Individual Summary for DEBORAH ??? BROWNELL

Mystery wife of Col. George Claghorn


Name:                     Deborah ??? BROWNELL1,2

Sex:                         Female

Father:                    ? David BROWNELL (29 Nov 1725 - )

Mother:                  ? Grace CHURCH (4 Dec 1731 - 11 May 1795)


Individual Facts

Birth                       ? 8 Oct 1749                                              Little Compton, Newport Co., RI



1. Col. George CLAGHORN

Marriage                20 Dec 1769 (age 20)                            Dartmouth, Bristol Co., MA3,4,5

Children                 Henry CLAGHORN (abt 1770 - 17 Sep 1801)

                                Tim CLAGHORN (bef 1 Feb 1771 - 1 Feb 1771)

                                Benjamin CLAGHORN (8 Feb 1772 - 23 Feb 1789)

                                Polly CLAGHORN (1776 - 14 Jun 1842)

                                Deborah CLAGHORN (1776 - )

                                George CLAGHORN Jr. (abt 1779 - )

                                Charles CLAGHORN ( - )

                                Grace CLAGHORN (10 Nov 1782 - 27 Nov 1883)

                                Lydia CLAGHORN (Feb 1791 - 16 Aug 1863)


Notes (Individual)


    Most researchers have the Colonel's wife as Deborah Brownell, daughter of Jeremiah Brownell and Deborah Burgess.  Most, including Bonnie Hubbard, have her birth date as 8 Apr 1721 at Little Compton, RI.  This fits well with the data that has her the sixth born of 13 children born to these parents from 1713 to 1734.  However if this Deborah was born 1721, this would make her 27 years older than her husband George;  she would have been  about 49 at the birth of her first child, 55 at the birth of our Polly, and 70 at the birth of her last child.  This is highly unlikely.  Other researchers give her birth date in or about 1746 or 1749.  Tim Cushman has her birth date as "abt 1749;" another source has her birth in 1746 at Dartmouth, Bristol Co., MA.  These later birth dates would fit better with the age of George Claghorn and his children, but would make her mother, Deborah Burgess Brownell, age 52 and 55 respectively at Deborah's birth.  Either of these later dates would also not fit well with the birth dates of the other children in Jerimiah's family.  In response to this problem, Judy Goldbaum, in an e-mail dated 14 Feb 1999, has suggested that the Deborah that married George Claghorn might be the daughter of David & Grace (Church) Brownell, Deborah being born 8 Oct 1749. This Deborah would be the granddaughter of Jeremiah & Deborah (Burgess) Brownell.  In an e-mail from V. Westhaver 24 May 1999 it is reported that the "Little Compton Families" book published in 1967 by Wilbur indicated that Jeremiah Brownell and Deborah Burgess had a daughter Deborah b. 8 Apr 1721 but that she was listed as unmarried.  This latter information would lend additional support to the thesis that Jeremiah's daughter Deborah was not  the one that married Col. George Claghorn.

    This note is found under "108. GEORGE CLAGHORN" on the Internet site, "The History of Martha's Vineyard by Dr. Charles Banks: Volume III Family Genealogies: pp. 80-87, THE CLAGHORN FAMILY, Compiled by Dr. Charles Banks, c. 1925.
Transcribed and prepared for the web by C. Baer 1999. [Comments in brackets added by C. Baer, 1999. Sources upon request.]" (Banks has Col. Claghorn married to "dau. of Jeremiah and Deborah (Burgess) Brownell of Dartmouth.")

[Judy < > writes, "The Deborah Brownell that is constantly said to be the daughter of Jeremiah and Deborah (Burgess) Brownell was b. 8 April 1721. That would make her 27 years older than George. Their first child was b. @ 1771 which would make her 50. I have the last child Lydia b. Feb 1791 which would make Deborah 70 years old. I have investigated and found that another child of Jeremiah and Deborah, David, married Grace Church. They had a daughter, Deborah b. 8 Oct 1749 (certainly closer in age to George). I can't find a record of the daughter after her birth that connects her to her parents. If you notice, George and Deborah had a daughter, Grace b. 1782, which leads me to think that Deborah is really the granddaughter of Jeremiah and Deborah. Any thoughts?"]

    Without further proof, I have chosen to indicate that the wife of George Claghorn and the mother of our Polly was the daughter of David Brownell and Grace Church.  I welcome any comments and/or data that would shed more light on this problem.  I  hope that some day we might have definitive information on Deborah's identity.

    If  our Deborah Brownell Claghorn is the daughter of Grace Church, there exist a large volume of information on the Church line.  [See LDS Individual Record,  FamilySearch® Ancestral File, for Deborah BROWNELL (Ancestral File Number: LZLT-KT) and  Richard CHURCH (Ancestral File Number: J52R-X3) at:  and a brief summary of the Church ancestors given in the notes for her grandfather, Richard Church.]



Notes (Family #1)

Marriage: [Claghorn Study has marriage date of 16 Dec 1769 at New Bedford; J. Goldbaum's data has marriage place as Bristol Co., MA (New Bedford is in Bristol Co.); Bonnie Hubbard has marriage date of 20 Dec 1769; a CD-ROM of Bristol Co., MA, vital records indicates that both George and Deborah were "of Dartmouth" when they married there on 20 Dec 1769. (This latter CD-ROM information from a e-mail response dated 10 Mar 1999 from Linda Mathew volunteering to do "lookups" on the Bristol Co. Internet site of the Massachusetts US GENWEB Project.)]



1.  Thompson, Susan Howland.  "Brownell, Durell, and Howland Families," an Ultimate Family Tree internet site at:  Redding, CA: Site accessed Jan 1999.

2.  author unknown.  Collection of individual Family Group Record sheets for Cushman, Howland, Claghorn & Valentine families copied about 1975 by Carol Cushman of Chrome, CA, from an old family book that belonged to Fredrick Brewster Cushman (1897-1972) of Orland, CA.  Each sheet references standard genealogical books and journals.

3.  Smith, A. K. (Apparent descendant of Grace Claghorn who was Col. Geo. Claghorn's youngest child.).  Genealogical study of Col. George Claghorn compiled & handwritten by Mrs. Anjianette K. Smith; forwarded by USS Constitution Museum Foundation (10 May 1976) to Ross Mehl, then forwarded to Doris Birch/Wheeler/Carter.

4.  Goldbaum, J..  Family Group Sheets provided by Judy Goldbaum, 1621 Windybush Rd., Wilmington, DE 19810.  Jan 1997.

5.  Hubbard, Bonnie Cushman.  Large pedigree chart of William Henry Cushman's ancestors dated May 1988; handwritten family data of Wilfred Lysander Cushman & his descendants (no date), mailed (with permission) to Keith Wheeler by Richard Cushman of Dixon; large loose leaf binder of Richard Cushman containing 16+ chapters of "Proposed Chapters for Cushman Family Genealogy" written by Bonnie Hubbard.  These chapters are based on her research of the various Cushman ancestral lines, and, in addition to her narrative, contain pedigree charts and reprints of relevant material.  The narrative of these chapters were also furnished by Bonnie Hubbard to Keith Wheeler on computer disc.  La Jolla, CA.

5.  Banks, Dr. Charles.  The History of Martha's Vineyard, Volume III Family Genealogies: pp. 80-87, THE CLAGHORN FAMILY, Transcribed and prepared for the web by C. Baer 1999.


Prepared by:

O. Keith Wheeler

Mad River, CA 95552

(707) 574-6595


Return to Ancestors of Osborn Keith WHEELER