CREAN BRUSH

Crean Brush was born about 1725 in Dublin, Ireland and died in the Spring of 1779 in New York.

He married first in Ireland to a Miss _____ CUSHING. She died in Ireland about 1758 soon after giving birth to a daughter. Brush left his infant daughter in the care of relatives and made his way to America.

Child of Crean and _____ (Cushing) Brush:

ELIZABETH MARTHA BRUSH born about 1758 in Ireland and left in Ireland in the care of relatives. She married THOMAS NORMAN of Ireland and had 4 children. "By the will of her father, she became heir to a third part of his estate, and having purchased of the other heirs their thirds, she became heir to the whole property. She, with her husband, came to America about the year 1795, to recover the property to which she had become entitled, and had their residence in Westminster until 1814, when they removed to Caldwell, at the south end of Lake George. Mrs. Norman is said to have been a 'lady of fine manners, dignified deportment, and was, in every respect, an ornament to her sex.'"

Brush is said to have married (2) Mrs. MARGARET MONTRESOR (Hall, called her Margaret Montuzan). According to Barr, she was widow of Captain JOHN MONTRESOR. She had a daughter, Frances, known as "Fanny," who came to Westminster with her mother and married Ethan Allen. There are some questions which come up regarding Margaret's "marriages" to Montresor and Brush

Mrs. Brush married (3) PATRICK WALL of New York City by 1783. After her death, he married ELIZABETH ERWIN of Westminster on 7 Jan 1812.

Crean Brush came to this country between 1758 and 1762 and settled in New York City. He was a lawyer and for some time he held the office of Secretary of the Province of New York. He moved from New York City to Westminster VT in the latter part of 1771 and "lived in a house that stood a little to the north of the meeting-house, which was the only one in town that faced the four cardinal points of compass. It was originally built for Rev. Mr. [Jesse] Goodell, the first minister."

He was familiarly called "Colonel," though nothing is known of him in any actual military service. His courtly manner, dash, and ability soon won for him lucrative places of honor and trust in Cumberland County [NY] [now Windham Co. VT], and also in the State, although he was a rank Tory both in sentiment and action. For several years, he ran an unscrupulous career in New York and various parts of New England, and in the meantime, got possession, by purchase or otherwise, of an almost baronial estate --- some fifty thousand acres of land located in New Hampshire and Vermont.

In Feb 1784, Brush's widow, as Mrs. Wall, presumably her husband Patrick Wall, and her daughter Fanny, lived in rooms in the house of General Stephen R. Bradley. On settling in Westminster, he had built a house on the flat north of the spot where the old Courthouse had been. 

Crean Brush (Account by Fairbanks, 586-587):

Mr. Brush was ambitious of power and fond of display, and was received with great courtesy by the people of Westminster until his true character came to be known. "But as vulgarity of mind became apparent and novelty of appearance ceased to attract attention, Mr. Brush found, in spite of his boasted attainments as a man of large information, and his pretensions to gentility, that his only friends were a few high-toned and arrogant loyalists."

He held various offices under the government of New York. In Feb. 1772, he was appointed by Governor Tyron as clerk of Cumberland County, and was made surrogate of the county in April of the same year, and was also appointed commissioner to administer oaths of civil office. He was a representative to the General Assembly of New York in 1773-74-75. He had large influence in the house, and spared no pains to turn it to his own advantage. Mr. Brush owned large tracts of land in Westminster and other portions of the New Hampshire grants, which after the uprising in the colonies in 1775, were confiscated to the State of Vermont and sold, and the proceeds went into the public treasury.

During the summer of this year he was probably in New York, and in the fall went to Boston, then occupied by the British, and offered his services to General Gage.

The General, having determined to winter his army in Boston, found it necessary to vacate some of the residences of the inhabitants, and this business was entrusted to Crean Brush, who was commissioned to receive and protect such property as should be entrusted to his care. Having seized many goods that were not contraband, which were stowed away in vessels in the harbor, he endeavored to set sail to Halifax, but was taken when a few days out, by Commodore Manly, and Brush and others were made prisoners. He was examined and committed to the jail in Boston, on charges of having plundered the city, and carried away under protection of the British fleet, large quantities of goods, wares and merchandise, the rightful property of the citizens of Boston. He was handcuffed, and denied the use of pen, ink, paper and candles, and forbidden to converse with any person unless in the presence of the jailer.

During his imprisonment Mrs. Brush was allowed to visit him and on Wednesday, the 5th of November, 1778, he made his escape in her clothes; and not until the next morning was it discovered that the noted prisoner was gone, and his wife occupied his place in the cell. Mrs. Brush had left a horse tied at a certain spot, and furnished her husband with the means of escape.

He immediately set out for New York, which place he reached on the 16th of the same month, after an imprisonment of more than nineteen months.

He then directed his efforts for the recovery of his property, and to obtain redress for the injuries he had received and compensation for the losses he had sustained on behalf of the King. Not being successful in this, and stung with a feeling of remorse, on a cold morning in the following spring, he determined to put an end to a miserable life, and with a pistol in his hand, he blew out his brains.

Mr. Brush owned, as it is supposed, about 25,000 acres of land in the State of New York, and nearly the same amount on the New Hampshire grants, only a small part of which ever came into the hands of his heirs.

Crean Brush - His Will

Brush made his will in jail in Boston on 18 Oct 1777 and in it bequeathed his landed estate in America to his widow, with the provision that if she remarried the estate was to be divided in equal shares to his wife, her daughter, Fanny Montresor Buchanan, and his own daughter, Elizabeth Brush Norman.

Crean Brush's widow remarried by 1783 and relinquished one-third share of the estate to her daughter. She married PATRICK WALL of New York City in New York City. Patrick Wall was born in Ireland and had been a tailor in Boston during the American Revolution. In 1777, having fallen upon hard times and claiming he had been "afflicted with violent pains in his limbs and ... falling into a dropsical habit of body," he requested permission from the authorities for him, his wife and family to sail to New York. Wall suggesting that he had plans to return to Ireland and it would be easier from New York (Petition of Patrick Wall, Boston, 29 Sep 1777 (Hall, p. 629). After Wall's marriage to Mrs. Brush [by 1783], his circumstances seemed to have changed for the better. They lived in New York City awhile and then removed to Westminster VT, with her widowed daughter Frances Buchanan, and are said to have lived there for a time in Crean Brush's house (This property should have been confiscated by this time).

Brush's daughter Elizabeth, upon reaching maturity, married an Irishman by the name of THOMAS NORMAN. The couple soon after set sail for America to lay claim to her share of the property. On her arrival, she purchased the shares of her mother-in-law [stepmother] and her daughter; thus becoming sole heir to Brush's estate. She soon learned that her property in Vermont, through the instrumentality of Gen. IRA ALLEN, had been confiscated and irredeemably lost. However, she proceeded to file a lawsuit for the recovery of her property in Walpole NH, which was in the possession of a Mr. Wiers and a Mr. Burt. The suit was in court some twenty years. When the case was finally settled both parties were thoroughly beaten and Elizabeth received less than a thousand dollars, after paying expenses out of her father's enormous estate.

Brush/Montresor Marriage Questions

According to Hall (p. 604), "There is a tradition that Brush was not legally married to his second wife. The story goes that she, in her maiden days, had been much admired by Brush, who had paid her his addresses, but without success. She married, in preference, a colonel in the British service, who was the father of her child Frances. He was killed in the Old French war, or in some of the battles immediately subsequent to the year 1755. The widow and the widower having met, they agreed to live together as husband and wife, and did so, but the connection was not lawfully established. Resort was had to this alliance in order that Mrs. Brush might be enabled to draw the pension due her as the widow of an officer, which right she forfeited in the event of a second marriage." [Editor's note: There are some questions that arise with the dates presented here. If true, Brush was certainly in America before 1760 in order to court Fanny's mother before her marriage and subsequent birth of Fanny in 1760. The death date of 1755 for John Montresor, seems unlikely, again because of Fanny's birth in 1760.]

The following Montresors were officers for the British in America. It is difficult to reconcile their dates and marriages with the information we have available.

 

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References:

Barr, John L., compiler. The Genealogy of Ethan Allen and His Brothers and Sisters (Burlington VT: Ethan Allen Homestead Trust, 1993).

Collins, Bertha Miller, papers.

DePuy, Henry W. Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Heroes of '76 (Boston: Dayton and Wentworth, 1853).

Fairbanks, F. J., Rev. "The History of the East Parish," from The Double History of Westminster, Vermont, Abby Maria Hemenway, Editor (Chicago: Press of Jameson & Morse, 1885), pp. 586-588.

Frizzell, Martha McDanolds. A History of Walpole New Hampshire, Vol. I, pp. 86-87.

Hall, Benjamin H. History of Eastern Vermont (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1858), pp. 603-633.

Roberts, Kenneth. March to Quebec (Downeast, Reprint 1967).

Simonds, M. Elizabeth. History of Westminster (The Town of Westminster, 1983).

 
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