Mar 03

52 Ancestors: #9 – Alfred H. Brown

Alfred H. Brown

I never knew my great grandfather, Alfred H. Brown, he died in 1920 and his daughter, my maternal grandmother, rarely spoke of him. I always think of my great grandfather as a store keeper, but he had many facets to his life. Indeed he did own and run a general store in Canterbury, New Hampshire (it burned down about 1927 with several other structures, but was eventually rebuilt as a general store that was still in operations when I last visited the area in 1991).

BooksFromAHB_smI do know that my great grandfather was interested in his pedigree. Several of his books on county history have been passed on to me, including the History of Canterbury, New Hampshire, [1] The History of New Ipswich, New Hampshire, 1735–1914,[2] and Genealogies of the Old Families of Concord, Mass. And Their Descendants.[3] Thankfully, these histories have provided wonderful clues to what might have been a difficult family to search.

Alfred H. Brown was born in New Ipswich, New Hampshire, 14 July 1838, son of Hermon and Sophronia (Prescott) Brown.[4] He died 4 October 1921 as reference in the diary of his daughter, Alice M. Perkins by the following entries.

3 Oct 1921:  “Papa [Alfred H. Brown] looks very sick and I feel he will not last long.”

4 Oct 1921:  “Papa passed away about noon. “

Around 1861, Alfred and his brother, Joseph moved from New Ipswich to Canterbury where they formed a partnership and opened a general store. In 1868, Alfred bought his brother out and continued to run the general store until his death in 1921.[5]

Margaret Elizabeth Gale married Alfred H. Brown in Canterbury on 20 January 1872.[6] She was the daughter of Eliphalet and Mary Jane (Merrill) Gale.

The couple had four children all born and raised in Canterbury:

  1. Josephine Maud Brown, born 1 January 1873;[7] and died 24 November 1958.[8] Josephine, who never married, served as a librarian at the New Hampshire State Library for many years.
  2. Fred Hermon Brown, born 19 March, 1874,[9] and died 21 July 1947.[10] He married…
  3. Mary Prescott Brown, born 2 May 1877.[11] She married Richard A. Cody…
  4. Alice Margaret Brown, born 20 Feb 1886,[12] and died 4 June 1983.[13] She married Homer Lathe Perkins of Loudon, 8 April 1908 in Chester, New Hampshire.

Alfred and Margaret raised their family in a four-over-four colonial structure with an attached el and barn. His daughter, Alice (my grandmother) was born in the front right bedroom on the second floor (see image of their home, called The Maples, in my blog about Alice Margaret Brown).

Alfred and Margaret are buried in Blossom Hill Cemetery in Concord, New Hampshire.

According to the History of the Town of Canterbury: [14]

No turmoil ever disturbed Mr. Brown and his record was never questioned, no matter how bitter the partisan strife of the day.  In the discharge of his duties he has ever been courteous, obliging and helpful; and as a public official, he has enjoyed the confidence of all parties. During the long winter evenings the store was the place where politics and current events were discussed.  No lyceum ever afforded more earnest debates and very few more entertainment.  The arguments of political speakers and the facts presented by public lecturers were here analyzed and dissected.  These gatherings night after night with their exchange of views contributed to make a Canterbury audience most critical, and he who came to address them was fortunate if his statements were not challenged by one of more of his hearers.  If these store discussions took an acrimonious turn, Mr. Brown had the happy faculty of changing the current of thought of his visitors.

 In 1862, be became postmaster of Canterbury and held that position for most of the years he had the store. Mr. Brown also served the community for many years as the town clerk of Canterbury.[15]

An article in The Granite Monthly, provided the following account of Alfred H. Brown:[16]

A.H. Brown is the A.T. Stewart of the town [Canterbury, N.H.].  For twenty years last past he has ministered to the corporal wants of Canterbury, dealing out the sweets and sours, attending to the clerkly business of the town, and devoting considerable attention to the improvement of an assorted breed of hogs.  He is not to the manor born, although his better half is [Margaret Gale]. His mercantile operations are not confined to the limited sphere of Canterbury. His energies have sought an outlet at the Weirs, where a branch store will be run at full blast the coming season.

The place at the Weirs reference in The Granite Monthly article immediately was a summer hotel called the “Aquedoktan House”, located 80 rods south of the train depot, where rooms could be found for $1.50 per day or $7 and $8 per Week.  Breakfast was served for 35¢, supper for 35¢, and dinner for 50¢.  Mr. Dennett was an apparent joint partner in this venture.  I do not know how many seasons the pair ran this hotel before it was burned to the ground.

Aquedoktan House

Aquedoktan House

Great grandfather also had an interest in pigs and establishing a better product. I’ve always enjoyed the following image of Alfred H. Brown and his prize winning hog.
Alfred H. Brown and his hog with Clarence S. GaleThe following image of Alfred and his wife, Margaret, was taken at the home of their daughter Mary Prescott (Brown) Cody in Newton Highlands, Massachusetts.
Alfred&Margaret© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.

[1] James Otis Lyford, History of the Town of Canterbury, New Hampshire, 1727-1912, 2 volumes (Concord, New Hampshire: The Rumford Press, 1912), hereinafter cited as History of the Town of Canterbury.

[2] Charles Henry Chandler, The History of New Ipswich, New Hampshire, 1735–1914 (Fitchburg, Massachusetts: Sentinel Printing Company, 1914), hereinafter cited as History of New Ipswich.

[3] Charles Edward Potter, editor, Genealogies of the Old Families of Concord, Mass. And Their Descendants in Part to the Present Generation, volume 1 (Boston: Alfred Mudge & Son, Printers, 1887).

[4]  History of the Town of Canterbury II: 46; and History of New Ipswich, 276.

[5] History of the Town of Canterbury I: 203.

[6] Brown-Gale Marriage Record, New Hampshire Bureau of Vital Records, Hazen Road, Concord, New Hampshire; History of the Town of Canterbury II: 46; and History of New Ipswich, 276

[7] History of the Town of Canterbury II: 46.

[8] Grave Marker of Josephine M. Brown, Blossom Hill Cemetery, Concord, New Hampshire, viewed August 1993

[9] History of the Town of Canterbury II: 46.

[10] Grave Marker of Fred H. Brown, Blossom Hill Cemetery, Concord, New Hampshire, viewed August 1993.

[11] History of the Town of Canterbury II: 47.

[12] History of the Town of Canterbury II: 47.

[13] Funeral Memorial Card for Alice M. Perkins, Arrangements by Foley Funeral Home, Keene, N.H. in possession of the author who also attended the funeral at the United Church of Christ in Keene, New Hampshire, 8 June, 1983.

[14] History of the Town of Canterbury I: 267.

[15] Alfred’s daughter, Alice M. (Brown) Perkins served for many years as the town clerk of Loudon, New Hampshire, and his granddaughter, Josephine (Perkins) Woodward served a term or two as the town clerk of Walpole, New Hampshire.

[16] The Granite Monthly, a New Hampshire Magazine, June, 1881, page 388.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.musingsbylinda.com/MyFamily/?p=675

1 comment

  1. Mark Stevens


    I’m a member of the Canterbury Historical Society and am working on a research project writing/documenting the history of the Alfred Brown house. This house burned down in 2003 and a new house now sits on the site. I would really appreciate an opportunity to review any old photos you have of the house, and also any information you have on the Brown family that lived in the house. In return, I’d be happy to share the photos and info that my research has collected.

    Thank you,


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