John Browne

John Brown, eldest son of Rev. Chad and Elizabeth Brown, was born in England, in 1630. Of his life and character very little had been handed down through the intervening centuries. It is evident from the offices of trust in the colony which he held that he was respected and honored in early Providence. We find him one of the commissioners from Providence to meet commissioners chosen to represent other towns in the colony of Warwick, August 31, 1654, the purpose of the meeting being to adjust certain difficulties which threatened to disturb the peace and harmony of the colony. He served as surveyor of highways in 1659; was a freeman in 1655; was subsequently a moderator, and deputy to the Rhode Island General Assembly, and assistant for Providence. He was appointed in 1662, an associate with Roger Williams and Thomas Harris, Jr., the three constituting the Town Council of Providence. In 1672 he sold the home lot of his father to his brother, James, of Newport, who resold it the same day to Daniel Abbott. Nearly one hundred years later a part of it was repurchased by his great-grandsons, John and Moses Brown, and by them presented to the College of Rhode Island, at the time of its removal from Warren to Providence. The cornerstone of University Hall, for may years the only building, was laid by John Brown, May 31, 1770.

From the Rhode Island State Archives, 337 Westminster St., Providence, RI 02903: November 3, 1649. He and five others drew lots for the home share of Mr. Lea, deceased, whose widow was to have 30s. September 2, 1659. Taxed 3s. 4d. 1651. He was on a jury concerning death of Margaret Goodwin, the verdict being that "the terribleness of the crack of thunder on the second of the third month, 1651, or the coldness of the night, being she was naked did kill her." 1652-55-59-60-64. Juryman. June 6, 1659. Surveyor of Highways.
March 25, 1661. He was on a committee to levy a rate of 35 Pounds for a colony prison. May 10, 1661. He and two others received a deed on behalf of Providence from Wuttiashant of Tract called Wayunckeke. March 14, 1662. Moderator of town meeting. In the same year he was on a committee to build a bridge over the Moshassuck River, and also on a committee to levy a rate of 76 Pounds, 2s. 6d., to send Mr. Clarke to England. 1662-64-65. Town Council. 1663-64. Deputy. 1665-66. Assistant. May 31, 1666. He took oath of allegiance. February 27, 1669. He and wife Mary sold James Matteson 5 acres given him by his father Chad Brown. December 21, 1672. He sold a lot to his brother Jeremiah, of Newport, which his father Chad had bought of George Rickard. December 31, 1672. He sold to his brother James of Newport, the home lot of their father Chad Brown, deceased, which had come to said John, by reversion from his mother Elizabeth "according as my father Chad Brown by his will disposed" etc. A reservation was made of 20 feet square, within the orchard where my father and mother are buried, with free egress. This land was sold the same day to Daniel Abbott, and part of it subsequently repurchased by John and Moses Brown, and presented to Brown University, and built upon by that corporation. July 1, 1679. Taxed 5s. September 1, 1687. Taxed with son John 9s. 1687. Ratable estate, 4 oxen, 5 cows, 4 two years, 2 three years, 45 sheep, 3 horses, 3 hogs, 7 acres planting land, 7 acres pasture, 7 acres swamp meadow, 5 acres bog meadow. July 6, 1690. He deeded to son James "for his well being and settlement, and also in consideration of his good obedience and pains, care and diligence, which he constantly hath taken in providing for my family, my three house lots or home shares of land lying all together, with my dwelling house," etc., and other land. Reservation was made to his wife and himself for life, of dwelling in the house, and comfortable maintenance. 1701. He and Pardon Tillinghast, as elders of the church, ordained James Clarke, of Newport, as Pastor of the Second Baptist Church there. March 13, 1703. He recorded the ear mark of his cattle, "in each ear a hole."

From The Chad Browne Memorial, consisting of Genealogical Memoirs of a Portion of the Descendants of Chad and Elizabeth Browne, with an Appendix, containing sketches of Other Early Rhode Island Settlers, 1638-1888, compiled by a Descendant & printed for the family (300 copies - one of which is in the Providence Public Library, Providence, RI), Appendix pg 135:

John Brown accompanied his father (and mother) when he came to Providence, having been at that time, as Moses Brown says, about eight years of age. He was chosen a member of the Town Council in 1665, and is stated by Backus, in his Church History, to have been afterwards an Elder in the Baptist church. He resided at the North end of Providence, northward of the house of Elisha Brown, and married Mary, daughter of Rev. Obadiah Holmes, second pastor of the First Baptist church, Newport.