Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Families of the Tri-Counties
Joseph Maxfield Brown of Homet
Bradford County PA
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Tioga County PA
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Submitted by Bob Brown
Edited, formatted & published by Joyce M. Tice


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Joseph Maxfield Brown Farmer of Homet’s Ferry

Joseph Maxfield Brown was born 1 April 1824 the second son of William Dodge Brown and Clarissa Maxfield. His Grandparents were Humphrey and Hannah Dodge Brown. Humphrey was the second son of Thomas Brown IV who entered the valley in 1789 after Sullivan’s Campaign.

William Dodge enlisted in the war of 1812. His birth date is recorded as 1797, so he could have been as young as fifteen upon entering the war. There is also an 1812 marker on his head stone at Wyalusing Cemetery.

A family story handed down by my great aunt Winifred Brown says that William was given a large tract of land for payment while in the service. It was said that he had so much land, that he was land poor. The story goes on to say that Charles Homet became the final owner of the land, leaving William with just enough land to support his family. There are those who said that Charles Homet conned William out of his rightful land, but it’s all in who’s telling the story.

We can safely assume that Joseph received his name from his mother’s youngest brother, Joseph Maxfield. The Maxfields came into the County in 1812. John, Hannah and their children: Clarissa, (Polly), Cyril, George, and Joseph. After 1813 there is nothing mentioned about John Maxfield so it is possible that he had died shortly afterward. The 1820 Wyalusing census shows a Hannah (Marcfield ). She would be the right age for Hannah Maxfield and so I am left wondering if this is our Hannah and the census taker couldn’t write very well. It is open for debate and I will let the reader decide. I also wonder about the Polly mentioned: I have a gut feeling that Polly is a nickname for Clarissa, but we don’t have any proof.

William and Clarissa lived at Spring Hill and so it was there young Joseph grew into manhood; however, he did not stay long at his father’s home. At the age of eighteen Joseph married his sweetheart, Rebecca Vanderpool. Sadly, there are no known photos of her. She was the daughter of Henry Vanderpool, a worker of shingles. The grandfather was Antony Vanderpool, King Pool as he was known by family and friends. Antony came into the county in 1791, the same year Thomas Brown was laid to rest. Like Thomas, Antony was a patriot of the late war, having served in the Continental Army. Antony and his family moved around the county, finally settling in Asylum. He died in 1840, just a few years short of one hundred. At the time of Antony’s death, Rebecca was only eleven years old. Two years later, on 1 March 1842 she married Joseph. He was eighteen and she was a very tender thirteen years of age.

The young couple made Wyalusing their home, settling in the Homet’s Ferry area. That was the area where Joseph’s grandfather, Humphrey Brown, had planned the settlement of Fairbanks. Although the settlement never came to pass, the district kept the name. Below is a map from the old Beers Gazetteer of 1869 showing the area and the location of Joseph’s home. On the left is a photo of the area and how it looks today. The three white dots show the location of Joseph’s home.

The Susquehanna River at Homet’s Ferry J. Brown home between the canal and the river.
A story that has been passed down by the Thomas Edward Brown family tells of a time when Joseph and Rebecca had to leave the children at home while they attended to some business. While they were away the children played along the riverbank. The youngest of the children, Thomas, fell off a barge and into the canal. The older children had to fish him out, dry him off, and clean him up before the parents returned home.

My great uncle, Earnest Newton Brown, recalled that as a very young boy he remembered Joseph and Rebecca sitting on the porch of their home in the evening and smoking clay pipes. He remembered Rebecca as tall with a darker skin and Indian features. There was always talk of the Vanderpools having Indian blood through Antony’s wife, Elizabeth Johnson. But I don’t know if it was ever proven.

Yet another story comes down from the Crawn family who married into the Browns with the union of Foster Brown and Blanche Crawn . The story was told by Nicholas Crawn, Blanche’s father. He recalled that, while working on a new section of track on the Lehigh Valley Railroad, one day he and other workers happened to take their lunch break in the yard of Rebecca’s home. It is not clear if Joseph was still alive at this particular time, but Rebecca came bounding out of the house with loaded shotgun in hand and chased them all off her property. Just a feisty old lady guarding what was hers.

Joseph and Rebecca had ten children; Theresa (3 Jan 1847); Delighta (23 Aug 1848); the twins, Henry and Alpheus (15 May 1850) [Alpheus died an infant (3 Nov 1850)]; James L. (9 Oct 1852); Nelson (12 April 1854); Helen M. (25 Jun1857); Esther (3 Oct 1858); William (31 Dec 1862); and Thomas Edward (26 Nov 1867).

After leaving the Homet’s Ferry area, the family moved to Rummersfield and finally to Camptown. The U.S. Census records of 1850,1860 and 1880 all show Wyalusing as the residence of the Joseph Brown family.

The old Methodist Church on Lime Hill. Many of the Browns worshiped here and many have been laid to rest here.  Aug 1969

At one point, according to Winifred Brown, Joseph was asked to help build the church at Lime Hill. The church was built sometime during the 1880’s and stood for many years with the Lime Hill Cemetery round about. It was still standing in 1978, the last time I visited my aunts on Lime Hill. Sadly, the church burnt to the ground some time after that. Only the bell tower remains to mark the spot where the old church stood.

In 1893 Joseph died at the age of sixty-nine. Five years later, in 1898, Rebecca died at the age of sixty-nine. They were laid to rest in the old Wyalusing Cemetery, not too far from William Dodge and his Clarissa, and a little further away from the graves of Thomas IV and Patience, his wife. Only Humphrey and Hannah are missing, their resting place unknown to us.

Epilog: It was 1969 when I visited my Aunts on Lime Hill and slept on my grandfather’s feather bed. I remember the day I first met them. As I sat there in their living room, I looked up over the sofa and there was a gentleman in period dress and whiskers looking down at me. I thought I was looking into a mirror but I was told that he was their grandfather, Joseph Maxfield Brown. At this point I was shown a family bible, which was handed down from Rebecca Brown, and a box filled with old photos of the family. It was more than I could take in. I wanted to ask if I could have the bible and to look through the pictures in more depth, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it, having just met them. Yes, the picture on the wall bore a striking likeness to me. I had my camera with me so I snapped quick shot off. That was the only opportunity I had to view the family treasures.

Years passed and in 1978 I again came Lime Hill to visit my aunts, but the years had taken their toll. The one aunt who was keeper of the bible had died. Aunt Winifred was now senile and could not remember me. Aunt Mable knew me but had no recollection of the bible. More years have passed and all the family back there is gone. The house on Lime Hill is gone and so are all the artifacts that my grandfather’s family held so dear. Even I have grown older, but before my memory fades as well, I must write of the things I was told and tell the story as it came down to me.

I write this article to remember those Browns who once lived, worked and played around the river and the environs of Wyalusing.

I give special thanks to my newly found cousin, Peter Brown, who is also a 2nd great -grandson of Joseph and Rebecca Brown. Also to my cousin Phil Herman, who supplied the pictures for me. Couldn’t have done it without you cousins. Your cousin Bob,

Robert Madison Brown
11 October 2003

Joseph Rebecca had ten children, of those ten photos of only two Children have been recovered and saved.  The first is Nelson,
Around the age of twenty. Or about the time he married Emma Jane Jennings.  The second photo is of Esther or Essie as she was called.  This photo was taken in her golden years. She was the wife of Dayton House, a popular uncle on Lime Hill. Third photo is Cemetery Monument of Joseph and Rebecca Vanderpool Brown Wyalusing Cemetery, Bradford County, Pa..

Robert Madison Brown 1960
for comparison
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Bradford County PA
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Published On Tri-Counties Site On 10/28/2003
By Joyce M. Tice

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