Nicholas Brown Jr.

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Nicholas Brown Jr.
Nicholas Brown Jr by Chester Harding 1836.jpg
Nicholas Brown Jr., painted by Chester Harding, 1836
Born April 4, 1769
Providence, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Died September 27, 1841(1841-09-27) (aged 72)
Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
Resting place North Burial Ground
Providence, Rhode Island
Nationality American
Alma mater Brown University (1786)
Occupation Legislator
Children Nicholas Brown III
John Carter Brown II
Parent(s) Nicholas Brown
Rhoda Jenckes

Nicholas Brown Jr. (April 4, 1769 – September 27, 1841) was an American businessman and philanthropist from Providence, Rhode Island, who was the namesake of Brown University.

Early life[edit]

Nicholas Brown Jr. was the son of Rhoda Jenckes (1741–1783) and Nicholas Brown Sr. (1729–1791), a merchant and co-founder of Brown University (which was then called College of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations). He was the nephew of John Brown (1736–1803) and Moses Brown (1738–1836) and a descendant of the English colonist and Baptist minister Chad Brown (c. 1600–1650), who co-founded Providence. His maternal grandfather was Daniel Jenckes (1701–1774), a judge from a prominent family.[1]


Both Nicholas Brown Jr. and his father were members of and large donors to the First Baptist Church in America. Nicholas Brown Jr. graduated from the College of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in 1786. Brown created the company of Brown & Ives and served in the state legislature as a Federalist.

After inheriting his father's estate in 1791, Brown became such a great benefactor to the school that it was renamed Brown University for him in 1804 when he donated $5,000 to the college. His total gifts to the college totaled over $150,000. Brown also co-founded the Providence Athenaeum and was active in various Baptist and literary causes. He was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1813.[2]

Personal life[edit]

He was married to Ann Carter (1770–1798), daughter of John Carter (1745–1814), a prominent printer in Providence.[3][4] Together, they had:[5]

  • Nicholas Brown III (1792–1859), who married his 2nd cousin, Abby Mason (1800-1822), daughter of James Brown Mason (1775–1819), in 1820. After her death, he married Caroline Matilda Cements (1809–1879) in 1831.[5]
  • Moses Brown (1793–1794), who died as an infant[5]
  • Anne Carter Brown (1794–1828), who married John Brown Francis (1791–1864), the grandson of her father's uncle, John Brown, in 1822.[6]
  • John Carter Brown II (1797–1874), who married Sophia Augusta Brown (1825–1909),[7][8] daughter of Patrick Brown and Harriot Theyer, and a descendant of minister Roger Williams (1603–1683).[5]

After his death September 27, 1841, Brown was interred in North Burial Ground in Providence.[9] When Brown died in 1841 he left a $30,000 bequest to form a mental hospital, which eventually became known as Butler Hospital.[10][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "NRHP nomination for Joseph Smith House". National Park Service. Retrieved 2014-11-12.
  2. ^ American Antiquarian Society Members Directory
  3. ^ "John Carter Brown, Inducted 2012". Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  4. ^ "John Carter, Inducted 2000". Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d Isham, Norman M. (January 1918). Collections of the Rhode Island Historical Society Vol. XI (No. 1. ed.). Rhode Island Historical Society. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  6. ^ "FRANCIS, John Brown - Biographical Information". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  7. ^ Times, Special To The New York (1 March 1909). "Mrs. John Carter Brown". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  8. ^ "$30,000,000 TO MRS. SHERMAN; Reported Bulk of Mrs. John Carter Brown's Estate Goes to Daughter". The New York Times. March 4, 1909. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  9. ^ Rogak, Lisa (2004). Stones and Bones of New England: A Guide to Unusual, Historic, and Otherwise Notable Cemeteries. Globe Pequot. p. 159.
  10. ^
  11. ^ The History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations: Biographical, Volume 6, by the American Historical Society, Inc., 1920. Pages 188 - 191

External links[edit]