Branscomb/Branscum Genealogy

The Genealogy of
Richard Branscomb
of Brunswick County, Virginia,
and a Number of his Descendants

by Fred Tubbs







The Children of Benjamin Branscomb:
Joanna Branscomb (French)

The line of descent for Joanna Branscomb:

(Note: Hereinafter the first three digits of the identification numbers are omitted. Please check the Author's Notes for an explanation of the numbering system I use for identifying individuals within any family.)

3. Joanna Branscomb

Joanna’s name reflects that of her paternal grandmother Joanna Ingram, and, like her grandmother, she was evidently called Anna. Her dates, and those of her husband, are from the death records of Jackson Co., OH: she was b. in VA 10 August 1819 (the cemetery records show her age at death as 76 years, 5 months and 9 days), and she died of dropsy 21 January 1896. She married in Jackson County on 7 April 1836 John French (b. in Jackson Co. 1 May 1818, d. of consumption 3 August 1881; the cemetery record gives his age at death as 63 years, 3 months and 2 days ); both bur. Fairmount Cem. in Liberty Twp. of Jackson Co. John was the s/o Henry French and Abigail Anderson.

Joanna was surely the female under ten years of age as shown in the 1820 census for Benjamin Branscomb in Greensville Co., VA. The 1830 census for Greensville Co. also accounts for her in her parents’ home. The family came to Jackson Co., OH, shortly afterward and by 1840 Joanna and John French were married. By 1850 they were the parents of six children: The 1850 census record for the Town of Jackson, Jackson Co., household #697 p. 278:
    Age Where born  
John French 33 OH Tavern keeper
  Anna 29 VA (Joanna was actually 31 years old.)
  Rachael 13 OH  
  Leander 11 OH  
  Anderson 9 OH  
  Jefferson 5 OH  
  Lewis 3 OH  
  James 5/12 OH  
Alice Connor 18 OH  

According to a granddaughter, #341 Carrie French, who knew her grandparents in their later years, Joanna was “short and heavy, rather large featured, rather fair skin, hair medium brown.” John was “tall, slender and dark,” with “rather fine features, black hair and keen black eyes.” As shown by the 1850 and 1860 censuses, John was first a tavern keeper and then a hotelier. According to Carrie, “he ran a leading hotel [in Jackson County] for many years” and was also “interested in mercantile business, also in one or two farms.” The hotel/tavern was evidently the former Isham house, which John bought in May 1854 from C. Isham for $7500 (Frederick Ridenour, Sciota Pioneers, 1796-1806, as cited by Willa Norwood. [Jackson County was formed in part from Sciota County in 1816.])

In 1860 John and Joanna were in Lick Township, household #1249 (pp. 191-192):

    Age Where born  
John French 43 OH Hotel keeper
  Joanna 40 VA  
  Anderson H. 19 OH  
  Jefferson 14 OH  
  Lewis 12 OH  
  James M. 10 OH  
  John W. 8 OH  
  Henry B. 5 OH  
  Jeanetta 2 OH  
  Joel S. 1 OH  

Eight guests were also listed, most of whom were in their 20s.

In the 1870 census for Lick Township (p. 139, household #2) John was 53, Joanna 51, and the children at home were John W., 17; Henry B., 15; Joan M, 12 (this was the Jeanetta of 1860, known thereafter as Mattie); Joel S., 10, and George W., 8. In the 1880 Soundex (36-60-1026-29) John was 63, Joanna was 61, and the children still at home were Mattie, 23; Joseph, 21 (surely Joel), and George, 18. In 1870 John’s profession was given as “farmer,” and in 1880 he was merely “At home.”

The history of Joanna after her husband’s death in 1881 is as yet unknown. Her son Leander was the administrator of her estate in 1896. Nine children and one grandchild (Carrie) were named as heirs.

The obituary for their eighth child, Harry, states that John and Joanna had 13 children. Eleven are known; all were born in Jackson County:

  • 31. Rachel French, b. 2 March 1837, d. before 11 June 1924 in Jackson Co. Md. in Jackson Co. 3 January 1858 Benjamin F. Trago (b. ca. 1831 OH, d. 17 August 1897 in Jackson Co.); both bur. Fairmount Cem. Benjamin was the s/o William Trago and Mary Harvey. Benjamin served in the Civil War from 2 September 1862 to 7 July 1865 in Company G, Seventh Regiment of Ohio Cavalry. He was made First Lieutenant in 1864. His military records state that he “commanded and helped recruit” the company. The company went with the 23rd Army Corps into North Carolina and Georgia, and it was mustered out in Nashville, TN. Upon returning from the war Benjamin undertook the contract to provide bricks for the Jackson County courthouse. In 1875 he had the contract to build the town hall for Lick Township. The 1880 Soundex (36-75-43-8) gives his occupation as brickmaker.

    The 1900 census showed Rachel Trago as a widow who had borne eight children of whom six were living. However, the number of children appears to be nine. Rachel was living in the home of her recently married daughter Claytona, The nine children:

    • 311. Charles T. Trago, b. 1858, d. March 1883; bur. Fairmount Cem. He married in Jackson Co. 6 September 1880 Margaret Collins Gibson.
    • 312. George W. Trago, b. 1859. His name appears only in the 1860 census.
    • 313. Robert A. Trago, b. 1861. Md. 5 February 1885 in Harris Co., TX, Mary A. Reilley. The 1880 census shows his occupation as “working in brickyard.”
    • 314. David Leander Trago, b. 12 July 1866, d. at the home of his son David L. Jr. in Jackson Co. from pneumonia and complications 18 April 1943; bur Fairmount Cem. Md. Priscilla Kyer (d. 1928). In the 1880 census, at age 13, he was listed as working in brickyard.; in 1920 his occupation was machinist on the railroad. His obituary stated that he was a mechanic and later was “chief at the disposal plant.” His known children were David Jr., Walter and Grace.
    • 315. Mary F. Trago, b. 26 March 1868, d. 16 July 1869; bur. Fairmount Cem.
    • 316. Maude Trago, b. 16 March 1870, d. 18 February 1894; bur. Fairmount Cem.
    • 317. Claytona F. Trago, b. February 1872; md. 2 September 1908 Robert Sylvia
    • 318. Stella Trago, b. 1 November 1874; md. 20 March 1895 Herbert Duncan
    • 319. John William Trago, b. 6 March 1878. He was unmarried at the time of the 1900 census.
    • (Information about Rachel’s family was recorded by Lynda Stevens of Tucson, AZ, and was forwarded to me by Willa Norwood.)

  • 32. Leander W. French, b. 26 January 1839, d. 13 February 1920 in Jackson Co.; md. in Jackson Co. 24 December 1861 Sallie A. Yeager (b. 15 January 1843, d. 7 July 1922); both bur. Fairmount Cem. The 1860 census shows Leander at age 21 as a clerk in the store of John Dowd in Davidson Co., TN. Given his marriage in December 1861, he may have returned home soon thereafter. In the 1870 and 1880 censuses Leander was listed as a merchant in the village of Jackson; no children were listed for him and Sallie. As stated above, in 1896 Leander was the executor for his mother’s estate.

  • 33. Anderson H. French, b. 28 November 1840, DOD unknown; he lived past the age of 75. Soon after the 1860 census was taken Anderson moved to Nashville, Davidson Co., TN, where he worked in a wholesale grocery business owned by his uncle Henry Smith French. When the Civil War broke out he joined the Confederate Army. His military papers state that he enrolled 23 May 1861 at Nashville, TN, and served first as a private and then as a corporal in Company A, Captain W. Hooper Harris’s company, First Battalion (McNairy’s) of Tennessee Cavalry. (George M. Cruikshank, History of Birmingham and its Environs: A Narrative Account of their Historical Progress, their People and their Principal Interests. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co.) The account stated that he was that he was first in Captain Foster’s infantry company, and “after a few days of drilling he was transferred to the cavalry, joining Captain F. N. McNair’s company of cavalry.” He became second lieutenant a year later. In December 1862 he was captured at Tupelo, MS, and, according to Cruikshank, was paroled a few weeks later. Despite the parole, he fought again. He was wounded at Mud Creek in Northern Mississippi in May 1863, a ball passing through his right forearm. He returned to duty in October 1863. He was captured again on 22 February 1864 but escaped. Then on 13 July 1864 he was caught in an ambush near Harrisburg, MS, and received a minnie ball through the abdomen; he was not expected to recover. He had known Ellen (Nellie) Holland during his earlier recuperation; when he was wounded this time she came to where he was, and on 24 July they were married. The foregoing account is from Cruikshank except as noted; he wrote that Anderson’s wound “disabled him from further service.” Anderson’s military records are obviously incomplete; they mention no wounds or hospitalizations; but they do include a parole which he signed at Gainesville, AL, on 11 May 1865, stating that upon his release from capture he would not again take up arms against the United States. Since Lee had surrendered at Appomattox on 9 April, little opportunity would exist for violating this parole.
  • Possibly when he was first wounded Anderson was hospitalized at or near Aberdeen, MS, and that could have been Ellen’s home. Whatever the case, Anderson and Ellen were living in Aberdeen in 1870. The 1870 census for Monroe Co, MS, household 352, shows Anderson French, age 30, b. OH, as a clerk in a livery stable within the city of Aberdeen; His wife, Ellen, age 23, was b. NY. There were no children. Cruikshank wrote that they had two children, a son and a daughter, both of whom died in childhood. Ellen herself died during the spring of 1873. Two years later Anderson married Mrs. M. J. Adams. The 1880 census for Aberdeen (p. 220) shows Anderson with his wife, 49-year-old M. J. C. French, b. AL. One child, Mary Adams, age 13, b. MS, was listed as a daughter. A black family also resided in the household. This second wife also died, and Anderson then married Clara E. Pegg of Utica, NY.

    In his brother Leander’s 1896 application for letters of administration for their mother’s estate, Anderson French was listed as living in Aberdeen. Cruikshank wrote that Anderson lived in Aberdeen only until 1887 and worked in “the banking business,” but in 1886 he enrolled in the Chicago Veterinary College, and, graduating after a year, “ at once located at Birmingham [AL].” He continued to work in Birmingham as a veterinarian for more than 30 years, through the time that Cruikshank wrote (the book was published in 1920). [See further under #37 John W. French.]

  • 34. Thomas Jefferson French, b. 5 September 1845, d. 5 May 1883 in Jackson Co. Md. in Jackson Co. 8 September 1868 Margaret Yeager (b. 22 July 1848 OH, d. 8 December 1904); both bur. Fairmount Cem. The 1870 census shows Thomas J. & Margaret French in Franklin Twp of Decatur CO., IA (p. 279, household #26), with one child, but by 1880 the family was back in Jackson Township of Jackson Co., OH (p. 58B, household #27). The 1900 Soundex (83-54-11-66) shows the widowed Margaret French and her daughter Carrie in Lick Township of Jackson Co.
    • 341. Jonna Carrie French, b. 5 June 1869, d. July 1943; bur. 14 July Fairmount Cem. Did not marry.

  • 35. Lewis Cass French, b. 28 June 1847, d. of pneumonia in Marion Co., KS, 4 November 1906; bur. Grant Township Cem. [formerly Youngstown Cem.], Marion Co. Md.(1) Jackson Co., 23 October 1866 Candace Hill Reasoner (b. 7 April 1847 in Zanesville, OH, d. of cancer 6 July 1923 in Lecompton, Douglas Co., KS; bur. Eastview Cem., Big Springs.) Candace was the d/o Jacob S. Reasoner and Nancy Stiles Hill. They had eight children. A separate account gives the history of Lewis and his children.

  • 36. James Madison French, b. 23 August 1850 in Jackson Co, OH, d. 17 February 1914 in Topeka; md. (1) in Jackson Co. 17 February 1872 Elizabeth O. Mitchell (b. 15 January 1849 in Jackson Co., d. of pneumonia 21 March 1898 in Topeka); both bur. Topeka Cem. Elizabeth was the d/o David Mitchell and Typhenia Hewitt. James & Elizabeth had six children of whom five survived childhood. . After Elizabeth’s death James md. (2) in Shawnee Co., KS, Ketura (“Kittie”) Reed Bailey (see below). Ketura was b. 19 June 1861 OH, and she d. 10 December 1937; bur. Topeka Cem.
  • In the 1870 census James was living in the home of his brother Leander, and his occupation was “clerk in store,” evidently the store of which Leander was the proprietor. The following year, according to a published source (Andreas, History of Kansas, p. 1364), he became “a commercial traveler for a wholesale clothing establishment,” and a year later he opened his own store. In 1878 he sold the store and moved to Cedar Point, Chase Co., KS. There he opened a general store and operated it until 1883. He also owned a large farm with an orchard, some acreage in cultivation, a herd of cattle, and other livestock. Circa 1892 he moved to Topeka and opened a harness shop.

    James wrote his will on 24 August 1898, shortly after Elizabeth died and while his two youngest sons were still minors, and then he lived for another 11½ years. He became ill approximately three years before he died and eventually was paralyzed. For the last four months of his life he was confined to bed.

    The license for the marriage of James and Keturah is dated 24 September 1903. Prior to obtaining the license James and Keturah entered into a prenuptial agreement, signed 22 September, concerning the disposition of their respective property, so that the property each owned prior to their marriage would pass to their respective heirs. Upon James’s death Ketura received the proceeds of a life insurance policy for which she was the beneficiary, and the four surviving sons of James inherited the stock in his harness shop which comprised the remaining property in the estate. Evidently the “large farm with an orchard” and acreage in cultivation, plus the livestock, which Andreas had reported, were invested in the store.

    Following is information for the children of James and Elizabeth:

    • 361. Infant daughter, unnamed, d. 7 July 1875, Jackson Co., OH; bur. Fairmount Cem. (as shown by the cemetery records).
    • 362. John David French, b. 17 January 1874 in Jackson Co., d. of myocarditis 7 May 1937 in Topeka. Md. in Topeka on or after 15 February 1902 (that was the date of the license) Anna L. Wooters (b. 19 February 1877 in Marshall, MO, d. of uterine cancer 20 October 1942 in Topeka); both bur. Topeka Cem. At the time of his marriage and for some years thereafter John was a directory clerk for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, advancing to the point that in 1916 (according to the city directory for Topeka) he was assistant chief clerk for the railway. In 1921 he was listed as the manager of the J. M. French Saddlery Co., which is the business his father bequeathed to his four sons. Then in the directories for the years 1927 through 1933 he was again listed as a clerk for the AT&SF Railroad. John and Anna had two children, James M. and John D. Jr.; also a stillborn child.
    • 363. James Harry French, b. 23 August 1875 in Jackson Co., d. 30 September 1951 in Ash Grove, MO, of adenocarcinoma with metastasis to the liver and lungs; bur. Topeka Cem. Md. (1) in Topeka 10 October 1898 Estella M. McElroy ( b. 29 May 1878 in Kankakee, IL, d. 22 November 1962 in Wichita; bur. Mount Hope Cem., Topeka). They had two children, Frances E. and Leander. James H. & Estella were divorced, and he md. (2) ca. 1925 Susanne Kiblinger (b. 1884 d. 1967; bur. Ash Grove Cem. Greene Co., MO.)
    • The 1896/97 city directory for Topeka lists J. H. French as a stenographer. In 1899-1900 he was an insurance agent, and in 1902 he was a clerk for the Kansas Mutual Life Insurance Co. The 1907, 1909 and 1910 directories show him as a salesman for J. M. French Co., his father’s business. By 1916 he was manager of the business. By 1921, according to the city directory, James H. had moved to Kansas City, MO. According to his death certificate he was a flour salesman prior to his retirement. In 1914-1917 he was the executor of his father’s estate.

    • 364. L. W. French, b. ca. January 1880 KS; d. before 1883. His name appears only in the 1880 census for his parents.
    • 365. Herbert Leander French, b. December 1884 KS, prob. d. before 1951. The Topeka city directory for 1905 shows him living in his parent’s home and working as a clerk. He was still at home at the time of the 1907 city directory and was working as a telegraph operator for AT&SF Railway. The petition for the settlement of his father’s estate, dated 30 January 1917, gives his residence as Wamego, KS; the cemetery record for his brother John D. (May 1937) gives Herbert’s residence as Indianapolis, IN, as does the cemetery record for John D.’s wife Anna (October 1942). He was not listed as a survivor in the obituary for his brother James Harry (September 1951).
    • 366. Joel Anderson French, b. 16August 1890 KS, d. 25 August 1964 OK. Md. Mary Etta Hilton (b. 28 May1898 OK, d. 27 July 1975 in Independence, Montgomery Co., KS); both bur. Mount Hope Cem. At the time of the 1910 census Joel was still at home with his parents. The Topeka city directory for 1910 shows Joel as a directory clerk. The final settlement of his father’s estate, dated January 1917, gives his residence as Tyro, KS; by 1920 (40-161-20-18) he and Mary were living in Caney, Montgomery Co., KS. Three children are known: Lillian, Joel Jr. and Gordon.

  • 37. John William French, b. April 1852. The 1870 census for John & Joanna shows him as 17 years old. Soon thereafter he moved to Aberdeen in Monroe Co., MS, where his brother #33 Anderson was living. The application in February 1896 for letters of administration for his mother’s estate names J. W. French as an heir and states that he was living in Aberdeen. The 1900 census shows him there: p. 254, household #404 (E.D. 89, sheet 18). His wife was Mattie, age 37, b. MS; they had been married for 16 years and had one child. With them was a son Anderson, age 22 (b. November 1876 MS). The assumption may be in error that Anderson is the son of William and Mattie. The following information is known for him:
    • 371? Anderson French, b. November 1876 MS. The earliest known record for him is from the 1880 census where Anderson French, age 5, was in the household of Wilson McAllister, age 68, and his wife Elizabeth, age 51. As stated immediately above, he was listed as a son of William & Mattie French in the 1900 census even though he was born six years before the marriage. It is tempting to consider this Anderson as the son of #33 Anderson H. French, but the evidence does not show that such was the case. Until further evidence is available he will be listed as a son of William and Mattie as the 1900 census states.
    • The 1910 Soundex for Attala Co., MS (E.D. 16, sheet 3) shows Anderson French, age 36, as the head of a household. His wife was Anne, age 34, and the children were Callie, 11; Sam F., 10; Estella,8; Annie M, 6; Rosetta, 4, and Mirranna, 1-5/12.

  • 38. Benjamin Henry French (“Harry”), b. 16 August 1854, d. 10 January 1901; bur. Fairmount Cem. The cemetery records show his age at death as 46 years, 4 months and 24 days. In the 1860 census his name was given as Henry B.; the 1880 census for Jackson Co. and his grave marker have his name as B. Harry. The 1900 Soundex (83-45-12-9) shows him as Benjamin H. His niece Grace Kline said that his first wife was Belle Rooks of Richland, KS, and his second wife was named Rose. The 1880 census shows his wife as Georgia, age 19, b. OH; Willa Norwood found in the IGI (caution!) that Henry B. French md. in Jackson 3 January 1879 Georgia E. Frazure. “He was thought to be a gambler on a boat in the Mississippi River.” His home was in Coalton, Jackson Co.. His obituary stated that he “returned from the west in 1893” and that “he had been in poor health for many years,” but that he “engaged in business occupations until the last night of his life.” No children are known.

  • 39. Martha Jeanetta French (“Mattie”), b. 3 February 1857, d. of liver cancer 14 November 1930 in Jackson Co.; md. ca, 1885 Marshall G. (or D.) Hartley (b. ca. 1856; date of burial: 27 April 1933); both bur. Fairmount Cem. The 1860 census gives her name as Jeanetta, and in 1870 she was Joan M., but thereafter she was known as Mattie. In 1880 she was still at home and single at age 23. In February 1896 the application for letters of administration for her mother’s estate names her as Mattie Hartley and gives her residence as Limerick, Ohio. Limerick, OH, does not appear on any of my current maps but was probably in Jackson Co. The 1920 Soundex shows Marshall D. and Mattie J. Hartley , both age 62, in Jackson Co. No children are listed.

  • 3A (=10) Joel Smith French, b. 29 April 1859, d. 10 February 1923 in Tampa, FL while on a sales trip; bur. Eastman, GA. Md. (1) Elizabeth Cora Davis or Davies (b. 21 September 1858 OH, d. in Jackson Co. 11 November 1902; bur. Fairmount Cem.). Two children. Joel md. (2) in Albany, GA, 5 June 1906 Mildred Lawton Willingham, d/o Thomas Willingham and Mildred Lawton. Three children. Joel’s obituary stated that for forty years prior to his death he was “prominently identified with”the Peters Cartridge Company and that he was sales manager for the southeastern district and living in Eastman at the time of his death. His occupation accounts for the numerous locations shown for him and his family.
  • Joel’s children by Cora Davis, as shown by the 1900 census for Jackson Co. (Soundex, 83-52-3-69):

    • 3A1. Howard D. French, b. July 1882 OH. He was living in San Francisco at the time of his father’s death.
    • 3A2. Leander French, b. December 1885 OH. He was in Jackson, OH, at the time of his father’s death.

    The children by Mildred Lawton:

    • 3A3. Joel Willingham French, b. 23 May 1908 in Cincinnati, OH. Md. in Boston or Brighton, MA, Betty Cavogvaro (?).
    • 3A4. Mildred Lawton Willingham French, b. 7 November 1909 in Berkeley, CA; md. in Ithaca, NY, George (?) Lamb.
    • 3A5. Sara Willingham French (“Sasa”), b. 11 August 1912 in Berkeley, CA, d. 31 December 2001. Md. in Eastman, GA, 2 March 1942 Lister Wall Harrell, s/o Walter Harrell and Mynia Lister. Their one child was Lister Jr.
  • 3B (=11). George W. French, b. 1 June 1862, d. 20 July 1881 in Jackson Co.; bur. Fairmount Cem. The same grave marker covers the remains of B. Harry French and George W. French.

  • 3X? (unnumbered) Joseph French, b. ca. 1859? The evidence for the existence of this child is highly questionable. The foregoing list accounts for eleven of the thirteen children of John & Joanna; is “Joseph” #12? The 1880 census for Jackson Co., OH, shows Joseph, age 21, as a child of John and Joanna French. That child corresponds to Joel. It is possible that Joseph and Joel were twins and that Joel had already left home by 1880, but more probably the census enumerator recorded Joel’s name as Joseph. The records for Fairmont Cemetery state that an F. J. French died in April 1883. Given that almost all of the persons surnamed French whose remains are in Fairmount Cem. can be identified as descendants of John and Joanna, it is tempting to identify this person with “Joseph.” The available evidence does not yet warrant yielding to the temptation.

(The foregoing data for John & Joanna French and their descendants came principally from#3571 Willa Norwood. We can have faith in the research which Willa carried out, but some of the data which she collected from others is still subject to correction. The records which I have cited for Joanna’s family were either from documents Willa copied for me or that she cited in the genealogies which she sent me.)




Copyright 2007
Frederick B. Tubbs

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