Daily Archive: March 17, 2014

Mar 17

52 Ancestors: #10 Hermon Brown

The 52 Weeks, 52 Ancestors, a challenge offered to genealogical bloggers by Amy Johnson Crow at the beginning of the year has proven to be an eye opener!  My ancestors were primarily New Englanders, arriving from England by 1650.  It is not easy to conduct research on the family during the last thirty years as I’ve been residing in Georgia. The infrequent trips back to New England are almost always spent visiting family members. My next trip will be extended so that I can explore cemeteries, county courthouses, and town halls. This exercise is forcing me to re-evaluate my research plans.

One of my ancestors that I know very little about (outside the mundane decennial census records) is my 2nd great grandfather, Hermon Brown. Hermon was farmer and a deacon of the Baptist Church in New Ipswich, New Hampshire,[1] were he was born, raised, and spent many adult years. Other than that, I know little of him.

He regularly appears in the federal census records, and in addition to the History New Ipswich, New Hampshire, 1735–1914 the family genealogy appears in the History of Canterbury, New Hampshire, 1727–1912.[2]

Hermon Brown was born 28 December 1800 in New Ipswich, to Aaron and Hannah (Brown) Brown; and died 23 August 1876 in Westminster, Massachusetts.[3] He married Sophronia Prescott, 13 April 1826.[4]

The couple had at least nine children.[5]

i.      Addison Prescott Brown, born 2 August 1827; married, 26 Dec 1850, Frances Louisa Chase.

ii.      Hannah Elizabeth Brown, born 21 May 1829; died. 14 September 1831.

iii.      Joseph Aaron Brown, born 8 May 1831; married 8 February 1854, Lucy A. Davis.

iv.      John Humphrey Brown, born 22 March 1834; died 23 February 1845.

v.      Mary Elizabeth Brown, born 16 March 1836; married, 21 May 1857, Charles H. Burrough.

vi.      Alfred Hermon Brown, born 14 July 1838; married, 20 January 1872, Margaret E. Gale.

vii.      George Stillman Brown, born 12 November 1840; died 11 December 1840.

viii.      Sophronia Eliza Brown, born, 20 August 1842; died 16 September 1842.

ix.      Hannah Eliza Brown, born 19 November 1843; died 13 September 1845.

Five of the nine children died young and are buried in Central Cemetery in New Ipswich: Hannah E., George S., Sophronia E., John H., and Hannah E. Hermon and Sophronia are also buried in Central Cemetery. [6]

Mary-Agnes Brown-Grover, a Brown descendant, had in her possession several letters sent between a variety of family members. We are fortunate that she transcribed the letters and the series of letters were published in several issues of the New England Historical Genealogical Register.  In the NEHGR dated July 1977, Hermon Brown was referenced: [7]

  • Letter from Addison Prescott Brown, Westminster, Vt., to Hermon Brown, New Ipswich, N.H., 26 December 1847.
  • Letter from Mr. and Mrs. Addison Prescott Brown, Bellows Falls, Vt., to Mr. and Mrs. Hermon Brown, New Ipswich, N.H., 1 February 1852.

Sometime in the early 1980s, I visited the town clerk’s office in New Ipswich. I no longer have the reference to her name or the location of her office (in her home on a farm in New Ipswich). I was allowed to look at the volumes of vital records found in her open safe, but she had no equipment to duplicate the copies nor was she willing to make copies for me.

In his History of Canterbury, Kidder includes a key to the “Occupants of Farms, Houses, Etc.” located on the foldout map in the front of his book (the map is not available in the scanned Google Books PDF file). None-the-less, “John Brown, Aaron Brown, Hermon Brown” are associated with Section B. Lot 181 “West of the Mountain,”[8] There is a work-around of the missing map—DavidRumsey.Com. In the Rumsey collection we find an 1892 map of New Ipswich[9] that includes name of homeowners. The map shows two mountains, Kidder Mountain and Barrett Mountain, but there are no homes illustrated on the west of either of those mountains. A map of New Ipswich has not been located in the digital map collection of the Library of Congress.

Federal Census records indicate that Hermon Brown and his wife removed from New Ipswich by 1860 when the family was enumerated in Paxton, Worcester County, Massachusetts.[10] The census indicates that he was a farmer owning property valued at $2000. His son, Alfred H. Brown, age 21, and mother-in-law, Elizabeth Goddard, age 81, were residing with Hermon and Sophronia.

Efforts to find Hermon or Sophronia in the 1870 U.S. census and Sophronia in 1880 have proved futile.[11]

Selected Future Research

  1. Search the deeds of Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, for Hermon Brown
  2. Return to New Ipswich and photograph the graves of Hermon and Sophronia Brown and their five children who died young.
  3. Return to New Ipswich and visit office of the town clerk to reconstruct a search of vital records I made in the early 1980s.
  4. Continue the search for the marriage record of Hermon Brown and Sophronia Prescott[12]
  5. Continue to search the 1870 for evidence of the residence of Hermon Brown and Sophronia (page by page if needed in New Ipswich, or possible residence of their children).
  6. Continue to search the 1880 for evidence of the residence of Sophronia.


© Linda Woodward Geiger. All rights reserved

[1] Charles Henry Chandler and Sarah Fiske Lee, The History of New Ipswich, New Hampshire, 1735–1914, with Genealogical Records of the Principal Families (Fitchburg, Massachusetts: Sentinel Printing Company, 1914), 275. Hereinafter cited as History of New Ipswich.

[2] James Otis Lyford, History of the Town of Canterbury, New Hampshire, 1727–1912 (Concord, New Hampshire: The Rumford Press, 1912), II: 46. Hereinafter cited as History of Canterbury.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] History of New Ipswich, 275–276.

[6] Tombstones viewed during the summer 1983 by the author.

[7] Mary-Agnes Brown-Grover, “From Concord, Massachusetts, to the Wilderness: The Brown Family Letters, 1792–1852,” New England Historical and Genealogical Society  (July 1977), 203–204.

[8] Frederic Kidder, and Augustus Addison Gould, The History of New Ipswich: from Its First Grant in MDCCXXXVI, to the Present Time (Boston: Gould and Lincoln, 1852), 279.

[9] D.H. Hurd & Co. Map of New Ipswich, Hillsborough Co. (with) New Ipswich P.O., town of New Ipswich. Boston, 1892; viewed at http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~30897~1150831, 14 January 2014.

[10] 1860 U.S. Census, Free Population Schedule, Worcester County, Massachusetts, page 565, Paxton, dwelling 66, family 83, lines 30–33; National Archives microfilm M653, reel 531.

[11] Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest Online indexes searched including spelling variations.

[12] A marriage record for Hermon Brown and Sophronia Prescott was not located at the New Hampshire Division of Vital Statistics in Concord, New Hampshire (1982); at the Massachusetts Division of Vital Records in Boston (1983); or among the numerous databases available on the New England Historical and Genealogical Society website (2013).

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