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Biographical Notes: Susannah Johnson Bundy and Titus Olcott Brown

Susannah Johnson Bundy

Susannah Johnson Bundy was born in Bolton, Connecticut on the 19th of December 1771. She was just five years old when the Declaration of Independence was adopted. Her father was Isaac Bundy, born ?? and her mother was Susannah Johnson. Susannah Bundy was descended from John Bundy who came to Plymouth in 1643 and later resided in Boston.

Titus Olcott Brown

Titus Olcott Brown was born in Tolland, Connecticut on August 25, 1764, the son of Abigail Olcott and Elias Brown. He was 12 at the outbreak of the Revolution. He grew up in Tolland and in Alstead, New Hampshire. He died at the age of 90 years 6 months on the 12rd of February 1855. Titus was descended from Thomas Brown of Lynn who came there as a three-year-old in 1631 from Inkberrow, Worcestershire, England, in the company of his uncle, Nicholas Brown.

Titus and Susannah

Lancaster, New Hampshire.

Titus and Susannah settled first in Lancaster, N.H., on what was (and is?) known as "Great Brook Farm" situated on Otter Brook. There they raised tobacco that formed the first commercial article shipped through the White Mountains on the "notch" road toward the seacoast and Portland. An elm tree planted by Titus in 1795 stood for many years on the main street of the town. Susannah and Titus had ten children: Frances, Susannah, Abigail Hatch (b. Lancaster, N.H. 4/18/98, m. Amos Purington of Portland), Titus Olcott, Jr. (b. Lancaster 1/18/1800, m. 1st Sophia Furbish of Gray, m. 2nd Nancy C. Denison of Burke, Vt., and m. 3rd Harriet Whitcomb of Norway, Me.), John Bundy, Persis Hatch (m. Dependence Hart Furbish), Susan Johnson, Mary Ann, Elizabeth Fox, and Sarah Adeline.

In addition to farming, Titus was one of the leading businessmen of the town of Lancaster and kept a dry goods store on the south end of Main Street near the bridge on the west side of the street. After gaining the rights to the water power on the river flowing through the town, Titus built a sawmill in 1792, a grist mill with a "good bolt" key in 1793, and a fulling and carding mill in 1794, all opening on December 1 of each year. He erected the sawmill and he had R.C. Everett build a grist mill 100 feet long and three stories high, in which was the carding and fulling mill. This type of factory finished coarse cloth woven in the home and preceded the large cotton and woolen mills that were already beginning to function in coastal Massachusetts and Rhode Island. This mill burned some time prior to 1800 and was rebuilt on the same site by Titus. The process of gaining the Lancaster water rights appeared to be "shady" in that he lost the formal bidding process for the right to develop the power, but ended up successfully the next day with the water power rights in hand. As a part of the deal to gain the rights, he was obliged to build the above three factories on the three year schedule. In those days the price of the water rights often included the commitment to build factories.

While in Lancaster he also was engaged in the hotel and transportation business. He accumulated property and was able to give his children a substantial education, but later meeting with reverses he accepted "an agency of parties" (?? similar to today's Chapter 11), and moved to Bartlett, N.H., residing there briefly. This period was a difficult one for business people because the international trade situation was chaotic, as was the domestic monetary and credit situation. There were many bankruptcies during the period. However, it appears that Titus left Lancaster with some of his resources intact because he was able to procure property when he arrived in Gray, his next home.

Gray, Maine

In 1811 he moved to Gray Corner, Maine, where he kept a very popular and well-known hotel, Brown's Tavern (formerly Heaney's Tavern), until 1833. He knew many people on this route following the Androscoggin River from Bethel, Greenwood, Norway, Poland, Gray, and then on to Portland. This route was well traveled and the fact that he knew so many people along the way meant that Brown's Tavern became a popular place to stay. However, Titus did not like people bringing food and drink into his lodging place and put a stop to the practice. It is believed that his business suffered as a result. In Gray there is a Brown Street named for (and given in part?) by Titus. For many years the street was private. Titus's name shows up in Norway as owner of a pew in the Congregational Church. This may actually be his son Titus Jr., who may have preceded him to Norway.

Norway, Maine

Prior to 1833 Titus moved from Gray to Norway with his son-in-law Amos Purington. The reason for the move may have been that his son Titus Jr. already resided in Norway and because of Titus Sr.'s advancing years. He was 69 at the time. he bought out the Beal Hotel in 1833 and operated it with his son-in-law until 1842. He remained in Norway until his death in 1855 at the age of 91. His son, Titus Olcott, Jr., lived across the street from his father, and his farm homestead was known as "Steep Falls." Titus or Titus Jr. occupied pew No. 12 in the Congregational Church. We believe land for the cemetery in which he and Susannah are buried was given by Titus.

Titus is described in a History of Norway as a "gentleman of the old school," a member of the Congregational Church, a very good citizen, and a popular landlord. "It would have been far better for the village and persons owning property in the vicinity if the business had continued under Mr. Brown's and Mr. Purington's management for there, in all human probability, would not have been the incendiary fires which occurred in 1851 under Anthony Bennett's ownership...."

Looking at Titus's life as a whole, one can only conclude that he was a very able and successful entrepreneur and a contributor to the public good. He and his wife Susannah were successful as parents also, judging from what we know of their children. His son Titus Jr. was a successful businessman in Norway, his son John was a general in the Civil War, a trustee of Bowdoin College in Maine, and an initiator of many public buildings and improvements in Portland and neighboring towns. Titus was clearly a respected man in his community.

Susannah died on the 30th of October 1851 at the age of 80 and was buried in the Pine Grove Cemetery in South Paris, Maine. Titus followed her in February 1855, and was buried with her.