The Drown Newsletter

Issue 2 May 1994



This month we celebrate Memorial Day, a holiday dedicated to remembering those Americans who sacrificed much, sometimes even their lives, in service to their nation in time of war.

Members of the Drown family have served their country from the French and Indian War through Desert Storm. We'd like to especially dedicate this issue to those members of the Drown family who lost their lives in the Vietnam War:

David Alan Drown of Massachusetts

Samuel Robert Drown of West Virginia

Larry Gene Drown of Ohio

Lyle Eugene Drown of Idaho

Terry Francis Drown of Maine


This newsletter as a way for those interested family members and friends to share family history information on the Drown/Drowne/Drowns family. We welcome your suggestions, your inputs and ideas for improving the newsletter. Also, please let us know of any others interested in receiving this newsletter.

Classified Ads

You may send in ads and queries to be published. Please keep them as short and precise as possible. If you do not want your name and address published here, you may direct that responses be directed to the newsletter and we will forward them on to you.

Information on the offspring of Micajah Drown and Sukey Tucker who m. in Eaton, NH, 17 Nov 1814.

Elizabeth Drown Exner, 5122 N. Pal Mal, Temple City, CA 91780.



Family Legends - Truth or Fiction

Regard with suspicion family legends claiming coats of arms, vast estates waiting to be claimed, and blood connections with royalty and other notables. Don't accept a lineage you cannot prove. You may indeed be a direct descendant of King Henry I of England, but if so, it is probably through one of his more than 20 illegitimate children. Even the Drown family has a story about direct descent from a French duke. On the other hand, the chance of direct descent from some notable person is not unlikely since, when you go back just 20 generations, you will have more than 1 million ancestors!


The Remarkable Story of James Drowne.

James Drowne, son of John Drowne, who was the son of Shem Drowne, was born in Providence in 1777, attended school there and began to learn the shoe making business when very young. When about 17, he moved to Plainfield, went to Williamstown, prepared at an academy there and went to college, working some of his trade in the meantime. After two years, he left college, returned to Plainfield, and went on a visit to Providence. A rendezvous was opened there for the Constitution Frigate and he volunteered and embarked at about the age of 20, cruised some months on our coast and was then ordered to the West Indies. He was with the Frigate about a year, returned to Boston and set out for home, stopping at Attleboro to see relations, fell in with a Captain who was fitting out a vessel at Salem for a sealing voyage to the South Seas and in view of the fine prospect, was induced to embark with Captain Obed Wiers.

They were more than a hundred days in reaching Cape Horn and went to the Island of "Mastefuro" (Mas-a-Fuera of Juan Fernandez Isles) and procured a load of skins. He and the mate were left to take care of the skins while the vessel went to another island to take on water. In the meantime, a Spanish ship stopped at the island to seize some smugglers and supposing they belonged to the party also took them on board. If an examination could have been immediately had, he supposed, they could have been returned to the shore, but unfortunately, a gale came on, the cable was cut, and the vessel sailed for Lima.

He stayed at Lima and worked at shoe making two years and was very successful, obtaining 20 dollars a pair for the calfskin boots. He next took passage in a French vessel, thinking to stop at the Cape of Good Hope until he could obtain passage in an American vessel, but was cast away on the Island of Tristanda-Cunha (South Atlantic, first inhabited in 1810.) They ran upon a reef in the dead of night in a thick fog and out of 23 hands only two were saved. They were on the island eight months and ten days and he kept a board and made a notch for each day. They saw plenty of hogs, birds, etc., constructed a hut with sealskins and stones and lived pretty comfortably.

An English ship after a cargo of sea elephant oil stopped there, took them off and in the hurry he left his board, which was found by an American vessel and carried to Salem as much as nine years before he arrived, and led all his friends to conclude that he was dead, as it had an inscription with his name attached.

The English ship went to an uninhabited island and got seal oil and seal skins, returned to England stopping at St. Helena and was convoyed home as war then existed between England and France. On arriving at the mouth of the Thames, he was impressed on board a ship of war in the British service.

The first cruise was to Copenhagen convoying and several trips were made across the North Channel and in this way passed the winter. Next summer, he was stationed part of the time at Copenhagen and made trips convoying to Prussia, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, etc. About this time, the English were assisting the Prussians against Napoleon, and he was present at the destruction of Copenhagen.

This story will be concluded in the next issue of the Drown Newsletter.

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