GENEALOGY COMES TO LIFE IN NEW BOOKS.
Tracing the lineage of one of Parrsboro area’s earliest settlers
Bliss Brown grew up hearing stories about his great-great-greatgrandfather Elijah Brown.
Brown, who was born in the United States in the mid-1700s, left Maine by foot and walked several hundred kilometres before settling near Parrsboro and raising a family.
Today, his descendants number in the thousands, and while most live in Cumberland County, there are family members in almost every corner of the globe.
“I asked my father about him a lot but he didn’t have much information,” Brown said. “I went to the archives and the information I found there was, I knew, inaccurate. I told myself that I had to do it myself if I wanted to do it and find out all the information I could.”
That was in 1971 and Brown was quite busy working as a hospital administrator, first at All Saints Hospital in Springhill and then on the South Shore. All the while, he never forgot his research project.
“I’ve stayed with this project for more than four decades, but this past winter I put a lot of time into it. I was really focused on getting this project done and telling Elijah’s story,” Brown said. “I spent hours every day putting the information together, but I knew I had to stop. I had so much more information, but I knew there had to be an end point somewhere. It was getting too big.”
The finished product is more than 1,100 pages and comes in three volumes. While he has more information on Brown, he doesn’t think that a fourth volume is in the cards. It’s time consuming, not to mention expensive to print the books.
What he is working on now is a book for direct family members.
He printed 500 copies of his three-volume set and has been sending them throughout North America. So much of the proceeds
are going to cover the printing costs, but the extra money is being given to the Cumberland County Genealogical Society.
Brown said he was fascinated collecting the information on his ancestor. Genealogy is an interesting hobby, but for him it became a passion as he learned more about Elijah and how the family grew and prospered.
“He walked from Maine in 1799 and settled in Parrsboro, where he married in 1802,” Brown said. “He stayed in Cumberland County almost his entire life after that, although he did spend a short time in New York, but quickly came back to Parrsboro.”
Brown said Elijah and his wife had 13 children. His great-greatgrandfather
was one of the earliest settlers in Cumberland County in areas not settled either by the Yorkshire settlers or United Empire Loyalists who came to the county from either England or the new United States following the Revolutionary War.
He was also unique in that his wife was a Planter, the group of people moved into Nova Scotia to take over the cultivated lands of the expelled Acadians.
His wife had an interesting story in that her aunt was a mistress to Joseph Des Barres, who had extensive land holdings in the Maccan, Nappan and Minudie areas about the same time he was lieutenantgovernor of Cape Breton and later Prince Edward Island.
“There were many interesting things I learned about my family,” said Brown. “I discovered that I’m related to another Brown, who is not part of the Brown line. He came from another line of Browns who were here before. His daughter married the son of Matthew Lodge, who is well known in this area as a lay Methodist minister.”
Another relative of Elijah Brown’s was also involved in planning Sydney as well as several communities in Prince Edward Island and was buried in Mapleton upon his death in 1827.
Brown said he was very fortunate to find a book that’s now out of print that covered much of the Brown family before Elijah’s birth. He was able to use those connections
to do research in libraries in Maine and New Hampshire.
He was also able to collect information through the Internet, vetting it to make sure it was accurate, and he poured through more than a century of newspapers for obituaries and visited more than 500 graveyards.
“He has a lot of descendants here in Cumberland County who don’t know they’re related to him,” he said. “His descendants are all over the world, but the bulk of them are right here in Cumberland County.”
He said names like Siddall, Welton and Fife are all descendants of Elijah Brown.
Bliss Brown has completed an 1,100-page several volume genealogy of one the Parrsboro area’s earliest settlers, Elijah Brown. His great-great-great-grandfather walked from Maine to the Parrsboro area in 1799 at age 19 and stayed there until his death in 1855. The books trace the Brown family lineage from Elijah to today.