In 1870, there was a tiny little village in Massachusetts called Whitinsville. It is still there today, but as it was then and is now, Whitinsville (pronounced White-ins-vill) is not a town, but what is called a Census Designated Place. By definition that means it is an area where there is a concentration of people living, as if a town, but it isn't incorporated and there is no separate local municipal government. Whitinsville is officially a part of the town of Northbridge.
Northbridge was originally inhabited by the Nipmuc tribe. It was once part of neighboring Mendon and then later part of Uxbridge, before it became a separate town in 1772. Being locate on the Mumford River, it was ideal for the textile mills that sprung up in the area, providing jobs that attracted European immigrants and locals to the area.
|John Whitin, the patriarch|
In the mid 1800s, Alexander Brown immigrated from Ireland to Whitinsville as a young boy. Alexander's bride Ann, was also born in Ireland. In 1870, Alexander and Ann are a young couple living in Whitinsville and Alexander is a Dresser Tender, which is a job in the cotton mill tending the thread on the spindles.
Meanwhile, another fellow also named Brown, Andrew Brown that is, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, not at all far from Whitinsville. Andrew married Almira, also from Rhode Island. They moved to Chicago for a short time in the 1860s after Andrew returned from the war. There, a son Ethelbert was born in 1868. When Ethelbert was just 2 they had moved back to the Northeast and settled in Whitinsville where I found them in the 1870 census as well. Andrew was a boot maker.
|The Black Eagle Tavern, Whitinsville|
Andrew and Almira moved back to Providence by 1880, where they raised Ethelbert. Ethelbert met a gal named Margaret Hines and they would have a daughter Hortense. Hortense had a sister Mildred Brown and they grew up in the Franklin area, about 20 miles south of Whitinsville. Hortense Gertrude Brown Locke was my first husband's grandmother, my sons' great grandmother. She lived to be 106, to date my sons' longest lived relative.
Meanwhile, Alexander and Ann Brown, moved from Whitinsville, also about 1880, to Sutton, MA which is also about 10 miles north of Whitinsville. Their son Alexander met and married Alice Moore. They raised their two girls named Anna Brown and Mildred Brown in Sutton. Anna Frances Brown Crowell is my husband Ed's grandmother. Anna's sister, Mildred ALice Brown Kelliher, was my husband's longest lived relative who died in 2002 at the age of 104.
I am not sure what this coincidence means, really. Let's just say that it was a big confusing tangle when I discovered these two Brown families while I was researching my children's (and ex-husband's) families and Ed's ancestry. For a time I was thinking they may have been related, but not so.
|Charles Brown, possibly a common ancestor?|