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First Presbyterian Congregation of Connecticut Farms
Stuyvesant and Chestnut St.
Union, NJ 07083

Brown Burials in Connecticut Farms

Wilson B. Brown

If I were just to describe each person whose has an existing gravestone in the cemetery, the connections would be well nigh incomprehensible. Many early burials were without a “monument” or the stone has worn away or disappeared. Many other key connections are not in the cemetery at all. So what I have done here is to present a short, non-scholarly account of the descendants of Stephen Brown and Prudence Price, who account for nearly all of the Browns buried in the cemetery. To marshal all the proofs and give a detailed discussion would take many pages, and my larger Brown project is still a work in progress, although now over eight chapters long.

So what I have done is to take the four sons of Stephen and Prudence and describe each family, indenting each generation another tab. All of the people mentioned on the stones in the cemetery are put in red. I have tried to place warnings where the data is uncertain.

Stephen3 Browne (1680-1767)

All or nearly all of the Brown family burials are descendants of Stephen Brown(e)3. Stephen’s stone is no longer visible, but was recorded in 1924.

Stephen’s father was Joseph2, son of John1 Brown and Mary Burwell, who came to Newark from Derby, CT. as part of the Milford Group. John1 and Mary had four sons: (1) John2, who was the township clerk for many years, departing Newark when his friend, Abraham Pierson, Junior, to Connecticut. John had no children in Newark, but a late second marriage in Connecticut produced one child, Samuel3. (2) Daniel2, the youngest son, had daughters, but no sons. (3) Thomas2 and (4) Joseph2, both of whom had sons, but I have identified none of Thomas’ descendants in the cemetery. Some of the unidentified Browns may indeed be descendants of Thomas’ son, John3 (1682-1768, almost exactly the same as his cousin, Stephen), but I have not worked much on that line.

Joseph2 and Thomas2 secured several pieces of land (1) in present-day South Orange on the mountain side, running north from South Orange Avenue and including Springbeach and Tillou Streets, (2) along the east side of Valley Road in present-day Maplewood, and perhaps also South Orange, and (3) between the east branch of the Elizabeth River and Stuyvesant Drive. The last piece was part of John Brown’s original grant, while the first and second appear to be part of the Second Division of Newark properties. The brothers built a lumber mill on the east branch of the Elizabeth River at the site of what was called Drake’s Mill in the 1860s, in what is now Irvington. Thomas2 and his son John3 apparently inherited the land to the east of the mill while Joseph received the part between the mill and the town line. (That is a guess from looking at later land holdings.)

Stephen3 Brown was the youngest of Joseph’s children. James3, Samuel3, and Joseph3 were the other sons. Many of Joseph’s descendants stayed a bit to the north, and tended to form associations with people in Orange, and many are buried in Orange. Moreover, they attended church in South Orange, the church built on land donated by Job4 Brown, one of Joseph’s children.

In his nearly 87 years of life, Stephen3 accumulated a great deal of land, both to the west of John Brown’s original lands, crossing into what was then Elizabeth, and to the north, stretching on both sides of the old Newark-Elizabeth town line and over toward, or perhaps beyond the Springfield Pike (now Springfield Ave.) Perhaps they even connected with the Valley Street lands.

Stephen3 married Prudence Price, daughter of John, the son of Benjamin Price of Elizabethtown. They had four sons: Stephen4 Brown, Caleb4 Brown, Benjamin4 Brown, and Joel4 Brown. I suspect that all are indeed buried in the cemetery, but only Caleb has a stone that is still legible.

Rather than to present the burials in alphabetical order, I will do them in the families, grouped by Stephen’s sons. To a considerable extent, this reflects the burial patterns, although I only have a map of part of the cemetery.

May I add a note of caution, and an invitation for further discussion. In a piece of this length, I cannot go through all the proofs, but have tried to indicate the nature of the proof, and my level of comfort with the proof. Be careful with the use of the data, particularly where I show uncertainty, check if any changes are made later on Write me if you think I am wrong, or want to know more details of why I think a certain connection is true. If you footnote the document, give the date, because what you footnote may be changed later on. My address is with the Connecticut Farms Cemetery material.

Descendants of Stephen4 Brown, the younger.

Stephen4 Brown (d. 1759) md Sarah Wade (abt. 1725-1773).

Stephen4 Brown, the younger, died in 1759, perhaps between 35 and 40 years of age. He had three or four children. The sons were Phineas5 and William5, and one daughter was Sarah5. Some records appear to refer to the daughters in the plural, but I do not know who the other was. Many of Phineas’ descendants are buried near one another in the cemetery, and I suspect that both Stephen4, Jr. and Phineas5 are there also in unmarked graves. The descendants of Stephen4, the younger, in this cemetery all come through Stephen’s son, Phineas5, and his wife Esther Gillum (or Gillam).

To judge by where Phineas5 held lands, Stephen4 held land on Valley Street in Maplewood, probably part of the lands Joseph2 and Thomas2 received in 1685. From the town minutes of 1686:

Oct. 4, 1686. "Item Joseph and Thomas Brown have Liberty granted to exchange their Fathers Third Division of Land lying beyond Elizabeth River and to take up the Quantity thereof on this side Ruway River below the Mouth of Stone House Brook."

This land was in addition to the mountainside lands, which were on “the other side” of the Rahway River. The heirs of Stephen Brown, Jr. all held land on both sides of Valley Street, running from just south of the present-day South Orange well into Maplewood by the golf course. The lands are not named in the will of Stephen senior, so he must have given or sold the lands to his son before his son’s death.

Descendants of Benjamin4 Brown (d. before 1764)

Benjamin4 Brown (d. before 1764)
Benjamin4 Brown was not alive at the time of his father’s will, drafted in 1764, and the only mention in the records I have seen is that in Stephen’s will. He had at least one son, Henry, and held lands largely to the south of Stuyvesant Avenue in both Newark and Elizabeth (now Union, Irvington, and Maplewood). Many of his descendants are in the cemetery.

Descendants of Caleb4 Brown

Caleb4 Brown (1713-1779) md. (1) Hannah Crane, (2) Elizabeth Riggs.

All children are by the first marriage. I have some uncertainty over whether Hannah was a Crane, and I am unsure of my source.

Caleb is the only one of the four sons of Stephen to have a gravestone standing. Caleb held lands largely north of Stuyvesant Avenue, extending over toward the Rahway River Valley.

Descendants of Joel4 Brown

Joel4 Brown’s line has been very hard to follow, which is especially annoying since it is my own line. The genealogical problems are considerable, so here is a small outline.

A deed of land indicates that Joel’s first wife was named Molly, and the papers of the administration of the estate reveal his second wife’s name to be Hannah. The administrators of the estate were Hannah and Nathaniel Brown. A wardship document indicates that Joel4 had a son James5, who was under 21 in 1786, but came out of wardship during the next year, and was therefore born in 1766. The guardian was Richard Townley, no relationship expressed. A later land sale indicates that Stephen5 Brown, 1758-1819, was a son. Both sons were born before the deed of land was written. The deed deals with a piece of meadowland that appears to go back to the original land division of Newark.

Nathaniel5, Brown who administered the estate must be Joel’s oldest son. He connects with no existing Brown family, and his is the first appearance of the name Nathaniel in the family. Moreover, heirs of Nathaniel5 (Ogden7, Joseph7, and Israel7, sons of Thomas6 Brown) held onto land granted to Joel4, by his father Stephen3, and Stephen5, son of Joel4, held land adjacent to Nathaniel’s and made serious efforts through purchasing some of Nathaniel’s lands, to help out the bereft family.

Several pieces of land in the area granted to Joel turn up owned by the Earl family, and it is possible that Joel had a daughter who married an Earl. The Earl family gravestones are also in the next row from those of Joel’s descendants. The Crane and Day families may also be connected through unidentified daughters, but this is only speculation, based on wardships, executors, witnesses, and land holdings. The cemetery itself suggests another possibility: a marriage to Joseph Bruen, as described below.

Joel’s son, Stephen5, can be traced fairly clearly. James5 disappears from the area. Nathaniel5, again my ancestor, presents a pile of problems. When he died, around 35 or 40 years old in 1790, he left no will. He married Sarah, but I have never discovered her last name. (Brown, Crane, Ogden, Johnson are all suggested by various other connections.) The probate of his estate mentions children, as do later documents when some land was sold for their support and education, but they are never named. Nor have I found a division of property.

So who were the children? This is where knowing not only the cemetery, but where the graves are located within the cemetery helps. A hand-sketch of part of the cemetery may help. (I do not have a map of the entire cemetery.) The first sketch is from the church’s records and shows the relationships of the graves; the second is a more careful reading we were able to do ourselves in 1991.

Photo is uprighted for easy reading of names.

The notes were taken May 29th, 1991 by the wife of Wilson Brown, Jennifer (Brown) Brown.

This picture shows the row of stones as we first found them.
The other picture [below] is of Israel Brown's stone, which is the one that was flat on its face.

The first child was Hannah6 Brown, who married Joseph Durand. Her death registration indicates her parents as Nathaniel5 and Sarah Brown. The second was Israel6 Brown, who is buried next to Hannah along the fence of the cemetery (the stone on its face). The third was Thomas6 Brown, who is also buried in the same plot, and whose sons held land “formerly owned by Nathaniel5 Brown.” Thomas6 named his youngest child, Israel7. All three are buried in the plot.

The fourth was Maria or Polly6 Brown, who married Stephen B. Headley, Jr. (“Boss” Headley). The evidence for this is principally in the naming of her children, one of whom is named Joseph Durand 7 Headley and another of which is Maria Reynolds7 Headley. Note that Maria Reynolds is named after the wife of Israel Brown and Joseph Durand was the husband of Hannah Brown, leading support to the idea that Maria "Polly" (Brown) Headley was a sister to Israel and Hannah. [Polly is a standard nickname for Mary/Maria.] The two families also passed on information that they were related, although how it was had been lost. (“Oh yes, grandfather always said the Headleys and the Browns were related.”)

More circumstantial evidence exists, all pointing to the same pattern. Nathaniel5 and Sarah may have had other children. When we get to Israel, my 3X great-grandfather, evidence is also thin, since Israel moved to Pennsylvania and Ohio before returning to New Jersey. Nonetheless, the cemetery plot helps tie the family together.

Nancy W.7 (Brown) Durand, mother of Nathaniel B.8 Durand, and Sarah A.7 Brown, were born in Pennsylvania and came to New Jersey in 1823 (by their death registrations). Sarah’s7 will indicates that her brother was Nathaniel R.7 Brown, and she requested gravestones for her parents, which are clearly of a later date. Moreover I have seen a letter addressed to “Uncle Brown” from C. M.8 Durand, a son of Nancy W.7 Durand. Israel6 had other children, but I have not identified them -- yet.

Joel4 Brown md. (1) Molly/Margaret, (2) Hannah.

Between the graves of Joel’s son, Stephen5, and the cluster of graves of Nathaniel’s5 children lie two stones. The first is Joseph Bruen, whose dates work out to be 1730/1 to 1810 and Elizabeth, daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth, d. 1807 aged 22. I don’t know my Bruens as well as some of the other early Newark families, so I cannot identify Joseph. There were many intermarriages between the Stephen Browne’s brothers’ descendants and the Bruens, but this is the only Bruen who has strayed so far south as Connecticut Farms.

The other stone next to Joseph Bruen is that of Sarah World, 1812-1855, which is a complete puzzle with a very unusual last name. It is possible that she is a descendant of Joseph and Elizabeth (Brown?) Bruen.

Other Stones of Relevance to the Browns

Andrew Wilson.

At the end of the row is a larger monument to members of the Wilson family. Since I am the third Wilson Brown, although I do not carry Reynolds as my middle name as my father and grandfather did, I have often wondered who the Wilson was who caused J. Livingston Brown to name my grandfather Wilson Reynolds. (Grampa said it should have been William Reynolds, but his step-mother and aunt changed it to make if fancy. Perhaps the considered William, and there was a William Reynolds who could be a great grandfather, but the birth certificate says Wilson.) In any case, I cannot connect these Wilsons with my family in any way.

Polly Taylor.

This stone is in the Asher Brown plot. It is recorded incorrectly under Taylor. Polly Taylor is what shows above the turf, but slightly under the turf, is the name Conlon. Thus it is Polly Taylor Conlon, born about 1767 and died in 1794. Wife of John N. This is very much a mystery. Asher already had a Polly, who married John Clark. Taylors are connected with Obadiah Crane, who is buried nearby in another plot, but if it is, it is misplaced. Obadiah married a Martha Taylor, but why is Polly, however she is related to Martha, buried with the Browns?

Phebe Clark.

This stone is in the Asher Brown plot. Phebe was born too early to be a child of Hannah Brown and David Clark. She may be another daughter of Asher Brown, who married a Clark (even David as a second wife), but had no children, since no child of Phebe is mentioned in the division of Asher’s estate.

Obadiah Crane.

Obadiah Crane served as administrator of Nathaniel Brown’s estate (1790) and shared ownership of a tavern with Caleb Brown, son of Asher. I suspect he is kin to Sarah, wife of Nathaniel, but I do not know how. The gravestones of his family lie in the second row from the fence, rather to the right. That row has the Earls and the Obadiah Cranes, and lies between those of Stephen and Nathaniel (sons of Joel) and the graves of the descendants of Caleb. Obadiah married first, Martha Taylor, and second, Mary Crane (her maiden name) of Turkey (New Providence). Stephen H. Crane is the son of Obadiah and Mary.


Browns loved Durands. The Durand family is Huguenot in origin, with the original immigrant being Dr. Jean (John) Durand, who settled first in Connecticut and then went on to New York City. He was born in La Rochelle, France in 1667 and died in 1727. He married Mary Bryant. One of his many sons, Samuel, moved to the Connecticut Farms area, marrying Mary Bruen, and as far as I know, all the Essex and Union County Durands are descendants of Samuel.

Unidentified BROWNs

These could be descendants of Stephen, of his brothers or cousin, John (Thomas, John), who lived in the area and was almost an exact contemporary of Stephen. In addition, another family of Browns settled in Elizabeth and Lyon’s Farms; they came from Long Island and are of no known connection to John Brown. On the North side of Newark, there was a Dutch family of Browns, but they did not get this far south.

BROWNs buried at the Scotch Plains Baptist Church

Homepage of the Connecticut Farms Cemetery


Webpage & HTML coding by: Audrey (Shields) Hancock
Created: 15 September 2001
Revised: 05 February 2009