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Abraham Browne

Birthplace: Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom
Death: before December 1648
Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
Place of Burial: Burial: Unknown, Watertown Middlesex County Massachusetts, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Edmund Browne and Mary Browne
Husband of Joan Browne; Lydia Ann Brown and Lydia Ann Browne
Father of Sarah L. Parkhurst; Hannah Browne; Mary Smith; Sarah Scant; Lydia Lakin (Browne) and 3 others
Brother of Elizabeth Brown; Richard Browne; George Browne; John Browne; Sarah Brown and 6 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Abraham Browne

Note both Bond and Anderson are outdated and wrong. The most recent research on this family was pubished by NEHGS in 1996:

Dean Crawford Smith and Melinde Lutz Sanborn, The Ancestry of Eva Belle Kempton 1878-1908 (Boston : New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1996) Part 1 p 180

Which says the following:

Father Edmund Browne

Mother Mary Cramphorne

He was *NOT* the son of THomas Borwn and Joan Sayer. This was disproved long ago.

ABRAHAM1 BROWNE (EdmundA, WilliamB), surveyor, baptized Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire 22 October 1588; died Watertown, MA between 26 March 1645 (when his land bounded Suffolk Deed 1:58) and December 1648 (WTR 1:1:14); married first South Weald, Essex 21 September 1619 JOAN SHELTON, born say 1599, buried South Weald 27 September 1628 "Abraham Brownes wife buried"; married second say 1629 LYDIA ( __ ),born England say 1609, died Watertown 27 September 1686 (WVR 1:58).

Widow Lydia Browne married second Ipswich, MA 27 November 1659 (IVR 2:220) Andrew Hodges, born say 1600s, died Ipswich December 1665 (IVR 2:585 & Essex Probate 2:25). Andrew Hodges had married first Ann ( ), who died Ipswich 15November1658 (IVR 2:585). A marriage at St Bride Fleet St., London 9 October 1623 between Andrew Hodges and Ann Bateman may pertain to this couple. Andrew's will implies that he had no children.

Family 1

  • Joan Shelton d. 1628


  1. SARAH2, baptized Childerditch, Essex 30 July 1620; died probably shortly after the birth of her last child, say 1649, named in her father's will (SUP.,ra); married Watertown, MA 16 l0 mo 1643 (WVR 1:10) GEORGE2 PARKHURST, baptized St Margaret, Ipswich, co. Suffolk, England 5 June 1621 (Register 27[1873):364); died Watertown 16 March 1698/9, aged 81 years (WVR 2:13), son of George1 and Phebe (Leet) Parkhhust. George married second Watertown 24 September 1650 (WVR 1:15) Mary Veasey.
  2. HANNAH, baptized Childerditch, Essex 25 August 1622; buried South Weald, Essex 10 October 1628 "Abraham Browne a child buried."
  3. MARY, baptized Childerditch, Essex 8 February 1623/4; died before 22 January 1693/4 when her sons' heirs were entitled to a share of her father's estate and she is not mentioned (Middlesex Probate #2941); married first as his second wife Malden, MA 10 2mo 1650 (MVR, 260) JOHN LEWIS, died Malden 7mo 1657 ~MVR, 358); married second say 1663 as his second wife JOHN CUTLER, born England say 1625, died 1678 of smallpox (Nahum S. Cutler, Cutler Memorial [Greenfield, Mass., 1889], 318), son of John 1 and Mary ( ) Cutler. John Cutler was declared insane and a guardianship was established for him in 1663, at which time he was married, presumably to Mary (Browne) Lewis, although her name is never given. The guardianship made specific mention of property in Malden to be security for his wife's children, i.e., second wife (Middlesex County Court 1:300). John Lewis married first Margaret ( ), died Malden 10 2mo 1649 (MVR, 358). They had the following children, born in Malden, surname Lewis: John, born 12 September 1638; Joseph, baptized 29 lmo 1640; Mary, baptized 29 lmo 1640; Samuel, born 24 4mo 1641; Elizabeth, born 6 7mo 1642; and Sarah, born 24

December 1647.

Family 2

  • Lydia _______


  1. LYDIA, born Watertown, MA 22 March 1631/2 (WVR 1:3); died Groton, MA between 22 January 1693/4 when she received a portion of the division of her father's estate (Middlesex Probate #2941) and 1707 when she did not figure in the administration of her husband's estate (Middlesex Probate #13501); married Reading, MA by 1649 WILLJAM1 LAKIN, born about 1624 (deposed age 70 in 1694 Middlesex Inferior Court); died Groton 22 February 1700(/1] (GVR, 238 & Middlesex Probate #13501).
  2. JONATHAN2 BROWNE (Abraham1, EdrnundA, William 8), born Watertown, MA 15 8rno 1635 (WVR 1:4); died Watertown between 19 February 1690(/1) when he wrote his will and 1 April 1691 when the inventory of his estate was taken (Middlesex Probate #3080); married Watertown 11 12mo 1661/2 (WVR 1:23) MARY SHATTUCK, born Watertown 25 6mo 1645 (WVR 1:11), died Waltham, MA 23October1732, in her 89th year (gravestone, Grove Hill Cemetery, Waltham), daughter of WILLIAM and SUSANNAH ( ) SHA1TUCK
  3. HANNAH, born Watertown, MA 1lmo1638/9 (calculated from age at burial, vide post); buried Watertown 15 March 1638/9 "14 Daies ould" (WVR 1:6).
  4. ABRAHAM, born Watertown, MA 6 Imo 1639/40 (WVR 1:6); died Watertown shortly before 28 7mo 1667 when an inventory was taken of his estate (Middlesex Probate #2940); married Watertown 5 12mo 1662/3 (WVR 1:24) MARY DIX, died 18 June 1678 (Bond, 119), daughter of Edward and Jane (Dickinson) Dix. She married second August or September 1668 Samuel Rice of Sudbury, MA (Bond, 119). On 1 April 1679 the court ordered that "Samuell Rice who married his [Abraham Browne's] widow" was to settle the estate (Pulsifer, 266).

Disputed Parents

Thomas Browne and Joan Sayer are the wrong parents and were part of the Horatio Gates Somerby Fraud. He was son of Edmund2 Browne (William1), born say 1547, buried at Sawbridgeworth 21 January 1638/9 (at age 95), who married there 23 July 1584 Mary Cramphorne, baptized there 27 September 1562, living 1607, daughter of William and Jone (Plowe) Cramphorne. The parents show were incorrectly published by Henry Bond.<ref>Genealogies of the Families & Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts by Henry Bond, 2nd ed. (1860, reprint 1978), but throw out the English origins.</ref> Robert Charles Anderson called Bond's genealogy incorrect.<ref>Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins; Immigrants to New England 1620-1633 (NEHGS, Boston, 1995), I:244-246.</ref> In 1996, the correct English origins were published by NEHGS: Dean Crawford Smith and Melinde Lutz Sanborn, The Ancestry of Eva Belle Kempton 1878-1908 (Boston : New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1996) Part 1 p 180<ref>The Ancestry of Eva Belle Kempton, Part I, the Ancestry of Warren Francis Kempton 1817-1879 by Dean Crawford Smith (Boston, Mass.: NEHGS, 1996), pp. 168-196.</ref>

Below are some of the original objections put forth by Anderson before Kempton Ancestry published the true origins of this family:

In 1995, Charles Robert Anderson questioned the suggested paternity and origins of Abraham Brown:

:"Bond published a pedigree which stated that Abraham, Richard and John Brown of Watertown were all from Hawkedon in Suffolk, that Abraham and Richard were brothers, and that John was their nephew. [Bond 116] The pedigree was researched by Horatio Gates Somerby, arranged by William P. Browne and annotated by Bond himself. In his comments, Bond notes that Abraham might well be a nephew of Richard rather than a brother. [Bond !122]"

:"The claimed identification rests on only two records: the 1590 will of Thomas Brown of Hawkedon, naming five sons, including John, Richard and Abraham [Archdeaconry of Sudbury Probate Register 428 Goddard]; and the 11 Oct 1601 baptism at Hawkedon of John Brown, son of John. This latter record connects tenuously with John Brown of Watertown, who was 36 at his death in 1636. [WaVR 4]"

:"Beyond this, there is no evidence in favor of the proposed connection, and some against. Nothing in the English records suggests that any of these people were in New England, and nothing in New England record points to Hawkedon. In fact, there is nothing in the New England records to suggest that Richard and Abraham were brothers, and only some very slender evidence of a connection between Abraham and John: in the Watertown land inventories, the record of John Brown's land immediately follows Abraham's (which may or may not be probative), and after John's death Abraham acquired two parcels of his land.

:"Richard... his birth no later than about 1590 (and perhaps earlier) and thus on chronological grounds at least he could have been a son of Thomas of Hawkedon. Abraham on the other hand, seems to have been a decade or more younger. His eldest daughter was born about 1627 (or perhaps a year or two earlier) and so Abraham need not have been born before about 1600, which would make him very close in age to John Browne of Watertown. If he was, as claimed, a son of Thomas of Hawkedon, he must have been at least thirty-seven years old at the birth of this first child, and perhaps even into his forties."

:"Bond sets forth, and then dismisses, some strong evidence which may point to the correct ancestry of Abraham Brown. On 1 January 1672/3 Jonathan Brown of Watertown "cousin and next heir of Edmund Brown formerly of Boston... deceased" relinquished to Richard Taylor of Boston the reversion of two parcels of land owned by Edmund Brown, who is also referred to as "uncle" of Jonathan Brown. [Bond !122; SLR 8:43] Edmund Browne of Boston (not to be confused with Reverend Edmund Brown of Sudbury) would seem to be a brother of Abraham Brown and this is not reflected in the Hawkedon pedigree.

:"Much more research is necessary before anything certain can be said of the origins of Abraham Browne."<ref>GMB, p 245-246</ref>


Father *NOT* Thomas Browne (1554 - 1590)

Mother *NOT* Joan Sayer (1552 - 1610)

Abraham Browne was baptized 22 Oct 1588 at Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, England. He was <b>not</b> the son of Thomas and Joan Sayer Browne of Swan Hall. He was the son of Edmund2 Browne (William1), born say 1547, buried at Sawbridgeworth 21 January 1638/9 (at age 95), and Mary Cramphorne, baptized there 27 September 1562, living 1607.

He married Joan Shelton in South Weald, Essex, on September 21, 1619. She died at South Weald in September, 1628 and was buried there on September 27.

He married again, in England, about 1629, a woman named Lydia. Abraham and Lydia had two children born in England. The Brownes then moved from Childerditch, Essex, to New England and arrived in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts in1631, where Abraham was a surveyor. Abraham was made a freeman in 1632. He was a grantee of 12 lots in Watertown and purchased 4 more. Abraham and Lydia had four more children born in Watertown.

He died in Watertown in 1650 and his will and the inventory of his estate were presented at Middlesex County Court on October first, 1650. For some reason, his estate wasn’t settled until 1691.

After Abraham’s death, Lydia married Andrew Hodges in Ipswich, Essex, and died at Watertown on September 27, 1686.<ref>[ Find A Grave Memorial# 118386560]</ref>

In 1996 Dean Crawford Smith and Melinde Lutz Sanborn demonstrated the English origin and connections of this immigrant; he was brother of John Brown of Watertown, Edmund Brown of Boston, and Hannah (Brown) Ines, almost certainly wife of Matthew Ines. There was a brother Richard, but he was clearly not the immigrant to Watertown. <ref>Source: Anderson's Great Migration Study Project</ref>

Timeline:<ref>Henry Bond, Genealogies of the families and descendants of the early settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, 1860.</ref>

Abraham Brown arrived in New England in 1631, and settled in Watertown, Massachusetts, receiving freeman status 6 Mar 1631/2. He was above the norm in wealth and social standing based on the amount of land he was granted, which suggests he had three servants.<ref>Charles Edward Banks, The Winthrop Fleet, Genealogical Publishing Publishing Co, Inc., 1989, Page: 62</ref>

  • Admitted freeman, March 6th, 1631-2.
  • He was selectman from 1636 to 1643, inclusive.
  • In 1634, he was appointed, in conjunction 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 several freemen appointed to divide every man " his propriety" 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 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 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, Ap. 30, 1630. Also, that when Ah. Brown 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 ~ was directed to survey the subdivisions of the Hither and Further Plains; and the next year (1641), 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.
  • Oct. 7, 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 latest mention of his name in the Town Records, is Nov. 28, 1643, which is the latest previous to the before-mentioned hiatus of four years.
  • The Court Records of Middlesex County, show that Oct. 1,1650, his Will and Inventory were accepted at court. "And an order of court, made Oct. 6, 1691, respecting the final settlement of his estate. recites of him as "deceased in the year 1650."

No original Will of Abraham Browne has been discovered, but in the files of the County Court for 1670, is found the following, which, by the concluding certificate, purports to be a 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 witnessed by us whose names are here under written. : Impr.: after the decease of his wife, he gave and bequeathed unto 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, having each of them one before, as was testified. : The rest of his goods and estate 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 original on file with the Register, at Cambridge, in the County of Midd., in New England, and is a true coppie, being compared and examined by Thomas Danforth, Recorder.""

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, 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 dr. of Abraham Browne Jr., deceased. 3. John Parkhurst, son of one of the daughters of said Abraham Browne Senr. 4. The heirs of (?) Isaac Lewis, deceased, who were children of another dr. 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 Jan. 22, 1693-4. They assigned 2/6 (a 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 in that manner the estate was settled. It appears from the schedules of possessions, that, besides a pond of one acre, 11 lots of said were granted to Abraham Browne, the town surveyor, and that previous to 1642, he had purchased 4 other lots, amounting to 39 A., one of which, a 30 A. lot in the Great Dividends had been granted to his kinsman, John Browne. Two of the lots granted to him were homestalls. The first, upon which he probably settled at first, contained 10 A. It was at the east of Mount Auburn. His second homestall of 28 A., to which he is supposed to have removed very early, was bounded on the E. by the way to the Little Plain (now Howard Street); N. by Sudbury Road (now Main Street); S. by the way to Beaver Plains, sometimes called the way betwixt lots (now Pleasant Street); W. by his own land. Two other lots granted to him, one of 10 A. and the other of 6 A., were contiguous to this homestall on the West, and in the schedule of 1642, they were deemed part of the homestall*, which was then enrolled as 40 A. 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, made an Inventory, in 1694 (of lands only), amounting to £187; viz.: homestall 60 A. £100; remote meadow, 10 A., £12; salt marsh, 4 A., £20; farm land, 107 A., £15; lot ~~ Charles River, 10 A., £10. :: 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 record 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 the whole homestall of 60 :: acres. From Capt. Abraham B., a part of the land belonging to 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, 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. :: :: *The next lot, adjoining this homestall on the west, was 10 A. granted to Edward. How, whose heirs sold it to Robert Harrington. From him it passed to his son Edward, and probably afterwards to his grandson Edward. The next lot, west of How's was 40 A. granted to Rev. George Phillips, bounded N. by Sudhury Road; S. by the way betwixt lots [Pleasant Street]; W. by the driftway (now Gore Street). This driftway was the boundary between the small lots" and the Beaver Brook plowland. About 1650, the heirs of Mr. Phillips sold this lot to Edward Garfield, by whose family it was held many years. In later times, it has been the well known and elegant residence of Governor Gore, and it is now in the possession of J. S. Copley Greene, Esq.


  • 1 Genealogies of the Families & Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts by Henry Bond, 2nd ed. (1860, reprint 1978), but throw out the English origins.
  • 2 Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins; Immigrants to New England 1620-1633 (NEHGS, Boston, 1995), I:244-246.
  • 3 The Ancestry of Eva Belle Kempton, Part I, the Ancestry of Warren Francis Kempton 1817-1879 by Dean Crawford Smith (Boston, Mass.: NEHGS, 1996), pp. 168-196.
  • 4 GMB, p 245-246
  • 5 Find A Grave Memorial# 118386560
  • 6 Source: Anderson's Great Migration Study Project
  • 7 Henry Bond, Genealogies of the families and descendants of the early settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, 1860.
  • 8 Charles Edward Banks, The Winthrop Fleet, Genealogical Publishing Publishing Co, Inc., 1989, Page: 62
view all 23

Abraham Browne's Timeline

December 31, 1579
Hawkedon, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom
January 10, 1580
St. Paul, Norwich, Norfolk, England
October 22, 1588
Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom
October 22, 1588
Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom
Age 32
Hawkedon, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom
August 25, 1622
Age 33
Warley, Essex, England, United Kingdom
Age 40
South Weald Essex, England
March 22, 1633
Age 44
Watertown, Massachusetts Bay Colony