Joseph Brown descends from an old English Family. In England, the name was originally spelled Browne. The Brownes were from Betchworth Castle in County Surrey. Joseph’s immigrant ancestor, Edward Browne V, was born in County Kent, England around 1631. He immigrated to the New World in 1655, and settled in Kent County, Maryland.
In 1750, Edward Browne’s great grandson, Morgan Brown III, left Maryland and settled in Anson County, North Carolina, very near the border with Marlboro County, South Carolina. Morgan married his 16 year old cousin, Elizabeth Clothier, the granddaughter of his father’s aunt, on 27 October 1752 in North Carolina. Morgan and Elizabeth were the parents of Joseph Brown, who was born on 15 November 1763. Morgan served as a captain in the Cherokee War of 1758, during which he made two expeditions to Keowee.
In 1763, Morgan left Grassy Islands, Anson County, North Carolina (around and under Blewett Falls Lake), and he settled on Mark’s Creek (in the corner of Marlboro County that abuts Chesterfield County, South Carolina, and Anson and Richmond counties, North Carolina). Morgan built a saw mill and a grist mill on his plantation aside Mark’s Creek. In 1863 and 1864, Morgan was elected Sheriff of Anson County. Joseph Brown’s brother, Morgan Brown IV, stated that their father was true to his Quaker principles, except he believed in fighting for self-defense, and he firmly believed in the Revolutionary cause, encouraging his sons to fight for their new country. Morgan died at age 90 in 1809 in Tennessee.
Joseph Brown enlisted as a private in Captain Thomas Donoho’s Company, Continental Line, during the Revolutionary War (from June 1781 to 1782). After the Revolutionary War, Joseph Brown went into public service. In 1784, he was a tax collector. Joseph married Mary Gordon, the daughter of Alexander and Mary Gordon on 10 May 1787 in South Carolina. Joseph and Mary had five children: Morgan Gilbert Brown (born February 18, 1788), William Clothier Brown (born August 15, 1790), Joseph Ruper Brown (born November 13, 1793), Mary Gordon Brown (born April 6, 1796) and Alexander Gordon Brown (born October 3, 1798). Joseph was a state senator for the district between the Broad and Catawba rivers from 1788 to 1790. In 1788, he was a delegate to the South Carolina state convention to ratify the Federal Constitution (which he voted against). He was also a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1790. Joseph was a representative for the Chester District from 1790 to 1794; again a senator for Fairfield, Chester and Richland districts from 1794 to 1798; and finally a representative for Chester from 1798 to 1800.