autosomal DNA tests and our Brown family history, my
physical characteristics, genealogy, and Algonquian Abenaki and Portuguese
history evidence that our William Brown’s (c.1717-1772) mother, Mrs. Brown
"who was a native of Portugal"
was actually an Algonquian
Abenaki Native American with Portuguese ancestry. She is
genetically linked with present-day Algonquian Ojibwa or Chippewa, and related
to the early Vermont Abenaki tribes.
She likely lived in the Vermont area when our Mr. Brown of Edinburgh, Scotland (c.1691)
"first settled" there. She married him in about 1716.
autosomal DNA Fingerprint and 18 Marker Ethnic Panel tests report by
1) Native American Matches Using the American OmniPop 380+ Populations Database. Using the American forensic OmniPop (Burritt) worldwide populations database, three of my highest four population matches are all Native American profiles with Algonquian Native American linguistic and cultural origins.
My three ranked Native American population matches are: (1) ABI-ID Minnesota Native American (23), which are present-day Ojibwa or Chippewa; (2) RCMP Salishan Costal BC (56), and (4) RCMP Saskatchewan Aboriginal (56).
The Random Match Probability (RMP) numbers seen on this chart mean that the lower the RMP, the stronger the match to the OmniPop population group. Thus, my strongest match and Rank 1 is the ABI-ID Minnesota Native American (23) who are present-day Ojibwa or Chippewa.
According to Algonquian Ojibwa tradition, and from records of wiigwaasabak (birch bark scrolls), many Ojibwa migrated from the eastern areas of North America, and from along the East Coast. See Ojibwe - History and Chippewa (Ojibway, Anishinaabe, Ojebwa) and their cited references. See the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe including A Brief Summary of Bois Forte History.
North American eastern and coastal areas were the homelands of Algonquian Native Americans, including the Abenaki in the New England and Vermont area. Currently, there are no present-day population data bases in OmniPop that include the Abenaki of that area. See also New England Abenaki: 1400-1750 below explaining that the Algonquian were Abenaki in the New England and Vermont area, both before and after Columbus.
Algonquian has a number of different spellings, e.g., Algonquin, Algonkian, etc. See List of Algonquin ethnonyms. “The Algonquins are aboriginal/First Nations inhabitants of North America who speak the Algonquin language, a divergent dialect of the Ojibwe language, which is part of the Algonquian language family. Culturally and linguistically, they are closely related to the Ojibwe and Odawa, with whom they form the larger Anicinàpe (Anishinaabe) grouping. The Algonquin peoples call themselves Omàmiwinini (plural: Omàmiwininiwak) or the more generalised name of Anicinàpe,” meaning among other things the “First-Peoples”, or “First-Men”, or “Original Men”. Algonquian normally refers to the Algonquian language and cultural group of Native Americans, and today also to a Canadian Algonquin group. See Algonquin, and Algonquian languages, and List of Algonquin ethnonyms, and Anishinaabe, and their cited sources and maps.
See the following important Algonquian maps:
1. Minnesota Native Americans are Algonquian Ojibwa or Chippewa. See
Summary: My highest autosomal DNA match using the American OmniPop databases is Algonquian (Ojibwa, or Chippewa). The Ojibwa, or “First-Peoples”, or “First-Men”, or “Original Men”, migrated from the eastern areas of North America, and from along the East Coast, which includes the Algonquian Abenaki of the Vermont area. Therefore, they are genetically related to my only Native American ancestors who lived in the Vermont area (the Abenaki). This is Mrs. Brown "who was a native of Portugal" (c.1695) who likely resided in the Vermont area when she met and married Mr. Brown of Edinburgh, Scotland (c.1691) when he “first settled in...Vermont” in the early 1700’s. See Our Brown Family History.
2) Native American II Match Using the DNA Consultants 18 Marker Ethnic Panel Matches. Using the DNA Consultants 18 Marker Ethnic Panel, my first Ethnic panel match is “NATIVE AMERICAN II (Hispanic)”. NATIVE AMERICAN II (Hispanic) is defined as being “similar to NATIVE AMERICAN I but found typically in people who are half or less Native American and about half Iberian, with sometimes a lesser amount of Sub-Saharan African, i.e., Hispanic or Latino.” (underlining added).
The definition of “NATIVE AMERICAN I” is: “This marker is inherited by an individual who has some degree, whether large or small, of Native American ancestry. Often it comes from only one parent. As with other markers, if you didn’t get it, that does not mean you don’t have any Native American ancestry. Pairs of markers (alleles) are reshuffled from generation to generation, and it could have been lost. You may have it, but a sibling might not.
“By “Native American” is meant any of the indigenous groups who lived in either North or South America before Columbus. It is the same as American Indian. Because of the sensitivity of this test, your Native ancestors may have lived hundreds, even thousands of years ago. Native American DNA is so distinctive that this test can detect even small amounts of it. (underlining added).
“Note that since this marker occurs with the highest frequency in Native Americans and the lowest in Asians, it is a good means of distinguishing between the two. Since they share, to some extent, a common deep history, the two ethnic groups are often confused with each other.” See DNA Consultants: “What are the Native American markers and what do they tell me?”
Summary: My ethnic NATIVE AMERICAN II (Hispanic) group is “found typically in people who are half or less Native American and about half Iberian, ..., i.e., Hispanic or Latino.” My Genealogy and Brown Family History support this. My Genealogy shows that only my Brown line could have Native American and Portuguese in the Vermont area. Our Brown Family History statements verify that Mrs. Brown (c.1695) was a “native of Portugal”, and that Mr. Brown of Edinburgh, Scotland (c.1691) “first settled in...Vermont”. There also are early 1800’s court trial statements that the Brown’s were “colored people” or of “mixed blood”. My Physical Characteristics also evidence Native American genetics.
As noted above, the present day Minnesota Algonquian Native Americans (Ojibwa or Chippewa) declare that they are “First-Peoples”, or “First-Men”, or “Original Men”, and that their ancestors originally came from eastern areas of North America, and from along the East Coast, which includes the Vermont Algonquian area.
During the pre-contact times (before Europeans came to America) through the
early 1700’s, the Vermont Algonquian area was inhabited primarily by the
Abenaki tribe. “People:
tribe, together with the
Penobscot Indians, were members of the old
Wabanaki Confederacy, adversaries of the
Iroquois. These allies from the eastern seaboard
spoke related languages, and Abenaki and Wabanaki have the same
Algonquian root, meaning "people from the east." Today 2000 Abenakis
live on two reserves in Quebec, and another 10,000 Abenaki descendants are
scattered throughout New England. Only the Canadian Abenaki tribe is
officially recognized, but there are at least three Abenaki bands in the
United States: the
Sokoki and Mazipskwik Abenakis of Vermont and the
Cowasucks of Massachusetts.” See
Abenaki. See also Abenaki maps
“The Western Abenaki, Ojibwa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi historically had patrilineal clans.” Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples/Aboriginals: Algonquians/ Eastern Woodlands. This contrasts to the “matrilineal clans” of their western neighbors and adversaries, the Iroquois. See Iroquois. See also the genetic distinctions noted in Distribution of Y Chromosomes Among Native North Americans: A Study of Athapaskan Population History.
None of my ancestors has ever lived in Minnesota, or any where near it. See My Genealogy. So my DNA connection to Minnesota Native Americans comes from my Brown line in the Vermont area. Our first known Brown, a Scotchman by the name of BROWN (c.1691) first settled in the Vermont area in the early 1700’s, and was allied in marriage with a woman who was a native of Portugal. See Our Brown Family History.
See also below the New England Abenaki: 1400–1750 for additional information on the Abenaki.
Summary: My DNA connections to present-day Algonquian Minnesota Native Americans (Ojibwa or Chippewa) are tied to the Algonquian Abenaki tribe of early Vermont both linguistically and culturally.
4) Portugal Match Using the European ENFSI Populations Database. Using the European Network of Forensic Science Institute (ENFSI) 24 European populations database, my first and highest Random Match Probability (RMP) match was Portugal. My Report states that this means that my autosomal European DNA “profile, on the face of it, is most common in [the] present-day Portuguese ... population.”
See New England Portuguese: 1400-1700 below for evidence of Portuguese being in the New England area before Columbus in the late 1400’s-1500’s, as well as Portuguese immigrants there during the 1600’s.
My autosomal European DNA “profile, on
the face of it, is most common in [the] present-day Portuguese ... population.”
So my highest total tested autosomal DNA matches using American OmniPop and
European forensic databases are Algonquian (Ojibwa, or Chippewa) and Portuguese.
The following Brown family history statements are key elements showing the migration of our earliest known Brown’s:
1. “Tradition traces the genealogy of Captain James BROWN back to his great grandfather [who is our Mr. Brown, the father of William BROWN] who was a Scotchman by the name of BROWN, and who was allied in marriage with a woman who was a native of Portugal; they being the grand-parents of James Brown [son of William BROWN] who served in the [Revolutionary] war....” See History of Captain James Brown, by his grandson, Moroni F. Brown, page 88. My grandfather, Orson Pratt Brown (1863-1946), told my older sister, Valene Erickson Woods, as a child sitting on his knee, that her ancestry included “... a touch of Portuguese from a Portuguese Princess.”
2. William Brown's great grandson, Orson Pratt Brown (1863-1946), declared in his Autobiography: “My [great] grandfather, on my father’s side was William Brown, [his father Mr. Brown the Scotchman by the name of BROWN] come over from Edinburgh, Scotland. .... They first settled in the state of Vermont.
“Later he [William Brown] went to North Carolina, near Raleigh [in Rowan County, N.C.], took up land and farmed. Here my father [Captain James Brown] was born, in the year of 1801, September 30, and reared in a farming community.” See the Autobiography of Orson Pratt Brown (1863-1946), pages 11-12).
3. My autosomal DNA shows that my Brown ancestors include at least one Algonquian Native American (of the Ojibwa or Chippewa clan), which people now live in the Minnesota area who originally came from eastern areas of North America, and from along the East Coast, which includes the Vermont area. There are only six generations separating my Native American DNA from my maternal fourth great grandmother Mrs. Brown (c.1695) “who was a native of Portugal” (c.1695) in the Vermont New England area. See My Genealogy.
4. William Brown's grandson, Williams Brown (1796-1884), declared in the 1880 Federal Census that his father, James Brown (1757-1823), was born in Pennsylvania, and his mother, Mary or Polly Williams (1760-1827), was born in New Hampshire. See the 1880 Federal Census, Boon Hill Township, Johnston County, North Carolina.
5. William Brown's great grandson, James Stephens Brown (1828-1902) wrote of his grandfather: “James Brown was of Portigee and English Decent And his wife [Mary or Polly Williams] was of English Irish, Decent; Neither of them had any Education a tall;....” (original spelling; underlining added). See James Stephens Brown - Parent's Genealogies, page 2.
An early 1800’s Randolph County, North Carolina Court document alleges: “....,
it appears that William BROWN, / father of James, / and the
wife of William [our William and Margret Brown] were colored people,
that they had the following children [naming all of their children identified in
William’s 1772 Will except Elizabeth] ....; but all of whom are
colored persons, & from their appearance & complexion, afforded evidence
to every body, that they were of mixed blood; ...” See the Abstract
of 1819 Randolph County, NC, Estate Papers of Thomas STILLWELL.
My DNA report confirms that I have Native American genes and no African or Sub-Saharan
African genes, so my ancestral complexion is Native American and not African.
8. Some of William Brown’s descendants have special ties to Native Americans during their life times. One is James Stephens Brown (1828–1902) who served at least four missions to Native American tribes in the West. He had a gift for learning their languages, served as an interpreter, and even taught some of these languages. Another is James Morehead Brown (1834-1924) who married a Native American, Adelaide Exervia.
Mr. Brown (Scotchman c.1691) came from, or through, Edinburgh, Scotland, to
an English colony along the New England Coast in the early 1700’s. He
“first settled” in the Vermont Indian area, likely doing some farming and
beaver fur trade, which was the key contact business between Native Americans
and Europeans during this era. See
The Fur Trade of
Native Americans and Europeans below.
It appears that there he met a native Algonquian woman
to whom he “was allied in marriage”, “a woman who was a
native of Portugal.” She was our
"who was a native of Portugal" (c.1695). The words “allied” and “native”
do not appear to be
typical words to use in
speaking of marriage, even in the 1700’s. They
appear to clearly reflect our Mr. Brown’s (1691) “alliance” with
his “Native” American wife and her people, which is now demonstrated in
our Native American DNA connections.
And perhaps she was a Native American Princess, and not a Portuguese Princess?
1) Spoon-Shaped Incisors
I have the shovel-shaped incisors, or spoon-shaped incisors (concave inner surfaces of the two upper front teeth), identified by anthropologists as an anatomical characteristic of American Indians. Frederick Webb Hodge, the Smithsonian anthropologist, archaeologist and historian, describes these teeth in his Handbook of American Indians, vol. 1, 1906, p.55: “The teeth are of moderate size; upper incisors are ventrally concave, shovel-shaped; canines not excessive; molars much as in whites; third molars rarely absent when adult life is reached.” (underlining added).
My two maternal brothers and my sister also have them, but not any of our spouses. Our respective children also have them.
2) Darker Skin Color
I have the brown or olive skin color identified by anthropologists as an
anatomical characteristic of American Indians. Frederick Webb Hodge, the
describes this feature in his
Handbook of American Indians, vol. 1, 1906, p.53: “The
American Indians .... skin is of various shades of brown, tinged in
youth, particularly in the cheeks, with the red of the circulating blood. The
term "red Indian" is a misnomer. Very dark individuals of a hue approaching
chocolate ... are found in more primitive tribes .... The darkest parts of the
skin are ordinarily the back of the hands, wrists, and neck, the axillae,
nipples, peritoneal regions, and the exposed parts of the feet. A newborn
infant is of varying degrees of dusky red.” (underlining added).
3) Moderate Dolichocephaly
I have some moderate dolichocephaly (the head moderately long and narrow), identified by anthropologists as an anatomical characteristic of Algonquian Indians. This may be seen best in my pictures taken in my late teens and twenties. Frederick Webb Hodge, the Smithsonian archaeologist, describes this feature in his Handbook of American Indians, vol. 1, 1906, p.55: “The distribution of the Indians according to cephalic index is of much interest. Excluding tribes that are known to be much mixed, there are found in the territory north of Mexico all the three principal classes of cranial form, namely, dolicho-, brachy-, and meso-cephalic. Among the extremely dolichocephalic were the Delawares and the southern Utah cliff-dwellers. “Moderate dolichocephaly, with occasional extreme forms, was and is very prevalent, being found in the Algonquian and the majority of the Siouan and plains tribes and among the Siksika, Shoshoni, some Pueblos (e.g., Taos), and the Pima.” (underlining added).
None of my genealogical lines have any known connections with Native Americans or Portuguese, except Brown’s.
In my genealogy, Mrs. Brown (c.1695) "who was a native of Portugal" in the Vermont New England area, is in my mother’s paternal Brown line, and she is my maternal fourth great grandmother. There are about 250 years (1695 to 1945) separating her estimated birth in 1695 from my birth in 1945. There are, however, only six generations separating our DNA, which is significantly shorter than the genealogical norm of 12.5 for this time period (a generation assumed to happen every 20 years). See My Ged.com File.
We are absolutely certain that I have no Native American ancestry in either my mother’s maternal Skousen Danish lines, or my father’s paternal and maternal Hungarian/Austrian lines because of the following facts. My maternal grandmother, Eliza Skousen, was born in Arizona in 1882, and her parents both emigrated from Denmark to the United States in 1862-64. My father, John Alois Klein (Johann Rögner), was born in western Hungary in 1900, and immigrated to the United States in 1903 with his mother and grandparents. His birth father in Hungary is unknown.
So this leaves the genealogical line of my mother’s father, Orson Pratt Brown born in 1863 in Utah, as the only Native American line. A close analysis of his parents’ direct lines and family history reveals that, as of this writing (November 2010), there are no apparent, or stated, or known relationships with any Native Americans or Portuguese in Orson’s maternal [Phoebe Abigail Abbott (1831-1914), wife of Captain James Brown (1801-1863)] Abbott and Smith lines. Both lines immigrated to the New England area from England in the early 1600’s, and then migrated slowly west in New England area until Phoebe Abbott’s parents met and were married in Hornellsville, Steuben, New York in December 1825. See My Ged.com File.
We are then left with Orson Pratt Brown’s paternal line [his father Captain James Brown (1801-1863)] whose parents are James Brown (1757-1823) and Mary Polly Williams (c.1760-1827). The parents of James Brown (1757-1823) are William Brown (c.1717-1772) and Margret _____ (c.1722-aft.1772). And the parents of William Brown are our Brown Scotchman from Edinburg, Scotland (c.1691), and our Mrs. Brown (c.1695) "who was a native of Portugal". More is explained about great grandmother Mrs. Brown, the Algonquian Abenaki Native American, in Our Brown Family History above.
We need to address Captain James Brown’s maternal lines, which are his mother Mary or Polly Williams’ (c.1760-1827) line, and the line of his grandmother, Margret _____ (c.1722-aft.Nov.1772), wife of William Brown (c.1717-1772). We know that the Williams were of English-Irish descent, but can only trace them to New Hampshire where Mary or Polly Williams (c.1760-1827) was born about 1760. We have no indication of there being any relationships with Native Americans with Mary Polly or her parents, John Williams (c.1724) and Jane _____ (c.1728). We know very little about Margret _____ (c.1722-aft.Nov.1772), except that she appears to be of English descent. See Our Brown Family History.
None of my genealogical lines have any
known connections with Native Americans or Portuguese, except Brown’s. This
might be further verified in possibly two ways: 1) Find an Abenaki Native
American anthropology DNA database(s) that would allow testing my autosomal DNA;
and 2) Find a cousin descendant of
Captain James Brown (1801-1863) through
a wife other than Phoebe Abigail Abbott (1831-1914) willing to take the
same two-part autosomal
DNA Fingerprint and 18 Marker Ethnic Panel tests
DNA Consultants, and share the key results with us.
Return to Top
Both early pre-European and post-European contact history of the Portuguese and Algonquin Abenaki tribe evidence their relationships.
A. Portuguese Explored the Northeast Coast of North America in the late 1400’s-1500’s. From the Library of Congress Hispanic portal (underlining added):
“During the first quarter of the sixteenth century, Portuguese sailors were active in exploring and exploiting the cod fisheries found in the North Atlantic and along the northeast coast of North America. .... In 1500 and 1501, Gaspar Corte-Real and his brother Miguel, members of the Portuguese royal household, sailed to Greenland, Labrador, and possibly Newfoundland, which was subsequently labeled "Terra del Rey de Portugal" on several early maps. During the next twenty years, there is scattered evidence to suggest that Portuguese fishermen were also visiting the Grand Banks and the coastal waters of Newfoundland to exploit the cod (bacalhau) fisheries.
“Around 1520, a Portuguese nobleman, João Álvares Fagundes, explored the southern coast of Newfoundland and may have reached the mouth of the St. Lawrence River and the Nova Scotia coast. Four years later, Estêvão Gomes, sailing for Spain, reached Nova Scotia and sailed south along the North American coast, possibly as far as the Chesapeake Bay. Gomes, who was a native of Porto in northern Portugal, had served as a pilot for Fernão de Magalhães in 1519.
“Although few detailed accounts or maps have survived from these voyages, the accomplishments were incorporated into several early sixteenth-century maps including a 1529 world map prepared for the Spanish crown by Diogo Ribeiro. ....” See the 1529 Map.
B. Portuguese in Massachusetts Leaving Inscriptions on Dighton Rock.
From Dighton Rock, Massachusetts (underlining added):
“The most controversial inscribed rock in New England is Dighton Rock at Berkeley, Massachusetts, on the Taunton River. .... In this century, Brown University professor Edmund Burke Delabarre deciphered part of the inscription on the rock to read: "Miguel Cortereal by will of God, here Chief of the Indians," along with the date 1511 and a Portuguese coat-of-arms. Miguel Cortereal, a Portuguese navigator, did disappear in 1501 with his crew, sailing the Atlantic in search of his explorer brother Gaspar Cortereal, who had also disappeared with his three ships and crews the year before. Their father, Joao Vas Cortereal, traveled to "the land of the cod," thought to be Newfoundland in 1472, twenty years before Columbus' voyage.” (Quote from "New England's Ancient Mysteries" by Robert Ellis Cahill, 1993.)
“ .... Lately a new theory has appeared: the rock, moved from its original site, has been placed in a small park with an adjoining display proving that the round-headed anthropomorphs are actually part of the Portuguese coat of arms, and the whole inscription is a message from Miguel Cortereal, a Portuguese explorer. The Algonquian Indians who incised the lines at least 350 years ago would have been amused.” (Quote from "Rock Art of the American Indian, by Campbell Grant, 1967.)
C. French Explorer Champlain Meets Abenaki Indians Wearing Portuguese Clothing 1606.
“.... The French explorer Samuel de Champlain .... was greeted by a party of Abenaki Indians, some of whom wore the scraps of Portuguese clothing they had traded for a hundred years before, and they made a great show of hospitality before launching a surprise attack from the woods of Eastern Point. The Frenchmen easily fended them off, .... [referencing September 1606]” See The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea by Sebastian Junger, 1999, p. 42. (underlining added).
D. Portuguese Settling in New
York and Rhode Island: 1654 - 1677. From the
Library of Congress Hispanic portal:
E. Portagee Definition: “Portagee is a term often ascribed to persons of Portuguese ancestry. The term found usage during the major waves of Portuguese immigration to the United States, from the late 1870s until the recent wave, which began in the 1960s.” Webster’s On-line Dictionary. Comment: (underling added). “Portagee” or “Portigee” was obviously used in early America as attested by James Stephens Brown (1828-1902) using it to describe his ancestors.
Summary: Mrs. Brown’s (c.1695) Portuguese ancestor was very likely male and probably either a 1) Portuguese sailor or ship’s captain (the Cortereal's with a Native American Princess?) arriving in the Atlantic coast area during the 1400’s-1500’s, or 2) Portuguese immigrant (who apparently were mostly Jews) arriving in New England or New York during the 1600’s.
A. See also above the Connection of Minnesota Algonquian Ojibwa with Vermont Algonquian Abenaki.
B. Abenaki People.
Abenaki Couple, 18th Century watercolor
“The Abenaki (or Abnaki) are a tribe of Native American and First Nations people, a subdivision of the Algonquian nation of northeastern North America. The Abenaki live in New England, Quebec, and the Maritimes, a region called Wabanaki ("Dawn Land") in the Eastern Algonquian languages. The Abenaki are one of the five members of the Wabanaki Confederacy. "Abenaki" is a linguistic and geographic grouping; historically there was not a strong central authority but as listed below a large number of smaller bands and tribes that shared many cultural traits.” ....
“The Abenaki people call themselves Alnôbak, meaning "Real People" (c.f., Lenape language: Lenapek). Another name they call themselves is Alnanbal, meaning "men". In addition, when compared to the more interior Algonquian peoples, they call themselves Wôbanuok, meaning "Easterners" (c.f. Massachusett language: Wôpanâak). They also refer to themselves as Abenaki or with syncope: Abnaki. Both forms are derived from Wabanaki or the Wabanaki Confederacy, as they were once a member of this confederacy they called Wôbanakiak meaning "People of the Dawn Land" in the Abenaki language — from wôban ("dawn" or "east") and aki ("land") ....
“The homeland of the Abenaki, known to them as Ndakinna, which means "our land", extended across most of northern New England, southern Quebec, and the southern Canadian Maritimes. The Eastern Abenaki's population was concentrated in portions of Maine east of New Hampshire's White Mountains.
“The other major tribe, the Western Abenaki, lived in the Connecticut River valley in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The Missiquoi lived along the eastern shore of Lake Champlain. There were also the Pennacook along the Merrimack River in southern New Hampshire. The maritime Abenaki lived around the St. Croix and Wolastoq (St. John River) valleys near the boundary line between Maine and New Brunswick.
“The settlement of New England and frequent wars caused many Abenakis to retreat to Quebec. Two large tribal communities formed near St-François-du-Lac (Odanak) and Bécancour (Wôlinak). These settlements continue to exist to this day. Three reservations also exist in northern Maine, and seven Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) reserves are located in New Brunswick and Quebec.
“Other groups of Abenaki, without reservations, are scattered across northern New Hampshire and Vermont. “.... About 2,500 Vermont Abenaki live in Vermont and New Hampshire, chiefly around Lake Champlain. Another Abenaki community, who call themselves the Sokoki, is located around the Masipskiwibi River (Missisquoi) in Vermont, with some community members extending into northern New Hampshire. The tribal headquarters for this community is in Swanton, Vermont. Their traditional land is around the river to its outlet at Lake Champlain.”
See the important Abenaki maps above.
From Sultzman’s Abenaki History (underlining added):
“The Abenaki lived in a manner similar to Algonquin in southern New England. Since they relied on agriculture (corn, beans, and squash) for a large part of their diet, villages were usually located on the fertile floodplains of rivers. .... Agriculture was supplemented by hunting, fishing, and the gathering of wild foods. The relative importance of fish/seafood depended on location. In areas of poor soil, fish were often used as fertilizer to increase the yield of corn.
“For most of the year, the Abenaki lived in scattered bands of extended families, each of which occupied separate hunting territories inherited through the father. Unlike the Iroquois, the Abenaki (and most New England Algonquin) were patrilineal. In spring and summer, bands would gather at fixed locations near rivers, or the seacoast, for planting and fishing. These summer villages were sometimes fortified depending on the warfare in the area. Compared with Iroquois settlements, most Abenaki villages were fairly small, averaging about 100 persons, but there were exceptions - particularly among the western Abenaki. Some Abenaki used an oval-shaped long house, but most favored the dome-shaped, bark-covered (sometimes woven mat) wigwam during the warmer months. During winter, the Abenaki moved farther inland and separated into small groups of conical, bark-covered wigwams shaped like the buffalo-hide tepee of the plains.
“Abenaki is actually a geographical and linguistic (rather than political) grouping. Before contact individual tribes were the usual level of political organization. Occasionally several tribes would unite under a powerful sachem for purposes of war, but the Abenaki were noteworthy for their general lack of central authority. Even at the tribal level, the authority of their sachems was limited, and important decisions, such as war and peace, usually required a meeting of all adults. The Abenaki Confederacy did not come into existence until after 1670 and then only in response to continuous wars with the Iroquois and English colonists. Even this did not change things, and reports of French military officers are filled with complaints that Abenaki leaders usually had difficulty controlling their warriors.
‘In many ways the lack of central authority served the Abenaki well. In times of war, the Abenaki could abandon their villages, separate into small bands, and regroup in a distant refuge beyond the reach of their enemies. It was a strategy that confounded repeated efforts by both the Iroquois and English to conquer them. The Abenaki could just melt away, regroup, and then counterattack. It was an effective strategy in times of war, but it has left the impression that the Abenaki were nomads. Since the Abenaki usually retreated to Canada during war, New England came to think of them as Canadian Indians - which, of course, they were not - but it served as an excuse to take most of their land in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont without compensation. Only the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy signed treaties and kept some of their land. The other Abenaki were dispossessed and remain unrecognized. However, there was no "ride into the sunset." Largely invisible over the years, the Abenaki have remained in their homeland by living in scattered, small bands. New England has numerous romantic monuments which celebrate the disappearance of its original residents. Misleading, since they never really left!”
D. Abenaki during 1670-1750.
The history of the Western Abenaki during the period of 1670-1750, which includes the time our Mr. Brown (c.1691) first arrived and settled in Vermont in the early 1700’s, is part of the European settlement, fur trade, and wars in that area. The aggressive European settlements which took the lands of the Native Americans, and their wars with the British in New England and New York, and the French in Canada, and the wars among the Native American tribes themselves in those areas, were all intertwined. The most helpful description of the Abenaki during this period that I have found so far is William Haviland’s The Original Vermonters: Native Inhabitants, Past and Present, pp. 204-246. A more condensed version is found in Lee Sultzman’s Abenaki History.
A very excellent and insightful Internet video to see on the first New England Native Americans, is the PBS video American Experience Episode: We Shall Remain: After the Mayflower, Pt. 1 of 5.
Some important issues likely had some influence on our
Mr. Brown of Edinburgh, Scotland
(c.1691) moving to America and meeting and becoming "allied in marriage" to our Mrs. Brown,
a Native American with Portuguese ancestry
During this same time, the Western Abenaki Native Americans continued to be allies of the French who had always treated them better than the English. "In spite of their close French connection, Vermont Abenakis continued to trade with the British from time to time when it was to their advantage to do so. .... The French ... were not willing to pay prices as high as those the British were paying for furs." For the Abenaki and their Native American neighbors "it was the act of trade itself that was important, for it provided a means of maintaining contact and communication between different communities that might otherwise be hostile toward one another. Through trade, information was exchanged, conflicts resolved, and friendly relations maintained. Thus, it is understandable why these people so quickly entered into trading relationships with Europeans: Trade provided the only means by which conflicts with the newcomers might be resolved." See The Original Vermonters: Native Inhabitants, Past and Present, pp. 218, 214.
So there may have been at least two good reasons for our Mr. Brown (c.1691) to meet and become "allied in marriage" to our Mrs. Brown, a Native American with Portuguese ancestry (c.1695): One may have been their mutual ill feelings toward the English, and the other, the establishment of a trusting relationship to take advantage of the higher fur prices the English were willing to pay, with Mr. Brown being the intermediary. See The Fur Trade below.
It is highly likely that our
(c.1695) in the Vermont region was of the Western Abenaki tribes for this
area was part of their principal homeland. There are some important
reasons why our
(c.1691) and Mrs. Brown,
a Native American with Portuguese ancestry
(c.1695) might become
"allied in marriage".
Note: Vermont is notable for Lake Champlain (which makes up 50 percent of Vermont's western border) and the Green Mountains, which run north to south. The Vermont area, after 1664, was primarily part of the English colony of New York, with some claims to it by New Hampshire, until it became an independent state in 1791. See Vermont.
From Almanacs of American Life: Colonia America to 1763, Purvis, 1999, pp. 90-94 (underlining added):
“The Fur Trade
“Furs had long signified superior social status in Europe, especially among the nobility and higher clergy for whom they served as expensive garment lining and lush background for jewels. .... Because North America teemed with animals highly prized for their skins – deer, bear, otters marten, foxes and beaver, whose thick fur made the most water-resistant and durable hats – pelts became one of the colonies earliest exports.
“The first Europeans to engage in the fur trade were transient fishing crews who bartered them from Indians while laying over on shore to dress their catches. Because animals exposed to the coldest winters produced the heaviest and most luxuriant pelts, the fur trade initially began and reached its greatest volume in northern colonies, where there existed the largest supply of animals most prized by consumer: beaver, otters and marten. By the late 1600s, however, England’s southern provinces were exporting many deerskins, which served as a source of high-quality leather.
“The Peltry Trade
“Heavily indebted to London merchants for capitalizing their colony at Plymouth, the Pilgrims relied primarily on profits from the fur trade to pay off their obligations. By situating trucking houses strategically from the Connecticut River to the Kennebec River, they garnered the main share of New England’s fur business until about 1640, when their trade declined swiftly. The rapid extinction of suitable animals near the coast induced Puritan merchants from Massachusetts to tap inland sources through trading posts, which became an important vehicle for frontier expansion by serving as the nuclei for new settlements. The volume of skins bartered from Indians dropped sharply after 1660, and it dwindled steadily after King Philip’s War in 1675. Although New England provided 18% of furs exported from English North America in 1700, its share of this trade steadily shrank [to 6% in 1750] as over-hunting diminished the local stock of desirable animals.
“Because the Hudson River offered the best access to the prime beaver territories of the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes, Dutch colonists made New Netherland the most successful center of the peltry business south of Canada in the early 1600s. .... After England acquired New Northland in 1664, Albany’s Dutch merchants continued to dominate the northern fur trade. The Dutch tried to divert western skins from Montreal, and they were aided by New York’s Iroquois who waged a series of bloody “beaver wars” again rival Indians and raided New France. After 1701, economic competition largely replaced open warfare, and New Yorkers won a large share of western furs primarily by paying higher prices than the French, sometimes double the rate offered at Montreal; they even attracted a steady stream of furs that were being smuggled out of Canada.
“New York provided 36% of England’s fur imports in 1700 and sent a sizable amount of pelts to Holland as well. The Hudson’s Bay Company’s Canadian outposts soon became the leading supplier of skins for England, but New York continued to furnish about a quarter of England’s fur imports form 1720 to 1755. In no other colony were furs more important to the local economy than in New York, where they often composed about 20% of exports to England for 1700 to 1755.
“.... Albany became the preeminent fur market in the north, though after 1727 it acquired much of its skins via the provincial trading post constructed by New York on Lake Ontario at Oswego. Pennsylvanians rarely provided more than 5% of English fur exports, but after 1748 they briefly managed to outbid the French for much of the Ohio valley’s fur trade. After 1750, the business of buying skins shifted away from Albany and other centers of the fur trade to the wilderness, as competition among merchants led them to take the wares to Indian towns and haul back the pelts themselves.”
Summary: The fur trade between Native Americans and Europeans in early North America presents compelling reasons for involvement in it by our Scotchman Mr. Brown (1691), who was likely illiterate (not unintelligent!), when he arrived and first settled in the Vermont area in the early 1700’s. Fur trading was the business to be in the northern frontier of Vermont. It was likely why he became “allied in marriage with a woman who was a native ...”, our Mrs. Brown (c.1695). Why would he otherwise create an alliance of marriage with a Native American in the frontier Vermont area, if it were not to enhance his fur trading business – besides love? Why didn’t he marry another European? The Browns likely raised their children in the fur trade, which might account for William Brown’s migration down to the Pennsylvania area since fur trading was also done there during 1700 to 1760 era.
Return to Top
We now have meaningful evidence showing that our Mrs. Brown "who was a native of Portugal" (c.1695), and who married our Mr. Brown of Edinburgh, Scotland (c.1691), was an Algonquian Abenaki Native American with Portuguese ancestry. She likely lived in the Vermont area when she met and married him in about 1716. This evidence also means that our Mr. Brown of Edinburgh, Scotland did come to the New England area in the early 1700’s where he “first settled in...Vermont”. He and Mrs. Brown (c.1695) were likely involved in the fur trade in the Vermont area where at least some of their children were born and raised, including our William Brown (c.1717-1772).
Mrs. Brown’s (c.1695) Portuguese ancestor was very likely male and probably either 1) a Portuguese sailoror ship’s captain (a relationship between a Cortereal and an Abenaki Chief's daughter, a Princess?) arriving in the Atlantic coast area during the 1400’s-1500’s, or 2) a Portuguese immigrant (who apparently were mostly Jews) arriving in New England or New York during the 1600’s.
The son of Mr. Brown (c.1691) and Mrs. Brown (c.1695), William Brown (c.1717-1772) married Margret _____ (c.1722-aft.Nov.1772), a woman of English descent. We do not know yet where they met or married. They eventually lived in Pennsylvania where their youngest son James Brown (1757-1823) was born. They then moved to Rowan County, North Carolina, where they settled and lived until their death in the early 1770’s.
Our family research may now focus on seeking additional information regarding these family members and their relations along these migration paths.
As of November 2010, I provide the following additional thoughts and impressions regarding my analysis of our Brown Scotch, Abenaki, and Portuguese genealogy and heritage for anyone interested in them. I think that it is very likely or very possible that our:
1. Future autosomal DNA searches for our Scotch, Abenaki Native Americans, and Portuguese ancestors will be possible as better DNA databases for these populations groups become available. Two such searches regarding Abenaki Native Americans could be: 1) Find an Abenaki Native American anthropology DNA database(s) that would allow testing my autosomal DNA; and 2) Find a cousin descendant of Captain James Brown (1801-1863) through a wife other than Phoebe Abigail Abbott (1831-1914) willing to take the same two-part autosomal DNA Fingerprint and 18 Marker Ethnic Panel tests by DNA Consultants, and share the key results with us.
2. Our Portuguese ancestor was very likely male and probably either 1) a Portuguese sailor or ship’s captain (a relationship between a Cortereal and an Abenaki Chief's daughter, a Princess?) arriving in the Atlantic coast area during the 1400’s-1500’s, or 2) a Portuguese immigrant arriving in New England or New York during the 1600’s. While we await better Portuguese DNA databases and genealogies, we can search the contacts that the 1600’s Portuguese immigrants (who were apparently mostly Jews) had with our New England Abenaki. Jewish people like to do business – including the fur trade with business with Native Americans? FYI, my two separate male Y-DNA and Male DNA tests and reports from respectively Family Tree and DNA Consultants do show an Ashkenazi Jewish marker, which of course is my paternal unknown birth grandfather line. Not my Brown maternal line.
3. Mrs. Brown (c. 1695) our Abenaki Native American with Portuguese ancestry, and her parental family, some how survived smallpox and other epidemics which killed many New England Native Americans, up to 90% of them, which diseases were brought by early European seafaring explorers. This may have been because of her ancestral Portuguese genes which carried the saving antitoxins. See Epidemics and Plague in The Original Vermonters: Native Inhabitants, Past and Present, pp. 207-211.
4. Mr. Brown of Edinburgh, Scotland (c.1691) was either 1) from the Edinburgh area, or 2) from elsewhere in Scotland, and only passed through Edinburgh to take ship passage to America. Being unmarried, he could have left some time after his 15th to 25th year, i.e., about 1706 to 1716. That is the period to start checking any extant ship records from Edinburgh to the New England ports, and to the New York ports. The New York colony included the Vermont area at that time and had ready access up the Hudson River to its northeastern lands adjacent to Canada as indicated by its fur trade.
5. Mr. Brown of Edinburgh, Scotland (c.1691) may have traveled alone, with parent(s), siblings, or other relatives.
6. Mr. Brown of Edinburgh, Scotland (c.1691) had work in America that brought him in contact with the Western Abenaki Native Americans in the Vermont area, where he met and married (became “allied” with) our “native” Mrs. Brown "who was a native of Portugal" (c.1695). This work was likely fur trade because of the importance of that business in all European and Native American dealings during that era.
7. Mr. Brown and Mrs. Brown and their family probably lived in the Vermont area for some time after they were married because of her family relations and his/their probable fur trade business. They likely had some, if not all, of their children there, including our William Brown (c.1717-1772). They either died in that area, or something forced them to move some where else. If they did move, and it was caused by the Indian wars, or the British-French-Indian wars, they would have moved to a safer area – North into Canada, which was the Abenaki way at that time. Or, maybe they might have moved south toward Pennsylvania to get away from war.
8. William Brown (c.1717-1772), was likely born in the Vermont area with some or all of his siblings. He probably was illiterate (not unintelligent!) for he signed his 1772 Will with an “X”. Additionally, neither his son James Brown (1757-1823) nor wife Mary or Polly Williams (c.1760-1827) “had any Education a tall” according to their grandson, James Stephens Brown (1828–1902), who also stated in his autobiography in 1849 that “I am an illiterate youth, cannot read or write”, but he later became literate.
9. William Brown (c.1717-1772) grew up and married our Margret _____ (c.1722-aft.Nov.1772), a woman of English descent according to James Stephens Brown (1828–1902). We have identified her in our genealogy as Mrs. Margret Brown (c.1722-aft.Nov.1772). We do not know yet where William and Margret Brown met or married – in the Vermont or Pennsylvania area? They eventually were living in Pennsylvania where their youngest son James Brown (1757-1823) was born.
10. William and Margret Brown’s nine living children were likely born in Vermont or Pennsylvania: 1) Charity Brown Robson - born about 1743; 2) Hannah Brown Elliot - born about 1745; 3) William Brown - born about 1747; 4) Constant Brown Wynn - born about 1749; 5) John Brown - born about 1751; 6) Susannah Brown - born about 1753; 7) Margret or Peggy Brown Stillwell Roberts - born about 1755; 8) James Brown - born 1757 in Pennsylvania; and 9) Elizabeth or Betty Brown Hendrix - born about 1759.
11. After living in Pennsylvania, our William and Margret Brown’s family moved to Rowan County, North Carolina, where the parents settled and lived for the rest of their lives into the early 1770’s. It is likely that all of Mr. Brown’s and Mrs. Brown’s children accompanied them to Rowan County, North Carolina, where we have found some of them.
12. James Brown (1757-1823) grew up in Rowan County and met and married about 1787 the widow Mary or Polly Williams Emmerson (c.1760-1827). She was born in New Hampshire about 1760. Her parents, John Williams (c.1724) and Jane _____ (c.1728), were of English-Irish descent according to James Stephens Brown (1828–1902). They were all living in Rowan County, North Carolina when James and Mary or Polly were married, and James and Mary or Polly died in the same place which became Davidson County, North Carolina in the 1822.
13. For Brown family descendants who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and others interested, the Book of Mormon which, among other things, tells the history of some of the ancient ancestors of some Native Americans, now becomes even more relevant. See for example the following references in the Book of Mormon: 1 Nephi 13: 30; 2 Nephi 29:1-2, and Moroni 9:20, 24. See also the reference to the Book of Mormon in the Doctrine and Covenants 10:45-48.