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Sampson Brown

Eric Trudgill    -    2 April 2016

Sampson (sometimes Samuel) Brown was probably born about 1820 like his wife, Lucy Smith daughter of Abraham and Mary: in the 1841 census in Friskney, Lincs they both claimed to have been born outside Lincolnshire about 20 years previously. Sampson was probably also a brother of the Francis and William Brown who married sisters (daughters of William and Charlotte Smith), respectively Rosetta christened in Wymondham, Leics in 1808, and Unetta christened in Irnham, Lincs in 1813. All three men as adults were seen almost exclusively in Lincolnshire, and if Francis was linked to William by their marrying sisters, William was linked to Sampson by three of their children marrying into the same Pearce/Heron family.

Unfortunately the only plausible baptism I’ve found for any of the seeming brothers concerns the Francis Brown christened as an adult, parents unnamed, in 1870 in Grasby, Lincs, where Francis and Rosetta had christened a James Brown, son of unnamed gypsies, in 1841 (see James’ birth-data in the census), and where William and Unetta had christened a William junior, son of William and Lolles, gypsy, in 1847. However, if we can’t yet document the three seeming brothers’ parents, I can offer a reasonable guess about their identity.

The gypsiologists thought Francis Brown’s wife was a Louisa Brown daughter of William Brown and Joanna Dalton, and this may indicate it was the brothers who were children of William and Joanna (according to the birth certificate for Sampson’s first known child in 1842 the witness at the birth was a Joanna Brown). And since the gypsiologists thought Santa Maria, the wife of first Zachariah Boswell and then Izariah Smith (born about 1816), was another daughter of William and Charlotte Smith, it may be she was a sister of Francis and William Brown, not their wives (according to the birth certificate for her last child by Zachariah Boswell in 1848 she was formerly a Dalton, though it’s possible of course her mother was a Charlotte Dalton). This is speculation, and until more evidence emerges we’d better keep it distinct from the facts about Sampson Brown.

Sampson and Lucy baptised in Lincolnshire the following Brown children: Sampson junior in Toynton St Peter in 1842 gypsies; possibly Emma in Grantham in 1844 illegitimate daughter of Lucy; Hildred ie Eldred in S Reston in 1847 chairmender; Mehitabella in Tetford in 1850; Priscilla in Stallingborough in 1851 gypsy; Hezekiah in Lt Carlton in 1854 wandering gypsies; Joseph in Lt Steeping in 1856 chairbottomer; Wilhelmina in Hogsthorpe in 1859 travelling besom maker; and Sarah in Goulceby in 1860 itinerant. Five of these children have been reasonably easy to trace.

Eldred Brown, baptised in 1847, married Constance Pearce, baptised the same year daughter of Eldred Pearce and Miseretta Heron, and had the following children, born or baptised in Lincs: perhaps the Mary Elliott Smith (27, daughter of Eldrige) who in 1899 married Alfred Judd (44, son of David) in Grimsby St James, Lincs, a church used before by Sampson’s family (Mary may have been adopting Elliott and Smith from two of her grand-mothers, and shaving a few years off her age); certainly Elias christened in E Keal in 1868, who married Alice Winter daughter of Richard and Sophia; Christopher christened in Caistor in 1870, who married (as an Elliott) Abigail Smith in 1904; Charles christened in Caistor in 1873; Jack born in Brigg about 1875; Arnold christened in W Ashby in 1877; William born in Brigg about 1879, who married Sarah Drury in 1904; Esther born in Brigg about 1881; Notabella christened in Melton Ross in 1885; Frederick christened in Barrow on Humber in 1888; and Jemima born in Brigg about 1890.

Priscilla Brown, baptised in 1851, married John Kiernan, an Irishman, in Lincoln in 1873, and had a John William Kiernan later that year, plus four more children in Grimsby, Lincs before the end of the decade.

Hezekiah Brown, baptised in 1854, married Lydia Pearce, baptised in 1846 daughter of Stephen Pearce and Tienna Heron (siblings of Eldred Brown’s parents-in-law), and had the following children: Elizabeth born in Ludford Parva, Lincs in 1875, Charlotte christened in W Torrington, Lincs in 1877 (William and Unetta’s William junior, married to Eldred Brown’s sister-in-law, christened children in that church in 1876 and 1878), and Isabella christened in Bottesford, Lincs in 1885.

Joseph Brown, baptised in 1856, married Mary Ann Cooper daughter of Samuel in Grimsby St James in 1878, and had the following children: Lucy, born in Grimsby about 1885; Priscilla born in Nottingham about 1887; Joseph junior born in Leicester about 1889; and Henry born in Hinckley, Leics about 1894.

Finally, Wilhelmina Brown, baptised in 1859, married twice. By James Smith she had an Eldred Smith christened in Grimsby St James in 1879, an Arthur born in Alford, Lincs in 1881; a Charles Herbert born in Spalding, Lincs about 1883, and apparently a John William born in Grantham about 1885. By John William Wild, hawker, the son of a foundryman she married in Alford, Lincs in 1889, Wilhelmina had four children, all christened as Wilds in Alford 1890-94: Emily, Lucy, Florence and Thomas.

I’m grateful for several discoveries about Sampson’s family made by the late Vivienne Halton and included in her excellent book of 2010, The Descendants of John and Jemima Elliott.

Copyright © 2016 Eric Trudgill