Seth Browne was a thick-set man with a fierce look--called by his descendents the Browne scowl--and had white, even "double" teeth which he gritted n his sleep. He had black hair and light eyes; one blinded in the Battle of Bunker Hill.
He was a carpenter by trade, and in 1773 had a shop at the end of Warren Bridge in Charlestown. He stored there some of the ammunition later used at the battle of Bunker Hill. The place was destroyed when Charlestown was burned by the British. 1773 was also the year of the Boston Tea Party, and Seth was one of the "Mohawks" and had a hand in tossing the tea into Boston Harbor.
He was a member of the militia, and a non-commissioned officer; he fought and was wounded at Bunker Hill. He fought for some time and then helped in rolling barrels of stone down the hill to make the British think the patriots had plenty of gunpowder. He never forgot the cry of "No ammunition, no ammunition!," which forced the patriots to retreat. When Major Andrew McClary, his commanding officer, was wounded, Browne took over and superintended the retreat across the Mystic River. While the patriots were crossing in open boats, Maj McClary was killed by a shot from a frigate.
He continued his service as assistant camp commissary under Washington at Cambridge, and he was one of the company of men picked to transport on horseback the money sent to Washington by Lafayette from Newport RI to White Plains NY. He was a man to be trusted, but not a man of property.
Family legend held that Seth was paid off after the war with a large sheaf of Continental bills. By then the money had depreciated so far as to be worthless, and his angry wife threw the whole stack into the fire (bringing to mind the phrase "not worth a Continental").
His eyesight did not permit him to work at his trade. Having sacrificed his livelihood, his health, and his fortune to the cause, he supported his family precariously by keeping a tavern called the Punch Bowl, on Wing's lane in Roxbury MA. He later ran a riding school and stable.
He often relived the glory days of the revolution with his daughters, holding their hands and singing verses of "Yankee Doodle" that probably originated in postwar pubs. Some verses included:
We marched down to the Long Wharf
With officers and soldiers,
And as good troops as England had
Not a foe that dared confront us.
We marched down to Charlestown Ferry,
And there we had our battle:
The shot it flew like pepper and salt
And made the old town rattle.
He used to talk about the cruel scenes which he had witnessed and when the children whimpered, he would tell them not to cry, “for we whipped [the British] when we were boys and we can now that we are men." Seth Ingersoll Browne, a genuine patriot, but a poor one--was buried in someone else's tomb in Boston's Granary Burial Ground, resting place for Revolutionary heroes. Presumably he still lies there in anonymous glory. His participation in the Tea Party was later proclaimed on a marble monument in the Mt. Hope Cemetery in Worcester, MA. After his death, the children were dispersed among strangers.
He was christened on 8 Jul 1750 Cambridge, MA. He married Lucy Brown on 7 Jul 1777 Cambridge, MA. He married Sarah Goding, daughter of William Goding and Sarah Stearns, in 1786 Charlestown, MA. He died on 9 Mar 1809 Charlestown, MA, at age 58 of consumption.