Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Snapshot: Mary Brownell & Abel Fowler in Marriage and Death

As I slowly gather supporting documentation for my FOWLER family history, I'm picking it up here and there or it just comes to me through various methods. This first image below was a surprise in an email (thanks Kevin new 4C1R). Such a little treasure it is.

As you can see this image is a marriage record, but not any ordinary one. It's my (and Kevin's) 4x great grandparents Abel Fowler and Mary Brownell! (Kevin and I are descended through Abel Jr.)

I was so excited receiving this image. I stared at it. I read it. I read it again. And I couldn't help but feel so lucky. I already knew the date and place from other sources, but not the "extra" information chocked into this little record. Oh, and there is verification of information I had written "needs verification" in the notes field.

Marriage record sent to me by 4C1R Kevin Bradford <>.
"I hereby Certify that ['6B' is page number] Abel Fowler son of Simeon now of Exeter & Mary Brownell daughter of Mary Brownell Widow of Exeter were Lawfully Joined Together In marrage [sic] on the 3rd Day of June Anno Domini 1770  /  By me the Subscriber George Peirce Jud of the pa"  / Town of Exeter, R.I.; Recorded in Vital Records Book 2 at Page 6B Evelyn M Greene, Town Clerk."
This is exciting. I didn't know Mary's father had passed away prior to her marriage (her mother is shown as a "widow"); the marriage took place in front of a "Judge of the Peace" instead of clergy in the "Town of Exeter" and was recorded in the "Vital Records Book 2" not in a parish church book. The record verifies Mary's mother is also named "Mary"; Abel is the "son of Simeon now of Exeter." He was formerly from South Kingston. [both in Rhode Island]. Sometimes it is the little things that say so much. I quickly added citations to the information I already had on my database before I forgot.

Five years after they were married, Abel served in the Revolutionary War as a Lieutenant in Rhode Island. On Fold3 website <>, I found a letter or deposition with Thomas Fowler talking of his deceased father Abel who was "commissioned as an officer in the Regiment Commanded by Col. Charles Dyer in the Militia of the State of Rhode Island in 1775." (white outline)

Abel's son Thomas Fowler submitted this letter in 1844, 11 years after his father passed. I don't understand what this letter is for except it might be for any remainder of a pension or possibly part of a settlement on the estate since Abel died intestate. This letter can be found in the Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, NARA on Fold3 <> a subscription site.

Abel and Molly had nine known children born 1772 to 1793: Isaac, Simeon, Abel Jr. (Kevin's and my line), Samuel, Mary (Molly), Brownell, Thomas, Mercy, and Jonathan Blackman. Mary (Brownell) FOWLER as well as her daughter Mary, were known as Molly. Abel Jr.'s birth was about 1776, I don't know exact date. His father must have come home on a "leave and conceive" from the war. 

Molly BROWNELL, born about 1746 in Newport Co., Rhode Island, is the daughter of Thomas BROWNELL and Mary BLACKMAN.

The family was in White Creek, Washington County, New York. All the children were born in Rhode Island except Jonathan Blackman who was born in New York State. Daughter Molly died in 1792 at 12, and was the first burial in the Fowler Private Burying Lot on the Fowler Farm. Abel Sr. died 29 Nov 1833 at 89. His wife Mary died 4 Aug 1809 at 63. Both are buried in the Fowler plot near their daughter. Other Fowlers in the family cemetery are listed on the New Horizons Genealogy website. <>

Fowler Private Burying Lot. What a wonderful view. Image found online at ReoCities. There was no attribution to who took this picture.<>
On left: Mary (Molly) Brownell Fowler died 1809 at 63. On right: Abel Fowler Sr. died 1833 at 89.

Headstone images contributed and taken by 4C1R Kevin Bradford <>.

I love these ornately carved headstones. There is so much symbolism carved into these stones; I have no idea what it all means. I did a Google search and came up with a couple sites with definitions:
     sunflower = devotion to God
     willow tree = sadness or mourning
found on Gravestone Symbolism at <>.

     urn = immortality (life will be restored)
found on Look to the Past <>.


  1. Thanks for this post--these are my great-great-great (-great?) grandparents, through son Samuel. You have done great work here!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed this post. I would love to compare notes with you sometime. You can contact me through my e-mail address in my profile. Thanks for taking time to read my post. There are several other posts about my FOWLER research.