Chad Browne

. CHAD1 BROWNE, the immigrant ancestor of the well-known Rhode Island family that forms the subject of this article, arrived in Boston in the early part of July 1638, in the ship Martin, accompanied by his wife Elizabeth and his son John, aged 8 years. His parentage and the date and place of his birth have not been discovered, but he married at High Wycombe, co. Bucks, England, 11 Sept. 1626, ELIZABETH SHARPAROWE, who survived him and died probably about 1672. He died in or before 1663, being mentioned as 'deceased' in a deed from William Field of that year. "On the voyage of the Martin to New England one of the passengers, Sylvester Baldwin of Aston Clinton, co. Bucks, died, having declared on 21 June his nuncupative will, which was proved on 13 July 1638 before Deputy Governor Dudley by the oaths of Chad Browne and three other men. This fixes the arrival of Chad Browne in New England as not later than 13 July 1638. In the same year he proceeded to Providence, where he was associated with Roger Williams and was a signer of the famous Compact which denied religious interference in civil affairs.
His name also appears in other agreements and compacts. In 1640 he was a member of a committee to consider the Colony bounds. He is at times called a surveyor. "In 1642 he was ordained as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Providence, the mother church of that faith in America. Whether he was first or second pastor rests entirely on one's premises. He was certainly the first ordained pastor to continue in the office for a long period. Roger Williams's connection, as preacher, in this church was certainly brief, and is not clearly understood, owing to the loss of the early records.

The oldest authority available is the 'History of the Baptists in America,' by Morgan Edwards, compiled about 1772. The author says: 'Williams was pastor from the establishment of the church until he left the Colony for England in 1643, and he then resigned it to Messrs. Brown and Wickenden. Mr. Chad Brown died between 1660 and 1665, leaving the church in charge of his colleague.' "For a brief summary of Chad Browne's character one can do no better than to quote the remarks of Hague in his 'Historical Discourse' delivered at this church: 'Contemporary with Roger Williams, he possessed a cooler temperament, and was happily adapted to sustain the interests of religion just where that great man failed. . . We know only enough of his character to excite the wish to know more; but from that little it is clear that he was highly esteemed as a man of sound judgment and of a Christian spirit.

Often referred to as the arbitrator of existing differences, in a state of society where individual influence was needed as a substitute for well digested laws, he won that commendation which the Savior pronounced when he said, "blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God."' "The home lot of Chad Browne was at the corner of the present Market Square and College Street in Providence, and Brown University now occupies part of that lot. He was buried on his own ground (a spot now occupied by the Court House), whence his remains were removed in 1792 to the North Burial Ground, where the gravestone then erected may still be seen, with the following inscription: 'In memory of Chad Brown Elder of the Baptist Church in this town. He was one of the original Proprietors of the Providence Purchase Having been exiled from Massachusetts for Conscience Sake He had five sons John, James, Jeremiah, Chad and Daniel Who have left a numerous Posterity. He died about A.D. 1665.

This Monument was erected by the Town of Providence.' "Chad Browne left a will, as is shown by references in deeds, but its contents are unknown to us. The year 1672 witnessed a general adjustment of his estate, caused most probably by the death of his widow near that time, lands being thus released which the conveyances state had been left to her by her husband and were to revert to his sons after her death.

The records of the Town of Providence mention a Chad Brown as present at the drawing of various land allotments at intervals from 1675 to 1683, but whether they refer to the first Chad Browne's son of the same name or were drawn by proxy in his own right of ancient holdings is not clear. Chad Browne, Sr., owned large parcels of land in the present Glocester, Scituate, and Johnston. There appears no record otherwise of this son Chad, except the reference on his father's gravestone. "Abundant proof is on record of the paternity of the three sons John, Jeremiah, and James.

There appears no definite statement relating to the son Daniel, but he has always been considered by all authorities a son of Chad Browne, and the use of the name Chad among his descendants seems to substantiate the fact. No mention appears of daughters in the family, although the presumption is that there were daughters. Two peculiarities are noted in the study of this family, the infrequent use of the name of its founder among his descendants and the very prompt abandonment of their father's faith by the majority of his near kindred. Two of his sons became devoted adherents of the Church of England and many of his descendants at a later interval were Quakers.