An American Family History

Benjamin Brown

The Society of Friends (Quakers) began in England in the 1650s, when they broke away from the Puritans. Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn, as a safe place for Friends to live and practice their faith.

Benjamin Brown, Sr. was born in 1741 in Groton, New London County, Connecticut.

He married Sarah Case. She was the daughter of Nathan Case and Mary Tory.

They were Quakers.

Bejamin and Sarah's children probably included:

Nathan Brown (1769, married Susannah Wilber),
Benjamin Brown, Jr. (1771, married Susannah Wickham, daughter of David Wickham),
Hannah Brown (1774, married Dyer Fitch),
Oliver Brown (1776, married Sarah Wiltse, daughter of John Wiltse),
Lucy Brown (1779, married John Wickham, son of David Wickham),
Ezra Brown (1782, married Elizabeth Newell ),
Jonathan Brown (1785, married Catherine Lamb Lesher and Esther),
Daniel Brown (1787, married Mary Wiltse, daughter of Benoni Wiltse), and
Case Brown (1791, married Mary Lesher).

Benjamin Brown served as a private for nine days in October, 1776 in the Ninth Regiment of the Albany Militia under Colonel Peter Van Ness.

On July 13, 1799, Benjamin and his brother Nathan sold their land in Chatham and moved to Leeds County, Ontario. They settled near what is now Athens.

Benjamin did not receive a land grant as a United Empire Loyalist.

Benjamin Sr. and Jr., Jonathan and Nathan were assessed in Yonge Township in 1805.

Two of the Brown sons refused to bear arms for the British during the War of 1812. Daniel was caught by the British, tried for treason and was acquitted. Ezra escaped across the St. Lawrence River to the United States.

1801-King vs. Jonathan Brown & Wife -for harbouring a Felon-no bill-discharged after paying fees.

Sarah died in 1815 and Benjamin died in 1822. They are buried in Quaker Cemetery in Athens, Leeds County, Ontario.

Alfred, Alva, Andrew, Benjamin, Daniel, David, George, James, John, Johnson, Nathan, Nathaniel, and Nelson Brown appeared on the census lists of Yonge Township, Leeds County Ontario in the 1840s.

New London County, Connecticut was one of four original Connecticut counties and was established on May 10, 1666, by an act of the Connecticut General Court.



Dutchess County, New York patriots forced colonists loyal to the British government to flee north into what became Ontario.

From Six Generations of Browns by Harriet Brown Paul

Benjamin [Brown] was born in 1741 and married Sarah Case in 1768. She was the daughter of Nathan and Mary (Tory) Case who lived in Stanford, Dutchess County, New York. Her father's will signed May 3, 1800 mentions his daughter Sarah Brown and requests that he be "decently buried according to the order of the Frds." This establishes the family as Quakers.

Seven sons and two daughers were born to Benjamin and Sarah: Nathan, Benjamin Jr., Hannah, Oliver, Lucy, Ezra, Jonathan, Daniel and Case.

This family lived in Chatham, New York.

The National Archives contains a record of Benjamin's Revolutionary War service which follows:

Benjamin Brown, private in the Ninth Regiment of the Albany Militia under Col. Peter Van Ness. Regiment ordered to hunt for and apprehend Tories in Kinderhook and Kings District. Time served -- 9 days in October 1776.

Whether further time was spent in service and not recorded is a possibility, since his niece (daughter of Hannah Holmes) said that he served with the Minute Men at various times.

On July 13, 1799 Benjamin and his brother Nathan and their wives sold land in the Town of Chatham estimated at 20 acres for $750. At this time the family was preparing to move to Canada and all of Benjamin's family as well as his brother Nathan moved to Leeds County, Ontario. They settled near what is now Athens sometime between the date of this sale and 1801. In Canada he became the owner of land in Yonge Township, Leeds County.

Benjamin was 59 years old in 1800 which seems a rather advanced age to make the move to Canada. Probably the desire for better or cheaper land was a motivation. A researcher in Ottawa has found that Benjamin made an application for a grant of land as a United Empire Loyalist. However, since his name was not among those listed as Loyalists he received no grant. A certificate found attached to Petition B, Bundle 5, No. 48 in Ottawa gives interesting information:

I do here by certify that Benjamin Brown, formerly of Kings District in the time of War, but a resident in the this Province more than one year, to be a man that spared no manner of panes to assist myself and all other distressed people that he knew of either by night or day, he gave me all the intelligence he possibly could, kept me in his own house when others dare not do it and when I returned through the country on my way to Canada I found him to be the same well disposed and faithful subject to His Majesty, the King of Great Britain as he was when I left him in the year 1778. At present he and seven sons is settled in the Town of Young and is an excellent farmer.
Dated Feb. 24, 1801.
Signed: Barret Dyre

One ponders the circumstances that might have influenced Benjamin's change in attitude between 1776 and 1778. Might Sarah, his Quaker wife have been instrumental in effecting his changed loyalties? Did the 9 days he served in the Revolutionary War keep him from getting a Loyalist grant of land? His sons, Oliver and Daniel both received such grants since their wives were daughters of Loyalists. Both of these men later returned to the U.S. as did Ezra, Case and Jonathan.

Not many years after Benjamin's arrival in Canada the War of 1812 began to have an effect on his family. Two of his sons refused to bear arms for the British -- Daniel was caught by the British, tried for treason and was acquitted. Ezra escaped across the St. Lawrence. Further details of his activities are given later in this account.

Benjamin's wife Sarah died in 1815; Benjamin died in 1822. It is thought that they were buried in a small cemetery on the eastern edge of Athens across the road from the former location of a Friends Church. The cemetery is now in ruins."

Colonial Maryland
Colonial New England
Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
Quakers & Mennonites
New Jersey Baptists
German Lutherans
Watauga Settlement
Pennsylvania Pioneers
Midwest Pioneers
Jewish Immigrants

©Roberta Tuller 2020
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