52 Ancestors, Week 22: Reverend Chad Brown, co-founder of Providence, RI

Chad Brown's original plot of farm land was located
on the site of Brown University's University Hall

"Reverend Chad Brown (1603-1650) was one of the first ministers of the First Baptist Church in America and a co-founder of Providence, Rhode Island. Brown was also the American progenitor of the Brown family of Rhode Island, known for its association with Brown University, founded in 1764.

Chad Brown was born in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England and married Elizabeth Sharparowe on 11 September 1626.  (They had several children, although it is a bit unclear exactly how many and when they were born. Our ancestor, Daniel, was born in 1644 in Rhode Island.)

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Chad and his family immigrated to New England on the ship 'Martin', arriving in July of 1636.

The family lived in Boston, but soon moved to Providence which was recently purchased by Roger Williams from the Native Americans.

Sometime between 1639 and 1644 Brown and twelve others signed an agreement sometimes called the Providence Compact, an agreement of "second comers" as opposed to the original proprietors.

He was also one of 39 who signed an agreement for a government in Providence in 1640.

Chad Brown became known as an arbitrator of disputes in the colony, and he was also the town's initial surveyor. Brown owned a lot on “Towne Streete,” (now South Main street and Market Square) along with land under what is currently University Hall of Brown University.

Brown also served on a committee determining the governance of the colony while Roger Williams was in England gaining an official charter for the colony from 1643 to 1644.

In 1639 Brown assumed the leadership of the First Baptist Church in America, which had been briefly pastored by Roger Williams. During Brown's pastorship, the church worshiped in a grove or orchard and in the houses of its members. Rev. Chad Brown remained pastor until his death sometime before 1650. His remains were initially interred near the corner of College and Benefit Streets, but were moved in 1792 to the North Burying Ground. His wife was listed a widow in the September 1650 Tax List." (1)

Grave marker for Chad Brown, early Baptist minister of
Providence, Rhode Island, North Burial Ground, Providence
(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chad_Brown_(minister)


  1. It's wonderful to have an ancestor who was both a founding father of a great city as well as an Ivy League university. Extra credit to him for that! I find the term "burying ground" to be very logical and descriptive. I wonder why we now call them cemeteries?

  2. Very cool! Makes me want to go to RI


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