Saturday, March 3, 2018

Surname Saturday ~ BROWNING of Topsfield, Massachusetts

[Note:  This blog post corrects an earlier blog post on the BROWNING family.  See this link: ]

Topsfield 1872
Thomas Browning, my 10th great grandfather, appears in the Salem, Massachusetts records in 1636.  He took the Freeman’s oath in Salem on 17 April 1637.  By about 1657 the Browning family had moved to Topsfield, because I found a lawsuit dated 1657 suing Thomas Browning for fencing land that belonged to the town.  He wasn’t dismissed from the Salem church to Topsfield until 8 November 1663.

Thomas and his wife, Mary, only had four daughters, so the name is not carried any further in Topsfield.  He was about 50 years old when his first daughter was baptized.  We know this because in 1660 he gave his age as 73 years old in a deposition. 

Thomas made his will 16 Feb 1670/1:

The last Will and testament of Thomas Browning of Salem being sicke in bodie yett of pfct understanding this 16th day if febewari: 1670 Imprimis I doe apoint my wife to bee my whole Executres and do giue my grandchild Thomas Towne twenty two pounds: which twelue pounds is in the hands of his father & ten pounds is in the hands of his uncle Jacob Towne: to be paid to the sd Thomas Towne aforesaidwhen he come to be twentie & one yeares of Age.
Itam I giue my wifes deseace All my land and housing at Topsfield, to my daughter Towne her husband & my daughter Simons & her husband during their lives. And after their deceace to be disposed by the two daughters abousd to the Children of their own bodies Laufully And there husbands All my land and Howsing at Salem. After my wifes deceace as aboue is Exprest And after their deceace as abouvesaid, And if anie of my daughters die without issew: Then the estate to be deuided among the Children of my daughters siruiuing And if my wife should dy without a will, whatsoever id Left to be deuided betwin my fowr daughters or there Children.        

Thomas (his mark) Browning _____ Witness Joseph Grafton, sr., George Gardner. Proved in Salem court 28: 4m: 1671 by the witnesses.

will found in the book Historical Collections of the Topsfield Historical Society by George Francis Dow, 1920, Volume 25, pages 108 to 109.

For more information:

Genealogy of the Brownings in America: 1621 – 1908, by Edward F. Browning, 1908 (see

Massachusetts and Maine Families in the Ancestry of Walter Goodwin Davis, by Walter Goodwin Davis, 1995.

My BROWNING genealogy:

Generation 1:  Thomas Browning, born about 1587 probably in England, died February 1699/70 in Topsfield, Massachusetts; married to Mary Unknown before 1635.  Four daughters:
       a.  Elizabeth, born about 1635, married James Symonds
       b.  Mary (see below, my 9th great grandmother)
       c.  Sarah, born about 1640, married Joseph Williams
       d.  Deborah, born 31 January 1647, m. Isaac Meacham and removed to Enfield, Connecticut

Generation 2. Mary Browning, born 7 November 1637 in Salem, Massachusetts, died about 1717 in Topsfield; married on 25 March 1652 in Salem to Edmund Towne, son of William Towne and Joanna Blessing.  He was born about 1628 in Yarmouth, England, and died before 3 May 1678 in Topsfield.  Seven children.

Generation 3:  Samuel Towne m. Elizabeth Knight
Generation 4:  Rebecca Towne m. Stephen Johnson
Generation 5: Ruth Johnson m. Richard Cree
Generation 6: Stephen Cree m. Hannah Smith
Generation 7:  Sarah Cree m. James Phillips
Generation 8: Hannah Phillips m. Thomas Russell Lewis
Generation 9: Hannah Eliza Lewis m. Abijah Franklin Hitchings
Generation 10: Arthur Treadwell Hitchings m. Florence Etta Hoogerzeil
Generation 11: Gertrude Matilda Hitchings m. Stanley Elmer Allen (my grandparents)


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, “Surname Saturday ~ BROWNING of Topsfield, Massachusetts”, Nutfield Genealogy, posted  March 3, 2018, ( accessed [access date]). 

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