Guide to the Sermons of Isaac Browne 1736-1784, 1848 MG 337
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The New Jersey Historical Society
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Newark, New Jersey 07102
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The New Jersey Historical Society, PublisherInventory prepared by Danielle Kovacs as part of the “Farm to City” project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Finding aid encoded by Danielle Kovacs. March 2004. Production of the EAD 2002 version of this finding aid was made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.Finding aid written in English.
A descendent of John Brown, one of Newark’s first town settlers in 1666, Isaac Browne was born on March 20, 1709 in West Haven, Connecticut. He became an Anglican, converting from Congregationalism, as did his brother, Rev. Daniel Brown, who converted on what later became known as the “Dark Day” at Yale College. After graduating from Yale in 1729, Isaac Browne studied theology under his brother’s classmate and friend, Rev. Samuel Johnson of Stratford. In 1731 through his tutor’s recommendation, he became a layreader and schoolmaster at Setauket, Long Island. Two years later, Browne traveled to England for ordination, his expenses paid for by the parish of Brookhaven and by the Churchmen of Stamford, Connecticut, both groups hoping to secure him as a pastor. He chose Brookhaven, and on December 14, 1733, Browne returned to Long Island to the Caroline Church in Setauket, where he remained fourteen years.
Upon leaving Long Island, Brown transferred to Trinity Church in Newark, New Jersey. Here he supplemented his income with an extensive medical practice, a practice that his parishioners openly resented. Browne continued despite their disapproval, and in November 1776 he was elected as a member of the New Jersey Medical Society at their second meeting. To make matters worse, Browne suffered from persistent illnesses during his tenure at Trinity Church. By 1751, his health was so poor that he was forced to curtail his travel and he could not be without the constant care of a nurse. He continued to decline, and by the 1760s his letters are full of references to sickness. In 1765, he found himself unable to serve his parish adequately, frequently having to shorten the morning service because he could not stand or speak for long periods of time.
During this time of increased illness, Browne longed to leave the difficult and demanding parish in Newark and take refuge in new parishes at Perth Amboy and Woodbridge. His discontent was justified: the parish was in his own words “turbulent and contentious” and he had not received payment for his services from the Society since 1753. Unfortunately, people at Perth Amboy rejected him; they were unwilling to put up with neither his poor health nor his medical practice. Having been rejected once, he decided to remain in Newark and try to make amends with his parish. The parish, likewise, was looking for reconciliation. The situation improved somewhat in 1771 when he was at last compensated for his services in Second River by the Society. At the same time he reported an improvement in his health.
This period of happiness, though, did not last long. In early 1777 Brown was thrown into Morris County jail for his loyalty to England. Once he was released he was sent to New York, where he lived miserably with his sick wife on very little money. By 1783 he moved to Nova Scotia, but lost most of his goods during the tumultuous voyage. That same year he relocated again, this time to Annapolis, remaining until 1785. He lived there without any regular employment on the Society’s pension of £50. Isaac Browne died impoverished and afflicted at Windsor in 1787.
Browne had three children: two sons and a daughter. He took pride in his sons’ success in the fields of law and medicine. His daughter, wife of David Ogden, died at the age twenty-six leaving behind two young sons.
This collection consists of the sermons of Isaac Browne spanning the years 1736-1784. These sermons document the ministry of Browne, and were preached at Trinity Church in Newark, Christ Church in Second River (now Belleville), and Caroline Church in Setauket, Long Island. Many of the sermons were preached more than once, as was the practice.
This collection is arranged in chronological order by the date of the first preaching; however, the date of the last preaching (or reading) is also included in the container list. Fragments and undated sermons are filed at the end of the collection.
There are no access restrictions on this collection.
Photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied without permission from library staff.
Researchers wishing to publish, reproduce, or reprint materials from this collection must obtain permission.
The New Jersey Historical Society complies with the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code), which governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions and protects unpublished materials as well as published materials.
For materials related to Trinity Church at the New Jersey Historical Society, see:
For materials related to Anglican clergymen at the New Jersey Historical Society, see:
Includes the papers of Cavalier Jouet, ordained an Anglican clergyman.
For materials related to clergymen in Newark at the New Jersey Historical Society, see:
Contains sermons of Reverend Uzal Ogden (1744-1822), minister of Trinity Church, Newark.
This collection should be cited as: Manuscript Group 337, Isaac Browne Sermons, The New Jersey Historical Society.
Gift of Charles C.L. Gifford and Charlotte Rutherford in 1872.
At the time of processing each dated sermon was already housed in an acid-free folder. During processing, the items were not re-housed, but they were re-arranged in chronological order.
Burr, Nelson R. The Anglican Church in New Jersey. Philadelphia: The Church Historical Society, 1954. 598-591.