The Drown Newsletter

Issue 7 June 1995




Leonard Drowne. the progenitor of most of the Drowns alive today in the U.S., was born on the 'West Coast' of England, probably in the Parish of Penryn, Cornwall, in 1646, and came to America in 1660 at the age of 14 years. We first find him serving as an apprentice to a ship-builder. After having served his apprenticeship, he established a ship

building business in Kittery, in the Province of Maine. He was one of the founders of the First Baptist Church, in that Province, for which activity he was driven from the Province. We find the following record of that activity: 'Humphrey Churchwood, a member of the Baptist Church of Boston, Mass., but a resident of Kittery, addressed a letter to the Brethren in Boston on January 3rd 1682, asking that a church be planted in Kittery and that Mr. Wm. Scriven be ordained to preach the Gospel. The letter declared that a competent number of well established people were ready to form a church. On the following 25th of September, Rev. Isaac Hull of Boston, organized a Baptist Church at Kittery with Wm. Scriven, Elder; Humphrey Churchwood, Deacon, and John Morgrage, Robt. Williams, Richard Cutts, Timothy Davis, Leonard Drowne, Wm. Adams, Humphrey Axell, George Litten (Lydson) and several women members.'

Leonard Drowne married in or near Portsmouth, N.H. about 1675, Elizabeth, daughter of Walter and Sarah Abbott. They settled at Sturgeon's Creek, Maine, where they continued to live until 1699 when the Indian Wars compelled him to abandon his home and ship yard and remove to Boston, where he again engaged in the building of ships, an occupation which he followed until he became blind in 1722. Elizabeth died in 1704 and he married (Mrs.) Mary (Abbott) Caley, a sister of his first wife. This marriage was performed by the Rev. Cotton Mather in Boston, November 4th, 1707. Leonard Drowne died in Boston, Mass., October 31st 1729 and is buried in Copp's Hill Burial Ground. The following inscription, still legible after more than two hundred years, was copied from his grave stone:

Here lies interred the body of

Mr. Leonard Drowne,

Who departed this life,

October ye 31st, 1729 in ye

83rd year of his age.

The following is from the Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, (by Noyes, Libby and Davis):

Leonard, by trad. (tradition?) Welsh, (app. West Welsh, meaning Cornish or British,) b. abt. 1647, shipwright. First appears 29 Mar 1670 paying the fines of Mr. Henry Sherborne and w. in ct. for quarreling. In 1672 they deeded him land at Sag Creek. In 1677 with wife Elizabeth Abbott, he sold a house and land there having had a 60 acre grant at Sturgeon Creek, where he had a shipyard. Orig. memb. of the Baptist Church formed in Kittery. He withdrew from Indian dangers and was taxed in Boston 1689. His wife died 5 May 1706; he married 2nd 4 Nov.1707 Mary, widow of Robert Colley of Malden and was living there when he went bonds for her in court. Soon he was living with his daughter in Charlestown. In 1715 he brought ejectment against Gen. Brawn for Sturgeon Creek land. He was blind for 7 years before his death 31 July 1729, age 83. His widow of Boston, age over 80 in 1736, told of her childhood at Pehaquid Gt. Falls, living in part of John Ridgeway's house. A genealogical letter written in 1776 by his grandson Thomas b. 14 Dec 1715, gives but 4 sons and 2 daughters who married Johnson and Kettle.

In the Genealogy of the Family of Solomon Drown, M.D. , it adds that Leonard came to America 'on the accession of Charles the Second'.

Here are the particulars on the family of Leonard Drowne:

HUSBAND Leonard Drowne

BORN: 1646 PLACE: Penryn,Cornwall,ENG

DIED: 31 Oct 1729 PLACE: Boston,Suffolk,Ma

BUR.: Boston, Copp's Hill

MARR: 1675 PLACE: Portsmouth,Rockingham,NH

FATHER: John Drowne

WIFE Elizabeth Abbot

BORN: Abt. 1654 PLACE: near Portsmouth,Rockingham,NH

DIED: 5 May 1706

PLACE: Boston


1. Samuel Drowne

BORN: 7 Mar 1676 PLACE: Kittery,York,Me,(Sturgeon's Cr.)

DIED: 25 Jul 1721 PLACE: Kittery,York,Me

SPOUSE: Elizabeth Morrell

MARR: 3 Feb 1698 PLACE: Boston

2. Solomon Drowne

BORN: 23 Jan 1681 PLACE: Kittery,York,Me

DIED: 9 Oct 1730 PLACE: Bristol,Bristol,RI

SPOUSE: Esther Bosworth

MARR: 8 Nov 1705 PLACE: Bristol,Bristol,RI

3. Shem Drowne

BORN: 18 Apr 1683 PLACE: Kittery,York,Me

DIED: 13 Jan 1774 PLACE: Boston

SPOUSE: Katherine Clarke

MARR: 18 Sep 1712 PLACE: Boston

4. Susanna Drowne

BORN: 1684 PLACE: Kittery,York,Me

SPOUSE: John Johnson

MARR: 11 Jan 1709 PLACE: Boston

5. Simeon Drowne

BORN: 8 Apr 1686 PLACE: Kittery,York,Me

DIED: 2 Aug 1734 PLACE: Boston

SPOUSE: Mary Paine

MARR: Abt 1701

6. Thomas Drowne

BORN: Abt 1690

SPOUSE: Elizabeth Ham

MARR: 1 Jun 1710

7. Mary Drowne

BORN: 1693 PLACE: Kittery,York,Me

DIED: 24 Jan 1732

SPOUSE: James Kettell

MARR: 24 Apr 1712

PLACE: Charleston,Suffolk,Ma

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