Leaves From My Family Tree
Historical Sketches - Brown Family
I have done no research to verify any of the information in this manuscript, other than to verify that there was a Cholera epidemic on the east coast in 1832. I hope that somebody who is "stuck" in their research will be able to use this to find some clue as to where to continue their search for family.
Top of Page
Originally from France, the name was spelled Brune. When or why they came to Scotland is not known. The earliest records I have state that they were located on a farm called "Abbey Green" near Lesmehagow, a small low-lying town in Lanarkshire, Scotland, about twenty miles from the city, Glasgow.
James Brown married Janet Jamieson and children born to them were --
John inherited the lease (long term) of Abbey Green Farm near Lesmehagow, married Mary Begg, daughter of Hugh Begg. They had no family and their graves are to be seen in cemetery beside Lesmehagow Parish Church. It would appear that this farm was the family homestead, and as customary in Scottish law, the eldest son inherited the leasehold.
William, the second son, was my Granfather, a weaver by trade, and had a shop or factory with eight looms. All textiles were woven and spun and finished by hand labor, and he filled orders from Glasgow merchants for woollens, linens, silk and wool, dimities and other goods in use at that time. Lesmehagow seems to have been a village or town in which weaving was the principal occupation. The four eldest sons all learned this trade but their father showed his love of land, by renting a small farm "Woodyett", on a hillside of the town, where his sons engaged in farming operations--hand labor after their day in the shop was ended.
The introduction of machinery for spinning and weaving and the setting up of large factories in the principal cities took most of the employment from the hand-looms, and that was the reason he removed to America where land could be bought cheaply and owned while in Scotland farms were held by long-term leases -- ninety-nine years, and sometimes nine hundred and ninety-nine year leases, descending from father to eldest son.
William Brown married Ann Simpson in 1805, and their family were as follows --
|John Simpson||married||Margaret Knox|
|Hugh Begg||married||Harriet Lewis|
One of the brothers of my granfather who remained in Scotland, the oldest, John of Abbey Green, died and after that there seems to have been no correspondence. What became of Thomas, I do not know, but George practiced medicine in the town of Blantyre in Lanarkshire. My uncle, George Brown made several unsuccessful efforts to locate his uncle thro a minister visiting Scotland and also when my sister Ann Calder Morton went there. However when my cousin Isabel Brown, went there in (19?9) and visited Dr. Geo. Brown's only son, George, who had a position in the City Hall, Glasgow and also his three sisters. From them she learned that Dr. G. Brown had died of Choloera, contracted after being worn out battling a severe epidemic of the plague.
Mr. George Brown was greatly surprised and interested to learn that he had a first cousin (Uncle Hugh) still alive in Grand Rapids. At the home of the sister in Blantyre the Brown family granfather clock was still preserved.
A branch of the Brown family, but not closely related, owned a small estate near Lesmehagow called the "Afflochan". One of the family spent some years in the West Indies, and amassed wealth, but it was supposed by very doubtful means, and it was reported that he was haunted. The family, I understood, died out and the property was left to servants. On visiting Lesmehagow, I saw this property, not at all striking, also the spot where Wm. Brown's weaving shop had stood, and met a postman who had served my Grandmother's brother, Wm. Simpson, who was the postmaster in Lesmehagow. Three of my grandmother's brothers, James, Thomas and Alexander Simpson, had already emigrated to America, and when granfather decided to leave Scotland they secured a house and even bought a cow, preparing to receive them in New York State.
However, a severe outbreak of Cholera in New York altered all plans. The Brown family had passage taken to sail from Glasgow in April, 1832, and broke up their home in Lesmehegow but on reaching Glasgow learned that all sailings were cancelled. The Sailing Vessel Co. kept them in Glasgow for some weeks and eventually got passage for them on a ship sailing to Montreal which left Glasgow May 1st, 1832, and after a voyage of eight weeks, reached it's destination only to find Cholera rampant in that city also. Exchanging boats, they made their way up the St. Lawrence to Toronto, then called York. In the country near that point they found friends who had previously emigrated from Lesmehagow, and in a short time Wm. Brown purchased a farm, I believe 200 acres, in the Twsp. of Uxbridge, Ont. thirty miles north of Toronto. Here Wm. Brown died on May 1st 1833. This farm had a house and small clearing.
The Browns lived on the Uxbridge farm for ten years during which time the eldest daughter, Beatrice married Jas. Findlay and moved to his farm in Scarboro Twsp. about seven miles from Toronto, which was then called York. The father Wm. Brown, his wife Ann Simpson and eldest son James, all died in Uxbridge and were buried on the farm as there was no cemetery within reach. About the beginning of this century, these remains were removed by John B. Calder, and reinterred in Carluke cemetery in the same plot as his mother, Janet Brown Calder.
During these ten years also the four next eldest sons, Alex. John, Wm. and Thomas, at different times and for varying periods visited their mother's brothers, the Simpsons in New York State and were employed by their uncle, Alex. Simpson, who was a brewer. All however, returned to Canada and in 1843 or 1844 the farm was sold and land purchased in Oxford Co., Blenheim Twsp. This land was virgin bush and had to be cleared. Four of the brothers settled there -- Alex. John, Wm. and George. Thomas went back to Caledonia, N.Y., where he farmed and married dying without family. Hugh went to Michigan settling on a farm near Grand Rapids, where members of his family still reside. Janet married Robert Calder and lived and died at Carluke, near city of Hamilton.
Top of Page
My photocopy of this manuscript shows notes to my grandmother that were handwritten on the mimeographed copy. The handwritten notes indicate that the mother of Ann Simpson was Beatrice Gardner. Beatrice's mother was Ann (Waddel?). Other notes indicate that James Brown was my grandmother's gr-gr grandfather, and that William Brown was her gr-grandfather. The author of the manuscript was related to James Brown and William Brown in the same way as my grandmother.
I am related through William and Ann (Simpson) Brown's son, John Simpson Brown. My grandmother, Mildred Knox Brown, was named after John Simpson Brown's wife, Margaret Knox. (photo of Margaret)
My direct line of descent:
|James Brown||married||Janet Jamieson|
|William Brown||married||Ann Simpson|
|John Simpson Brown||married||Margaret Knox|
|David Sturrock Brown||married||Martha Etta Doty|
|Mildred Knox Brown||married||Dean Pollock|
|Richard Wayne Pollock||married||Elizabeth Ann |
|Dianne Lynn Pollock|| || |
Some of the information on this site is Family Tradition;
some of it has been documented.
If you would like to know my sources, please e-mail me.
|© 2001-2002 Dianne McRae
||Revised 29 April 2001
My Husband's Family