Thursday, April 23, 2015

In Which I Visit the Browns Again

I'm back in time visiting the Browns in the 1780s just after their beautiful mansion on the hill was built. It was the first grand mansion up on the hill now known as Benefit Street. John Brown could see his ships coming in to Providence Cove from all over the world. He liked to be able to see them from his house. The Browns were not at home when I called but the housekeeper allowed me to show you around. For a full tour visit

 This is John Brown, the owner of the house. He was a prominent businessman in Rhode Island.
This is Mr. Mason! Remember him?

This is Sally, John Brown's middle daughter. I met her too.

 Mrs. Brown
 This is what a world map looks like in the 1780s! John Brown's ships sail all over the world.

 This is what Providence looks like in John Brown's day.
You can just make out the steeple of the white church in the background.
 This is the elegant dining room where they held many dinner parties. They dined on delicacies like turtle soup.
This is the informal parlor where Mr. Brown did his business, Mrs. Brown took tea and daughter Sally played the forte piano. The desk behind me is the famous rare nine shell desk by a local furniture maker. The squirrels on the wallpaper represent industriousness.
This is Mrs. Brown's bedroom

 This room belonged to Sally and her children while her husband was away on business. The baby walker supports the baby's torso but his legs don't touch the ground. It keeps the baby from falling in the fire. The current baby is John Brown Francis, son of eldest daughter Abby.

 This is the sick room where the sick and invalids stayed. It looks like there was lots of childhood illness in this house. The toys look like fun to play with.
John Brown was involved in the slave trade. It was one of many businesses he was involved in. Here in Rhode Island they made rum and sent it to Africa to get slaves and sent slaves to the West Indies to harvest sugar cane and make molasses to turn into rum. When the Brown brothers had an ill-fated voyage with many dead slaves, brother Moses had a change of heart. He sued his brother to give up the slave trade and John refused. He did give up one of his ships though. This exhibit reminds us of the forgotten history of some of the people who lived in this house.

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