An American Family History

Claus Braun (Brown)


Philadelphia (was Sommerhausen, Germantown Township), Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania

New Hanover Township, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania (now Lower Pottsgrove Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania)

Germantown Township, Pennsylvania was originally settled by German Quakers and Mennonites in 1681. It was divided into settlements, called Germantown, Cresheim, Sommerhausen and Crevelt. The township became part of the city of Philadelphia in 1854.

Claus and Ann Brown married in the late 17th century.

Rebecca Braun Coulston was born about 1695.

In 1715 Claus Braun (Brown) purchased 200 acres in Sommerhausen, Germantown Township from John Henry Sprogel. The area where he bought land was known in the early eighteenth century as "the hindermost part" or the back part of Germantown.

There were only about half a dozen cleared lots then and they were widely scattered. Claus built a log cabin there.

On June 10, 1720 he sold George Ruger [Rex] 27 acres on the road leading from Philadelphia to North Wales [now Germantown Avenue at Chestnut Hill].

In April 29, 1721 he sold 160 acres, to Johannes Bernard Kepner (or Kepler).  

At that time he moved to New Hanover Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. At that time it was part of Philadelphia County.

He appeared in the 1734 Philadelphia County tax list.

In 1738 he was on the list of those entitled to burial in the Limerick cemetery whose land was donated by the Brooke family. They paid 5 schillings and agreed to a possible yearly rent of one peppercorn.

New Hanover Township, Montgomery (was Philadelphia) County, Pennsylvania was a section of the Frankfort Land Development Company in the early eighteenth century. It was called Falkner's Swamp because it was controlled by Daniel Falkner. He ceded to John Sprogell in 1708. Sprogell ousted many first settlers claiming that their titles were not legal. In spite of this fraud, Sprogell kept control of 22,000 acres. Many settlers were forced to buy back their own land. The villages in the township included Swamp, Fagleysville, New Hanover Square, and Pleasant Run.

Pennsylvania is one of the 13 original states and was originally founded in 1681 as a result of a royal land grant to William Penn, the son of the state's namesake.



Settlers often built log cabins as their first homes.

from The Back Part of Germantown: A Reconstruction by Hannah Benner Roach

In Sommerhausen on the slope of the hill towards Germantown below the Reubenstock-Tippen farms, the weaver Johannes Leist had recently bought thirty-five acres west of the Plymouth Road near the Roxborough line from Anthony Tunis. East of the road was John Streeper's home place that Abraham Tunis had sold to John's father William in 1715.

Below these two places was the 160 acre farm of Johann Bernard Kepner or Kepler that he had bought from Claus Braun in 1821. Braun had purchased the property from John Henry Sprogel in 1715 and settled there, but had moved further back into the country to Hanover Township when that area was open for settlement. In 1720 he had sold the land east of the road and extending to Springfield Manor to the blacksmith Hans George Ruger, or Rex, as the latter was starting to sign his name.

. . . Bernard Kepler this same year of 1745 found a buyer for his plantation, one of the best improved in the neighborhood, Kepler and his family, now grown and settled in places of their own, had originally lived in the log house Claus Braun had built before he had moved to Hanover Township in 1721.

The rod or perch or pole is a surveyor's tool equal to 5 1⁄2 yards.

First printed in Boston 1745
Early European settlers in the American colonies were mostly farmers and craftsmen. They had to work hard to provide daily neccesities for themselves.

from Bean's History of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Limerick Townshp

The settlers soon felt the need of a burial-place, and James and Mathew Brooke set apart a piece of ground for that purpose at the northwest corner of the junction of the two roads. It was measured eighteen rods square, containing two acres and four perches of land. The use of this burial-ground was allowed to all who would unite in bearing the costs of maintaining its proper inclosure. No deed was given at first, but after the death of the grantors, their sons, William and George Brooke, made a title in trust to the following persons, who were entitled to the right of burial there. It is dated July 12, 1738, and is to
Jonathan Woodley
John Kendall
Robert May
William Evans
John David
Peter Peters
Jerome Hause
William Maulsby
John Jordon
Henry Coulston
John Umstadt
Barnabas Coulston
Henry Hoven
Nicholas Custer
Peter Umstadt
Claus Brown
David Jones
Owen Evans
George Evans
David Evans
Henry Coulston
Enoch Davis and
Michael Hitter,
for the consideration of five shillings, to them and their heirs forever, subject to a yearly rent of one peppercorn, if demanded.

Limerick Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania was originally in Philadelphia County. In 1784 it became part of Montgomery County.