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Proceedings of the Provincial Court, 1677-1678
Volume 67, Preface 33   View pdf image (33K)
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                             Introduction.          xxxiii

        River (Archives LI, pp. 479-480). His son and partner, James Browne, had
        come to the Province and had seated there. On November 12, 1675, James
        Browne shot himself in his bedroom at Farley, on Farloe Creek, Cecil County,
        and gave himself “One wound mortall being very large the One halfe of his
        Scull being Shott all to peices with his braines disperst and himselfe then and
        there voluntarily . . . and ifeloniously and as a ifellon of himselfe, himselfe
        Slew and murthered. . . .“ (Archives LXVI, pp. 135-137). It was said in
        Salem that a negro later confessed that he had shot him, but the annalist gives
        no authority for this rumor, (Felt, Joseph B. Annals of Salem, p. 448), and
        there is nothing in the record in Maryland to lend strength to it. Of course, if
        that was true, it altered the situation completely. Three days after the death
        of Browne, Coroner Charles James of Cecil County held an inquest over his
        body, and summoned a jury. To their verdict that Browne was a felon of
        himself, the jurors added that he had died possessed of personal property,
        goods and chattels worth 134,656 pounds of tobacco. This property was made
        up of household goods, cattle, hogs and horses and bills due him. He also had
        due him 9o88 pounds of tobacco by account, and there was on hand at his place
        a cargo of English and New England goods, and some tobacco still in hogs-
        heads or hanging in his barns. To this inquisition the Provincial Court judged,
        on February 10, 1675/6, that his goods and chattels were “escheated and for
        feited unto his Lopp the Lord Proprietary by reason of the fellony aforesaid,
        but his Lands are not forfeited.” (ibid., p. 137).
          The land was considered later. James Browne had obtained his “Parley”
        from Capt. Thomas Howell, now also deceased. There was a belief that
        Howell's patent had been obtained surreptitiously and not according to the
        conditions of plantation, and the High Court of Chancery had to consider this
        belief. On January u, 1675/6, a scire facias went from the Chancery Court to
        the sheriff of Cecil County to bring in the heirs of Howell and of James
        Browne for the determination of the validity of the patent. The hearing was
        to be held on February 8, 1675/6, but what happened on this sci. fa. is not in
        the record. On March 3, 1675/6, after the date for the Chancery hearing, an
        other sci. fa. went from the Provincial Court to the same sheriff of Cecil to
        bring in the same heirs for the determination of the validity of the same patent
        in the Provincial Court, and this hearing was set for April 4, 1676. Sheriff
        James returned that he had warned the Howell heirs, but that he had found no
        heirs of James Browne in his bailiwick. At the hearing no defendant appeared,
        and, a week later on April 11, “the Court being informed and fully satisfied
        that the said grant is Surreptiously obtained contrary to the Conditions of
        plantations doe Order that the Chancellour doe vacate the pattent upon Record,
        and adjudge the said Land is and of right Ought to be Seized in his Lopps
        Right” (Archives LXVI, p. 288).
          Two years after the goods and chattels and land of James Browne were for
        feited to the Proprietary, on April 9, 1678, John Browne of Salem, father and
        partner of James, petitioned the Governor and Council to give him satisfaction
        for the goods and chattels, as being but just and right. James's wife and chil
        dren were in distress, his creditors, especially Mr. Samuel Shrimpton, were dis

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Proceedings of the Provincial Court, 1677-1678
Volume 67, Preface 33   View pdf image (33K)
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