By: Loraine Rae
To the left of the front entrance to the Washington County Courthouse in Jonesborough is a bronze plaque to Jacob Brown by the Daughters of the American Colonists. While interesting to read, unfortunately, not all is correct, and some is misinterpreted. The Browns’ settlement mentioned there was a trading post on the Chuckey River near the Highway 81 bridge going to Embreeville, not the village further down the river. Jacob Brown did not found Brownsborough. The town was begun by James Brown, the son of Joseph Brown, Sr., the original land grantee, and no kin to Jacob.
Joseph Brown’s father, William, was born in 1687 near enough to Londonderry, Ireland, “to hear the church Bels atoling in the City from there home.” William married Margaret “Peggy” Fleming, b. in 1701, they came to America in 1745, bringing their six children: David, Fanny, Elizabeth, Joseph Jr., (1731-1815). William and James, a daughter, jane/Jean, was born in America. The family landed in New Jersey, migrated southward, and eventually settled in Rowan (now Guilford) County, NC, where William died in 1757. James, a Revolutionary War hero, was killed in the notorious Nickajack Massacre of 1788 near Chattanooga. Jane married Reese Porter and settled in Giles County, Tennessee. At age 84, Jane’s mother, Peggy, rode by wagon and on horseback to Middle Tennessee to live with her. Peggy died in 1801, aged 100 years, five months and 17 days and is buried in Springhill Cemetery in Madison, a suburb of Nashville, Tennsssee.
In 1756 Joseph Brown Sr., m. Mary, daughter of Hugh and Violet Mackey Porter and sister of Reese, who married Joseph’s sister Jane. Both Joseph and Mary died and are buried in Anderson County, South Carolina. They had at least eleven children: William, Hugh, Joseph Jr., James, Margaret, Violet, David, Mary, Jean, George and Fanny. In 1779 Joseph Sr. entered land a few miles down the Nolichucky River from Jacob Brown and a part of Jacob’s purchase. In 1782 Joseph received a grant for his land from North Carolina.
Joseph Jr. married Jemima Broyles in 1782. The ceremony was performed at the home of her father, Adam Broyles, by the Rev. Samuel Doak. About 1788, Joseph Sr. and wife, Joseph Jr. and wife, and Jemima’s brothers Joshua and Aaron Broyles settled in Pendleton District, SC. Joseph Jr., and Jemima moved on to Georgia, where Joseph died in Franklin (now Habersham) County, GA.
In 1818 Jemima married again; she died at Dahlonega, GA. Joseph Sr. apparently did not like Jemima, for he would not let Joseph Jr.’s younger siblings go to the wedding, and when he died his will stated that she was not an heir to his estate.
In 1795, Joseph Sr. deeded his land on the Nolichucky to his son, James. In 1796, John C. Harris, surveyor, laid off a town of forty-six lots. Some of the purchasers were: Thomas Blackburn, William Brown, Aaron and Reuben Broyles, George and Jonathan Collum, Samuel Doak, Thomas and Adam Gann Jr., William Glaze, James Gray, Andrew Hannah, William Harbison, John Holley, David Kennedy, Casper Lot, Samuel McCollom, Samuel McElroy, George McGee, Alexander McKee, James Miller, William Mitchell, John Nelson, Robert Scott, Henry Shields, Andrew Thompson, Charly, James and Samuel Waddell and Solomon Yeager. In the early 1800s James Brown sold all his interest in Brownborough to William Mitchell and joined members of his family in Pendleton District, SC.
These Browns are the ancestors of the two Governors Brown of Georgia. To find out more about this family, see Descendants of William and Margaret (Peggy) Brown, by Helen H. Rugeley.