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William Browne

Birthdate: (88)
Birthplace: Podington, Wellingborough, Berkshire (Present Northamptonshire), England
Death: August 23, 1746 (88)
West Nottingham Friends Meeting, Rising Sun, Cecil County, Province of Maryland
Immediate Family:

Son of Rev. Richard Browne and Mary Browne
Husband of Dorothy Brown (Presnall); Anne Mercer 1663 – 1695; Catherine Browne (Williams) and Mary Brown (Matthews)
Father of Joseph Browne; Mercer Brown; Ann Dutton (Browne); Anne Duyts; William Brown, Jr. and 6 others
Brother of Elizabeth Browne; Mary Brown; James Browne; John Browne; Jeremiah Browne and 4 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About William Browne

modern sources

  1. Browns at Nottingham Meeting

The Browne's dropped the e from their name when they came to the colonies. William may be the last one to have the e in his name.

From "Martha's Extended Family" family tree page on William Browne:

William Brown[1],[2],[3],[4]

  • M, b. 29 January 1658, d. 1746
  • Father* Richard Browne b. s 1625, d. 9 Aug 1662
  • Mother* Mary (?) b. 1632
  • Birth* William was born on 29 January 1658 in Poddington, Northampton, England.[5] He was the son of Richard Browne and Mary (?).
  • Marriage* He married Dorothy (?) say 1681.
  • Marriage* He married Ann Mercer in 1684 in Concord, Chester County, Pennsylvania.[6]
  • Marriage* He married Catherine Williams on 2 October 1699 in Concord, Chester County, Pennsylvania.[7],[6]
  • Marriage* He married Mary Mathews in 1711.[1],[6]
  • Death* William died in 1746.[6]

Family 1

  • Dorothy (?) d. 1682
  • Marriage* He married Dorothy (?) say 1681.
  • Child
    • 1. Joseph Brown b. 12 Apr 1682, d. 1716

Family 2

  • Ann Mercer
  • Marriage* He married Ann Mercer in 1684 in Concord, Chester County, Pennsylvania.[6]
  • Children
    • 1. Mercer Brown+ b. 27 Feb 1686, d. c 1733
    • 2. Ann Brown b. 1 Oct 1687
    • 3. William Brown+ b. 21 Sep 1689, d. a 1724
    • 4. John Brown b. 3 May 1691, d. 1715
    • 5. Richard Brown+ b. 31 Mar 1693, d. 10 Apr 1745
    • 6. Thomas Brown b. 17 Nov 1694

Family 3

  • Catherine Williams
  • Marriage* He married Catherine Williams on 2 October 1699 in Concord, Chester County, Pennsylvania.[7],[6]
  • Children
    • 1. Samuel Brown+ b. 12 Aug 1700, d. 20 Mar 1748
    • 2. Hannah Brown+ b. 31 Dec 1701, d. 12 Feb 1732
    • 3. Mary Brown+ b. 29 Jun 1706, d. 1 Sep 1738

Family 4

  • Mary Mathews
  • Marriage* He married Mary Mathews in 1711.[1],[6]


1. [S185] James E. Bellarts, The Quaker Yeoman, A Quarterly Newsletter of Quaker and Related Genealogy.

2. [S184] James E. Bellarts, The Quaker Yeoman, A Genealogy of Clayton,m Reynolds, Beals, Brown and Descended and Related Lines, 9, 42.

3. [S180] William Wade Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, p. 473, 686.

4. [S187] Warren E Pickett, John Piggott Sr. (1680 ?- 1738) of Susquehannah Hundred in Cecil County MD. Together with some account of the Browne and Clayton families from whom his wife Margarey Brown Piggott descended, p. 17.

5. [S187] Warren E Pickett, John Piggott Sr. (1680 ?- 1738) of Susquehannah Hundred in Cecil County MD. Together with some account of the Browne and Clayton families from whom his wife Margarey Brown Piggott descended, p. 15.

6. [S187] Warren E Pickett, John Piggott Sr. (1680 ?- 1738) of Susquehannah Hundred in Cecil County MD. Together with some account of the Browne and Clayton families from whom his wife Margarey Brown Piggott descended.

7. [S180] William Wade Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy.

The Brownes dropped the "E" when they arrived in the colonies. - Quaker??


The Nottingham area at that time has been described as rich in natural resources, with heavily forested lands and trees that included hickory, chestnut, walnut, and oak. The land was fertile and the streams were said to be clear and vibrant. New economic opportunities were plentiful for new settlers to this area.

It is believed that two pioneer brothers, James and William Brown, both Quaker ministers, were among the first settlers here. They were sons of Richard and Mary Brown, members of Wellingborough Monthly Meeting in Northamptonshire, England, and apparently had become Friends before they came to America. Tradition has it that the Brown brothers were likely accompanied by several other founding members, including Andrew Job, John Churchman, and Henry Reynolds.

It is said that William Penn accompanied the Brown brothers and others to the area in 1701. On their last day, Penn is believed to have set apart and dedicated 40 acres of land, which is the land that we stand on today. Penn is quoted as saying that this land is "to them and their successors forever, for the combined purpose of public worship, the right of burial, and the privilege of education."

Over the next 50 years, all of these purposes were fulfilled with the establishment of the Meetinghouse, the burial yard, and a Quaker grade school which followed.

Several historical sources, however, imply that William Penn may not have been present at the surveying of the Lots. Penn had experienced financial setbacks both in Pennsylvania and England and was busy straightening out his financial affairs. Penn had returned from England in November 1699, after a long absence from the colony. He spent much of his time at his home in Pennsbury on the Delaware River and at his home in Philadelphia. Penn returned to England in October 1701, only to return to America very briefly between 1701 and his death in 1718.

It is possible that Penn left his agent James Logan of Philadelphia in charge of many of the proprietary affairs of Pennsylvania, including the surveying of and founding of the Nottingham Lots. Logan was the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Land Office, which represented William Penn's extensive land holdings. Penn had become overextended in his landholdings and financial obligations in both America and England and no doubt was distracted by these difficulties. It is conceivable that he was preparing to return to England, as he did in October, 1701, and that he never came to Nottingham.

Whether Penn was present or not, however, he undoubtedly approved this location for the settlement. It is believed that his verbal declaration, made in 1701, was for 64 years the only title by which Friends held ownership of the land of the Brick Meetinghouse. In 1765, John and Thomas Penn, heirs of William Penn, made a deed to the Nottingham Quakers that gave them final title of ownership.

Nottingham was a frontier village for its first 30 years, while settlers cleared the land and built roads, shops, dwellings, and the Meetinghouse. The Lots were populated by "simple, frugal, and industrious people" who combined farming with one or more of the occupations of that time including milling, blacksmithing, carpentry, clock making, tanning. They raised extensive crops of wheat, corn, and vegetables. Tobacco was not grown here since the soil would not support it.

The community became highly self-sufficient by the sharing of services, such as home-building, relying very little on outside resources other than perhaps support from the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Friends.

The religious and cultural heart of the Nottingham Lots was clearly the East Nottingham Monthly Meeting (or Brick Meetinghouse), which was part of William Penn's original plan. In either 1707 or 1709, a log cabin was built to serve as the first Nottingham Meetinghouse. In 1715, the East Nottingham Monthly Meeting was organizationally affiliated with the Newark Monthly Meeting. In 1718, Brick Meetinghouse was put under the care of New Garden Monthly Meeting after New Garden separated from Newark.

In 1724, the 2 1/2 story structure was built and in 1730, the East Nottingham Monthly Meeting (or Brick Meetinghouse) was organized as a separate Monthly Meeting. There were two separate sides, one of brick and one of stone, one side for the men and the other side for the women. It is thought to have been the largest Quaker meetinghouse south of Philadelphia, within the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, for the next few decades.

PARENTS Father Richard BROWN Mother Mary MASTER

                  Father  William BROWNE  

MARRIAGES (7)  Spouse  Dorothy  Marriage , , England  
                             Spouse  Catherine WILLIAMS  Marriage 8 May 1699  Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA.  
                             Spouse  Dorothy  Marriage  about 1680  England, Northampton, Eng.  
                             Spouse  Anne MERCER  Marriage 1 December 1684  Nottingham, Chester, PA.  
                             Spouse  Mary MATTHEWS  Marriage 29 October 1711  Of Puddington, Wellingbord,         Northhampton, England  

                              Spouse  Dorothy  Marriage  England  
                              Spouse Dorothy (UNK)  Marriage   about 8 May 1680  , , , England  

 NOTES (1)

This person's information was combined while in Ancestral File. The following submitters of the information may or may not agree with the combining of the information: MARTIN A./BROWN/ (2110991) DIANE/NIELSON/ (2189827) JOHN KUTZ/MADDY/ (2207182) JOYCE L./NIXON/ (2207381) LILY M/MELBY/ (2222320) LEIGH BOYER/BOEN/ (2233846) ELLIE/BURCH/ (2238355) WM. DEAN/BOLTON/ (2240622) ELIZABETH CARPENTER/THOMPSON/ (2244086) JANICE LANORA/CAYLOR/ (2245335) DONNA ANN/DUNCAN-RODDEY (2249376) RICHARD BLAIR (JR)/ANDERSON/ (2257226) EARL JAY/NIELSON/ (2279132) MARY MARGARET/MCWILLIAMS/ (2347678) SUSAN KING/MURPHY/ (2350882) MRS J.H./GIFFORD/ (2350895) ROBERT M/MCCOLLUM/ (2352239) THE HOPE/FOUNDATION/ (2390629) R. DEAN/WARNER (2443533) CLIFTON/REYNOLDS (2471928) ERNEST E./BELL/ (2490537) L. GENE/SIDWELL/ (2521342)


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Ancestral File," database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 2016-04-07), entry for William BROWN.


William Brown was born 1, 29, 1658 in England, the son of Richard & Mary Browne. He was the youngest of Richard's 9 children. William immigrated to America in 1682 or 1683, and settled first near Marcus Hook in Chester County, PA, where his elder brother James had settled in 1678.

In the spring of 1701, William Penn, with a company of Friends, including James & William Brown, spent several days on horseback exploring the southern portion of Penn's colony. Tradition states William Brown was the first white man to take his axe and fell a tree there, by a spring on the trail from Chester County to the trading post on Palmer's Island, at what became the settlement called Nottingham Lots, 40 miles west of Marcus Hook. William Brown returned with his family the following year, and later was joined by his brother James.

Both William & James were Quaker ministers, as was their father Richard. The first Nottingham Friends Meeting was held in William Brown's house in 1704, and continued there until the erection of a meetinghouse in 1708-9; William and his third wife, Katharine, were two of the four first elders. William Brown's house was by a spring of water one mile east of the present village of Rising Sun, near the Nottingham "Brick Meeting House." In 1767, the Mason-Dixon line determined that this are was in Cecil County, Maryland, not in Chester County, Pennsylvania, as had been thought by the early settlers.

William's first wife Dorothy is believed to have died at sea during the voyage to America, leaving him with one son, Joseph.

William married second, in 1684 to Ann Mercer; she died in 1696, leaving him with six more children: Mercer, Ann, William, John, Richard, & Thomas.

William married third, in 1699 to Katharine Williams of Philadelphia; she died after giving him three children: Samuel, Hannah, & Mary.

William married fourth, in 1711 to Mary Matthews; two more children: John & Elizabeth, for a total of 12.

William died 6, 23, 1746, in West Nottingham Township, Chester County, PA. His 1743 will left his Negro slave Jenny her freedom and "that bed & bedding whereon She now lies, Together with those other Small Things my Wife gave her before her Decease. I also leave my said Negro Jenny that Chest which was James Jones & Orders her all her Wearing Apparel."

Written on the back of the will the following year: "...with respect to my Negro Woman within Mentioned I find it needful to explain my Intention... & confirm unto her her bed & beding whereon she lies which is one feather bed & chaff bed under it; two pillows & one pair of sheets. & two blankets, & one coverlet. & a mat, & a new bed cord. I also confirm to her that chest within mentioned. & What my Wife gave her My Said Negro Woman Named Jenny. I likewise confirm to her the particulars follows (viz) one great wheel & one small wheel (spinning wheels: the large wheel was used for spinning wool and the small wheel for spinning flax). One iron pott. pott lid & hooks. One small brass kettle. Two pewter dishes, and two pewter basons. one tin pan & three tin cups. One pewter quart. half a dozen of spoons. One dozen of trenchers. three noggins & two wooden platters. Two milk bowls & two milk pans. One milk pail. Two cheesepotts. four glass bottles, Her Mistresses Clothes box, three pudding pans. four earthern porringers. One chamber pott. One small spit. One pewter mustard pot. One box iron & two heaters. One brass scimmer. One brass ladle. One flesh fork. One grid iron. One pair of tongs. & one frying pann... & to confirm the same I do hereto sett my hand & seal this twentyeighth day of October Anno Dominy One thousand Seven hundred and forty four."

Family links:

 Richard Browne (____ - 1662)

 Richard Brown (1693 - 1745)*
 Mary Brown Reynolds (1706 - 1739)*
view all 17

William Browne's Timeline

March 29, 1658
Podington, Wellingborough, Berkshire (Present Northamptonshire), England
Age 23
February 27, 1686
Age 27
Chester County, Province of Pennsylvania
October 1, 1687
Age 29
Calvert, Cecil County, Province of Maryland, (Present USA)
October 1, 1687
Age 29
Probably Staten Island, Richmond County, Province of New York
September 21, 1689
Age 31
Calvert, Cecil County, Province of Maryland
May 3, 1691
Age 33
Nottingham, Chester, Pennsylvania, USA
March 31, 1693
Age 35
New Garden, Chester County, Province of Pennsylvania
Age 35