Apprenticed as a boy to a chaise maker in his hometown of nearby Newbury, Brown eventually got enough saved to open his own business and then went on to make some pertinent investments. He invested in the importation of sugar and molasses from the West Indies during the American Revolutionary War. He made big profits, and continued importing after the war. He also began exporting lumber, meat, fish, and dry goods to the southern United States and to Northern Europe. With the molasses he distilled rum. He expanded his holdings further by buying ships and real estate, including wharves, warehouses, and distilleries along the Newburyport waterfront. By 1790 he was the second wealthiest man in that city and would soon become its largest real estate holder. And he continued to invest, with William Bartlet and others, in such undertakings as the Newburyport Marine Insurance Company, the Merrimack Bank, Plum Island Company Turnpike, and the Newburyport Woolen Manufactory. When Brown died, Andover's Reverend Leonard Woods delivered a sermon in Newburyport titled "Duties of the Rich."
Another benefactor, Samuel Abbot (1731/1732-1812), was a Phillips relation, too: a grandson of the goldsmith. Abbot dealt in dry goods, indigo, molasses, spices, chocolate, hardware, nails, gunpowder, and other merchandise. Having started out in Boston as an apprentice to another cousin of his at age fifteen, he had by 1764 his own business in Cambridge not far from Harvard. After his retirement, he moved back to Andover, where he noted with displeasure the college's appointment of Henry Ware. He had intended to leave it his money, but when he heard about the new seminary and its aims, he donated an initial $20,000 and $100,000 more upon his death five years later. Harvard got nothing -- except his papers, which, like Moses Brown's, are at the Baker Library.
When I go to Baker Library, I will read Brown's correspondence, Series I. Correspondence, 1788-1817, in search of items that relate to his religious beliefs. They may be few. I will also read Samuel Abbot's correspondence with Judge Phillips and materials relating to his tenure as Andover's Justice of the Peace and Town Treasurer, since I am always keen to learn about the places where the town and the gown intersect.