John Adam Brown was born sometime around 1760, according to his tombstone and census records, and died before March 31, 1834. He had at least one brother, George. He was possibly born in or near Rowan County, North Carolina, and died in Preble County, Ohio. We know that he married Catherine Clapp on March 24, 1784 in Orange County, North Carolina. The Clapps were a German family who came from Weissenheim-Berg, Hesse (Germany) originally, via Berks County, Pa. The Clapps came to Orange County about 1754 in one of the famous wagon trains from Berks County, but we don't yet know if Adam's family came that way, too, or whether they may have been some of the Germans who came up through the Carolinas and went west. It's not even known for sure whether the Brown family was German, but since there is a remark in an 1881 history of Preble County that this family spoke only German in the home, we are guessing that Adam was originally known at Johann Adam, and that his family name was originally Braun. The Clapp family is proven but I have found no proof for the Brown/Braun family back further than this John Adam.
When John Phillip Clapp, Catherine's father, died in 1798 he left land on or near Sandy Creek in the northeast corner of Randolph County to Adam Brown, and this is where they apparently raised their family until they left for Ohio.
The only descendent that we have found definite baptismal/christening records for is John Adam Brown, Jr., who was born in Guilford County, NC in 1804. He was christened at the "Old Brick Church" in Guilford County, and the date (not sure if this is birth date or christening date) was March 18, 1804. He is possibly the last of Adam and Catherine's children, or at least the last born in North Carolina.
In 1805, Adam sold his land so quickly that it was only recorded after the fact, when Adam and Catherine and their family were probably already on their way to their new home in Preble County, Ohio. The children that we think we have identified are Polly, George A, John, John Adam, Frederick, and Peter. In the 1790 census in Guilford County,there were four females listed, which would indicate there could have been two older daughters. , and in the 1820 census in Harrison Township, Preble County there are two white males 10-15, one 16-18 (perhaps our John Adam), two who are 16-25 (John Adam and Frederick?), and one white female under 10 as well as two white females 16-25. George, John, Peter and Polly have apparently left home, and we still have several females to identify. Were they children, or were they another relative? And who were they? At any rate, this family settled in Preble County when there were only three other men in the county, so they were very early pioneers.
We know that Adam was already listed as a taxpayer in Preble County in 1808, and that when he arrived he was o. In 1817, Adam Brown and wife Catherine donated or sold 1 acre of land to John Lock Sr and Peter Ozias as Trustees of the German Lutheran and German Calvinist Society, by name of Frederick Meeting House Congregation of Preble County, Ohio, for $20. Adam Brown also purchased goods or chattel at the auction of John Lock's goods, in 1818, in Harrison Twp., so they must have been near neighbors. He may have been too old to have participated in a regular basis in the War of 1812, but it is likely that he at least stood guard duty while the younger men were out on campaign. I have not been able to show that he fought in the Revolutionary War, either, although with a battle having taken place at Guilford Court House, it is possible that he was at least involved in that battle in some way.
Adam Brown's estate is listed as case number 543 in the Preble County Probate Abstracts. He was buried in either Old Euphemia Cemetery, or in Roselawn Cemetery, Lewisburg, Preble County. The death date matches for Roselawn Cemetery, but Find A Grave gives a birthdate of 1757 for him, which is a little earlier than other sites give.
As to the parents of John Adam St, I have two theories. One is that he is one or another of the several Johann Adam Braun's born in Berks County, Pa in the 1755-1765 time period, and that he came to North Carolina with one of the family groups that moved together. The other is that his father was Frederick Brown. Frederick is listed as having been on a road crew in Rowan County in 1753, so he was at least 21 at that time. He owned land in the same tract as Ludwig Clapp (Catherine's grandfather) in 1758, on Sandy Creek. He was naturalized in Salisbury, Rowan County in 1763, and is clearly noted as having been from Germany. So far I have found not a hint as to who his wife, if any, may have been.
As usual, there are more questions than answers about Adam. I would love to know whether he was at the battle at Guilford Court House. I'd love to know what his role was in the War of 1812, if any. I'd love to know more about his descendants, and where they ended up besides Cook County, Illinois. And of course, I'd love to know his parents, and where they came from.
Our line of descent is:
John Adam Brown-Catherine Clapp
John Adam Brown, Jr.-Elizabeth Myers
Phoebe Brown-Fremont Holbrook
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
their children, and their children's descendants-we know who we are!