The Browns, Farmers of Tatnic
A 19th century hog scraper from the Counting House Museum collection.
The Brown or Brawn family were farmers in South Berwick’s rural Tatnic area.
The Counting House Museum collection includes 17-year old Sadie M. Brown’s recipe for her favorite Indian pudding, recorded in her little notebook.
A hill in South Berwick, still called Brown Hill, was associated with Sadie Brown’s parents, John W. Brown and Olive (Chaney) Brown. Sadie was born in 1880 and attended a nearby one-room school house. She died soon after jotting recipes and other notes in a small notebook, and was buried in a small cemetery near the family homestead. The cause of her death is unknown.
Author Sarah Orne Jewett wrote about the view from Brown Hill in her 1889 story “The White Rose Road.”
“Looking off,” Jewett wrote, “the smooth, round back of Great Hill caught the sunlight with its fields of young grain, and all the long, wooded slopes and valleys were fresh and fair in the June weather, away toward the blue New Hampshire hills on the northern horizon.
“Seaward stood Agamenticus, dark with its pitch pines, and the far sea itself, blue and calm, ruled the uneven country with its unchangeable line.”
The Old Berwick Historical Society archives contain over a hundred of John W. Brown’s household receipts. These papers reveal details of the life of a 19th century farm family. Brown was frugal, yet he also paid for a family vacation at York Beach one year, as evidenced by a receipt for a rental of a cottage there.
Sadie Brown's Indian Pudding Recipe (1895)
1 cup sweet apples
1 cup meal (corn meal)
1 cup molasses
piece of butter half the size of an egg
Stir in the meal
add a quart of milk
put in the oven without stirring.
Sauce for Pudding
half cup sugar
one cup milk
flavor with lemon
A 19th century sausage stuffer from the Counting House Museum collection