Samuel Hart.

Encyclopedia of Connecticut biography, genealogical-memorial; representative citizens; (Volume 11) online

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3 1833 01147 3516

Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2009 with funding from

Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center






Compiled with the Assistance of a

Capable Corps of Advisors and Contributors





EACH one of us is "the heir of all
the ages, in the foremost files of
time." We build upon the solid
foundations laid by the strenuous efforts
of the fathers who have gone before us.
Nothing is more fitting, and indeed more
important, than that we should familiar-
ize ourselves with their work and per-
sonality ; for it is they who have lifted
us up to the lofty positions from which
we are working out our separate careers.
"Lest we forget," it is important that we
gather up the fleeting memories of the
past and give them permanent record in
well-chosen words of biography, and in
such reproduction of the long lost faces
as modern science makes possible.

Samuel H.\rt.




BROWNING, John Hull,

Enterprising Bnsiness Man.

The names of the chronicle that follows
have all had honored and notable repre-
sentatives in the Connecticut common-
wealth, and the pages of her history are
open in hearty welcome to the records
compiled therein. Browning, Hazard,
Hull and Sisson are patronymics standing
in distinction and prominence throughout
all New England, and Connecticut has
had her share of worthy service and de-
voted loyalty from their members.

The surname Browning is Anglo-
Saxon, and in its older form would ap-
pear to be the German word Bruning,
which later came to be rendered in vari-
ous ways, as Bruning, Bruening, Browne-
ing, Brimming, Brininge, Browninge, etc.
The earliest form of the name, according
to the poet, Robert Browning, was "De
Bruni," which was the name in Norman
French of one of the ancient German
tribes which inhabited the northern part
of the country on the shores of the Baltic
sea. According to the scholar, John
Aaron Browning, the form of the word in
High German is Brauning and in Low
German is Bruning, names still often
found. In the English home of the fam-
ily the name was anglicized to Browning.
The word Bruning probably refers to the
complexion of the skin or the hair of the
people originally socalled. The "brun"
meaning brown, and the suffix "ing" mean-
ing relating to, the significance of the name
would be relating to those of brown
complexion. Some scholars, however,
contend that "ing" is a diminutive signi-
fying "less," so that those designated
Bruning would be described as less brown

than their neighbors. The Anglo-Saxon
word Browning may have the same mean-
ing ascribed to Bruning, but "ing" in
Anglo-Saxon is the word for meadow or
low pasture land, such as surrounds the
shores of the Baltic. As the Brunings
originally came from that locality, the
word may have referred to them as the
inhabitants of the low meadows or pasture
lands whence they came. The Browning
arms are recorded as follows :

Arms — Barry wavy of six argent and azure.

Crest — ^A sinister arm from the elbow, issuing
from a cloud in the dexter, holding the hand above
a serpent's head, erect from the middle, and look-
ing towards the sinister proper.

(I) Nathaniel Browning, son of Mrs.
Elizabeth Browning, of London, Eng-
land, was born in London, England, about
1618. Mrs. Browning and her husband
would appear both to have been Non-
Conformists, and the prosecution that fol-
lowed them was probably the inducing
cause that led Nathaniel Browning to
embark for America soon after he came
of age, or in the year 1640, when he was
about twenty-two years old. He landed
in Boston, Massachusetts, and from there
went to Portsmouth, Rhode Island. The
reason for his going was probably that
his subsequent father-in-law, William
Freeborn, was also a Puritan, or Non-
Conformist, and had sailed from Ipswich,
England, in 1634, when he was forty
years old, and his wife Mary, thirty-five
years old.

The first mention that we have of
Nathaniel Browning in the records of
Rhode Island is in 1645, when it is stated
that he purchased a dwelling house and
two lots in Warwick for three pounds of


wampum. The wampum consisted of
strings of carefully selected shells, con-
sidered and used as money by the Indians.
In 1654 he was made a freeman. This
implied a good deal at the time, as the
colonies were very young, and not only
the Indians were in the vicinity, fre-
quently visiting the settlements, but also,
what was more to be dreaded, many per-
sons of uncertain character were continu-
ally coming from England to America
who threatened the peace and quiet of the
settlements. As any person who was
made a freeman was taken into the coun-
cil and government of the colony, such
persons were only admitted by the Gen-
eral Court, and after having taken an
oath of allegiance to the government here
established ; and it was very important for
the protection of their wives and children
as well as their property that no such per-
sons should be admitted as freeman. This
custom continued until the second charter
in 1692 made Massachusetts a royal
province. He died at Portsmouth, Rhode
Island, about 1670, when about fifty-two
years old.

Nathaniel Browning married, about
1650, Sarah Freeborn, second daughter of
William and Mary Freeborn, who sailed
from Ipswich, England, in 1634. Two
children were born to Nathaniel and
Sarah Browning: William, of whom
further; Jane, born about 1655.

(II) William Browning, son of Nathan-
iel and Sarah (Freeborn) Browning, was
born about 165 1, at Portsmouth, Rhode
Island. He was a farmer, and lived at
North Kingston, Rhode Island. In 1684
he was made a freeman, and the records
show that he exchanged lands in 1685.
The record also shows that on February
26, 1688, he sold to Robert Fisher twenty
acres. He died in 1730, in the eightieth
year of his age. His will, dated January

12, 1730, proved February 8, 1730, reads
in part as follows :

To wife, Sarah, thirty pounds yearly for life; to
eldest son, Samuel, two hundred and fifty acres in
South Kingston, one hundred pounds, and to have
also ten pounds paid by his brother John ; to son
William two hundred and fifty acres in South
Kingston on which he now dwelleth ; to son John a
hundred acres at Point Judith, where he dwelleth ; to
daughter Sarah three hundred pounds ; to deceased
daughter Hannah Knowles children, Rebecca and
Hannah, a hundred pounds at eighteen, equally
divided ; to three sons the rest of the estate equally.

William Browning married (first), in
1687, Rebecca Wilbur, daughter of Sam-
uel and Hannah (Porter) Wilbur, grand-
daughter of Samuel Wilbur and John
Porter, both of whom were original
settlers of Portsmouth. He married
(second) Sarah, surname unknown, who
died in 1730. Issue, all by first marriage:
I. Samuel, born February 9, 1688. 2.
Hannah, born July 16, 1691. 3. William,
born September 29, 1693. 4. Sarah, born
April, 1694. 5. John, of whom further.

(Ill) John Browning, youngest son of
William and Rebecca (Wilbur) Brown-
ing, was born March 4, 1696, at South
Kingston, Rhode Island. He was a
farmer and lived in South Kingston, near
the seacoast. In 1774 he was made a
freeman, and the records show that on
March 8, 1738, he bought of Jeffrey
Hazard a tract of two hundred acres, giv-
ing £2000 for it. He sold, October 20,
1741, to Stephen Hazard, for £3000, a
tract of land of a hundred acres, and April
27, 1741, he deeded to his son Jeremiah
forty acres of the land bought of Jeffrey
Hazard, a relative of his wife. In later
years the Hazard family became very
wealthy by manufacturing woolens, their
principal mill being at Peace Dale, Rhode
Island. In his will, dated August 23,
1770, proved April 14, 1777, he deeded to
his grandsons, Thomas and William, sons




of Thomas, deceased, all his lands in
South Kingston, being part of his home-
stead farm, about a hundred acres, and to
them fourteen acres salt marsh in Charles-
ton. John Browning was buried in the
little Quaker burying ground at South
Kingston, Rhode Island, near the factory,
a small granite headstone, dug from the
hills nearby, marking the spot where he
lies. The name "John Browning" is all
that is carved upon it, while at his side
a small mound of earth marks the resting
place of his wife, Ann (Hazard) Brown-
ing, with no tombstone at all to mark the
spot. John Browning died in 1777, at
Exeter, Rhode Island, in his eighty-first

John Browning married, April 21, 1721,
Ann Hazard, born February 28, 1701,
daughter of Jeremiah and Sarah (Smith)
Hazard. (See Hazard line.) Issue: i.
Thomas, of whom further. 2. Sarah Eliza-
beth, born 1724. 3. Jeremiah, born 1726.
4. Hannah, born 1728. 5. Martha, born
1732. 6. Ann, born 1734. 7. Eunice, born
1740. 8. John, born September 15, 1742.
9. Mary, born 1744. 10. Ephriam, born
September 20, 1746.

(IV) Thomas Browning, eldest son of
John and Ann (Hazard) Browning, was
born in 1722, at Kingston, Rhode Island.
He was a farmer at Hopkinton, Rhode
Island, and was made a freeman in 1742.
In religion he was a Quaker. He was
ensign of Company I, South Kingston,
Third Regiment, in May, 1743, and was
made captain of his company in May,
1747. He is mentioned as justice of the
peace at Little Compton in June, 1749.
He died in 1770, at South Kingston,
Rhode Island, aged fifty-two years. He
left no will, but the inventory of his per-
sonal estate showed that it amounted to

Thomas Browning married (first)
Mary Browning, daughter of William and

Mary (Wilkinson) Browning. He mar-
ried (second), July 2, 1769, Anna Hoxie,
daughter of Solomon and Mary Hoxie, of
Richmond, Rhode Island. Issue by first
marriage : i. Robert, born 1757. 2.
Thomas, born 1761. 3. William Thomas,
of further mention. 4. Annie, born 1767.
Issue by second marriage: i. Joshua, born

(V) William Thomas Browning, third
son of Thomas and Mary (Browning)
Browning, was born at South Kingston,
Rhode Island, May 11, 1765. He was left
an orphan when he was six years old,
and went to live with his uncles, who
were also his guardians. He lived part of
the time with his uncle, Jeremiah Brown-
ing, and part of the time with his uncle,
John Browning. When eleven years of
age his guardians sold a farm for him for
a very large amount for those days, and
the money was stored in his guardian's
house in South Kingston, in gold and
silver coins. This was during the War
of the Revolution, and the State govern-
ment sent officers with soldiers and took
the money, leaving in its place continental
currency, which was stored in barrels in
the garret of the house. When he moved
from South Kingston he went to Preston
township, Connecticut, and bought a farm
there. He built a new farm house on the
dividing line between the townships of
Preston and North Stonington, so that
one-half of the house was in one town-
ship and one-half in the other. This after-
wards became known as the old Brown-
ing homestead, and is still standing in
very good condition, occupied by a Mr.
Richardson. The barrels of continental
money he took with him and stored in the
garret of his new home. He died January
2, 1826, on his farm in Preston.

William T. Browning married, Decem-
ber 29, 1784, Catherine Morey, daughter
of Robert Morey, of Newport, Rhode


Island. Issue: i. Catherine, born Janu-
ary 28, 1786. 2. Mary, bom February 4,
1788. 3. Thomas, born April 21, 1790. 4.
Elizabeth, born July i, 1792. 5. Sarah,
(twin), born Augfust 9, 1794. 6. Ann,
(twin), born August 9, 1794. 7. William,
bom August 25, 1796. 8. Thomas M.,
born June 17, 1798. 9. Joshua, born July
17, 1800. ID. John Hazard, of whom
further. 11. Latham Hull, born April 13,
1804. 12. Oren, born March 31, 1806. 13.
Benjamin Franklin, born February 18,
1808. 14. Susan A., born November 8,

(VI) John Hazard Browning, son of
William Thomas and Catherine (Morey)
Browning, was born July 28, 1801, at the
Browning homestead near Preston City,
Connecticut. He grew up on his father's
farm near Preston City, and when five or
six years old met with an accident by
falling into a deep well, which nearly cost
him his life. He taught school for sev-
eral years before starting in business, and
began his commercial career in Milltown,
Connecticut, in 1821, where he ran a gen-
eral store, dealing largely in yarn spun
by the farmers' wives. Shortly after his
marriage he moved to New London, Con-
necticut, and there continued a general
merchandise business. In 1833 he moved
to New York City and started in the dry
goods business at the corner of Fulton
and Water streets, as Browning & Hull.
In 1849 he closed his business and went
into the general merchandise in Cali-
fornia, along with Oliver Jennings and
Benjamin A. Brewster, whom he sent out
to California for the purpose. He re-
mained in New York City manufacturing
cloth and buying other supplies which he
shipped to the store in California. The
store was burned three times without fire
insurance, and the stock was a total loss.
This business was very prosperous, but
he withdrew from it and all active affairs

in 1857, except as a special partner with
his eldest son in the clothing business,
which was conducted by Hanford &
Browning. Afterwards this firm became
Browning, King & Company, and now
has stores in nearly all the principal cities
of the United States. He died March 22,

John Hazard Browning married (first),
September 21, 1829, Eliza Smith Hull, of
Stonington, Connecticut, daughter of
Colonel John W. and Elizabeth (Smith)
Hull, the latter of Waterford, Connecti-
cut; she died April 21, 1875 (see Hull
VIII). John Hazard Browning married
(second) Isabelle Rutter, daughter of
William Rutter, of New York City, Janu-
ary II, 1876. Issue, all by first marriage:
I. John W., born March 5, 1831, died in
1833. 2. William Charles, born November
I3> 1835. 3. Edward Franklin, born June
21, 1837. 4. Ann Elizabeth, born Febru-
ary 13, 1839. 5. John Hull, of whom

(VII) John Hull Browning, youngest
child of John Hazard and Eliza Smith
(Hull) Browning, was born December 25,
1841, in Orange, New Jersey, where the
family had been for some time estab-
lished. After pursuing a course in the
New York Academy, he embarked upKsn a
business career in his twentieth year,
entering the wholesale clothing firm of
William C. Browning & Company, which
business was very successful, and John
Hull Browning ultimately became inter-
ested in various financial and business
enterprises. Soon after 1883 he succeeded
the late Charles G. Sisson as president of
the Northern Railroad of New Jersey,
which position he occupied twenty-two
years. He was secretary and treasurer of
the East & West Railroad of Alabama,
and for twenty years was president of
the Richmond County Gas Company, in
what is Greater New York. For some


time he was treasurer of the Cherokee
Iron Company of Cedartown, Georgia,
and he was a director in the Citizen's
National Bank of Englewood, New Jer-
sey. Mr. Browning made his home in
New York City, but maintained an attrac-
tive summer home at Tenafly, New Jer-
sey. He was deeply interested in organ-
ized charitable work, both in New York
and New Jersey, and in association with
his wife erected a fresh air children's
home at Tenafly. While he was essen-
tially a business man, a director in many
profitable enterprises, Mr. Browning al-
ways had time for a reasonable amount
of recreation, and devoted much thought
and care to benevolent work in the inter-
est of mankind in general. He was twice
a presidential elector, and prior to his
marriage was active in the Masonic order.
He died suddenly in the Erie ferryhouse
at the foot of Chambers street. New York
City, October 26, 1914, on his way home.
John Hull Browning married, October
19, 1871, Eva B. Sisson, daughter of
Charles Grandison and Mary Elizabeth
(Garrabrant) Sisson (see Sisson on a fol-
lowing page). They were the parents of
a son, John Hull Browning, Jr., bom
October 6, 1874. died June 10, 1917.

(Tho Hazard Line).

Arms — Azure, two bars argent; on a chief or
three escallops gules.

Crest — An escallop gules.

The family of Hassard, Hassart, or
Hazard, is of Norman extraction. At the
time of the Conquest they were sitting on
the borders of Switzerland, and were dis-
tinguished by the ancient but long extinct
title of Duke de Charante. Two bearing
this title visited the Holy Land as cru-
saders. The Hazards in this country
belong chiefly to Rhode Island, where the
original Thomas Hazard settled in 1639.
Tradition says that Thomas Hazard was

accompanied by a nephew, the ancestor
of the New York and southern branches
of the family. In Rhode Island the name
is one of the most numerous in the State.
Mrs. Mary Hazard, of South Kingston,
Rhode Island, grandmother of Governor
Hazard, died in 1739, at the age of one
hundred years, and could count up five
hundred children, grandchildren, great-
grandchildren, and great-great-grandchil-
dren, of whom two hundred and five were
then living.

(I) Thomas Hazard, the first American
ancestor, born in England in 1610, came
from England, some say Wales, and set-
tled in Rhode Island, in 1635. His name
is first found in Boston in 1635. In 1638
he was admitted a freeman of Boston ; in
1639 he was admitted freeman of New-
port, Rhode Island, and in 1640 he was
appointed a member of the General Court
of Elections. He died in 1680. Thomas
Hazard married (first) Martha, surname
unknown, who died in 1669. He mar-
ried (second) Martha Sheriff, widow of
Thomas Sheriff, who died in 1691. Issue,
probably all by first marriage: i. Robert,
of whom further. 2. Elizabeth, married
George Lawton. 3. Hannah, married
Stephen Wilcox, son of Edward Wilcox.
4. Martha, married (first) Ichabod Potter,
son of Nathaniel and Dorothy Potter;
(second) Benjamin Mowry, son of Roger
and Mary Mowry.

(II) Robert Hazard, eldest son of
Thomas and Martha (Sheriff) Hazard,
was born in 1635, in England or Ireland.
He was admitted a freeman of Ports-
mouth, Rhode Island, and appears to have
been a prominent man in the colony, and
was a large landowner. He built a big
house in Kingston, Rhode Island, which
stood for a century and a half. The house
had a long L in which was a capacious
chimney with two stone seats where, tra-
dition says, the little slave children were


wont to sit. Robert Hazard, according to
the deeds given to his sons and others,
owned more than a thousand acres of
land. He died in 1710.

Robert Hazard married Mary Brownell,
daughter of Thomas and Ann Brownell.
She died January 28, 1739, at the age of
one hundred years, having lived to see
five hundred of her descendants, as previ-
ously stated. She appears to have been
remarkable in more ways than one, for
the "Boston Gazette" dated February 12,
1739, says of her: "She was accounted a
very useful Gentlewoman, both to the
Poor and Rich on many accounts, and
particularly amongst Sick Persons for her
Skill and Judgment, which she did
Gratis." Issue: i. Thomas, born in 1660,
died in 1746; married Susannah Nichols.
2. George, married Penelope Arnold,
daughter of Caleb and Abigail Arnold,
and died in 1743. 3. Stephen, married
Elizabeth Helme, and died September 20,
1727. 4. Martha, married Thomas Wil-
cox, and died in 1753. 5. Mary, married
Edward Wilcox, and died before 1710. 6.
Robert, married Amey, surname un-
known, and died in 1710. 7. Jeremiah, of
whom further. 8. Hannah, married Jef-
frey Champlin.

(Ill) Jeremiah Hazard, fifth son and
seventh child of Robert and Mary
(Brownell) Hazard, was born March 25,
1675. He lived at Kingstown, Rhode
Island, and like others of the family he
owned much land, some of which re-
mained with his descendants for genera-
tions. He died February 2, 1768, aged
ninety-three years.

Jeremiah Hazard married Sarah Smith,
daughter of Jeremiah and Mary ( Geready)
Smith. Issue: i. Mary, born March 12,
1696, died in 1771. 2. Ann, born February
28, 1701 ; married John Browning, of
South Kingston (see Browning III). 3.
Robert, born April i, 1703, married

Patience Northup. 4. Sarah, born Janu-
ary II, 1706, married, October 24, 1728,
Robert Moore. 5. Martha, born October
8, 1708. 6. Hannah, born in April, 1714;
married Samuel Watson. 7. Susannah,
born May 21, 1716.

(The Hull Line).

Arms — -Sable, a chevron ermine between three
talbots' heads erased argent.

Crest — ^A talbot's head erased argent between
two laurel branches proper united at the top.

It is claimed by some that people who
spell their name Hull are derived from the
same stock as those who spell their name
Hill and Hall, etc. In support of this
theory, old records are cited, showing the
spelling of names as de la Hille, de la
Hall, de Hill, de Hall, de Halle, Hall and
Hill and de Hulle and de la Hulle, Hule
and Hull. It is also claimed that the
Saxon word "atte" is the equivalent of
the Norman word "de" or "de la" and the
surname Hill, Helle, Hulle, or Hulls
means a hill or hills. Atte Hull therefore
would appear to mean, of the hills or
from the hills. The probabilities are,
however, that Hull, Hill and Hall are and
have always been the names of separate
and distinct families, themselves divided
into other families of the same name, hav-
ing no connection with each other except
where they belonged to the same locality.
The ancestors of those bearing the name
of Hull were among the settlers and
founders of this country. They took part
in the formation of the government in the
early colonies as well as in the first war
of the colony of Connecticut against the
Pequot Indians ; their descendants again
served in King Philip's War, and later in
the Colonial and Revolutionary wars, and
have held in both civic and military affairs
of this country positions of which their
descendants may be proud.

(I) Rev. Joseph Hull, the immigrant
ancestor of one well known American line




bearing the name of Hull, was born in
Somersetshire, England, about 1594. He
matriculated at St. Magdalen Hall, Ox-
ford, May 12, 1612, aged seventeen years,
and was installed rector of Northleigh
diocese of Exeter, Devonshire, England,
April 14, 1621. On March 20, 1635, he
sailed with his family, consisting of his
wife Agnes, aged twenty-five years, who
was his second wife, and two sons, five
daughters, and three servants, from Wey-
mouth, bound for New England, with a
company composed of sixteen families
and numbering one hundred and four per-
sons, chiefly west country people. They
arrived in Boston Harbor, May 6, 1635.
On their arrival at Boston a grant was
obtained to establish a plantation at Wes-
saguscus, and here, with others from
Boston and Dorchester, they soon gath-
ered into a church organization with Mr.
Hull as their pastor. In September of the
same year Mr. Hull, with other prominent
residents of his community, took the
freeman's oath, and their plantation was
erected into a township and "decreed
hereafter to be called Weymouth." The
new church did not meet with favor from
its Puritan neighbors. Dissension quickly
arose within the church itself, instigated
by the authorities outside, and in less than
a year the Separatists had called the Rev.
Thomas Jenner, of Roxbury, to be their
pastor, and Mr. Hull relinquished his
charge and withdrew. He obtained a
grant of land in Hingham, the adjoining
town, and after a brief season of preach-
ing at Bass River, now Beverly, he gave
up his ministerial labor and turned his
attention to civic affairs. He evidently
possessed the confidence of his fellow-
townsmen, for he was twice elected
deputy to the General Court, and in 1638
was appointed one of the local magis-
trates of Hingham. In June, 1639, the
Plymouth court granted authority to Mr.

Joseph Hull and Thomas Dimoc to erect
a plantation at Barnstable, on Cai>e Cod.
Mr. Hull was elected freeman and deputy
for Barnstable at the first General Court
held at Plymouth. For a time he sup-

Online LibrarySamuel HartEncyclopedia of Connecticut biography, genealogical-memorial; representative citizens; (Volume 11) → online text (page 1 of 69)