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WILMARTH Marriages

Replies: 7

Re: Deborah (Wilmarth) Brown (Attn: Nancy Sterling Tyler)

Posted: 3 Dec 2012 8:39AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 25 Feb 2013 11:17AM GMT
I am the author of the article in question, "Carpenter Descendants of John Howland in Tennessee," published in THE MAYFLOWER QUARTERLY. If you are interested in data regarding Hannah (Brown) Carpenter's father, Noah Brown, please refer to the source citation I provided regarding the estate of Noah Brown in "The Mayflower Descendant," which you indicated you had not consulted at the time of your posting. If you examine it, you will see there is nothing misleading in the statement(s) I made in my article. I take great care to document my work.

I have a copy of Carl Boyer's NEW ENGLAND COLONIAL FAMILIES, volume 1, published in 1981 and have pertinent photocopies from Aimee (Huston) Eck's JOHN BROWNE, GENTLEMAN OF WANNAMOISETT, published in 1951. Boyer, p. 43 mentions Noah Brown and states that he "...was dead when in 1774 the estate of Rebecca Brown was divided to the heirs of her son Noah Brown." He cites as his sources Eck, 61 and MD 17:178-190. (It should be noted here that Boyer apparently made a mistake in his citation for MD, which is an abbreviation for THE MAYFLOWER DESCENDANT. He apparently was referring to MD, volume 20, rather than 17. MD, volume 20, contains an article entitled "The Estate of William Brown" on pages 178-190.)

Eck mentions Noah Brown as dying before 1774 and states the "Estate of Rebecca Brown was divided to heirs of son Noah in 1774."

Boyer and Eck are both wrong.

If one consults THE MAYFLOWER DESCENDANT, volume 20, pp. 178-190 for the article entitled "The Estate of William Brown," one will find a good abstract of documents relevant to the estate administration of William Brown. The article includes an abstract of an original document, dated 17 May 1774, in which the recently deceased Rebecca, the widow of William Brown, late of Rehoboth, had land constituting part of her widow's third divided among the children of William Brown. (A widow of a man who died intestate was apportioned a third of the estate of her deceased husband.) The abstracted document outlines the children of William Brown and the land they received upon the death of William Brown's widow. It includes, on page 188, the portion inherited by Noah Brown and states, "We set off to Noah Brown one of the sons of the said Decast [sic] for his shair [sic] in Said Estate..." It does NOT indicate he was dead at the time of the division in 1774. The division clearly mentions several of the children of William Brown who were deceased, apportioning their shares to their heirs, including Amos Brown, Ezera [sic] Brown, and Bethia Walker. Noah Brown is not mentioned as being deceased. He was clearly alive.

Another indication Noah Brown was still alive is the fact that his youngest child, John Brown, was born June 16, 1775 with the child's birth date and parentage recorded in the town vital records (Attleborough, MA Vital Records, p. 52). This child is also mentioned in the estate records of Noah Brown and he is mentioned as a child of Noah Brown when his brother, Noah Brown, was appointed his guardian, on 28 Apr 1777 (MD 21:128-129).

Noah Brown could not have been dead on 17 May 1774 when the land apportioned to William Brown's Widow, Rebecca, was divided and then have a son who was born June 16, 1775. All records indicate Noah Brown was alive at the time of the land division on 17 May 1774.

At this time, the best death date approximation we have for Noah Brown is the one I referenced in my article. When I stated Noah Brown was dead by that date, that was a reference to a specific date found in the administration of Noah Brown's estate, which I referenced in my article, taken from "The Estate of Noah Brown of Attleborough, Mass.," published in THE MAYFLOWER DESCENDANT, volume 21, pp. 128-131 (the specific references I used being found on pages 128-129 as indicated in my article). I prefer to cite primary sources, when possible, and in this instance cited an abstract of the estate administration taken from a highly reputable source for Mayflower genealogy.

Noah Brown [Jr.] was appointed administrator of the estate of "Noah Brown Late of Attleborough deceased" on 6 May 1776. Another document indicates Deborah Brown petitioned that her son, Noah Brown, serve as administrator of the estate of "my Late Husband Noah Brown Deceased" on 24 May 1776 (taken from an unrecorded petition). It's possible this petition went unrecorded because Noah Brown, Jr. had already been named administrator of the estate by that date, having been appointed on 6 May 1776. So, we therefore know that Noah Brown was dead by 6 May 1776, when his son, Noah Brown, Jr., was named administrator of his estate.

Noah Brown, Jr. was appointed guardian of his younger siblings: Stephen, Rebecca, Hannah, James, John, and Bethiah Brown, children of "Noah Brown Late of said Attleborough deceased" on 28 Apr 1777. At the time a guardian was appointed for Hannah Brown and her siblings, their mother, Deborah (Wilmarth) Brown, was still alive, but it was not unusual for a guardian to be appointed who was a male relative, even when the mother was still living. So, in this case, Hannah Brown had her brother, Noah Brown, Jr. (who also served as the administrator of their father's estate) appointed her guardian.

The focus of my article was a biographical sketch of Hannah Brown (1770-1869) and her husband, Reverend Timothy Carpenter (1773-1853), not her father, Noah Brown, who I referenced only briefly. The reference I cited for the Estate of Noah Brown in THE MAYFLOWER DESCENDANT may now be accessed via Google Books online.

You made a reference in one of your postings regarding Hannah (Brown) Carpenter residing in Boston, MA. This is a myth that has been perpetuated by some descendants. No documentary, primary source, proof indicates she ever resided in Boston. Hannah Brown was born in Attleboro, MA and married in Attleboro, MA as can be proven by the vital records of that town. Very soon after her marriage, she and her husband moved to Rowe, MA where her oldest children were born, their births being recorded in the vital records. Hannah (Brown) Carpenter's mother, Deborah (Wilmarth) Brown, did not move to Boston. Many members of the Brown family and their in-laws left Attleboro and moved to Rowe, MA in the western part of the state. It's in Rowe, MA that Deborah (Wilmarth) Brown died 5 Aug 1817 and is buried.

The current MAYFLOWER FAMILIES THROUGH FIVE GENERATIONS volume dealing with the family of John Howland's daughter, Lydia, gives an account of Noah Brown and Deborah Wilmarth (MF 23:2:28). It cites Deborah (Wilmarth) Brown's burial in Rowe, MA and gives her death date, taken from her tombstone. Unfortunately, it contains errors regarding Noah Brown and Deborah (Wilmarth) Brown's daughter, Hannah Brown; Hannah Brown's husband, Timothy Carpenter; and their children. It also provides an incorrect death date approximation for Noah Brown. Although it cites MD 20:188 as a source, it continues to perpetuate the mistakes of Boyer and Eck in stating that Noah Brown "...died by 17 May 1774." This contradicts the reference it cites. As I have already written, Noah Brown was not dead by 17 May 1774 as he is not referenced as being deceased according to the estate administration abstract found in THE MAYFLOWER DESCENDANT, volume 20, p. 188. I have been in contact with the Director of the Five Generations Project and provided corrections, for inclusion in the next edition of that volume.


Charles Martin Ward, Jr.
SubjectAuthorDate Posted
Don Wilmarth 13 Jun 1998 12:00PM GMT 
nancysterling... 25 Dec 2000 12:00PM GMT 
wobey 26 Dec 2000 12:00PM GMT 
nancysterling... 26 Dec 2000 12:00PM GMT 
Ward_Charles 3 Dec 2012 3:39PM GMT 
bour93 29 Jan 2013 5:40AM GMT 
Ginny Doucette 13 Mar 2003 11:11PM GMT 
ginny 31 Aug 2001 7:02PM GMT 
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