Swansea Historical Society

Elizabeth Stevens Brown



Elizabeth Stevens Brown portrait

"Whatever you are, be noble;
Whatever you do, do well;
Whenever you speak, speak kindly;
Bring joy wherever you dwell."



Elizabeth Stevens Brown was born December 17th, 1879 at the home of the Stevens family. Her father, Henry C. Brown, was a freeman who came to Swansea after the Civil War. Mr. Brown worked for the Frank S. Stevens Family as a Coachman. Her mother was Florence Graves Brown. Elizabeth was named after Mrs. Stevens.

With help from Mrs. Stevens, Elizabeth came to be the first black educator in the Swansea school system. In 1901, at the age of 22, she started teaching in The Two Room School House, once located at the now Frank S. Stevens School site. In 1908, the two room schoolhouse was replaced by the Frank S. Stevens School. In 1932, at the age of 53, she became principal of the Frank S Stevens school. She held this position until her death on February 12th, 1941 at the age of 62. In 1956, the Town of Swansea named their newly built elementary school the Elizabeth Stevens Brown School in her honor. Elizabeth Stevens Brown dedicated her life to the education of Swansea youths.

She attended the Bridgewater State Normal School (now Bridgewater State University) and graduated in 1898. See the images below from "Catalogue and Circular."

"In all phases of her life she respected the dignity and worth of the individual. In working with her pupils she sought to develop each person to the greatest use of their particular capabilities." - from the April 23rd, 1961 dedication of the Elizabeth Stevens Brown portrait. Miss Brown kept the quote at the top of this page on every blackboard in the school.

According to the 1940 census, Elizabeth lived on Main Street in Swansea with her sister, Agnes. Neither ever married. (source: familysearch.org)

Elizabeth died on February 12th, 1941 and is buried in the Mount Hope Cemetery in Swansea.

Elizabeth Stevens Brown yearbook
Elizabeth Stevens Brown yearbook

Elizabeth Stevens Brown monument  Elizabeth Stevens Brown monument
Elizabeth Stevens Brown monument  Elizabeth Stevens Brown monument
Elizabeth Stevens Brown monument  Elizabeth Stevens Brown monument