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Joseph R. Brown’s Ancestors

I.  Solomon Brown, Joseph’s paternal grandfather, was born in Scotland in 1729, immigrated to New Jersey c.1750 and by 1760 had settled in Harford County, Maryland. His farm was on the headwaters of the Little Gunpowder Falls River near Blackhorse. Solomon married twice.

(1) His first wife, Huldah Smith, was of English extraction. She died sometime after 1773, leaving five children:  John (c.1761-1855) was a millwright and lived near Bethany, WV; James, of whom nothing is known except that he “went to the west country”; Mary married John Chambers and moved to Bethany with her brother; Thomas (c.1768-1816) was a cooper in Baltimore; and Solomon Jr (c.1771-1813) a carpenter in Baltimore. These last two died as a result of wounds received in the War of 1812.

(2) His second wife, Althea Foster (1747-1815), was said to have been of Welsh extraction. Her four children were: Holiday (or Huldah) (c.1780-1812) who married Edward M. Guyton; Margaret (1782-1857), who with husband Robert T. Henderson raised Joseph R. Brown after his mother’s death on the farm she inherited from Solomon; Samuel (c.1785-1828), the father of Joseph R. Brown (see II below); and Martha (c.1787-1815), unmarried.

I.  Joseph Renshaw Junior, Joseph’s maternal grandfather, was born in Maryland in 1746 to an old American family. He was a loyalist officer in the Revolution, but later accepted a commission in the colonists’ militia. Joseph married at least twice (marriage dates and birth dates of children uncertain).

(1) Elizabeth Hughes, his first wife, gave him four children: Harriet S., who did not marry; Fanny or Francis, who married John Johnson, an Irish weaver; Emily, Joseph R. Brown’s mother (see below) and Otho N. who was his father’s heir.

(2) Naomi Calder, a widow with grown children, was married to Joseph Renshaw about 1808.

II. Samuel Brown (c.1785-1828), Joseph’s father, moved away from the family farm to become a Methodist lay preacher, first to York, PA, where his first son was born, then to Lancaster, PA and later to Erie, PA where he died. He was married twice.

(1) Emily Renshaw was the mother of Joseph Renshaw Brown. She died c.1806 and 2-year-old Joseph was sent to live with his aunt Margaret Henderson.

(2) Mary Hart (1788-1866) outlived Samuel Brown. After his death in 1828 she married a widower, Colonel James Hall. On Hall’s death in 1838 she moved to Chicago, then to Minnesota with some of her ten children by Samuel, who were Joseph Brown’s half-siblings: Solomon (1810-1881) moved to Henderson, MN in 1853 with his family; Jeremiah (1812- ?) was a sign and house painter in Keokuk, IA; Mary was a milliner and did not marry; Wilson (c.1815- ?) was “adopted by Methodists” and not heard from again; John Wesley (1816-1903) came to Minnesota in 1842 and lived some time at Grey Cloud, Eagan and Red Wing, marrying Mary, the daughter of Hazen Mooers and Grey Cloud Woman; Lydia Ann (1818-1904) moved first to Chicago where she married Paul Carli, then to Stillwater, where upon the death of Paul, she married his brother Christopher Carli; Samuel Fletcher (1820-1889) moved to Minnesota in 1841 where he became a fur trader, tailor, and tavern keeperand Nathaniel Reeder (1827-1894) came to Minnesota in 1841, was a fur trader and later an army contractor in Dakota territory, ending up in Glendive, MT. Two other children, Welsley and Florence, died in infancy.