Naomi Hurford was a widow with unmarried children when she purchased the Stone House in 1793. In the deed that conveyed the Stone House property to Naomi Hurford her name is spelled as “Hulford.” This is just one example of the various renderings of this family’s surname in public documents at the time of this sale. Naomi’s name appears on the tax records in 1793 but it disappears from that point onward. As we will discuss below, this corresponds to Naomi’s second marriage to David Brown Sr. in 1794. From that time she is known as Naomi Brown.
Naomi Hurford was a Quaker whose maiden name was Greenland. She married Joseph Hurford on 20 October 1763 at the Deer Creek Meeting in what is now Harford County, Maryland. Joseph Hurford was a Quaker born in 1737 in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Joseph and Naomi had nine children together in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The names of these children were Hannah (born 1765), John (born 1766), Ann (born 1768), William (born 1770), Nathan (born 1772), Joseph (born 1774), Benjamin (born 1777), Thomas (born 1779), and Samuel (born 1781). In 1786 the Hurfords moved to Frederick County, Virginia, and on 1 July of that year they became members of the Crooked Run Meeting — the Quaker congregation closest to the town of Stephensburg.
Naomi’s oldest daughter, Hannah, was married on 15 April 1789 at the Crooked Run Meeting. Naomi was a widow by this time since Joseph Hurford was listed in the marriage record as deceased. Among the names of those who witnessed the ceremony were the great clock and mathematical instrument maker Goldsmith Chandlee, his wife Hannah, and his brother Ellis. Naomi also signed the marriage certificate, as did her sons John and William. Among the names of the other witnesses were members of prominent local Quaker families with names like Lupton, Hollingsworth, and Brown. There were a number of families in Frederick County who shared the surname of Brown, which has caused a great deal of confusion among historians. Even so, the Browns in attendance that day were probably associated with a prosperous Quaker gristmill owner named David Brown Sr. On 5 November 1794, over a year after she purchased the Stone House, Naomi married David Brown Sr., also a widower, at the Center Meeting in Winchester. Again, Goldsmith Chandlee, and his wife Hannah, signed the marriage certificate, along with other members of the prominent local Quaker families.
David Brown Sr. was the grandfather of Isaac Brown, who married Margaret Hite, the daughter of John Hite. Margaret’s father, John Hite, was the son of Jost Hite, the famed pioneer leader of the 1732 Opequon settlement. In 1772 John Hite conveyed a 654-acre parcel of land on Opequon Creek at present-day Bartonsville, to David Brown Sr. The large stone house, known as Springdale, and Jost Hite’s original homestead, were part of this tract. David Brown Sr. then took up residence at Springdale. As he lived there until his death in 1801, Naomi would have lived there with him after their marriage in 1794. It is unclear as to whether Naomi ever lived at the Stone House before her marriage to David Brown Sr. In all likelihood Naomi Hurford Brown leased the Stone House to tenants as a source of income. It is also possible that she used it as a residence for her unmarried children. At the same time Naomi owned the Stone House, her son William Hurford owned Lot 104 at the north end of Stephensburg where 5221 Main Street stands today. William’s younger brother Nathan Hurford, appears to have owned Lot 105 to the south of Lot 104.
Naomi’s marriage to David Brown Sr. did not have a happy ending. Court documents indicate that David Brown Sr. had gone insane by 1799 and that a committee had been appointed to oversee his estate. When he died in 1801 Naomi was widowed a second time. David Brown’s heirs sold Springdale and its accompanying lands on 20 March 1802 to Richard P. Barton. On 26 July 1802 Naomi sold the Stone House at a financial loss to its next owner Henry Jackson. At about the same time, her son William and his wife sold lot 104 in Stephensburg to Robert and Hannah McCleave. By August of 1805 Quaker records show that Naomi Brown had moved to Jefferson Co., Ohio. It appears that Naomi may have been following some of her children west. When she died in 1821 she owned a property on the High Street in Steubenville, Ohio. She also specifically mentioned her “right of Dower which is due and owing . . . [her] in Frederick County Virginia, amounting to one hundred dollars per year for a number of years past . . . .” Apparently, the executors of David Brown Sr.’s estate had failed in their duty to Naomi Brown as Brown’s widow.