Born in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England in about 1600, the first record that can be found for him is for his marriage there on 11 September 1626 to Elizabeth Sharparowe. Their first son John (my 9th great grandfather) was born in High Wycombe about 1630. We know this because the three emigrated from England to Boston on the ship Martin in 1638 when young John was stated to be 8 years old. Clearly the motivation for their move was the proverbial desire for religious freedom that led so many of my ancestors to America.
After first arriving in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, it quickly became apparent that Chad's Baptist beliefs were running against the Puritan tide in that colony: no religious freedom was to be found here either. He soon moved with his family to Providence in Rhode Island, recently purchased from the Naragansetts by Roger Williams as a separate settlement for his Baptist group of followers. Brown and 12 others signed an agreement called the Providence Plantation Compact. He was on a committee of 4 men who compiled the first form of government for Providence Colony - set out to separate church and state and to provide for religious freedom.
As a surveyor, he was on the committee that set out the original lots of the settlers along "Towne Street" in Providence.
|Chad Brown's lot (shown in pink 3 lots south of ancestor Stukely Westcott |
and a few lots away from another ancestor William Wickenden)
|First Baptist Church, Providence, R.I.|
Chad and Elizabeth had a family of about 9 children, some born in England and some in Providence. Chad continued as pastor until his death, which may have been as early as 1650. (Other records give the date of his death as 1663 or 1665 and that of Elizabeth as being the 1650 death.) First buried on the site at the corner of College and Benefit Streets, his remains were removed later to the North Burial Ground where a memorial was installed in 1792.
|1792 Memorial to Chad Brown, North Burial Ground, Providence, RI|
Photo courtesy Jen Snoots of Findagrave.com
Brown University, an Ivy League university named for Chad's descendant Nicholas Brown, is situated primarily upon Chad's original homestead in Providence. It was established in 1784 and was the first college in the United States to accept students regardless of their religious beliefs. Religious freedom here prevailed!
|Location of Brown University, Providence, RI|
Google Earth Image
- "The Chad Brown Memorial 1638-1888"
- Genealogical Publishing Co., "Genealogy of Rhode Island Families", Baltimore: 1983, 2 volume set
- Ancestry.com, "U.S. and Canada Passenger and Immigration Lists"
- Familysearch.org article dated 9 May 2013 for "Rev Chaddus Brown"