Historical Highlights

Representative Benjamin Brown of Massachusetts

September 17, 1831
Representative Benjamin Brown of Massachusetts Oil on canvas, Rod Claudius, 1962, Rome, Italy, Photographed by PHCS G.R. Phelps, Boston Naval Shipyard, 10 April 1963, Image courtesy of U.S. Navy During the Revolutionary War, future Representative Benjamin Brown of Massachusetts served as a surgeon aboard the USS Boston.
On this date, Representative Benjamin Brown of Massachusetts died in Waldoboro, Lincoln County, Maine. A physician by training, Brown’s single term of service in the House was unexceptional. However, his service in the Revolutionary War and status as a former prisoner of war made him unique. Brown served as a surgeon aboard the American frigate Boston, commanded by Commodore Samuel Tucker during hostilities with Great Britain. In 1778, Brown was aboard the Boston when it transported John Adams (accompanied by his young son John Quincy Adams) as American minister to France. Three years later, when the Thorne, an American privateer under the command of Commodore Tucker, was captured by the British Navy at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, Brown and the crew were imprisoned on Prince Edward Island. Brown eventually escaped in an open boat and returned to Boston. After a career as a physician, he served three years in the Massachusetts house of representatives before winning election as a Federalist to a U.S. House district encompassing the southern coast of present-day Maine (Maine was part of Massachusetts until it entered the Union in 1820). In the sparsely-populated district, Brown defeated his opponent, Democratic-Republican Abiel Wood, by a count of 984 to 611 votes. Brown, who appears to have dropped out of the race for re-election in 1816, resided in Waldoboro until his death.

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