Joel was born to William and Hannah (Moon) Brown on January 29, 1769, in a Quaker community in Orange county, North Carolina. At that time Orange county included what are now Orange, Alamance, and Chatham counties. Their home was evidently alongside Cane Creek in what is now Chatham county. Joel grew as the next to youngest child in a family of thirteen children, all of whom lived to adulthood and got married. Joel worked as a blacksmith and lived nearly 85 years.
In 1786, Joel moved to what is now Greensboro, North Carolina, where his grandmother Ruth Brown lived, as well as many of his relatives. There he was received into the New Garden Friends Meeting. In 1789 he returned to Orange county and was part of Cane Creek Friends Meeting. On July 14, 1792, Joel was married to Ann Barnes, who was from a Quaker family of the region. They married rather hurriedly, however, without waiting for a period and gaining the approval of the Quaker elders, so they were expelled for a period from the church.
The 1800 census finds Joel and his family living in Hillsborough, which at that time was the main town in the region. (Chapel Hill and Durham did not yet exist.) At that time Joel's father died, leaving him executor of his estate, but his mother Hannah continued to live on it. In 1802, however, the family moved to Randolph county, NC. By 1814 they had eleven children, all but one of whom lived to adulthood.
In 1814, after the 1812 war had ceased and their last child was born, they joined the migration of Quakers from the slave states of the South to the fertile farmlands of Indiana, settling in Morgan and Washington counties. Joel and Ann acquired a homestead in the northwest quarter of section 31 of Washington township (3N 4E), about three miles north of Salem. The west fork of the Blue River ran through it. Not long after they arrived, some of their older daughters got married. In August, 1824, Joel sold property along the Cane Creek, back in Chatham county, North Carolina; evidently his mother had died, and he was selling the family property.
Washington county had been settled in large part by Quakers, and they established the Blue River Monthly Meeting of Friends just a few miles north of where the Brown families lived. But the "Second Great Awakening" was sweeping many people, including many Quakers, into the evangelical Christianity of the Methodist and Baptist churches, characterized by preaching, revivalism, and hymn-singing. Then in 1828 the Quakers were split by schism between the "Orthodox," who were more evangelical, and the "Hicksites," who were more mystical and liberal. The Hicksites gained control of Blue River Meeting and excluded the orthodox Quakers. On April 4, 1829, the Blue River meeting "disowned" Joel for meeting with the orthodox Quakers. In the midst of all this the Brown families left the Society of Friends. On 15 Sept 1832, Joel and Ann Brown, together with their son William and his wife Susannah, sold their farmland in Washington county for $350 and moved to Warren county, Indiana.
In 1845 Ann passed away, and the 1850 census found Joel living with his youngest son, Allen, there in Warren county. He was still working as a blacksmith. On Dec 19, 1853, Joel passed away.
Joel and Ann had the following children in addition to those shown in the links below: Hannah Brown Sluder (1799-abt 1858) Lerenah Brown (1803-) Sarah "Sally" Brown Maudlin (1814-1844)
File File: Media Format: jpg. Goodwine Cemetery.
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