.

Mr. Brown was married Oct. 19, 1899, to Alice E. Mason, of Mansfield, a daughter of Charles J. and Cordelia (Browning) Mason, who is a direct descendant of Major John Mason, of Norwich, before mentioned. One son, Harry Mason, has been born to this union, being born March 3, 1901. No more industrious, respected and enterprising farmers find a home in Mansfield than Henry and Stephen Brown, fit representatives of an honorable family.

Reproduced by:  Linda D. Pingel


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