1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Processing note

4.   Inventory

5.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

    R.I.H.S. home page

 The Papers of James Browne (1666-1732)

 Providence, RI, church elder

 Papers, 1726, [1731?]

 Size: 2 volumes

 Catalog number: MSS 947

Compiled by the staff of the Brown Family Papers Project, John Nicholas Brown Center, Brown University, 1997

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            James Browne (1666 - 1732) was born in Providence in 1666, the son of John and Mary (Holmes) Browne, and grandson of Chad Browne, the original settler of the Brown family, who came to Rhode Island in 1638 from England. He ended his name with an “e”, a practice that was discontinued by his descendants.

            He married Mary Harris in 1691, and they had ten children, all of whom reached adulthood. He was an elder in the First Baptist Church, and was associated first with Pastor Tillinghast, and then with the Reverend Ebenezer Jenckes. In 1726 he succeeded Reverend Jenckes as pastor, and served until his death on October 28, 1732. Court records show that from 1705 - 1714 he was a member of the Town Council, and he served as Town Treasurer from 1714 - 1718. His will leaves sums of money, negros and land lots in Providence to his children and grandchild. His minor children were left his homestead, provided they care for their mother. The inventory of his personal estate amounted to over L915.


Browne, James. James Browne, His Writings in Prose and Verse. ed. Daniel Berkely             Updike. Boston, 1917.

Buckley, Abby Isabel. The Chad Brown Memorial. Consisting of Genealogical Memoirs             of a Portion of the Descendants of Chad and Elizabeth Browne - 1638-1888.

            New York, 1888.

Hedges, James B. The Browns of Providence Plantations. Cambridge: Harvard University,             1952.

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Scope and content:

            This collection contains two items. The first is a legal bond between James Browne and Toleration Harris, his uncle, dated 1726. Toleration Harris is bonded to act on behalf of Mary Browne, wife of James, in the settlement of the estate of Andrew Harris, Mary’s brother. The second item is a small handsewn book, containing a handwritten sermon titled “The Description of Truth and Error.” It is undated and incomplete, although it is thought to date from 1731.

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Processing note:

            The John Nicholas Brown Center for the Study of American Civilization at Brown University, in partnership with the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University and the Rhode Island Historical Society, conducted a two year collaborative project to arrange, describe and catalog records relating to the Brown family of Providence, Rhode Island. The Brown Family Papers Project was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.