Browning, Jerusha

Title

Browning, Jerusha

Description

A member of the prominent Browning family, after the death of her husband Jerusha Browning took in boarders at 415 Cooper Street.

Biographical Text

While a widow heading a household at 415 Cooper Street, Jerusha Browning was far from alone. By marriage, she was a member of the prominent Browning family of South Jersey, whose ranks included the former New Jersey Attorney General Abraham Browning (1808-89). Her husband, Lawrence, had 17 siblings born from his father's two marriages. While living on Cooper Street for more than two decades after the death of her husband, Jerusha had a vast nearby network of relations by marriage or by lineage, including the Doughtons and Hollinsheads next door (413 Cooper), the Hinchmans (417), and other Browning households across the street (414) and in the 500 and 600 blocks.

Jerusha apparently rented the three-story brick row house from its original owners, who relocated to Philadelphia but retained title until the 1880s. We cannot know why she made this choice, given that she and her son, Abraham, had inherited considerable property after her husband's death in 1858. If the $12,000 in inherited real estate lay in the South Jersey countryside, where the Brownings were extensive land holders, she may have opted for the proximity to neighbors or the potential to support the household by taking in boarders. In 1860, the residents at 415 Cooper Street included Jerusha, then age 60, Abraham, 26, another son, George, 22, daughter Margaret H., 30, and a servant, Margaret Welsh, 20.

During the 1860s and 1870s, various other Browning relatives lived with Jerusha's family for short periods of time. They also continued to employ servants, including Lydia Pernell, who was African American, in 1874. Over time, however, Jerusha and her daughter Margaret began to accept boarders in their home. This began in a genteel manner by 1876, when Jerusha was 76 and her daughter 46, and their boarders included the English-born architect Arthur Truscott and his two brothers in the insurance business, James and Millwood. They would have been low-risk boarders, given that they were nephews of an insurance man already established in Camden.

Of the three Truscott brothers, the architect remained with the Brownings the longest, for at least twelve years between 1876 and 1888. During this period, he established his architecture practice in Philadelphia and designed the New Jersey Safe Deposit & Trust Company building at Third and Market Streets in Camden (1887). Later he served as a supervising architect during construction of the Camden High School built on Park Boulevard 1916-18. His firm Baily and Truscott also contributed new buildings to Cooper Street with the Chateauesque trio of houses at 538-42 Cooper Street (c. 1892)--later retained as facades for the LEAP Academy Charter School--and the Colonial Revival house at 514 Cooper (1903).

After Jerusha Browning died in 1884, Margaret continued to operate the boarding house and to advertise it actively in Camden newspapers. She offered rooms for boarders on the second and third floor, in some cases connecting rooms that could be rented together. She remained in the home and in the boarding house business into her 70s. The Browning family association with 415 Cooper Street ended with the turn of the twentieth century, with Margaret H. Browning's death in 1901.

Time period on Cooper Street

1860 or earlier to 1884; daughter until 1901.

Location(s) - Cooper Street

415 Cooper Street

Occupation

Boarding house operator

Birth Date

September 22, 1800

Birthplace

New Jersey

Death Date

November 19, 1884

Associated Individuals

Lawrence Browning, husband
Margaret Browning, daughter
Abraham Browning, son
George Browning, son
Margaret Welsh, servant
Abraham Browning, NJ Attorney General, husband's nephew
Lydia Pernell, servant (African American)
Thomas Stiles, clerk, boarder
Arthur Truscott, architect, boarder
James Truscott, insurance, boarder
Millwood Truscott, insurance, boarder


Sources

Browning Family Trees, Camden and Philadelphia City Directories, New Jersey State Census 1885-1895, and U.S. Census 1860-1910 (Ancestry.com).
Camden and Philadelphia Newspapers (Newspapers.com)
Truscott, Arthur (1858-1938), Philadelphia Buildings and Architects, Athenaeum of Philadelphia.

Research by

Charlene Mires, Lucy Davis, and Sheri Ezekiel

Posted by

Charlene Mires

Collection

Citation

“Browning, Jerusha,” Learning From Cooper Street, accessed November 29, 2022, https://omeka.camden.rutgers.edu/items/show/44.

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