Monday, October 1, 2007

Research of Carey Bracewell

From Braswell Branches, Vol. 6, No. 2, Spring 1997:

This long-time BRASWELL family researcher published a series of family research newsletters in the 1970s. He is incredibly generous with his knowledge and this column will now feature information from him. Apparently Boddie’s information about our Virginia ancestors contains some serious errors that have been unwittingly propagated by various researchers, including me. Here, then, is a more accurate account in the words of Carey Bracewell:

“John Bennet Boddie should be tried for counterfeiting fiction as historical truth” in the minds of most serious eastern genealogists.

The English pedigree before Robert BRACEWELL’s father, Richard (London Will, 1641) leads directly to Grantham Parish, Lincolnshire. That is where the London family of Richard BRACEWELL “gentleman” originated. It has been documented back to Tudor times at Grantham.

The name of Rev. Robert’s (last?) wife is unknown - certainly not known to be Rebecca as stated. Ann would be a better bet (polling his granddaughters’ names). The gap in ages suggests the older two daughters may have been by a different mother. Both boys were almost certainly American-born….

The evidence that identifies the parentage of Richard BRASWELL (c. 1723-c. 1800) was a long, frustrating time in coming. It finally turned up in the Mormon family Bible record of one James SMITH (b 8/25/1829 Gibson Co., Tennessee.

The two Richard BRASWELLs shown on the 1790 Greenville District, South Carolina census were father and son. The evidence for Obedience’s maiden name as SNOW is extremely tenuous: my aunt Laura BRAZIL (1869-1953) told me that the two maiden names of the wives of the above Richard BRASWELLs were “SNOW, WHITE.” The latter has been confirmed by legal evidence: Richard BRAZIL (1759-1842) did indeed marry Jemima WHITE, Ulster immigrant in Anson Co., North Carolina, 15 May 1780 (Richard’s Bible record).

I could find no SNOW record in North Carolina that proved Obedience’s maiden name, but nothing to disprove it either. It seems evident that both Valentine BRASWELL (c. 1692-c.1766) and his son, Richard (c. 1723-c. 1800) married Quakers, Obedience being a common virtue name among Southern Quakers of that time. Moreover, the area father and son settled in the 1740s the Piedmont of Orange County, North Carolina, was widely populated by Quakers and other dissenters. Of course, the anti-slavery convictions of those Quakers caused many to later leave the South and my own branch to avoid slave ownership until late in the Antebellum period. The Orange-Chatham Co., North Carolina records are primarily about the families of this Richard & Obedience and his brother, Henry, no doubt named for their mother, Quaker, Jane POPE, daughter of Henry POPE of Isle of Wight Co., Virginia

[This] is as close to a family Bible for Richard (c. 1723-1800) & Obedience SNOW? BRACEWELL as we’re apt to get…

Background: The Bible belonged to James SMITH (b. 25 August 1829, Gibson Co., Tennessee), s/o Dianah BRASWELL SMITH, who was d/o John BRASWELL, the accepted youngest son of the above Richard and Obedience BRACEWELL. John was b.c. 1770, Anson Co., North Carolina & m. Rebecca PRUITT in Greenville District, South Carolina c.1790. (Cf. 1790 Census). The information in the Bible is in the form of a dairy, written sometime after April 8, 1884 (printing date) when Smith was 55 or older. Smith shared what he knew about his family from memory, the bulk of which was naturally about the SMITHs. It was probably written in Provo, Utah.

Smith probably learned most of what he knew from his mother (who had been dead 10 years at the writing, she (Dianah Smith) having expired in Herber City, Utah, on March 8, 1875. He may have consulted other members of his family for some of the information, inasmuch as several names were added after he made the original listing. It is noteworthy also that he used nicknames in place of Christian names in the cases of Robert, Valentine, & Obedience--as a family member would.

Smith 's credibility and reliability are enhanced by the fact that he undertook this dairy as a sacred (Mormon) religious obligation, which he obviously took very seriously! He made fewer than a half-dozen errors in reference to the BRASWELL & PRUITT families, out of a wealth of precise information (names & dates, relationships, etc.) he shared. From the tone of the whole document, one gets the clear impression that Smith was a sincere man of integrity. On the other hand, his spelling showed he was an honest Mormon farmer--not an English professor, and he did show a charming innocence by his naive acceptance of the myth that he descended from Pocohontas and Captain John Smith!

The dairy is in the loving hands of a Smith descendant in Provo. A microfilmed copy is in the LDS Archives in Salt Lake City. Cite "GRE Smith Bible".

p. 76 "The name of Richard Smith’s wife father (the word "father" crossed out) Dianah Smith grandfather (sic) was Richard Braswell. John Braswell was a son of Richard Braswell Borned in the state of South Carolina Grinvill Co. about the year 1752

Richard Brasuell brother to John Brasuell

George Brasuell married Polley Morgan.

James Brasuell married Nancy Maxfield

Robin Brasuell

Vaul Brasuell

Serah Brasuell

Elizabeth Brasuell married James Butler

Nancy Brasuell not married

Birdence Brasuell married David Hall

Richard Brasuell son of John Brasuell Borne 1792 South Carolina

Dianah Brasuell borned South Carolina October. 9.1797 and married Richard Smith December.11.1817. . . . "

ANALYSIS: While Smith's Bible is an invaluable resource, it does contain some apparent
errors. Smith's assertion that John Braswell & Rebecca Pruitt were both born "about 1752" in South Carolina cannot be true on both "facts". John was actually born c.1770, as presumably was his Rebecca. (Cf. 1790 Census of Greenville District where John is evidently a "newliwed"--just him and his female!) And John was almost certainly born in Anson (Montgomery) County, North Carolina, where his family lived at that time. It is interesting that John was living next to my Richard BRASWELL (1759-1842) & family in the 1790

Another error in the Smith account is the identity of James’ wife, which should almost have certainly read MAXWELL, not MAXFIELD. The Braswells were neighbors and land-swappers with the MAXFIELDs around.

Also, another known son of Richard & Obedience, William (c.1766-185_) was left off the list entirely as was Frederick (c.1752-1828.d. Jackson Co., Georgia.). Two other probable sons, John & Sampson, weren't mentioned either. Smith's information did not extend much beyond the South Carolina period, and the last three named never lived in that state. William was evidently a quieter guy than his more flamboyant brothers!

It only remains to be pointed out that "Robin" was Robert, "Vaul" was Valentine, and "Birdence" was Obedience. "Nancy" evidently remained a spinster. It also remains to acknowledge the tireless devotion of LDS Braswell descendant and expert researcher, Eunice Young, who uncovered this genealogical gem, among so many others! Eunice is retired to Salt Lake City now and works only occasionally on other lines. But her invaluable contributions to Braswell research will always be remembered.

The known children of Richard & Obedience:

Richard BRACEWELL was born in North Carolina c. 1723 and married Obedience SNOW(?) in the 1740s. Twelve children are attributed to them, the first 7 born in Orange Co., North Carolina, the remainder in Anson County, North Carolina.

1. George (c. 1750) m. Polly MORGAN, Anson Co., North Carolina c. 1770.

2. Frederick (c. 1752-1828) m. Elizabeth _____ (in Wilkes Co., North Carolina 1781-82). Died Jackson Co., Georgia, 1828.

3. Elizabeth (c. 1757) m. James BUTLER, Anson Co., North Carolina c. 1775, d. Tennessee.

4. Richard “BRAZIL” Jr. (1759-1842) m. Jemima WHITE, Anson Co., North Carolina, 15 May 1780. Died Saline Co., Arkansas.

5. James (c. 1761-1799) m. Nancy MAXWELL in Wilkes Co., North Carolina c. 1783. Murdered by the HARPE brothers in Knox (Morgan) Co., Tennessee, 29 July 1799.

6. Valentine (1765-1848) m. 2nd Mrs. Nancy JOURNEY, d. Rush Creek, JoDaviess Co., Illinois, 27 Nov. 1848.

7. William BRASWELL (1766-1850s) m. 2nd Elizabeth ______ d. Carroll Co., Arkansas.

8. Robert (c. 1771-1825), d. Madison Co., Illinois, 17 May 1825.

9. John (c. 1770s) m. Greenville District, South Carolina to Rebecca PRUITT c. 1790. (Many LDS researchers descend from him through their daughter Dianah BRASWELL SMITH, a SMITH family Bible confirms much of this data).

10. Sarah (c. 1770s).

11. Patience (c. 1770s) m. Joseph GRAYSON in Knox (Anderson) Co., Tennessee, 10 Dec. 1798.

12. Obedience (born nearer the front of this list) m. David HALL in Wilkes Co., North Carolina, 20 Jan. 1784. HALL’s Revolutionary War pension application sheds much light on the family’s whereabouts during the war and post-war period.

1769 By this year Richard & Obedience BRASWELL along with their intact congregation of Baptists, had left Orange Co., North Carolina and resettled as a group in the Little River area of Anson Co., North Carolina.

Revolutionary War period. These Baptists, with strong Quaker affinities were anti-war pacifists, yet patriots. The BRASWELLs & some other Baptists moved to Wilkes County in northwest North Carolina to escape the fighting on the east coast. Some even went over into the Wautauga settlement area of Tennessee to get away (such as my ancestor, RichardBRAZIL” (1759-1842), one of Valentine’s older brothers who was of draft age. Several of Richard & Obedience’s kids came of age then and married in either Anson or Wilkes.

1786-1795 Val with parents and most of their original family, moved down the Piedmont to Greenville District, South Carolina. On the 1790 census Val is shown with wife and a little daughter.

1795. Val helps pioneer across the Blue Ridge in Knox Co., Tennessee. His leadership abilities begin to show: he is appointed Ensign in the Knox Co., Militia.

In 1800 his dad, Richard (c. 1723-1800) dies at the family settlement near Clinton, on Clinch River (Anderson Co., Tennessee) about the same time that Richard is born to Val and first (?) wife. With dad gone and the whole Mississippi Valley wide open for settlement, the brothers begin to go their separate ways.

1805. By this year, Val and his brother Robert (c. 1771-1825 have pioneered the Goshen Settlement area of Madison Co., Illinois Territory. Another brother, William, (c. 1766-185_) joins them later. Still another brother, my Richard (1759-1842) settles in Johnson Co. at southern tip of state.

1806. Val’s daughter, Polly (Mary Ann) marries French fur trapper, Andre St. JEAN in Madison Co. Valentine buys out his son-in-law, including most of his livestock.

1811. Val is appointed Lieutenant in the Madison Co. Militia; promoted to Captain the following year.

1819. Val’s oldest son, Richard, marries Layodisia ENYEART in Madison Co.

1821. By this year, Val and family had moved from eastern Madison County and followed the Kaskaskia Valley on up to Fayette County, where he and now of-age son, Richard, are listed as voters. Val shows his usual taste for power by running for Fayette County commissioner in 1824 and 1826.

1827. Ever restless, Val heads north and pioneers Fulton County with his brother, William and nephew Moses (my g-g-gf). On the 1830 census, Val (who fibbed about his age) is shown with his final wife, Nancy JOURNEY BRASWELL (whom he had married in Madison County) then part of St. Clair by 1816. His wife in her 40s, they had 4 kids: 3 girls & 1 boy, ages 5-15.

1830. Moses does a 180 and heads south down the Mississippi to join his gang pioneering Saline Co., Arkansas. Uncle William follows suit and pioneers Carroll Co., Arkansas. Val, the last to leave Fulton Co. (1837), heads north to JoDaviess County where he died at his home on Rush Creek, aged 83, on 27, Nov. 1848. His estate was small, but interesting. The bulk of his descendants in Illinois, of course, were left behind in Fayette County.