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The Brown Family

Part 1

Early Settlers of Southwestern Ohio - From Mercersburgh to Newtown

Captain Aaron Mercer of Winchester, Va. and his son-in-law, Ichabod Benton Miller, arrived at Columbia in southwestern Ohio in December 1788. In 1790, Mercer moved to Garard's Station. Around that time Mercersburgh (Newtown) was surveyed.

Massie, Nathaniel Survey No. 2276 A. Anderson TP-Newtown-surveyed for Nathaniel Massie, Assignee. 600 Acres of land on part of a military warrant no. 463 on the waters of Clough Creek [in southwestern Ohio]...

A 1790 map of Mercersburgh shows that the first lot owners were: Captain Aaron Mercer, Surveyor, Ichabod B. Miller, Thomas Brown, Alexander McConnelshew, James Grimes, David Ziegler, William Milner, J. Dunseth, Isaac Sturges, John Repsher, Michael DeBolt, Lot Cooper and Ed. Mercer. They did not begin building until 1792 when they erected a stockade on land not yet formally owned by them. Mercer did not legally purchase the land from Massie until May 19, 1796. The stockade was never attacked by the Indians because it was too well-fortified and had a spring within the walls. By 1796 only two cabins were built outside the stockade. However, in 1794 General Anthony Wayne had defeated the Indians at Fallen Timbers and, after the Treaty of Greenville in 1795, the settlers began moving from the stockade and taking up their farms and homes.

The following is from Newtown, Ohio - 200th Anniversary Bicentennial Edition 1792 - 1992:

Thomas Brown married Anne Mercer, daughter of Captain Aaron Mercer. Brown built his log home here with a store in front, facing the road that was cut through the center of the In-Lots, one to ten. That road is now Main Street and Brown's place stood on what is, today, the Mini Park, just east of the Feed store. In 1803 when our citizens voted for representatives to the Ohio Legislature following the creation of the State by act of Congress of the United States, Thomas Brown's store was the polling place.
State representatives from Anderson Township elected in 1803 were Thomas Brown and I.B. Miller.

Aaron Mercer's 1800 last will makes it clear that his daughter Anne married Thomas Brown and another daughter, unnamed and presumed deceased, had married Ichabod Benton Miller. Thomas and Anne (Mercer) Brown had two sons, Hope and Thomas, born around 1804 and 1806 respectively. Thomas and Anne Brown died in 1806. They were the victims of the cholera epidemic. Dr. Lambert Richardson and his wife raised the orphaned sons of Thomas and Anne Brown. Both boys became physicians and were still living in Hamilton and Clermont Counties in the 1850s.

The name "Newtown" came by a strange bit of bickering by the people of the town. One half of the town wanted to keep the name of "Mercersburgh." The other half wanted to name it "Newtown" for the town they came from in Virginia. There were many heated and bitter fights on the subject. No one really knew how it was settled, but when the Post Office opened in 1810, it was named Newtown.

Hubbard Brown Comes to Newtown

Given this brief early history of Mercersburgh/Newtown, we can continue with the history of the family. Ralph Pruiett, Sr. learned from the Historical Society of Newtown that his great-great-great-grandfather was Hubbard Brown who arrived in Mercersburgh shortly after 1805. He was the town's first blacksmith and, as far as we know, he was not related to Thomas Brown the storekeeper, although some researchers have confused members of the two families, particularly the Thomas Browns. Hubbard Brown, or Hubbert Brown as he was more commonly known in historical records, raised at least five sons and five daughters. While we do not know the names of his daughters at this time, we know the names of four of his sons: Thomas and Isaac who became blacksmiths, John, a shoe maker, and Jacob, a wagon maker. The four identified sons show up clearly in the 1850 census as well as other censuses before and after that. Based on their ages in those censuses and information from Thomas Brown's headstone, here is what we know at this time about these four sons:

The 1800 census indicates that Hubbert Brown had two sons and two daughters at that time:

1800 Census - Middletown Township, Bucks County [Census Record]
Hubbert Brown11121

Further research of tax records in Middletown Twp., Bucks Co., Pa. (see below) may help us identify the approximate year (and the reason) for Hubbert Brown's departure from the county. Hubbert Brown, blacksmith, shows up consistently in the tax records from 1796 through 1801. From 1802 through 1805, Joshua H. Brown, blacksmith, shows up and there is no Hubbert Brown. The tax records of these two individuals are almost identical, except that Joshua Brown acquired 2 horses in 1805. Were these acquired in anticipation of a long journey? Finally, in 1806, Hubbert Brown shows up again, only this time "Joshua" is added by the enumerator in the left margin, almost as an afterthought or correction. Also, Joshua Hubbert Brown did not report any horses or cattle and only paid a tax of $50. Was this a part-year tax paid by someone who was leaving town soon? After 1806, neither Hubbert Brown nor Joshua H. Brown appears in the tax records again. Assuming that Hubbert Brown and Joshua H. Brown were the same individual, it would appear that Hubbert Brown left Bucks Co., Pa. in 1806, a year after the birth of his son John Brown. We don't know if Hubbert Brown made any lengthy stops on his way to Cincinnati, but we do know that he took up his blacksmith profession in his new home and, according to the Newtown Historical Society, he was the first blacksmith to settle there. Why did he leave Bucks Co.? One clue may be the fact that the tax records indicate there were five (5) blacksmiths in Middletown Township in 1806, up from two (2) in 1796. In addition, the 1806 tax records indicate that 25 Middletown residents "removed" in 1806 or just before. The term "removed" is not defined in the records, but tracing a few individuals, it's clear the term was used to identify those who were removed from the records because they "removed" themselves from the township. Were there economic reasons for the exodus? Was the population growing too fast? Whatever the reason, in Newtown, Ohio, Hubbert Brown had found a place where he could practice his profession with little competition, at least for awhile.

Tax Records - Middletown Twp., Bucks Co., Pa.
YearNameOccupationAcresHorsesCattleValueTotal Amount
1796Hubbert BrownBlack Smith11515
1797Hubbert BrownBlacksmith11515
1798Hubbert BrownBlacksmith115
1799Hubbert BrownB. Smith1120 & 1232
1800Hubbert BrownB. Smith1120 & 1232
1801Hubbert BrownB. Smith1120 & 1232
1802Joshua H. BrownBlacksmith114 & 3044
1803Joshua H. BrownBlacksmith114 & 3044
1804Joshua H. BrownBlacksmith114 & 3044
1805Joshua H. BrownBlacksmith2160 & 14 & 30104
1806Joshua Hubbert BrownB. Smith50

The 1820 census indicates that Hubbard Brown's family now included three sons and three daughters who could not have been born at the time of the 1800 census:

1820 Census - Anderson Township, Hamilton County [Census Record]
Hubbard Brown11112111

Hubbard Brown's three youngest sons, John, jacob and Isaac, seem to be accounted for in this census. Thomas would have been 23 years old and we can find no credible record of him in the 1820 census. It's possible he was serving an apprenticeship in another household at this time.

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