William Browning was born after 1657 in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, the son of Nathaniel Browning and Sarah Freeborn (or Freeborne). I have seen his birth year as 1651, but this doesn’t work with his not being age 21 in 1678 (see below). In 1687 William married Rebecca Wilbore of Portsmouth. Rebecca was the daughter of Samuel Wilbore (spelled in a variety of ways) and Hannah Porter. I wrote about that couple here. William Browning is my 8th great-grandfather on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family.
Both William and Rebecca’s families were non-conformists in England, probably Puritans, which precipitated their migration to Massachusetts. According to other researchers, William’s father Nathaniel purchased land from the Indians in Warwick, Rhode Island, for three pounds of wampum and later settled Portsmouth on Aquidneck Island in Rhode Island.
I have found five children born to William and Rebecca:
Hannah born 16 July 1691 married William Knowles
Sarah born April 1694
I descend from their daughter Sarah who married Eleazer Kelley of Yarmouth (now Dennis), Massachusetts, both through their son Patrick who married Bethiah Baker and their son Eleazer who married Hannah Baker.
Rebecca died 18 March 1727/78, although again I am without a source.
Henry A. Baker wrote that William married second a woman named Sarah but no source provided. Perhaps she is mentioned in his will.
William was admitted a Freeman at N. Kingstown, Rhode Island, in 1684.
William died in 1730 as did his second wife Sarah. I don’t have a death date for his first wife Rebecca. He did leave a will, dated 12 January 1730, which I have not seen for myself yet. His inventory included a female slave. If anyone has a transcription of his will and is willing to share, please contact me!
I have a lot more research to do on this family but it has been interesting thus far.
Sources Not Listed Above:
Henry Augustus Baker, History of Montville, Connecticut , 1896
Various issues of Rhode Island Roots