- Marriage (1): Micah RANKIN
- Marriage (2): Capt. Michael BROWNING in 1662
- Died: Cir 1717
Jane (maiden name unknown) is usually referred to as Jane Browning, as the wife of Captain Michael Browning, the captain of the ship 'Mountjoy', who was killed in 1689 when the Mountjoy broke the boom on the River Derry in order to lift the Siege of Derry.
However, she was first married to Micah Rankin, with whom she had a son, John, who had at least two children, Mary and Micah, who were mentioned in her Will. Her Will is printed in the book "The Ashe MSS.", written by Lt. Colonel Thomas Ashe in 1735, and published by Henry Tyler in 1890. Lt. Col. Thomas Ashe was the renowned Captain Thomas Ash, one of the defenders of Derry in 1668-1669 during the Siege by Jacobite forces, who had a half-brother, George Ash.
There has been some speculation that (a) Jane Rankin/Browning's first name was Elizabeth, and (b) she was the sister of Captain Thomas Ash. This theory is backed up by Burke's Irish Family Records, which states "George Ash, of Ashbrook, co. Derry, b. 1679, m. 1710, his cousin Mary (d. 1764) dau. of John Rankin, of Donegal, and d. 25 June 1729, leaving issue."
However, four facts mitigate against this theory:
(1) Jane Browning's Will;
(2) The one daughter of John Ash of Cornerrin, who was called Elizabeth, was married to Thomas Gardiner, according to the Will of John Ash, which is available in The Ash MSS.
(3) "A History of the Siege of Londonderry and defence of Enniskillen in 1688" by John Graham states: "Captain Ash sent out his sister Gardiner, to her husband, under the protection of the surgeon who came to attend Lord Netterville. Captain Fortescue and her brother attended her beyond an orchard, where she passed into the enemy's lines." As it is stated in many other publications that the wife of Captain Browning was in Derry until the end of the siege, it would appear that Jane Browning and Elizabeth Ash are not the same person.
(4) The Will of John Ash of Cornerrin makes no mention of a daughter, Jane, and there is no reference to a Jane in "The Ash MSS".
Two other books add to the confusion:
(1) "A Narrative of the Siege of Londonderry" by John Mackenzie (1690) states "The widow of Captain Browning, on whom King William conferred a pension, is said to have been sister-in-law to Captain Thomas Ash".
(2) "Fighters of Derry, Their Deeds and Descendants, being a Chronicle of Events in Ireland during the Revolutionary period 1688-1691" by William Young (1932), which is quite rare, but a copy exists in the Londonderry Public Library, states on page 117 that the widow of Captain Browning was Mrs Margaret Rankin. In addition, under the Ash biographies on pp. 23-24 in the same book there is no mention of Jane (Ash) Browning (according to "The Ash MSS.", a daughter of John Ash of Cornerrin, Margaret [sister to Captain Thomas Ash], died young).
The answer to the puzzle is provided in her will, which is given below.
Extract from "Circumstantial Journal of the Siege of Londonderry" by Captain Thomas Ash, published by his granddaughter in 1792:
Captain Browning stood upon the deck with his sword drawn, encouraging his men with great cheerfulness; but a fatal bullet from the enemy struck him in the head, and he died on the spot. King William did his widow the honour of tying a diamond chain round her neck, and settled on her a pension.
Extract from "Loyalists: War and Peace in Northern Ireland" by Peter Taylor
A copy of a famous painting, The Relief of Derry, now hangs in Ashbrook showing Governor Walker (who replaced the disgraced Colonel Lundy) surrounded by joyful citizens, pointing to the Mountjoy as the ship broke the `boom'. Elizabeth Ash is depicted in the foreground tending the sick and the dying alongside her mother and son, the diarist Captain Thomas Ash. Elizabeth is unaware of the fate of her husband, Captain Browning.
Extract from "Mackenzie's Memorials of the Siege of Derry"; Introduction by W. D. Killen, D.D. (1861)
The widow of Captain Browning, on whom King William conferred a pension, is said to have been the sister-in-law to Captain Thomas Ash. He left behind him only one child -- a daughter, who died young.
Extract from "The Ash MSS" by Lieut. Col. Thomas Ash (1890)
WILL OF MRS. BROWNING, WIDOW OF CAPT. BROWNING, OF THE "MOUNTJOY," WHICH BROKE THE BOOM.
In the Name of God. Amen. I, Jane Browning, of the City of Londonderry, widow, being sick and weak of body, but of sound and perfect memory and judgment (praise be to God), do, this fourth day of July, Anno Dieu, 1717, make, ordain, and appoint this my last Will and Testament in manner following, vizt. :-Imprimus.--I bequeath my soul to Almighty God, my Creator, hoping, through the merits and passion of my Saviour Jesus Christ, to receive pardon of my manyfold sins and iniquities; And my body I bequeath unto the earth, to be buried in decent manner at the discretion of my Executors hereinafter named ; And as for my goods, chattels, effects, debts due to me, and other worldly substance, I give and bequeath the same to my son, John Rankin, of Greencastle, in the County of Donegal, gent., And my grandson, Micah Rankin, of the same, gent., to be equally divided between them, except the plate, and household goods, and plenishing belonging to me, which I entirely leave and bequeath unto the said Micah Rankin ; And further, I do bequeath to Mrs. Mary Ash, my grandchild, wife of Mr. George Ash, of Corranearin, in the Liberties of Londonderry, the sum of fifty pounds sterling ; And to my grandchild, Mary Conningham, daughter of Alderman Alexander Conningham, deceased, the sum of five pounds ; And to Mrs. Mary Simpson, widow, the like sum of five pounds sterl., which said last three mentioned legacies is to be paid out of the arrears of my pension due me by the Crown when recovered and received. And lastly, I do nominate and appoint the said John Rankin and Micah Rankin Executors of this my last Will and Testaments : in witness whereof, I, the said Jane Browning, have hereunto sett my hand and seal, the day and year first above mentioned.
Signed, Sealed, and Declared as the Last Will and Testament of the above-named Jane Brown:
JANE BROWNING "her X mark"
Jane married Micah RANKIN.
Jane next married Capt. Michael BROWNING in 1662. (Capt. Michael BROWNING died on 28 Jul 1689.). The cause of his death was Killed in the breaking of the boom on the River Derry.