COLONIAL TAVERNKEEPERS - Volume IX (1988)

Article prepared and submitted by Stephen Martin Lawson

Capt. Abraham Brown

Abraham Brown was born August 26, 1671, at Watertown, MA, the son of Jonathan and Mary (Shattuck) Browne. The marriage of Abraham Brown and Mary Hyde is not recorded in Watertown records, but probably occurred there about 1691. Mary Hyde was born June 21, 1673, at Watertown, the daughter of Job and Elizabeth (Fuller) Hyde. Mary died Nov. 29, 1723, at Watertown, and Capt. Brown died there on Nov. 27, 1729. [Note 1]

Abraham Brown was admitted to full communion in the Church at Watertown on March 4, 1687/8, and held various offices of trust and responsibility in church and town. In 1724, he was a committeeman for the East Precinct of the Watertown Church. [Note 2]

For Watertown, Abraham Brown was the town treasurer from 1695 through 1700, assessor in 1705, 1706 and 1708, a selectman in 1712 and 1726, and town clerk in 1712. The Watertown Town Records refer to him as Ensign beginning in Apr. 1703, and as Captain beginning Sep. 24,1711. [Note 3]

In 1709, Abraham Brown was licensed as an innkeeper at Watertown, and continued as such for four years. His son, Capt. John Brown, was licensed as an innkeeper at Waltham in 1737 and 1738. [Note 4]

The home which Capt. Abraham Brown used as a residence and inn is located at 562 Main Street, Watertown, MA - adjacent on the east is the Abraham Brown School. Known as the Abraham Brown Jr. House to distinguish the owner from his immigrant grandfather Abraham Browne, the house was built by 1690, and possibly as early as 1663, and an addition made to it in 1729. It remained in the Brown family until 1897, and is currently on the register of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. Gothic in construction, the restored house has a pilastered chimney believed to be similar to the original. The original house, the current North Hall, features a very large fireplace with a massive oak lintel, floors and walls of white pine, and ceiling beams of hewn oak. The Hall, used as residence and inn, is currently furnished with a canopied bed, a trestle table, bannister back chairs, and other 17th century furniture and utensils. A unique feature of the house is the use of three part casement window frames duplicated from a frame found during restoration - the earliest example of such a window found in New England. [Notes 5-7]


1. Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Mass..., by Henry Bond (Boston: 1860, reprinted 1978), p. 120.
2. Watertown Records, Watertown Historical Society (Watertown and Boston: 1894-1906), Vol. 4, pp. 36, 120.
3. Ibid, Vol. 2, pp. 151, 203.
4. Bond, op. cit., p. 1076.
5. Album of American History, edited by James Truslow Adams (Chicago: 1944), pp. 78, 82, 89.
6. America's Historic Houses and Restorations, by Irvin Haas (New York: 1966), pp. 14-15.
7. Open House in New England, by Samuel Chamberlain (New York: 1948), pp. 32, 39, 52, 111, 112.

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Modified: 11/4/99