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Gaspee HistoryPage Up


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Go to
Gaspee Raiders
for biographical information on the Americans in the boats attacking the Royal Navy ship Gaspee.

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Hon. Joseph Brown: b. 3Dec1733; d. 3Dec1785; m. 30Sept1759 Elizabeth (Power) Brown.

The evidence for Joseph Brown being in the attacking party with his brother John Brown comes party from the statement of Arron Briggs who gave:

A list of five men's names, that was concerned in destroying his Majesty's schooner Gaspee:
John Brown and Joseph Brown, principal men of the town of Providence; Simeon Potter of Bristol; Doctor Weeks, of Warwick; Richmond, of Providence. [Staples, p. 31]
Generally, the items recited by Arron Briggs gives credence to his report.  He reported things that only someone present would have known. Yet we know he was trying desperately to please his English captors, and may have inaccurate in some particulars in his hasted to tell "all" he knew.  For example, he described the person taking care of the wounds of Lt. Dudingston as being a tall thin doctor called Weeks.  There was a Doctor Weeks in Providence but no one has suggested that he was in the raiding party . We know that there was a tall thin doctor who took care of Lt. Dudingston, but this person was Dr. Mawney.  We know from the accounts of the persons in the boat that left the Gaspee carrying Lt. Dudingston, that Briggs and Mawney were also in that same boat.  Arron may have known the man who took care of Dudingston to be a doctor from what Briggs saw or heard in the boat taking Dudingston ashore, and the name Briggs supplied for the person may simply have been the name which he knew to be a doctor. 

 Arron may have added Joseph Brown to the list of raiders he "saw" in a like manner, that is, by assuming from something observed that night about the person that the observed person was someone whose name Arron had heard of before.

On the other hand, Briggs was not the only person naming both John and Joseph Brown.  Saul Ramsdale claimed to have heard the preparations for the Gaspee attack and identified the "heads of the gang" as John and Joseph Brown, and someone named Potter. He told his friend William Thayer, a Providence shoemaker recently moved from Mendon, Massachusetts, what he had heard, but neither of them testified before the Royal Commission.

Joseph Brown was the most active politically, of the four brothers.  He served in the legislature and was active in its politics.

The Hon. Joseph Brown was buried in the Old North Burial Ground in Providence as were many other Gaspee raiders.

 

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