Leonard Brown: Representing the Yankee Farmers

The Brown House was home to many Glen Families

The Brown House was home to many Glen Families

If you are familiar with the Glen, you may know that the Leonard Brown House sits at the end of a drive lined by majestic linden trees.  Who’s was Leonard Brown and what does he represent in Portsmouth history.  Brown was born in Middletown in 1815.  His wife Sarah was the daughter of Revolutionary War militia leader Cook Wilcox.  What would become the Brown farm had been part of Wilcox’s land.  By the 1880s Brown was considered one of the best farmers in Portsmouth.  He raised poultry and pigs and brought them to market in New Bedford.  Along with farming, Brown served as a wheelwright and a blacksmith. Leonard Brown represents the Yankee farmers, the descendants of the original English settlers.  Brown and the farmers like him were the backbone of Portsmouth.  They served in political offices, farmed and were the skilled craftsmen of the town.

Family picture of Leonard Brown

Family picture of Leonard Brown

Dating the Brown House has been difficult.  The diary of George Manchester shows that Brown was on the land in 1851 because a barn was built for him by Albert Coggeshall.  1860 maps show Leonard Brown on the property. When Leonard Brown died in 1896, the Brown farm was sold to H.A.C. Taylor and became part of the Glen Farm.

The house served as a home for many Glen Farm families over the years.  When the Town of Portsmouth bought the land in 1989, the Brown House was in disrepair.  Fires, hurricanes and vandalism had damaged the house, but efforts are being made to restore and the use the house once more.

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