John Browne, of Rehoboth

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John Browne (Brown), Gent.

Birthplace: Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, England, United Kingdom
Death: Died in Rehoboth, Bristol, Massachusetts
Place of Burial: East Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of NN Brown and NN Brown
Husband of Dorothy Browne and Elizabeth Browne
Father of Mary Willett; Ens. John Browne; Lieut. James Brown; William Browne 1628 – and Thomas Browne 1632 –

Managed by: Linda Sue
Last Updated:

About John Browne, of Rehoboth

John Browne lived from 1583/85 - 1662. The same site says that he was born on 29 June 1600 in Swan Hall, Hawkedon, Suffolk, England, but that has to be an error since he married in 1611 or 1613 and daughter Mary was born in 1614.

John married Dorothy BEAUCHAMP in 22 Dec 1611 St James, Clerkenwell, London. Alternatively, they were married Sep 1613 in Kent, England. (note: Anderson's Great Migration Project has her name as Dorothy Kent)

They came to American on the Lyon with four children: Mary, John, James, and William.

John was prominent in the Plymouth colony, having He was living in Duxbury in 1636; in Taunton in 1643 but soon moved to Swansea. He was Assistant for seventeen years; served as one of the Commissioners of the United Colonies for twelve years, and sat on the Council of War for three years. He was one of the lessees of Kennebec trade in 1649.

His will was dated Apr 7,1662, and proved Apr 19,1662. He died less than two weeks after the death of his son John Browne Jr.

In John Sr's will are mentioned wife Dorothy, son James, daughter Mary(wife of Thomas Willett), and grandchildren John Browne, Joseph Browne, Nathaniel Browne, Lydia Brown, and Hannah[sic - Anna] Brown.

Also mentioned is a granddaughter Martha Saffin, wife of John Saffin.

John Browne Sr was a very wealthy man, evidenced by the fact that he left one grandson alone over 700 acres of land.

Children listed in Tilton's History of Rehoboth:

  1. John Brown (died 1662). Married 1) unknown 2) Lydia Bucklin
  2. Mary Brown (died 1669). Married Thomas Willett
  3. Lieut. James Brown (1623-1710). Married Lydia Howland.

Children listed on various sites (need to be researched further):

  1. Mary, born 1614 Glencairn, Dumfrieshire, Scotland. Married Capt. Thomas Willett on 6 July 1636 in Plymouth. Died on 8 January 1669/70 in Little Neck, Rhode Island. THIS DOES NOT MAKE SENSE IF HER FATHER WAS BORN IN 1600.
  2. Edward, born 19 Jul 1620 at St. James’, Clerkenwell, London, England. Died before before 1632? Not on Lyon’s manifest.
  3. Rebecca, born 30 May 1622 at St. James’, Clerkenwell, London, England. Died before 1632? Not on Lyon’s manifest.
  4. William, only on Lyon’s manifest.
  5. John, born c. 1620 in England. Married Anne, daughter of Dennie and Martha Thompson? She died 1647 in Taunton, MA. Married Lydia Buckland on Nov 5, 1659 in Rehoboth, MA. He died on March 31, 1662 in Rehoboth, MA.
  6. James, born 1623 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA. Married Lydia Howland, daughter of John Howland in 1654 in Rehoboth, Died 29 October 1710 in Swansea, MA.
  7. Hannah, born September 8, 1634 in Watertown, MA. Is she the daughter of another Browne?
  • Sailed from London on "Lyon" 22 June, 1631
  • Arrived Boston 8 weeks later on 16 Sept. 1631
  • Helped established Plymouth Colony
  • Left to England 1656-1660; Return on "Elizabeth" Apr. 1635
  • Assistant to Governor 1635-1649 less 1646
  • Friendly with Indian Chief Massasoit of the Wampandass
  • Negotiated the purchase of Seekonk, Rehoboth, Providence and Pawtucket.
  • Worked with Miles Standish, John Alden, John Jenny, Ed Winslow, and William Bradford.
  • Incorporated Rehoboth Mass 10 Jan. 1644/5


Source: Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal ..., Volume 1 edited by Ellery Bicknell Crane. Page 39

John Brown (1), or Browne, the progenitor of Edwin Brown, of Worcester, was associated with the Pilgrims at Plymouth. While he was traveling in his youth he became acquainted with Rev. John Robinson, pastor of the Pilgrims, and through him met many of his people in the same way that Governor Winslow and Captain Miles Standish came to join the Pilgrims. He did not come in the original ship "Mayflower," but another ship a decade later named the same 'popular' name. It was not until March, 1629, that he reached New England. He landed at Salem. Two years earlier, however, March 19, 1627, the council for New England approved a patent for trade soil and planting on which a Royal charter was obtained March 4, 1628, to certain patentees and their associates, among whom were John Browne, John Saltonstall, and others who became well known in the colonies. He was elected to Governor John Endicott's council, April 3, 1629, with Francis Higginson, Samuel Skelton, Francis Bright, Samuel Browne, Thomas Graves and Samuel Sharp. He went from Salem to Plymouth and later to Taunton with his son, James. In 1643 John Brown and his sons, John and James, were residents of Taunton, but next year they settled at Rehoboth, Massachusetts. There John Browne, Sr., and John Brown, Jr., stayed and were among the first settlers, but James Browne being a Baptist was forced to leave town in 1663 and with others of his sect founded the town of Swansey, Massachusetts.

The designation Mr. given him in the records always shows that he was counted among the gentry. His sons and grandsons were leaders in civic, judicial and military affairs. John Brown was appointed one of the townsmen (an office) in Rehoboth, March 16, 1645, and again in 1650-51. He served the town on important commissions. He was on the prudential committee. He was for seventeen years from 1636 to 1653 0ne of the governor's assistants or magistrates. In 1638 the following were the governor's assistants: William Bradford, Edward Winslow, Captain Miles Standish, John Alden, John Jenny and John Browne. He was one of the commissioners of the United Colonies of New England (which foreshadowed the later confederation) from 1644 to 1655. In the governor's court June 4, 1652, he won a notable suit for damages for defamation against Samuel Newman, the judgment being for one hundred pounds and costs. Mr. Browne waived the judgment, however, and let Newman off on payment of the costs.

Mr. Browne was a friend of Massasoit, and the proof of their friendship was shown when the life of his son James was spared by King Philip, son of Massasoit, when he came on a mission from the governor to the Indians. Colonel Church in his narrative says: "that the Indians would have killed Mr. Browne, who with Mr. Samuel Gorton and two other men bore the letter, but Philip prevented them, saying that his father had charged him to show kindness to Mr. Browne." It is said in his honor that he was the first magistrate to raise his voice against the coercive support of the ministry, taking the stand that all church support should be voluntary and backed his precepts by liberal example. He was a man of abilities, intellect, piety and patriotism, and was buried with civic and military honors in 1662. His wife Dorothy died in 1674. His eldest son died the same year as he (1662). His other son, James, was afterwards in the magistracy. His grandson, John Browne, became useful and eminent. In 1685 John Browne was one of the first associate justices of the court of common pleas in the county of Bristol. In 16gg, during the administration of Lord Bellamont, Vve was again appointed a justice. John Browne, Sr., was born in 1595 and died April 10, 1662. His wife died at Swansey, Massachusetts, January 27, 1673.

The children of John Browne (I) were:

  1. Ensign John, Jr., born in England, died last of March, 1662; (settled in Rehoboth and had these children: John, born last Friday in September, 1650; Lydia, August 5 or 6, 1656; Annah, January 29, 1657; Joseph, April 9, 1658; Nathaniel, June 9, 1661;
  2. Major James, of Swansey, born in England 1623, died 1710;
  3. Mary, born in England, married, July 6, 1636, Captain Thomas Willett, of Plymouth, the first English mayor of New York city, who was twice elected to that office.
  4. William, resided in Salem, not mentioned in will and not proved to be son of John Browne (I).

Major James Brown, son of John Browne (1) , born in England in 1623, was in Taunton in 1643 with his father, the assistant, and went with him to Swansea, Massachusetts. He was said to be a Baptist and preacher. He was chosen an assistant in 1665. He married Lydia Howland, daughter of John Howland, who came over in the "Mayflower," and all his descendants are likewise descended from Mayflower ancestry. He died October 29, 1710, aged eighty-seven years. Their children were: James, born at Rehoboth, Massachusetts, May 4,' 1655, died at Barrington, Rhode Island, 1725; Dorothy, born at Swansey, Massachusetts, August 29, 1666, married —;— Kent; Jabez, born July 9, 1668, at Swansey, Massachusetts.

Commissioner of the United Colonies 1644-1656

Assistant 1636-1653

Member Council of War 1642

John Browne (1585-1662) and his wife Dorothy (1584-1673) came from Leyden to Plymouth on the Mayflower. Not with the famous Pilgrims of 1620, but a decade later, on another ship of the same (apparently popular) name.

Also on the ship with the Brownes was 19-year-old Thomas Willett*, a son of Leyden neighbors and fellow Puritans. Worried, apparently, that Thomas was turning into a Dutch Reformed lad instead of the solid Separatist they had tried to raise, the Willetts sent him with the Brownes to the more denominationally-controlled environment of America. Thomas later married the Brownes' daughter Mary and parlayed his bicultural upbringing into notable wealth and prominence in New England, contributing thirteen children to the Colony and becoming the first Mayor of New York.

Bio by: Richard B. Anderson

Came to America on a ship called "Lion"

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John Browne, of Rehoboth's Timeline

October 11, 1584
Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, England, United Kingdom
November 1584
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, UK
October 11, 1601
Age 17
Hawkedon, Suffolk, Eng
October 11, 1601
Age 17
Hawkedon, Suffolk, England
October 11, 1601
Age 17
October 11, 1601
Age 17
Hawkedon, Suffolk, , England
October 11, 1601
Age 17
Hawkedon, Suffolk, England
October 11, 1601
Age 17
Hawkedon, Suffolk, Eng
October 11, 1601
Age 17
Hawkedon, Suffolk, , England
October 11, 1601
Age 17
Hawkedon, Suffolk, England