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Susan Brownell Anthony

Most Americans are familiar with the name "Susan B. Anthony" from their high school American history class or because of the silver dollar coin with her likeness that was minted briefly in 1979. Few, however, are aware that the "B" stands for Brownell. Even most Brownells are unaware of her relationship to the family.

While I was in Boston at the New England Historic Genealogic Society, I found a newspaper article written by E.E. Brownell for the St. Johnsville, New York Enterprise and News dated Wednesday, July 14, 1937. The article gave Anthony's genealogy and explained her relationship to the Brownell family.

The Anthony family was traced back thirteen generations to a William Anthony who was born in Cologne, Germany, and moved to England between 1547 and 1553. His great-great grandson, John, was born in 1607 and came to America in 1634, settling in Portsmouth, RI, where he was admitted as a freeman in 1640. John Anthony and Thomas Brownell were contemporaries and, according to the article, neighbors in Portsmouth.

Susan B. Anthony was the daughter of Daniel and Lucy Anthony. She was born 15 February 1820 and died 30 March 1906. Susan was named for her father's sister, Susan Anthony, who married Thomas Brownell, the son of Shadrack and Mary (Akin) Brownell in 1820. Shadrack was a great, great grandson of Thomas and Anne Brownell.

It is interesting to note that while John Anthony and Thomas Brownell were contemporaries, Susan was of the eighth generation of Anthonys in America, while her husband Thomas was of the sixth generation of Brownells.

So while there is no blood relationship between Susan B. Anthony and the Brownell family, there is an historical one. I, for one, would be curious to know if there was also a philosophical relationship.

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Copyright 1999 Bill Brownell