A variety of sources tell us that Albany resident Edward Brown was born in Stonington, Connecticut in November 1771. Thus, he would have been the first son born to the marriage of Andrew and Sara Chapman Brown. A number of siblings also would become residents of Albany. However, we still seek defining information on his origins and path to Albany.
Subsequent sources tell us that he came to Albany near the end of "last" century. "These Browns carried on an extensive mercantile business" - which is said to have included several voyages to China. He is said to have built the first brick house on the dock at the foot of Hudson Street. Later, he held the appointment as Albany "dockmaster."
In 1799, his house, lot, and store with Stanton Brown were valued on the first ward assessment. In 1802, the lot on Lion Street was listed under the names of Edward and his younger brother and business partner.
In 1800, his household was configured on the Albany census of the first ward. That living unit accounted for three men born after 1756, two younger males, and two females aged 26-45. Subsequent censuses documented the aging and narrowing of Edward Brown's family.
In 1800 and afterwards, city records included the names of Edward and Stanton Brown with those who paid for grocers' licenses.
In 1813, the first city directory identified Edward Brown as a merchant with a house at 10 Hudson and a store at 1 Hudson (corner of Quay). Subsequent annual editions listed his addresses as 1 and 82 Hudson. In addition, his name was included among the officers of a number of community-based financial and welfare organizations and also as a member of the city council for the fourth ward.
In February 1816, he was among those who subscribed to support a number of "female scholars" to attend the Union School in nearby Montgomery Street.
"Mary, wife of Edward Brown," died in August 1832 at the age of 45. Perhaps, she was his second wife and Tabitha had previously passed on. The printed obituary reported that Edward Brown died in August 1846. He was 75-years-old. His will passed probate in November.
Sources: The life of Edward Brown is CAP biography number 7449. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.
"Edward Brown died, aged 75. He was a native of Stonington, Conn,, and came to this city near the close of the last century, and in connection with his brother under the firm name of E. & S. Brown, carried on an extensive mercantile business. They were engaged in several voyages to China, and built the first brick store on the dock at the foot of Hudson street, which was taken down in 1845, The Dutchmen told them that they would not build there if they had seen the river break up. Mr. Brown discharged the duties of dock master from 1820 to 1841, under the corporation, when the infirmities of age induced him to withdraw from active pursuits." Transformed from Annals of Albany, vol. 10, p. 372.
first posted 3/30/16; last updated 11/18/16