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Brown Family of Hamilton, Mass. Papers, 1729-1902

Identifier: MSS 678

Scope and Content Note

The Brown Family of Hamilton, Mass. Papers contains materials created by various Brown family members as well as Dodge family members and includes records for the town of Hamilton. It has been organized into four series.

Series I. Hamilton, Mass., Town Records consists of papers relating to the militia in Hamilton (lists of men serving), surveyors of highways records (correspondence and assessments), post office accounts and correspondence created by Daniel Brown and Israel D. Brown, overseers of the poor correspondence and reports, lists of voters in the town of Hamilton, selectmen's papers, and an appointment of Joseph Patch, Jr., as Collector of Taxes.

Series II. Brown Family Papers has been subdivided into two subseries. Subseries A. Israel D. Brown Papers contains personal deeds, receipts, notes payable, correspondence, and estate papers for at least six individuals. These estate papers include receipts, lists of debts owed, results of auctions, wills, and inventories. Subseries B. Other Brown Family Members contains deeds, legal papers, receipts, a plot plan, a will, and guardianship papers for various members of the Brown family of Hamilton. These papers are arranged chronologically.

Series III. Dodge Family Papers contains deeds, correspondence, accounts, receipts, and estate papers for various members of the Dodge family of Hamilton, including George Jr. and Henry. These papers are arranged chronologically.

Series IV. Other consists of papers for other people from the town of Hamilton and some Ipswich deeds. Of interest is the account book (1729-1732) probably kept by Deacon Matthew Whipple of contributions to defray the church expenses associated with the sacrament of communion. These papers are arranged in alphabetical order.


  • Creation: 1729-1902


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Biographical/Historical Sketches

In June 1638, John Winthrop (1606-1676), son of the founder of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, bought most of present-day Essex County from Masconomet, chief of the Agawam Native Americans, for the sum of twenty English pounds. Hamilton was first settled in 1638 and was originally a section of Ipswich known as the "Hamlet." The first recorded land grant in the Hamlet was Matthew Whipple's farm, dated 1638. Three years later the new stagecoach road from Boston to Newburyport (Bay Road) was laid out through the Whipple land. Other early settlers of the Hamlet, including the Appletons, Winthrops, Lamsons, and Dodges, were attracted by countryside similar to the English farms and estates they had left behind. The town was incorporated on June 21, 1793, and named for Alexander Hamilton, whose portrait became the town seal in 1903. With the arrival of the Boston and Maine Railroad in 1839, the population center moved gradually southward toward the depot.

In the 1700s, people in Hamilton received their mail at Brown's Tavern, which was at the north corner of Farms Road (now Cutler Road) and Main Street (now Bay Road). Capt. Daniel Brown (1749-1834) was the first postmaster (starting in 1803), as well as a tavern keeper and blacksmith. Stagecoaches made regular stops at the tavern as they traveled between Boston and Newburyport.

Israel D. Brown was born in 1781 in Ipswich, Massachusetts, the son of Daniel Brown, Jr. (1749-1834) and Zerviah Dane (1757-1845). He served as a selectman, surveyor of highways, and postmaster in the town of Hamilton. He was a tavern keeper and the administrator of many people's estates in Hamilton. He married twice; first to Nabby Patch (born 1765) in 1814 and then to Lydia Stone (born circa 1789) in 1830. He had three children with Nabby: Mary (1815-before 1865); Ednah (1821-1905); and George (born 1825). He had a son, Daniel C. Brown (born 1835) with Lydia. He died in 1873.

George Dodge was born in Beverly, Massachusetts, on May 5, 1709. He married Martha Fiske (1711-1749) and they had two sons: Jonathan (1743-1822) and George, Jr. (1749-1827). He died on February 12, 1793 in Ipswich.

George Dodge, Jr. was born in 1749 in Beverly, Massachusetts, to George and Martha Fiske Dodge. He married Mary Cleaves (1755-before 1780) in 1774 and they had two sons: Henry (1776-1835) and Joshua (1779-1861). In 1780, he married Sally Brown and they had five children: Mary Cleaves (1781-1852), Jesse (1783-1862), Huldah (born 1786), Martha (born 1791), and Lavinia (1796-1835). He died on May 12, 1827 in Ipswich.


3 linear feet (3 boxes; 1 flat file)

Language of Materials



The Brown Family of Hamilton, Mass. Papers contains materials created by various Brown family members as well as Dodge family members and includes records for the town of Hamilton.

Series List

SERIES I. Hamilton, Mass., Town Records

SERIES II. Brown Family Papers

  • A. Israel D. Brown Papers
  • B. Other Brown Family Members
SERIES III. Dodge Family Papers


Physical Location

Phillips Library Stacks


This material was a gift of Mrs. Dexter R. Hunneman on March 29, 1952. She owned "The Tavern" in Hamilton, formerly the home of generations of the Brown family. Some of the material may have been donated by Charles F. Montgomery on July 1, 1954. Formerly cataloged as Fam. Mss. 471.

Bibliography and Related Collections Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

"History of Hamilton, MA." Town of Hamilton, MA, Town of Hamilton, MA, 2018,

Related Collections

Azor Brown Diaries, 1810-1829, DIA 27

Matthew Whipple Diary, 1696, DIA 236

Hamilton, Mass. Records, 1796-1861, EC 11

Account book of Daniel Brown, 1774-1817, MSS 1043.1

Account book of Daniel Brown, 1790-1816, MSS 1043.2

Account book of Daniel Brown, 1785-1835, MSS 1043.3

Account book of Daniel Brown, 1812-1821, MSS 1043.4

Processing Information

Collection processed by Tamara Gaydos, June 2018.


Processed by: Tamara Gaydos; machine-readable finding aid created by: Rajkumar Natarajan.
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Phillips Library Repository

Peabody Essex Museum
306 Newburyport Turnpike
Rowley MA 01969 USA