Saturday, April 6, 2019

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: BRICK WALL = Edward Brown, 1730 – 1797 NC

Amy Johnson Crow challenges us to remember our ancestors and their families through this task: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. I completed ’52 Ancestors’ in 2014 & here I go again. This post is in response to that challenge. The topic for week #14 = BRICK WALL.


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: BRICK WALL

What is a genealogical BRICK WALL? It is a person, an ancestor. When we want to learn about our family we start with the present day members and work backwards in time. We learn all we can about each generation and then move backwards as far as we can. But then we reach a person and the information stops as if we hit a BRICK WALL. We just cannot find a record that gives that person’s parents and/or place of birth. 

I have more than one brick wall. I’d love to knock down this one and discover who is on the other side.




BRICK WALL = Edward Brown c 1730 – c 1797 NC
My 5th Great Grandfather

This is a portion from my next book, Our Brown Roots.

As an introduction to Edward Brown, we have a summary of his life that was published when Edward’s grandson, Moses Brown, Jr., died in 1912. A newspaper published a lengthy article about Moses’ life, including a brief history of his father, Moses Brown, and his grandfather, Edward Brown. This was printed well over one hundred years after Edward died and the story was, most likely, handed down over those many years. Inaccuracies or exaggerations might have crept into the tale. Keeping that in mind, here is what the newspaper published regarding Edward Brown.

Edward Brown, was born in Newburn, N. C. His family were Scotch Quakers, opposed to war but in favor of independence, and he with the resident Quakers of the county attended the Mechlinburg convention where the first constitution of the United States was framed a year before the Jefferson, and was one of the eight signers; was a soldier in the army until the close of the war.[i][This constitution, supposedly written in North Carolina in May 1775, has not been proved. The original copy was lost to fire.]

The earliest residence that can be proved for Edward Brown was Edgecombe County, North Carolina. On 12 September 1749 William Bryant wrote his will in the county and the executors of his will were Edward Brown and Abram Dew.[ii]This could be another Edward Brown. However, in 1795 when Edward wrote his will one of his executors was his friend, Joseph Dew.[iii]Families often traveled together. Many genealogies document two or more families living in one area and then traveling together to a new location. It would not be uncommon for the Brown and Dew families to move from one county to another, helping each other set up homes in a new location. Thus the Dew and Brown families could have been friends and neighbors. In 1752 Edward was still in Edgecombe County when he witnessed the will of Luke Thomas.[iv]In 1756 Edward’s name appeared in the county’s records again when Thomas Weathersbe bought 258 acres of land. The land joined “Cypress Swamp, Edward Brown and the Horse Swamp.”[v]Edward Brown did not remain in the area but moved further south to Craven County, which became Jones County. 
Edward purchased two tracts of land in Craven County in 1761. A summary of those transactions follows.

Deed from Daniel Shines planter of Craven Co to Edward Brown planter of same, 24 Feb 1761. 100 pounds proclamation. 70 acres called New Jarmany, on the south side of Trent River, joining James Black Shear, Cypress Creek, Pecoson Branch. Wit: Jacob Humphry, Abraham Gray. Proved Oct Ct 1761 before Peter Conway C. C.[vi]

Deed from William Brown planter of Craven Co to Edward Brown. 17 Dec 1761. 40 pounds proclamation. 100 acres on the north side of the Trent River near Limestone Branch. Wit: William Isler, John (x) Sanders. Proved Apr Ct 1762 before Peter Conway C.J.C.[vii]

            In 1766 Edward Brown owned land on the north side of the Trent River in Craven County.[viii]In 1769 he was on the list of taxpayers in the county.[ix]In May 1770 Edward bought 100 more acres on the north side of the Trent River from Jacob Connup.[x]In March 1778 Edward bought another 50 acres, land that extended his property line along the river.[xi]
            On 14 May 1785 Edward Brown “and wife, Jemimiah” sold 15 acres of land on the south side of the Trent River to Vinson Branson for 25 British pounds.[xiv]
            In July 1788 Edward bought 25 more acres that joined his land. In 1789 Edward purchased two pieces of land that joined his land. On 14 January he bought 100 acres and on 28 September he bought 400 acres for 20 British pounds.[xv]
            Besides land records and tax lists there is evidence of the Edward Brown family in Jones County as related to the Quaker meetings. Oldest sons, John and Aaron, were old enough to join on their own. John Brown was a member in 1788 and Aaron in 1789. Edward, Moses, Daniel and Hardy were brought along by their father in 1789 to become members.[xvi]
            On 8 January 1790 President George Washington gave the first State of the Union Address. 1790 was also the year of the first United States Census. Thomas Jefferson was the Census Bureau Director and the U. S. Marshalls were assigned the responsibility to be sure every household was visited. Almost four million citizens were counted.[xvii]Edward Brown’s household in Jones County, North Carolina included 3 free white males over 16 years, 3 free white males under 16 years and 2 free white females.[xviii]At that time the US Congress was meeting in New York City. In 1791 Washington, D. C. was established as the capital of the United States. In 1792 the Post Office Department was established.[xix]
Aaron Brown acquired land that connected to his father’s land in 1792. His two land transactions equaled 66 acres of land on the Trent River.[xx]
            Edward’s holdings continued to grow with two purchases and a land grant in 1793. In March he purchased 400 acres and in October he purchased 80 more acres that bordered and then expanded his land.[xxi]On 26 November 1793 he was issued a land grant for 15 acres of land, again on the north side of the Trent River.[xxii]The next year he was issued two more land grants, one for 40 acres and the other for 80 acres.[xxiii]
            On 10 August 1795 Edward Brown wrote his last will and testament. His six sons and one grandson are named in this document. Sons Aaron, Hardy, Edward, Moses and Daniel were to each receive 215 acres of land. Hardy, Moses and Daniel were to own all the horses and cattle. Hardy, Edward, Moses and Daniel were to own the hogs. Aaron, Hardy, Edward, Moses and Daniel were to each receive a feather bed and furniture. His son, John, did not receive any land or livestock but was given 20 British Shillings. Edward’s grandson, Moses Brown [son of John Brown], was to receive 50 British pounds.[xxiv]
            Edward Brown died circa 1797. Jones County records show that the vast land holdings he had acquired over the years and then willed to his sons were sold off over the next decade.[xxv]

Related Posts:







[ii]North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665 – 1998, Edgecombe County, William Bryant, 12 September 1749; ancestry.com.
[iii]North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665 – 1998, Jones County, Edward Brown, 10 August 1795; ancestry.com.
[iv]North Carolina Wills and Probate records, 1665 – 1998, Edgecombe County, Luke Thomas, 28 June 1751; Volume 31 – 33; ancestry.com.
[v]Hofmann, Margaret M., The Granville District of North Carolina, 1748 – 1763: Abstracts of Land Grants Volume One (1986) 133.
[vi]Bradley, Stephen E., Craven County, North Carolina Deeds, Wills, and Inventories, 1742 – 1801: Volume 2(Lawrenceville, VA, 2001) 21.
[vii]Bradley, Stephen E., Craven County, North Carolina Deeds, Wills, and Inventories, 1742 – 1801: Volume 2(Lawrenceville, VA, 2001) 30.
[viii]North Carolina Land Grant Images and Data, Craven County; Book 18, page 271; Grant 134, file 2708; Benjamin Messer; nclandgrants.com. Land bordered by Edward Brown.
[ix]North Carolina Tax Payers, 1679 – 1790; Volume 2; Edward Brown, page 27; ancestry.com.
[x]Pruitt, A. B., Abstracts of Deeds Craven County, N. C.(NC: privately printed, 2007) 73.
[xi]Pruitt, A. B., Abstracts of Land Entries: Craven County, N. C., 1778 – 1796 (NC: privately printed, 1991) 6.
[xii]Gwynn, Zae Hargett. Abstracts of the Records of Jones County, North Carolina, 1779 - 1868. Volume I. Kingsport, Tennessee: Kingsport Press, Inc., 1963. From the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Charlotte, North Carolina.
[xiii]North Carolina, Land Grant Files, 1693 – 1960; Edward Brown, Jones County, North Carolina; ancestry.com. Grant #110, Book 44, Page 98, issued 22 Oct 1782.
[xiv]Gwynn, Zae Hargett. Abstracts of the Records of Jones County, North Carolina, 1779 - 1868. Volume I. Kingsport, Tennessee: Kingsport Press, Inc., 1963. From the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Charlotte, North Carolina.
[xv]Gwynn, Zae Hargett. Abstracts of the Records of Jones County, North Carolina, 1779 - 1868. Volume I. Kingsport, Tennessee: Kingsport Press, Inc., 1963. From the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Charlotte, North Carolina. Page 27.
[xvi]North Carolina Quaker Meeting; ancestry.com; Edward Brown and sons.
[xvii]‘Pop Culture 1790’, History, US Census Bureau; census.gov.
[xviii]1790 US Census, NC, Jones Co; M637, Roll 7, Page 425. Edward Brown household.
[xix]‘Pop Culture 1790’, History, US Census Bureau; census.gov.; accessed Jan. 2017.
[xx]Gwynn, Zae Hargett. Abstracts of the Records of Jones County, North Carolina, 1779 - 1868. Volume I. Kingsport, Tennessee: Kingsport Press, Inc., 1963. From the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Charlotte, North Carolina. Page 40.
[xxi]Gwynn, Zae Hargett. Abstracts of the Records of Jones County, North Carolina, 1779 - 1868. Volume I. Kingsport, Tennessee: Kingsport Press, Inc., 1963. From the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Charlotte, North Carolina. Page 42.
[xxii]North Carolina, Land Grant Files, 1693 – 1960; Edward Brown, Jones County, North Carolina; ancestry.com. Grant #481, Book 81, Page 381, issued 26 Nov 1793.
[xxiii]North Carolina, Land Grant Files, 1693 – 1960; Edward Brown, Jones County, North Carolina; ancestry.com. Grant #528, Book 86, Page 119, issued 6 Dec 1794 & Grant #538, Book 86, Page 123, issued 6 Dec 1794.
[xxiv]North Carolina Wills and Probate Records, 1665 – 1998, Jones County, Edward Brown, 10 August 1795; ancestry.com.
[xxv]Gwynn, Zae Hargett. Abstracts of the Records of Jones County, North Carolina, 1779 - 1868. Volume I. Kingsport, Tennessee: Kingsport Press, Inc., 1963. From the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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