Phebe Brown


Born: May 1, 1783, Ca­naan, New York.

Died: Oc­to­ber 10, 1861, Mars­hall, Il­li­nois.



Brown was or­phaned at the age of two. At age nine, she be­gan liv­ing with a re­la­tive who ran a coun­ty jail. There, says her son:

…were years of in­tense and cru­el suf­fer­ing. The tale of her ear­ly life, which she has left her child­ren, is a nar­ra­tive of such dep­ri­va­tions, cru­el treat­ment, and toil, as it breaks my heart to read.

At age 18, kind peo­ple sent her to school at Clav­er­ack, New York, where she learned to write, and con­vert­ed to Christ. In 1805, she mar­ried Ti­mo­thy Hill Brown, a paint­er, and sub­se­quent­ly lived at East Wind­sor and Ell­ing­ton, Con­nec­ti­cut; Mon­son, Mas­sa­chu­setts; and Mar­shall, Il­li­nois.

Most of her hymns were writ­ten at Mon­son, Mas­sa­chu­setts. Through a life of po­ver­ty and tri­al she was a most de­vot­ed mo­ther, wife, and Chris­tian.

Her son, Sam­uel R. Brown, be­came the first Am­er­ican mis­sion­ary to Ja­pan, and two of her grand­child­ren fol­lowed in his foot­steps.