Saturday, March 1, 2008

Excerpt from Flanigan's History of Gwinnett Co., GA

Contributed by Carey Bracewell

pp. 323-325) (1879) gs 975.822 H2f


James Bracewell, who was one of the first settlers of Gwinnett County,descended from a long line of ancestors who immigrated to this country from Ireland in the early part of the eighteenth century. The name of the immigrant father is unknown. He settled on Tar River near Tarbrough, N.C.,and reared only two children, both sons, Richard and Robert. Richard was the great-grandfather of James. He reared eight children, all sons one of whom was Richard, the grandfather of James. This Richard had two wives. By the first he had only one child, a son, Robert, who served through the Revolutionary War, during which he made a powder horn upon which he carved his initials and that horn is still in the family.

In the year 1764 or '65, Richard married Agnes Proctor and reared a large family, all boys except one daughter and her name was Elizabeth. She is said to be the last daughter to be born in the Bracewell family in this country. His family was nearly all born and reared to be nearly grown in North Carolina. Soon after the war he sold out and moved to Georgia and settled on Briar Creek in Burke County. The climate proved to be deleterious to the health of the family and several died. He then moved to Washington County, now Laurens, and settled on the Oconee River when it was the dividing line between the whites and the Indians. In a few years all his children die but three, Richard, Sampson, and Elizabeth.

Richard, the father of James, in the year 1793 married Charity Scarborough and their first child, James, was born June 5, 1794, in Allen's Fort, for the people then had to live in forts to protect themselves from the Indians. Richard had three other sons, Wiley, Richard, and William. His wife died in 1804. After many years he married a Miss Carlisle by whom he had two sons, Kindred and Allen. He died in the year 1816, of consumption at about the age of fifty years, leaving his son, James, as executor of his estate. After closing up the estate, James went to Morgan County in the year 1817 on a visit to his relatives and decided to make it his home. He began merchandising in that county in 1818. He did well in his business for a time and his credit was perfectly good. He indorsed for a neighbor by the name of Richardson in the Darien bank for a large sum and had it to pay. This broke him financially and he had to satisfy said debt which left him penniless with a wife and two children looking to him for support. He had married Elizabeth Butler, the daughter of Jesse and Mary Butler, on May 10, 1820, in Morgan County. Soon after his financial trouble he determined to return to the county of his birth, which he did in the early part of the year 1822, and settled at the mouth of Little Rocky Creek on the Oconee River. There his wife and children soon took chills and fever and remained sick until the latter part of the summer of 1823 when he determined to carry them up to his mother-in-law in Morgan County to see if they would improve in health. While there he heard of Gwinnett County,which was beginning to be settled, was highly spoken of, and he decided to go up and see it. He and his brother-in-law, William Butler, came up and looked at the lands on Yellow River. They were well please and Butler bought the half lot of land upon which Affanicious Massey now lives.

One of his old Morgan County friends, Thomas Robinson, the old wagoner,had already moved and then was living on Yellow River. He returned to Laurens County, wound up his little business and went to Morgan County, got his wife and children, and in a one-horse wagon landed upon the lot of land bought by Butler, in the early part of December, 1823. He remained there some three years, then he and Butler divided the tract of land and he built and settled on his part in the year 1827 or '28, where Mr. Massey now resides. He embraced religion at Boring's campground, now Bethusda, in the year 1824 or '25. He remained on that half lot of land until 1835, when he sold out and bought out Joseph Couey, moved to that place and remained there until 1858, when he sold that and bought land one mile south of Lawrenceville and moved to it in 1862.

Soon after this his wife died and he broke up housekeeping and moved to the home of his son, J. R. Bracewell, four miles north of Stone Mountain. After the death of his wife he lost energy and in a few years showed signs of failing health. In the year 1875 he complained of shortness of breath and it was soon found out that he had dropsy of the chest which gradually grew worse until death ended his suffering on December 12, 1875.

His mind was good to the last. He straightened himself out and closed his eyes. The fact of his having a good memory was universally admitted. He was politically a Henry Clay Whig, and lived and died opposed to the Democratic party. He never had any political aspirations, but always voted for his party friends. He was strongly opposed to secession and the Southern Confederacy. In religion he was Methodist to the core. From the best information we have, his ancestors were members of the Episcopal Church, but joined the Methodist Episcopal Church soon after its organization in this country. So the family is almost universally Methodist by instinct.

The removal of the grandfather from North Carolina to Brier Creek gave the family a shock from which it never recovered.

I am indebted to W. B. Bracewell, the oldest living son, for the elaborate history of the ancestors of James Bracewell, the subject of the present sketch. It is complimentary to them that they have kept a history of their family for nearly two centuries. In my task of trying to chronicle the history of the early settlers of Gwinnett County, I found that their descendants generally were lamentably ignorant of their genealogy.

Mr. Bracewell reared eleven children, five sons and six daughters. The oldest son, Richard W., died in Texas at about forty years of age. Samuel T. was a member of the Independent Blues, a company recruited in this county at the beginning of the War Between the States. He was a good soldier and died during the war. William B., James R. and Henry, the surviving sons, still are worthy, respected citizens of this county. I would speak of his daughters, but all of them, except four, have gone from memory...