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September 5, 1990


By: Jonesborough Genealogical Society 

     In 1777 Jacob Brown, accompanies by a few families, came to the Nolichucky River area where he set up a trading post and practiced his skills as a blacksmith and gunsmith. The group apparently enjoyed good relations with the Cherokees, for soon after the lease of lands by the Wataugans, Brown was able to negotiate a lease for his lands. He was active in the affairs of the area from the beginning. He and John Carter were the two colonels under Major Jacob Wommack to insure the safety of the area. In 1776 he was one of the Committee of Thirteen, the legislative body, and, in that capacity signed the petition sent to North Carolina in 1776, which resulted in the formation of Washington District in 1777. He was a captain in the Washington District/County Militia, but was not called to active duty until 1780 when he served at the Battle of King’s Mountain, commanding his company under John Sevier.

     The earliest proven ancestor of this family was Thomas Brown, in Baltimore County, MD in 1692, whose only child, John married Elizabeth Sicklemore in 1705. They had three sons: Thomas, Augustus and Gabriel. In 1730 Gabriel married Mary Keen, who may have been the daughter of Timothy Keen. Their marriage, along with the births of their two sons, John (b. 1733) and Jacob (b. 11 Dec. 1736) were entered in the Register of St. George’s Protestant Episcopal Church of Baltimore County, MD.

     In 1752, Gabriel Brown received NC grant #10 in Anson County on the Broad River (now directly east of the town of Union, Union County, SC). In 1754 Jacob and John received Anson County, NC grants #1170 and #1164. In 1751 John Gordon and wife, Ruth,  had received a grant near Brown’s grant. The first record of John Gordon is in 1733 for a land purchase in Prince William County, VA, which he sold in 1749. John and Ruth had five sons: Thomas, John, Benjamin, William and Govin, and one daughter, Ruth.

     Jacob Brown and Ruth Gordon were probably married about 1760 in Anson County, NC (now Union County, SC); they had four known children: Jacob Jr., Thomas, Benjamin and John Gordon Brown. Although Thomas is the only one known to have been here prior to Jacob Sr.’s death in a hunting accident June 28, 1785, Ruth and the four sons settled here after his death. Both Ruth and Jacob are buried in the family cemetery on the Nolichucky. A portion of their land is still owned by a direct descendant.

     For those descendants interested in ancestral organizations, the elder Ruth Gordon, wife of John, has been approved for Daughters of the American Colonists, and the elder Jacob and his sons, Jacob and Thomas, have been proven for the American Revolution. And, of course, as a Gordon descendant.

  1. Hi! I’m a descendant of this line and will be driving through the area this week. Is the cemetery open to the public? I’d love to see where I come from! Thank you.

    • chadfredb permalink

      All descendants in TN have the right to visit cemeteries of their ancestors.

      • I stopped by this morning but felt too bad to drive on back. It was still really cool to see though!

  2. Does anyone know who the direct descendant of Jacob Brown and Ruth Gordon is? I’d love to meet them! I’m so curious about this part of my family I can’t stand it and I’ve hit a dead end here.

    • chadfredb permalink

      Maxie Fox English is a descendant (don’t know if its direct or not).

    • Shelyne Ponder permalink

      I am a descendent. Jacob;Jacob jr; William;, Bird;Hunter (moved to Stewardson I) ;Nellie Brown/Bruce/Shipman(moved to Indianapolis) Benny Shipman, Me Shelyne Shipman/Ponder (moved back to Washington Co. Tn, the land of my ancestors.)

  3. Shelyne Ponder permalink

    I am a decendent. My grandmother was Nellie Brown of Washington Co Tennessee. Her father was Hunter Brown, his father was Byrd Brown, his father was William Brown, his was Jacob Jr Brown and his father was Col. Jacob Brown of the Nolachucky River.

  4. Susan Miller permalink

    Can you provide directions to the cemetery? The State of Franklin chapter of the DAR in Jonesborough provided the memorial for Mr. Brown, and is charged with maintaining it. Over the years we have lost the directions to the cemetery location. Can you help?

    • chadfredb permalink

      Jacob Brown Cemetery is on Taylor Bridge Road on the Ervin Farm near Treadway Trail. The road to the cemetery is near. Scotts have their tomatoes in those fields. The SAR restored the monument either last year or the year before.

    • chadfredb permalink

      Also will the DAR ever re-do the monument at Jackson Bridge Road and Highway 107? It has been proven that on that side of the river is not John Sevier’s Plum Grove. The rock chimney still standing nearby is Mount Pleasant’s chimney. Plum Grove was on the other side of the river on the Dillow Property, now torn down. I read where in the 1980s the WCHA was going to re-do it under Mildred Kozsuch, but the WCHA has disolved and Mildred has died.

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