Isaac Jones homestead (1837-1851) Calloway County, KY

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Brown (Braun) Family Of Rowan & Surry County, NC...Part 1


Jacob "The Wagonmaker" Brown's 1760 land grant of 392 acres
from the Earl of Granville, viewed from the top of Dunn's Mountain
in Rowan County, NC. (city of Salisbury in the distance)



Of the many families that married into the immediate family of Isaac Jones, the earliest and probably most significant, is the family of his Surry County, North Carolina neighbor John Brown. With two marriages to this family's credit through the unions of Isaac's sons Thomas and Burrel, I think it was these marriages in particular that set the chain of events in motion leading to Isaac Jones and his entire family's eventual migration west. I also believe that despite the age difference between the two men, there is a very good possibility that Isaac Jones had crossed paths with John Brown at an earlier time in Rowan County, NC.

John Brown had migrated from Rowan County, NC to the Hunting Creek area of Surry County at some point shortly before April 3, 1780 when he received his first 100 acre land grant from the state. You generally see John's birth in Rowan County listed as circa 1767, but I believe that based on census records and his personal life events, he was more likely born circa 1762. John Brown was one of at least 11 children born unto German immigrants Johann Jacob Braun and Elizabeth Goettgen.

John's father, who was more commonly referred to as Jacob Braun, was born in Ruschberg, Germany in 1730 and had come to the Colonies as a boy with his father Stephan Braun (1701), his mother Maria Eva (Hamen) (1710), bother Johann Michael Braun (1732), and his sisters Christina Elisabetha (1734) and Maria Catherina (1736). The family arrived on the ship Glasgow at the port of Philadelphia on September 9, 1738 and eventually settled in the Lancaster County area of Pennsylvania. The original passenger list for the voyage can be viewed or obtained from the Pennsylvania State Archives and transcripts of the lists can be found fairly easily online.

The Braun family would spend the next 14 years at the most living in Lancaster County, PA. While living here, Stephen and Maria Braun would add 5 more children to their family: Anna (1739), Abraham (1742), Susanna (1746), Andrew (1748), and Mariah (1749). It is also while living in Lancaster County that Jacob Braun marries his wife Elizabth Goettgen, which is generally believed to have occurred around 1751 based on the 1752 birth of their first child Jacob Brown Jr. in Rowan County, NC. As with many German families living in Pennsylvania, the entire Braun family had decided to pack up and head south to the German Settlements in Rowan County, NC around this same time. The earliest mention in North Carolina state records of this particular Braun family finds itself in a land warrant for 640 acres in Rowan County from the Earl of Granville to Jacob Brown and George Smith dated April 10, 1752. To give you some idea of how long the land grant process took in the 18th Century; it was almost 5 years later that this land would be surveyed for a plat record dated January 7, 1757, and then Jacob Braun's 392 acre portion wasn't actually officially granted to him until July 29, 1760. The cost of the land was 10 sterling shillings and is described as being adjacent his brother Michael and "between John Dunn and the mountain". This mountain is more commonly known today as Dunn's Mountain and would put Jacob Braun's land on the north and south of modern day Stokes Ferry Road starting at Dunn's Mountain Church Road heading east. Most of this land today is occupied by the McCanless Golf Course. It is also important to note that once the family had arrived in Rowan County, NC, all county records begin to refer to the family as Brown instead of the original Braun spelling. For consistency and in an attempt to not create any confusion, I will do the same.

Despite not being listed on the earliest existing tax list for the county in 1759, Jacob Brown is listed on the Rowan County militia list for that same year. On May 25, 1759 he is called into service under Captain Morgan Bryan to scout the area for Indians involved in the killing of a local man named William Pincher. Two years after this event, Jacob Brown receives his second land grant from the Earl of Granville on April 4, 1761 for 479 acres on Crane Creek adjacent his previous grant and land belonging to Peter Smith. This parcel of land is located south of present day Bringle Ferry Road starting at the intersection of Earnhardt Road and heading east. Six months later he and his wife Elizabeth would turn around and sell 196 acres from his land holdings to his father Stephen Brown on October 22, 1761.

The year 1761 would also mark Jacob Brown's first appearance in the Rowan County court records. Apart from the usual proving of the aforementioned land transactions, one of the more interesting records from the minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions for that year involves the court ordering on October 20, 1761 that Jacob Brown "deliver up Ann Kelley in discharge of his bail order" and that "the sheriff is to take her into custody." Unfortunately I have yet to find any further details involving this situation although I do know that Jacob Brown wasn't the sheriff being referred to in the minutes because that position was held by Benjamin Miller at the time. On this same day the court also ordered that an orphan named Mary Welsh be bound to Jacob Brown "for the term of 4 years and 6 months" on the motion of Jacob's neighbor John Dunn.

The following year on July 24, 1762, the county court minutes show Jacob as acting as a security along with Hugh Montgomery in the granting of letters of administration to Peter Mull in regards to the estate of Stuff'l Mull. What makes this even more interesting is that this Hugh Montgomery is the father of the Hugh Montgomery involved with Isaac Jones and the 1806 Rowan County loose estate document I discussed in my post "Thomas Jones of Frederick County, MD." This same year Jacob Braun and his wife Elizabeth would sell 134 acres of his land adjacent Peter Smith on January 22, 1762 to John Giliha (Gilihee) for the sum of 20 pounds.

Rowan County court minutes indicate that Jacob's father Stephen had passed away at some point prior to January 14, 1763 when the court ordered that letters of administration for his estate be granted to Eve and Jacob Brown. I feel this is an important document because researchers have generally felt that Stephen's wife  Maria Eva had died before him sometime around 1750, when in fact, the Eve mentioned in this document is most likely her.

The following year on April 10, 1764, Jacob and his wife "Eliza" sell another 157 acres of his second Granville Grant to Melker Eller for the amount of 15 pounds. Two years later Jacob would be appointed a constable by the courts on July 9, 1766, serving only six months before being replaced by Samuel Smith on January 15, 1767.

By March 16, 1772, Jacob had set his eye on the town of Salisbury where he purchased Lot 51 in the north square of town for the amount of 20 shillings from a man named Hugh Forster. This same year on February 8, 1772 he was appointed by the court to be the overseer of the road running from "Salisbury to the Dutch Meeting House." Two years later he would also be appointed the overseer of the road from "Town Land to John Hampton's." It is not until 1779 that you find any mention of Jacob Brown's renowned career building wagons which ultimately earned him the moniker "The Wagonmaker". The county court first alludes to it slightly on August 5, 1779 when it is ordered that George Hainline, the orphan son of John Hainline, be bound to Jacob Brown "to learn the trade of wheelwright until he is 21, being 17 years old last January."


Location of Lot #51 in the north square of Salisbury
owned by Jacob Brown from 1772-1797.


With the American Revolution in full-swing by this point, one might wonder if Jacob served in any fashion or lent his wagon-making skills to the cause. I have yet to find anything pointing to that, although his oldest son Jacob did serve with the North Carolina militia as proven by his pension claim registered in Washington County, TN. Rowan County court records from November 9, 1782 do have the elder Jacob Brown listed as an individual ordered to "shew court cause why their estates should not be confiscated" which would imply he had failed to swear the oath of allegiance to the state. The court record continues by saying that Jacob did appear in court and was discharged.

In the following years, the county court records continue to be peppered with Jacob Brown's name. On February 7, 1784 the courts once again bound another orphan named Frederick Sterns to Jacob Brown "for two years to learn the trade of waggonmaster." It is quite likely also this same Jacob Brown esquire, along with four other men, who produced for the court "a license to practice as attorneys, with certificate of  their having been qualified according to law and were admitted to the bar" on May 4, 1784. Continuing to branch even further out, on February 9, 1788 Jacob is granted a license to keep an ordinary (tavern) with his brother Michael acting as bail or security. This same year, Jacob buys another 100 acres on the South Fork of Crane Creek from Charles Dunn for 100 pounds on November 6, 1788. Two months earlier on September 23 1788, Jacob and his wife Elizabeth had sold 100 acres of land on the south side of the Middle Fork of Crane Creek to their son David Brown for the sum of 100 pounds. It is this deed where Jacob is first mentioned as "Jacob Brown, waggonmaker". The following year he is once again appointed as a road overseer, this time from the "Salisbury Mile Tree to Second Creek then to Fisher's Ferry." Also in 1789, Jacob sells the 100 acres he bought on the South Fork of Crane Creek from Charles Dunn to a man named Andrew Shobits on November 7 for the amount of 100 pounds.

By 1790, Jacob Brown was once again adding to his land holdings in the town of Salisbury by purchasing 20 acres adjacent the town lots in the north and west squares of town from Michael Troy on January 16, 1790. This land was most likely situated adjacent his Lot 51 because the deed mentions the land was once in the hands of Hugh Forster who had sold him the earlier purchase. Apart from one additional land purchase of 75 acres on Crane Creek from his brother Michael on July 7, 1792, the remainder of the 1790's is spent by Jacob selling off his land holdings in preparation for his move to Washington County, Tennessee.      

1760 Rowan County, NC Deed ~ The Earl of Granville to Jacob Brown (page 1)

1760 Rowan County, NC Deed ~ The Earl of Granville to Jacob Brown (page 2)

1760 Rowan County, NC Deed ~ The Earl of Granville to Jacob Brown (page 3)

1761 Rowan County, NC Deed ~ The Earl of Granville to Jacob Brown (page 1)

1761 Rowan County, NC Deed ~ The Earl of Granville to Jacob Brown (page 2)

1761 Rowan County, NC Deed ~ Jacob Brown to Stephen Brown (page 1)

1761 Rowan County, NC Deed ~ Jacob Brown to Stephen Brown (page 2)

1761 Rowan County, NC Deed ~ Jacob Brown to Stephen Brown (page 3)

1772 Rowan County, NC Deed ~ Hugh Forster to Jacob Brown (Lot #51 in the town of Salisbury)

1788 Rowan County, NC Deed ~ Charles Dunn to Jacob Brown (page 1)

1788 Rowan County, NC Deed ~ Charles Dunn to Jacob Brown (page 2)

1788 Rowan County, NC Deed ~ Jacob Brown to David Brown (page 1)

1788 Rowan County, NC Deed ~ Jacob Brown to David Brown (page 2)

1790 Rowan County, NC Deed ~ Michael Troy to Jacob Brown (page 1)

1790 Rowan County, NC Deed ~ Michael Troy to Jacob Brown (page 2)

1790 Rowan County, NC Deed ~ Michael Troy to Jacob Brown (page 3)

1792 Rowan County, NC Deed ~ Michael Brown to Jacob Brown (page 1)

1792 Rowan County, NC Deed ~ Michael Brown to Jacob Brown (page 2)

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