Trac­ing the lineage of one of Parrs­boro area’s ear­li­est set­tlers

The Amherst News - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAR­RELL COLE dar­rell.cole@amher­st­ Twit­ter: @ADN­dar­rell

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.

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