William Browne

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William Browne, son of Cornelius Browne and Sarah Lamson, was born at Reading, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts, 14 February 1682.1,2,3 He died at Natick, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts, 2 May 1768.4,1,3

William married (1), as her 2nd husband, Deborah Robbins, at Cambridge, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts, 11 November 1703;5 he married (2) Mary Bayley at Cambridge, 13 October 1744. The ancestry of both wives is unknown (or not traced here.6

HHR makes William, son of Cornelius, to be the same William Brown of Cambridge who married Deborah Squire & Mary Bayley. Lindberg found no corroborating evidence.

If HHR is correct, at the division of his father's estate in 1703, this William Browne would have received: "two lotts of Commmon rights in Redding as also the other half of our Fathers pine Swamp Lott & our Fathers meadow in Rear meadow; he the sd William paying unto his Brother in Law Thos Wellman four pounds Twelve Shillings & six pence in or as money--."2,3

William Browne bought his first real estate 27 Mar 1704. This land was in Watertown, and soon he sold part of it to Harvard College: The deed is dated 20 Sep 1705 and states that William Browne of Cambridge, carpenter, sold to Thomas Brattle, Esq., of Boston, treasurer of the society known as "the President and Fellows of Harvard College in Cambridge," a certain parcel of land containing 60 acres of upland and swamp in the westerly end of Watertown in the county of Middlesex, bounded "on the north side by the country road" and "southerly by Benjamin Allen's."

He had large holdings in Cambridge and Reading and seems to have sold it all before going to Natick. The last deed, dated 6 Apr 1767, states that William Browne of Cambridge, gent., sold to Ebenr Smith one and one forth acres of land in Cambridge, "together with the dwelling house and barn and out-houses thereon, also my pew in the meeting-house on the south side of Charles river, with my right in burying place, to have and to hold."

His name is on a list of men who went on an expedition "against the French and Indians at Nova Scotia and Canada (said to be filed at East Cambridge). Later, his granddaughter would remember wearing moccasins that "Grandfather brought home from Canada."

He was a carpenter and builder, and the inventory of his estate gives a long list of carpenters tools.

He was admitted to "full communion" in the First Church in Little Cambridge (now Brighton), 18 Apr 1714.

His will mentions all fifteen children by name, and describes the last eight as his "five younger sons and three younger daughters."3

William left a will dated 18 April 1768, and proved 1 June 1678. In it, he left minimal amounts to:
my Son William Bown;
to the heirs of my son Josiah Brown Deceased;
the heirs of my Son Jonathan Brown Deceased
my Son John Brown;
to the heirs of my Daughter Deborah Green Dec’d;
the heirs of my Daughter Mary Bowles Dec’d;

he "having given them considerable portions, sometime heretofore." He further provided:
wife Mary to have the house and barn and half his lands in Natick for her natural life and upon her decease said lands and buildings revert to his five younger sons and three younger daughters: Thaddeus, Seth Ingersoll, Jonathan, Abijah, Josiah, Mary, Susanna, and Lucy;
the other half of his lands to go to those eight children outright, though his debts and first six legacies to be paid out of the proceeds;
everything else to go to Mary: "to enable her the better to provide for and bring up such of my children in their minority as are not able to support themselves."

signed by mark [though it seems he made some attempt to sign his first name]
wit: John Jones, Pelatiah Morse, Charles Haynes.7

Family 1

Deborah Robbins d. bef. 1744
  • William Browne8 b. 24 Nov 1704
  • Josiah Browne8 b. 22 Oct 1706, d. 1761
  • Jonathan Browne8 b. 8 Jul 1708, d. 1751
  • Deborah Browne8 b. 6 Oct 1712, d. bef. 18 Apr 1768
  • Mary Browne8 b. 16 Jan 1715/16, d. bef. 18 Apr 1768
  • John Browne8 b. 19 Jan 1718

Family 2

Mary Bayley b. say 1725
  • Thaddeus Browne8 b. 28 Sep 1746
  • Susannah Browne8 b. 24 Apr 1748, d. bef. 1760
  • Seth Ingersoll Browne+8 b. 8 Jul 1750, d. 9 Mar 1809
  • Mary Browne3 b. 21 Jun 1752
  • Jonathan Browne8 b. 15 Sep 1754
  • Abijah Browne3 b. 27 Feb 1757
  • Susannah Browne3 b. 6 Jan 1760
  • Lucy Browne3 b. say 1762
  • Josiah Browne3 b. 26 Feb 1768
This person was last edited on23 Jul 2022


  1. [S857] William J. Lamson, Descendants of William Lamson of Ipswich, Mass., 1634-1917 (New York: Tobias A. Wright, 1917), 15-22, further cited as Lamson, Lamson Descendants.
  2. [S707] Marcia Wiswall Lindberg, "Nicholas Browne of Lynn and Reading, Massachusetts," The Essex Genealogist 8 (Nov 1988): 178-188, further cited as Lindberg, "Nicholas Browne of Lynn and Reading."
  3. [S720] Mrs. Harriet H. Robinson, "Nicholas Browne of Reading and Some of His Descendants," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 44 (Oct 1890): 281-286, further cited as Robinson, "Nicholas Browne."
  4. [S2537] Thomas W. Baldwin, Vital records of Natick, Massachusetts, to the Year 1850 (Boston, Massachusetts: Stanhope Press, 1910), 208, further cited as Baldwin, Natick Vital Records.
  5. [S723] Thomas W. Baldwin, Vital Records of Cambridge, Massachusetts, to the year 1850: Volume II - Marriages and Deaths (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1915), 55, further cited as Baldwin, Vital Records of Cambridge: Vol II.
  6. [S723] Baldwin, Vital Records of Cambridge: Vol II.
  7. [S1314] Middlesex Co., Massachusetts, Probate records 1648--1924, Docket #3239, FHL microfilm 386041 img 867, further cited as Middlesex Co. Probate Papers.
  8. [S722] Thomas W. Baldwin, Vital Records of Cambridge, Massachusetts, to the Year 1850: Volume I - Births (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1914), 93-99, further cited as Baldwin, Vital Records of Cambridge: Vol I.