Chad Browne came to New England with his wife Elizabeth (Sharparowe) and their young son John, about 1638 in the ship Martin. They landed in Boston, but historians write that not long after, he was “exiled from Massachusetts for conscience sake” and moved to Providence Plantation joining with Roger Williams and the 12 original settlers of Providence.
He was one of the signors of the Providence Compact, the first civil compact of the colony which addressed disputes amongst the early settlers of the colony and those who came later. He was considered an arbitrator of the early colony and Roger Williams mentioned him in a letter:
“The truth is, Chad Browne, that wise and godly soul (now with God), with myself brought the remaining aftercomers and the first twelve to a oneness by arbitration.”
Browne was also appointed to a committee as a surveyor to list the town lots and the meadows allotted to them and also served on the committee to resolve boundary disputes between Pawtuxet and Providence. Later, while Roger Williams was in England obtaining an official charter for the colony, he served on a committee determining the governance of the colony.
When Roger Williams separated himself from the Providence church, Chad Browne became the minister and remained as such until his death which has been stated as about 1665. He was buried on his own lot in Providence, but his and his wife’s remains were removed to the North Burial Ground in 1792.
It is believed Chad and Elizabeth had seven children and Brown University is named after his descendant Nicholas Brown, Jr. and is situated on part of the lot where Chad Browne lived. Doyle Davidson and David Kaspareit trace their lineage to Chad Browne through his son John who married Mary Holmes.
Compiled by Kathryn Currier
August 2, 2012
Sources: American Biography: A New cyclopedia: Volume 7 by American Historical Co., Editor William Richard Cutter (1920); Wikipedia.