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Biography of Capt. Benjamin Brown

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Capt. Benjamin Brown, father of General John, and of Judge A. G. Brown, and one of the most prominent among the early settlers of Ames, was born October 17, 1745, at Leicester, Massachusetts. His grandfather, William Brown, came from England to America while a youth, was the first settler in the town of Hatfield, on the Connecticut river, and was often engaged in the Indian wars of that period. Capt. John Brown, father of Benjamin, served with credit in the colonial army during the French war, and represented the town of Leicester in the Massachusetts legislature during, and for many years after, the revolutionary war. In February, 1775, Benjamin Brown, then thirty years old, joined a regiment of minute men, and two months later was engaged in active hostilities. In May he was commissioned a lieutenant in Colonel Prescott’s regiment of the Massachusetts line, and in June participated in the battle of Bunker’s Hill. Two of his brothers, Pearly and John Brown, were also engaged in this battle, the latter being dangerously wounded in two places, and borne off the field during the engagement. This brother Pearly was subsequently killed at the battle of White Plains, and another brother, William, died in hospital. In January, 1777, Lieut. Brown was commissioned a captain in the eighth regiment Massachusetts line. His regiment took a very active part in the operations directed against Burgoyne during the summer of 1777, and Capt. Brown was engaged in nearly all of the battles that preceded Burgoyne’s surrender, in some of which he particularly distinguished himself by his gallantry and daring. A short time after this he was offered the position of aide-de-camp on Baron Steuben’s staff, but declined it, fearing that his military knowledge was inadequate. In 1779, compelled by the necessities of his family and other personal reasons, he resigned his commission and returned home to provide for their support. About the year 1789 he removed with his family to Hartford, Washington county, New York, then a new settlement, whence he again migrated in the fall of 1796, and sought a home in the northwestern territory. He reached Marietta in the spring of 1797, and in 1799 came to Ames township, in company with Judge Cutler, as elsewhere stated. He was one of the prominent citizens during the time he resided in Ames, holding various township offices, and contributing largely to the advancement of the settlement. In 1817, his health becoming feeble, he went to live with his son, Gen. John Brown, in Athens, and here he died in October, 1821.

His wife, whom he married in Massachusetts in 1772, and who bore him a large family of children, died at Athens in 1840, aged eighty-six years.

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