John Browne

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ChartsAncestors of Adele La Force
John Browne, whose ancestry is unknown (or not traced here), died at Newark, Essex Co., New Jersey, 6 November 1690.1

John married Mary Burwell, daughter of John Burwell and Esther Winchester, say 1645.2,3,4

John Browne was living in Milford Connecticut by 1646, but was not one of the original settlers. His home lot contained three acres, was number 61, and was at the west side of the palisades, lying between William Brooks' lot on the north and the highway on the south. He agreed "to erect a good house" on his lot within three years or it was to go back to the town.

He and his wife Mary, with two other couples, were admitted to the church there on 9 Apr 1649, but were not fully entered until December, when John was admitted on the ninth; his children John, Mary, and Esther were baptized a week later, on the sixteenth, and his wife was admitted on the following Sunday, the twenty-third.

He was one of the ten Milford men who became proprietors of a large tract of Indian land at a place called Paugasuck or Paugasett, more than ten miles above Milford, bought from the claims of three New Haven men in 1655, the bounds being "the Naugatuck river on the west, a small rock South, with swamp on the east, and a little brook or spring, that runs into the Beaver river north." When the plantation was eventually established the name was changed to Derby, and it was put under the jurisdiction of the New Haven colony. John's future father-in-law, Edward Riggs, and a few others from Milford settled there, but John himself did not go there until 1665.

Being a good friend of his Milford church pastor, Rev. Peter Prudden, he was invited as one of the three witnesses to the drawing up of thhe pastor's will, dated 26 Jul 1656. After he died, the Milford church records were very imperfectly kept until Rev. Mr. Newton became the minister.

John was a witness, with Samuel Cooley, in the New Haven court, in Apr 1657, to support Richard Baldwin's information about William East who had not paid the taxes on some wine and liquor that he had imported to Milford.

There were several land entries on 9 Jan 1661, 11 Mar 1661, and one slightly later, but undated, entry.

In the spring, 1665, John and other Milford men went to Paugasset (? Derby) on notice that their Naugasuck land tracts were ready for laying out. While waiting, Alexander Bryan of Milford, on 14 Jun 1665, sold a forty acres farm and an island to Joseph Hawkins of Stratford, and to John Brown, of Paugassett, and on the twentieth of the next July Mr. Bryan passed over to Joseph Hawkins "his part of the farm at Paugassett, (for) eighty pounds a year for three years," making a profit for himself of forty pounds; if this was the same land he bought of Mr. Wheeler, the sale to Hawkins and Brown was a failure. Afterwards this land passed on to the town and Joseph Hawkins received another allotment.

On 2 Jan 1666, the "company of proprietors" was indebted to him for one shilling and three pence. He was also paid for several days labor in Apr 1666. These are the first notices of John Browne in the records of Derby.

The formal homestead laying out for the first ten proprietors was probably made in the spring of 1667. John received one and a half acres for his home lot, and four upland acres and 3 meadow acres for his farm.

In the autumn of 1666, the New Haven and Connecticuit colonies united. There were a number of people who disagreed with this union and vowed to go elsewhere.

At the first meeting of the Newark settlement, 30 Oct 1666, "A List of Every Man's Estate" was submitted. John's estate was rated 308 pounds, but with deductions was set down as 205 pounds. Later, in 1667, led by the Rev. Abraham Pierson, a number of nearby settlers, including John, left the New Haven area and joined the exodus to Newark, New Jersey. He signed the "Fundamental Agreements," to stand by the town on 24 Jun 1667. He had sold all of his lands "lying within the bounds of Milford," to Thomas Wheeler. This sale was later confirmed 28 Mar 1701, over 35 years later.

He was on a committee that purchased land from the Indians, and his and other signatures are on the bill of sale dated 11 Jul 1667.

The next meeting was 6 Feb 1668, and they had a drawing for six-acre home lots. John was #27 to draw, and he drew Lot No. 54.

On 7 May 1668, he was notified to lift his fence in the common fields No. 15 & 16 along the river because of tides or floods.

On 10 Sep 1668, he was named to a committee to hear "...every man's reason" for being late to meetings, for being absent, and for "disorderly departing , or withdrawing" during meetings, and to use their judgment about excusing those on their plausible explanations for not being at meetings, and to turn over those that failed to give good excuses to the constable (or other appointed officials) for action.

There was considerable haggling over the need for a grinding mill to supply the town, and John Browne and others were appointed to a committee, 12 Mar 1669, to oversee the work of building the mill. However, apparently nothing much was done for about a year and a half and two others replace the committee. At the same time, John was engaged in building the meeting house. There were problems with this project as well, the town having agreed with Thomas Johnson to do one half of the flooring, and John Browne, Mr. Burwell, John Baldwin and Joseph Riggs to do the other half.

On 10 Jun 1669, the town ordered every man to dig ditches, in turn, in a meadow to drain pools of water into a creek at Maple Island. On 1 Jan 1670, John drew tract #11 in the third division of "upland," and there was an equitable distribution of the "bogged meadow."

On 25 Jan 1670, Rev. Abraham Pierson was given a home lot, provided he pay for it. John Browne and another made the appraisal. Also, on 25-26 Jan 1670, they divided up the land at the "Two-Mile Brook," and 31 lots in the great neck. John drew lot #1 on the Brook, and Lot #22 on the great neck.

On 5 Dec 1670, it appears the town made some adjustment in the second land division, having given away the same piece of land three times (my interpretation of the following: "That the Present sizrs of the Second Division of Land should Take a View of Robert Denison's first Division of upland in the Neck, and of Mr. Peck's John Brown's and Stephen Davis property, and it appeared his Case was one and the Same; and they are to Give such Allowance and Amendment to any of them in Their divisions, as they find to be just and Equal. It was declared, that John Brown, Sen'r, was to Have Half of his division of Land in the Neck on this Side of the Two-Mile Brook, and Henry Lyon, on third; but the Rest stood for their whole Shares of their Division

There was a small area still not layed out. On 12 Dec 1670, they divided it in thirds, and John drew the second part lying at the side of the Great Swamp.

He was among 22 men who were allowed on 20 Feb 1671, to take a division of Bog, each one against his lot for it's breadth. The next day, they made a second division of a salt meadow, and Johns lots, 26 and 16 appear on the list.

He was appointed fence viewer, 1 Jan 1673. These officials made sure that any repairs to the common fence were made properly (if defective, the fence viewers would report the names of the workers at the next town meeting, and they would have to pay a penalty.

At the second division of land, 26 May 1673, John drew lot #60.

He was authorized on 8 Jan 1673/4 to call out the men of the town to work on the highway. Whoever didn't show up would forfeit two shillings, six pence a day.

He was elected 19 Mar 1673/4 as one of seven Towns' men to "carry Town Business, according to the best of their Judgment for the Good of the Town, for the year ensuing, except disposing of Land, admitting Inhabitants, and the way of levying Rates.

He was chosen 1 Jan 1675/6 to notify his end of the town of all town meetings.

On 14 Mar 1675/6, he received a provincial land patent for 95 acres divided into eight parcels according to the Surveyor General's Certificate. John would pay the Lord proprietor one half penny per year per acre.

On 5 Jun 1676 he was chose to weigh the measures for the year, and was reelected in a town election 1 Jan 1678/9. A week later on 12 Jun, he was chosen Pound Keeper to corral stray cows, oxen, horses, and swine for six pence per head plus damages (to be paid by the owner).

The town prescribed how each homesteader would post and lay rails to enclose a common pasturage in proportion to the size of their lots. John owned lot 14 and was to build or lay seven and a half rods of fence as his share of the work.

He subscribed to a town order of 1 Jan 1683/4 to require attendance at town meetings, and pledged, 9 Jan 1687/8 to support the young Rev. Abraham Pierson.

He made his will 17 Dec 1689 and it is found on record in the "Newark Town Book." Among other things, his will mentions his "loving brother Ephraim Burwell," which leads to the identity of his wife. Farmer's Register said it was Mary Taintor, which is now proved to be in error.2,5


Mary Burwell b. 25 Sep 1623
  • Esther Browne1 d. aft. 1689
  • John Browne1 b. abt. 1646, d. 29 Apr 1708
  • Mary Browne1 b. 16 Dec 1649, d. bef. 1653
  • Sarah Browne1 b. 6 Aug 1650
  • Joseph Browne1 b. 9 May 1652, d. 1694
  • Mary Brown+1 b. 29 Nov 1653, d. 1684
  • Thomas Browne1 b. Jul 1655, d. 1711
  • Hannah Browne1 b. 3 May 1658
  • Phebe Browne1 b. 5 Jul 1660
  • Elizabeth Browne1 b. abt. 1663
  • Daniel Browne1 b. abt. 1666
This person was last edited on27 Sep 2017


  1. [S50] C. H. Cory, Lineal Ancestors of Rhoda (Axtell) Cory, Mother of Captain James Cory: Genealogical Historical and Biographical, Vol II, Pt 2 ([United States]: [C.H. Cory], 1937), 277-290, further cited as Cory, Ancestors of Rhoda Cory.
  2. [S22] Susan W. Abbott, Families of Early Milford(Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1979), 121, further cited as Abbott, Milford Families.
  3. [S50] Cory, Ancestors of Rhoda Cory, 291-302.
  4. [S1872] Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, 3 vols. (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011), 221, further cited as Torrey, New England Marriages (2011).
  5. [S50] Cory, Ancestors of Rhoda Cory, 277 - 290.