Sources: Brown Genealogy; Genealogical Dictionary of the First Families of New England by Savage; History of Lynn, Essex County, Mass.; Pioneers of Mass. by Pope; New England Colonial Families, Vol. 1; Genealogical and Biographical Record of New London County, Conn., by Beers; Ancestral File; NEHGR, Vols. 3, 33, 39, 44, 66 and 103; Founders of Early American Families; National Society, Daughters of Colonial Wars, Lineage Book V (973, D2dcw); A Witter Family History.
Witter Family: Nicholas Brown, born about 1601, Inkborrow, Worchestershire. Died 5 April 1673, Reading, Mass.
Pioneers of Massachusetts by Pope: Also says he was a mariner. Gives death date as 5 Apr 1673.
New England Marriages Prior to 1700: A Nicholas Browne married after 1656 Frances Parker, the widow of George Parker, and they lived in Portsmouth, R.I. [This must be the R.I. Nicholas Browne, since our Nicholas lived most of his life and died in Lynn/Reading. Our Nicholas named wife Elizabeth in his will.]
There are problems with the number and places of birth of Nicholas Browne's children in the Ancestral File/Archives record. Nicholas was in New England in 1628, 1630 or 1637, according to different sources. Pioneers of Mass. and New England Historical and Genealogical Register list seven children: Edward, Joseph, Sarah, John, Josiah, Cornelius and Elizabeth (excluding Thomas). Genealogical Dictionary of First Settlers of New England lists six (excluding Cornelius as well as Thomas). Ancestral File and an almost identical FHL archives record list a Jane, born about 1645; Mary, born 1653, and Mehitible, born about 1656 (the only child not reported as born in England). This would mean Elizabeth Brown had the last two at ages 48 and 51, respectively. It also would mean the family did not come to New England until after Mary's birth in 1653. Nicholas was listed in several sources as a freeman in 1638.
(1) Those three were not daughters of Nicholas and Elizabeth.
(2) Thomas, listed in most sources as a son born in England, was not reported as a child in Essex County records because of his English birth. The other seven were born in Lynn (became Reading in 1644) where birth information was found about them.
(3) Since those seven were probably born in Lynn/Reading (Josiah the earliest about 1630), then a family of three, Nicholas, wife Elizabeth and son Thomas, came to New England in 1630 before the birth of Josiah. It is somewhat unlikely that a couple with 10 children would make an arduous sea journey. Also, Thomas was married in Lynn in 1652/1653.
New England Colonial Families, Vol. 1, published 1981, (and just found, 3/8/91, in the Family History Libary), supports the above theory. It lists eight children, same names as above eight. Will go with this later record. The archives record goes back to the 1930s.
Genealogical and Biographical Record of New London County, Conn.: Names Nicholas' father, wife, children. Says father Edward married Jane Lyde, daughter of Thomas. New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. 44, says the spelling is Lide.
NEHGR, Vol. 44: Nicholas was one of the early "planters" of Lynn, receiving 210 acres from the town. He was made a freeman in 1638 and was a deputy to the General Court in 1641. Lynn and Reading then "joined each other even to the sea," and the latter was called Lynn Village, but in 1644 the name was changed to Reading and Nicholas moved there and had 200 acres of land granted to him. He owned other tracts of land in Reading and Lynn.
Deputy to the General Court again in 1655, '56 and '61 and was a selectman during those years. He sent his son John to England in 1660 to look after his maternal grandfather's property, which he had inherited as "next heir to the Lides," and gave him power of attorney to call one William Rand to account, "what of shops, houses, lands and monies he hath received for rents, profits and sheep-rent, heretofore and of late due, arising, growing and properly belonging unto the heirs of the said Lide."
(Quotes from History of Reading as cited in Vol. 44, NEHGR). Nicholas' will is at East Cambridge. His estate was valued at 1,232 pounds and 9 shillings, a large amount in those days.
How much of this came from grandfather? NEHGR, Vol. CIII cites an instrument filed in Inkberrow Oct. 24, 1649, in which "Nicholas Browne, husbandman, gave a power of attorney to Thomas Ardy, gentleman, and Richard Woodward of Benjoth, co. Worcester, to recover possession of tenements as per an ancient deed dated 1 January, 15 Henry VII , in Morton Underhill, co. Worcester. (Aspinwall, p. 266). Also Nicholas "gave a power of attorney...to his eldest son John Browne bound for England to call William Rand to account for the shops, houses and lands belonging to Nicholas as next heir of the Lides. Which Rand recovered by a former power of attorney from Nicholas Browne. 5 Oct. 1660. (Middlesex records). Somehow John was classed as the eldest son in these actions. Perhaps to give him more clout?
Brown Genealogy: Nicholas' will mentions a brother Preserve Browne. This source spells his mother's name as Leids.
A Lynn record says, "Nicholas Browne, Edward Taylor and others were fined 6d. for being late at town meeting."
There is speculation that Nicholas came to Massachusetts as early as 1628, in 1630, in 1638 (named a freeman), and even later. Seven of his children were recorded as being born in Lynn, the first two in about 1630 and about 1632, and the third listed definitely in 1634. This indicates that the History of Lynn (below) is correct in saying he came with the Winthrop fleet.
History of Lynn, Essex County, Mass.: Nicholas and his family were among 1,700 persons who sailed in 11 ships from Southampton, England, in early spring, 1630. They reached Salem in June. Nicholas, the book says, was a farmer who lived on Walnut Street in Saugus. He moved to Reading in 1644. His son Thomas remained in Lynn. Nicholas and three other men from the 1630 John Winthrop group moved to the Lynn area. They were Thomas Newhall, William Witter and William's father-in-law, Hugh Churchman. All were our ancestors. A fifth ancestor, Thomas Wheeler, came later to Lynn and subsequently oved to Stonington, Conn., with his daughter, Elizabeth, and her husband, Josiah Witter, the son of William Witter. It appears most likely that the version above is the most accurate re Nicholas' voyage to New England.
Genealogical Dictionary of First Settlers of New England by Savage: Puts Nicholas in Lynn about 1637 but says "Lewis" puts him there in 1630. It also says Inkberrow is about eight miles from Droitwich, Worcestershire, England. New England Historical and enealogical Record, v.66, p.99: Nicholas came to New England about 1635 from Inkberrow and settled in that part of Lynn which is now (1912) Saugus, afterwards moving to Lynn Village, the part now in Wakefield.
Founders: Nicholas Browne. Lynn, MA, 1638. Reading 1644. Died there 5 April 1673. Planter. Freeman. Deputy.
AF: One record says Nicholas died at Reading and was born in 1601. Beers puts birth at about 1600, others at 1601. He also says his mother's name was Jane Lyde. This is the only spellng for that name in book called "Origin of English Surnames." So I will go with that. Inkberrow is found on British map. Other spellings found in sources include Inkbarrow, Inkburrow, Inkborrow, and Inchboro.
Colonial Wars: Nicholas Browne, born in England, died 5 April 1673 in Reading. Representative 1641, 1655, 1656 and 1661. Married Elizabeth ___. He was in Lynn in 1630 and moved to Reading in 1644.
IGI info: Batch #: 8100930, Sheet #: 77, Source Call #: 1260819
[The Browne, with "e" spelling, goes down through Eleazer I with Beers and
through Thomas with The Brown Genealogy. I'll take it through Thomas.
Tombstone of Eleazer I in North Stonington says, "Eleazer Brown son of Thomas
Brown of Lynn, Mass.," but it was erected many years later by a descendant.]