Relating To The Families Of Boston And Eastern Massachusetts.
Prepared Under The Editorial Supervision Of
William Richard Cutter, A. M.
Historian Of The New England Historic Genealogical Society
Librarian Of Woburn Public Library
Author Of "The Cutter Family," "History Of Arlington," "Bibloigraphy Of Woburn," Etc. Etc.
New York Lewis Historical Publishing Company
[Transcribed by Coralynn Brown]
There is an old tradition to the effect that the surname Drown, or Drowne, as originally written, as an English patronymic was first applied to a child found alone in a boat at sea, too young to give any account of himself, and from the fate which doubtless would have been his but for his fortunate discover and rescue he was given the name Drown. Such is the legend, and from the fact that the name is said to have been previously unknown among English surnames, it has been reasoned that the tradition may have been founded upon fact; and accepting the theory as correct (and it is far more reasonable than many others regarding the origin of surnames) the family name Drown must be classed witht hose derived from a circumstance. But how many generations anterior to that which begins our present narrative concerning the Americn ancestor of the particular branch of the New England family of that name proposed to be treated here, is a question perhaps not easily determined.
(I) Leonard Drown was born in the year 1646 and was a shipwright by occupation. He came to this country from the west of England soon after the accession of Charles II to the throne and first appears in New England history at Sturgeon Creek, New Hampshire, and carried on shipbuilding at Portsmouth, N. H., until the Indian disturbances of what historians call Queen Anne's war compelled him to leave that region and settle in Boston, where he resumed his former occupation and where he died Oct. 31, 1729, and was buried in Copps Hill burying-ground. His home at Sturgeon Creek was about seven miles from Portsmouth, and there all of his children were born.
In 1679-80 he married Elizabeth Abbott, of Portmouth, and by her had four sons, Solomon, Samuel, Simeon and Shem, and two daughters, Susanna, who married John Johnson of Boston, and Mary, who became the wife of a Mr. Kettle of Charlestown, Mass.
(II) Solomon Drown, eldest son of Leonard and Elizabeth (Abbott) Drown, was born Jan. 23, 1681, and was a shipbuilder at Providence, Rhode Island. He married Nov. 8, 1705, in Bristol, R. I., Esther Jones, born Aug. 16, 1686, died in 1744, having survived her husband, who died in 1730.
1. Solomon, born Oct. 4, 1706; became well known as a merchant and statesman in Providence, and died in 1780, leaving three children, the second of whom, Dr. Solomon Drown (3rd), was a remarkable man, graduating from Rhode Island College (now Brown University) in 1773, and afterward received degrees in medicine from the University of Pennsylvania and Dartmouth College; served in the revolutionary army from 1776 to 1780, and enjoyed the personal friendship of Lafatyette, Rochambeau and the officers and medical staff of the French army in Rhode Island.
2. Esther, Oct. 6, 1708.
3. Elizabeth, Sept. 8, 1710.
4. Joseph, Feb. 8, 1713.
5. Bathsheba, June 10, 1715.
6. Benjamin, June 9, 1717.
7. Mary, June 7, 1719.
8. Samuel, July 31, 1721, a silversmith of unusual skill.
9. Sarah, July 23, 1723.
10. Jonathan, July 29, 1725.
11. Shem, June 13, 1728, coppersmith; he made the grasshopper on Faneuil Hall, Boston, and also made some silverware about 1750.
(III) Samuel Drown, son of Solomon and Esther (Jones) Drown, was a clergyman of the Baptist church of the Calvinistic school, but differing with that demonination in regard to the custom of close communion, he left it and became an independent Congregationalist, the sect, then frequently stigmatized as "new Lights," a name, however, which he and his followers did not adopt. "About this time," says Brewster in the "Rambles about Porsmouth," "several members of the First Congregational Church in Portsmouth, of which Samuel Langdon, D.D., was pastor, being dissatisfied with the indifference of that church to spiritual improvement, and the absence of that degree of vitality in a large proportion of the members of the church, which would, in their judgment have characterized them as disciples of Christ, together with some differences of opinion in respect to church discipline, induced them to secede from that church; and, being joined by other professing Christians in Portsmouth and from the neighboring towns, founded a new Church, called the 'First Independent Congregationalist Church in Portsmouth, New Hampshire,' and invited Mr. Drown, who had seceded from the Calvin Baptist denomination, to take the pastoral charge of the church; a place or house of worhship being erected in Pitt (now Court) street, on the site of the Unitarian Chapel, for their accomodation. The invitation was accepted, and he arrived at Portsmouth from Coventry, R. I., with his family, July 7, 1758, and continued the beloved and faithful pastor of this little flock, and by none was he respected and revered more than by the living members and succeeding pastor of the North Church, from which, mainly, his church were seceders, until his decease, which occurred Jan. 17, 1770, leaving a widow who died Sept. 12, 1784."
Mr. Drown married Sarah Reed in Rehoboth, Mass.:
1. Mary, born Aug. 20, 1744, died Aug. 31, 1744.
2. William, b. Sept. 23, 1745, died Dec. 22, 1747.
3. Sarah, Sept. 3, 1747, died May 23, 1820.
4. Samuel, Nov. 5, 1749, died Aug. 7, 1815; married Mary Pickering of Portsmouth, N. H.
5. Peter, Jan. 10, 1752, died Feb. 4, 1788.
6. Betsey, Nov. 9, 1755, died Nov. 9, 1763.
7. Thomas, April 27, 1757, died Sept. 7, 1846.
8. Benjamin, July 14, 1759, died Dec., 1793.
9. Mary, July 19, 1762, died 1824.
10. Joseph, Oct. 9, 1769, died Nov. 13, 1827.
(IV) Thomas Drown, son and seventh child of Rev. Samuel and Sarah (Reed) Drown, was born in Coventry, Rhode Island. He had a large family of sixteen children, of whom five are now living.
1. Thomas, of Newburyport, Mass., aged ninety years; married twice and had twelve children.
2. John, of Rockport, Mass., aged more than eighty years.
3. Abbie (Mrs. Harvey) of Newmarket, New Hampshire, aged more than seventy years.
4. Elizabeth (Mrs. Battel), of Newburyport, Mass.
5. Joseph, of Portland, Maine, aged seventy-five years.
(V) Among the sons and daughters of Thomas Drown who are not now living was a son, Samuel, who married Frances Brooks, of Newburyport, and by whom he had one son:
Richard W. Drown, and four daughters,
Mary, wife of John Hoyt.
Martha, who married Caleb Long.
Maria, who married William Moulton.
Frances, who married John Jones.
(VI) Richard W. Drown, son of Samuel and Frances (Brooks) Drown, was born Oct. 30, 1819. He was given a good education in the public schools of Newburyport and graduated from the Putnam high school. After leaving school he went out on a fishing vessel to the Grand Banks, but after a single trip he quit the sea and learned the trade of morocco dressing, at which he became a skillful workman and continued in the employment until about 1848, when he formed a partnership with a Mr. Kelty and started in business as proprietor of a morocco dressing factory in Lynn. He continued in active and successful business until the time of his death, the factory of the firm of which he was a member being located in what since has been known as Drown's Court.
Mr. Drown died in Lynn, Dec. 1, 1877, after a long honorable and entirely successful career in business pursuits. In many respects he was one of the leading men of that busy city and enjoyed an extensive acquaintance with men of affairs and also in the social, fraternal and church life of Lynn. As a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows he held an especial prominence in the councils of the order, filled nearly all of its higher offices and was compelled to decline others of greater honor on account of impaired health; the Richard Drown Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was named in allusion of him.
For many years he was an earnest member of the Universalist church in Lynn, a member of its choir for fifteen years and for six years was superintendent of its Sunday school.
He married first, April 18, 1841, Mary Perkins Newhall of Lynn, born Aug. 14, 1822, died Dec. 18, 1863, daughter of Captain Aaron and ____ (Alley) Newhall, the latter daughter of Timothy and Sally Alley.
He married second, Jan. 12, 1865, Agnes Scott Fulton, born in Lowell, Mass., Dec. 11, 1837, daughter of Hugh Fulton, a native of Eldershire, Scotland, and Janette Fulton, his wife, who was born in Paisley, Scotland. Mr. Drown had no children by his second wife.
Children, b. in Lynn of his 1st marriage:
1. Mary Inez, April 26, 1845, married Llewellyn Howe.
2. Francis Perkins, Feb. 14, 1847.
3. Juliet, Nov. 16, 1848, married Charles F. Mower.
4. Sarah Louise, July 15, 1851, died April 7, 1853.
5. Isabella, April 5, 1845 [trans note: I wonder if this is really 1854] died May 7, 1858.
6. Andrew Kelty, Feb. 17, 1856, married Evelyn Emmerton.
7. Sylvia Hamlin, June 28, 1860, married Frank W. Kimball.
8. Richard W., Jr., Nov .28, 1861, died June 1, 1863.
(VII) Francis Perkins Drown, eldest son and second child of Richard W. and Mary Perkins (Newhall) Drown, his first wife, was born in Lynn, Mass., Feb. 14, 1847, and for more than forty years was prominently identified with the industrial life of that city, and by his death on Sept. 29, 1905, the city of Lynn lost one of its most enterprising men of business. His early education was acquired in Lynn public schools and afterward he received a full course of instruction in Bryant & Stratton Commercial College in Boston. His business career was begun in the capacity of clerk and salesman in David Austin's furniture establishment in Lynn, where he was employed about five years. In 1867 Mr. Drown was taken into partnership with his father, and on the death of his father in 1877 succeeded him in business, the new firm comprising Francis P. and Andrew Drown. The new concern continued in active and successful operation in the manufacture of morocco leather in the factory building at Drown's Court for the next seventeen years. After retiring from the morocco business Mr. Drown became connected with the Boston house of Ingalls & Brothers, jobbers of upper leather, and remained there until 1905, the year in which he died.
Like his father he was prominently identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and was one of the early members of the Bay State Lodge of Lynn. He was also a member of the Universalist church, and for twenty-five years played the organ in its Sunday school when the society was located on Union street. In politics he was a Republican.
On April 19, 1871, Francis Perkins Drown married Celia Atwood Skinner, born at Lynnfield Centre, Mass., Sept. 25, 1847, daughter of Alfred and Ann (Phillips) Skinner, and through her mother a distant relative of Wendell Phillips.
Children, b. in Lynn:
1. Richard Arthur, Jan. 8, 1874, died March 12, 1876.
2. Mary Perkins, March 3, 1876, died Sept. 18, 1876.
3. Richard Wiggins, Sept. 8, 1879, the fifth of that name in the succession of descendants of Leonard Drown. He married Florence Dustin Parker, daughter of John Lord Parker, of Lynn, one child, Selwyn Parker, born May 28, 1906.
4. Agnes Marion, Feb. 18, 1885, died July 16, 1885.
5. Harlan Francis, Nov. 8, 1887, a student at Harvard.