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:
Henry Branscomb

The line of descent for Henry 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.)

4. Henry Branscomb

Henry Branscomb was born 23 October 1820 in Greensville County, VA, and he died 27 July 1886 in Los Angeles County, CA. He married in Jackson County, OH, 17 August 1842 Nancy Hughes (b. 5 April 1825 OH, d. 28 December 1892 in Los Angeles Co., CA). The bodies of both Henry & Nancy were buried in the Artesia Cemetery, which is now in Cerritos, CA. (Data for Henry & Nancy and their children came principally from William E. Cole, s/o #4524 Beatrice. Bill obtained death records from the Artesia Cemetery in CA and the Van Wert Cemetery in Decatur Co., IA. The marriage date is from the marriage records of Jackson County, Ohio.)

Henry was probably the male age 10-15 as shown in the household of his father Benjamin Branscomb in the 1830 census and age 20-30 in the 1840 census, although for each census he was perhaps a few months below the lower limit for the age range.

Between 1840 and 1850 Henry married Nancy Hughes, fathered three children, and took his family to Knox Co., IL, where his brother Joseph E. Branscum was living. The 1850 census for Knox Co. shows Henry in household #448, T 10N R 3E of the fourth principal meridian (p. 342); the birthplaces of the children suggest that the move occurred between 1846 and 1849:

  Age Where
Henry Branscum 28 VA Farmer
Nancy 25 OH  
George 4 OH  
Henraetta 1 IL  
John 1 IL  
Lewis Hews 26 OH Farm laborer
(brother of Nancy Hughes?)

Henry moved again during the next decade. Prior to August 1858 Henry and his family resettled in Long Creek Township in Decatur County, Iowa, The Iowa Abstract of Conveyances of Lands in Decatur Co. shows that on 2 Aug, 1858 Henry Branchcomb received a patent for 40 acres of land, the NW¼ of the SW¼ of S27 T70 R26. ( Vol. 10 p. 130). Decatur County seemed to be attractive for several of the descendants of Benjamin and Tabitha: Their son Ruffin may have been there by 1848, since the 1850 census for Ruffin—in Knox Co., IL— shows that a daughter was born in Iowa at about that time, and Van Wert Cemetery in Long Creek Township was the site of burial for Ruffin (d. 1879) and for several members of his family (see further under Ervin Ruffin Branscum). The bodies of four of Henry’s children were buried in the same cemetery In 1870 Joanna’s son #34 Thomas J. French was in Franklin Twp. of Decatur Co.

The 1860 census shows Henry’s family in household #184 of Long Creek Twp., p. 27:

  Age Where born
Henry Branscom 39 VA
Nancy 35 OH
George 14 OH
Henrietta 13 OH
John 11 IL
Emily A. 8 IL
Denison 7 IL
Erlonzo 5 IL
Benjamin 1 IA

On 5 Oct 1862 Henry enlisted in the Iowa Southern Border Brigade, Third Battalion, Company A, in Decatur, and was mustered in on the same date. (Guy E. Logan, “Historical Sketch, Southern Border Brigade State Militia” in Roster and Record of Iowa Troops in the Rebellion, Vol. 6 ). When the Civil War came to an end, the 1500 men of the Southern Border Brigade were discharged.

The data from the 1870 census for Decatur Co. was unusually consistent with that of the 1860 census. The family was in household #104 (p. 328A):

  Age Where born
Branscon, Henry 48 VA
Nancy 45 OH
John 21 IL
Emily 18 IL
Denison 16 IL
Alonzo 14 IL
Benjaman 11 IA

During the early 1870s Henry moved with his family to Southern California. The first known record is a deed dated 6 November 1872: Thereafter, for the next thirteen years, Henry was engaged in a number of land transactions Following is a list of the transactions as discovered by Bill Cole in the deed books of Los Angeles County:

  • 6 November 1872: Henry Branscom purchased land from the Santa Gertrudes Land Company of Los Angeles: an unspecified number of acres in S14 of T3S R12W as measured from the San Bernardino Meridian: the fractional south half of the NW¼ (Book 22, p 427). For this land Henry paid $2000 in gold coins, which at the time was a handsome sum. Except as noted, subsequent transactions were for land in the same range and township and purchases were from the same land company.
  • 26 November 1872, barely three weeks after the previous transaction: an additional 40 acres in the same township and range: the SW¼ of the NE¼ of S14 (Book 22 p. 516) . He paid $1600 in gold coins, making his combined investment $3600.
  • 14 February 1874: Henry bought 3¼ acres in T3S R12W, beginning at the SE corner of the SW¼ of the NW¼ , paying $460 in gold coins (Book 34, p. 296) . This transaction was not recorded until thirteen months later, on 27 March 1875.
  • 16 February 1875: Henry purchased 40.37 acres in the “fractional NE¼” of S14, described as Lot V. 11. (Book 34, page 297, which is the page following the one on which the previous transaction was recorded.)
  • 10 November 1877: Henry purchased 54 acres, the NE¼ of the NW¼ of S14 in T3S R11W paying $1390 in gold coins. (Book 60, p. 535. This land in R11W is six miles to the east of the previous purchases). The deed identifies Henry as a resident of the city of Los Angeles.
  • 28 October 1879: Henry purchased an additional 40 acres: the SW ¼ of the NW ¼ of S13 T3 SR12 for the sum of $875. (Book 70, p. 218)

The deeds which have been found to date suggest that Henry made only one additional purchase of land after 1880. That deed, plus the deeds by which he disposed of his real estate, are enumerated below. Following is the information for Henry’s household as shown in the 1880 census for Los Nietos Twp., Norwalk Road District, of Los Angeles County ( p. 332, dwelling #291). His son John “Branchamb” and his family were next door in dwelling #292:

  Age Marital status Where born  
Branchcomb, Henry 59 M VA farmer
Nancy 55 M OH  
George W. 35 S OH farmer
Benjamin 28 S IA works on farm
Denison J. 25 M OH farmer
Mattie 20 M OH (wife of Denison)
Lonzo 24 M IA farmer
Fanni 20 M PA (wife of Lonzo)

Benjamin’s age and Denison’s birthplace are reported incorrectly.

In the 1881-82 Los Angeles County Directory, p. 263, H. Branscomb is listed in the section for Norwalk as owner of 217 acres. Also listed are his sons Alonzo, D. [Denison], George, and John. The directory showed D. [Denison] as the owner of 40 acres and George as owning 32 acres.

Henry is listed on page 525 of the 1884 Los Angeles City Directory as a farmer living in Norwalk.

Following is the list of the remaining deeds known for Henry:

  • 28 December 1883: Henry sold for $4000 in gold coin the land which he had purchased in S13 on 28 October 1879 for $875. (Book 112, page unknown).
  • 23 April 1885: Henry bought 54 acres in S14, the NE ¼ of the NW ¼ and the fractional NW ¼ of the NW ¼, paying $1390. (Book 138, p. 157), This land adjoined his earlier purchases in the NW¼.of S14.
  • 4 May 1885: Henry sold the fractional south half of the NW¼ of S14 T3 R5 which he had purchased on 6 November 1872 plus the 54.60 adjoining acres which he had purchased on 23 April 1885. (Book 138, pp. 457-458).

A month later Henry deeded some of his land to family members. He was 64 years old, and it seems possible that he had reasons to expect an early death. On 6 June 1885 he executed three deeds:

  1. To his son John, “for and in consideration of love and affection” and for $1 in gold coin, the SW ¼ of the NE ¼ of S 14 T3 R12. (Book 141, p. 638) This was the land which Henry purchased on 26 November 1872..
  2. To his son Alonzo, “for and in consideration of love and affection” and for $1 in gold coin, the 40.37 acres described as Lot 7 in the SE ¼ of S14 T3S R12W.(Book 147, p. 68) Henry had purchased this land on 16 February 1875.
  3. To his wife Nancy, 40 acres in S28 T3S R11W, the NW¼ of the SW¼ , for which she paid $1 in gold coin. (Book 147, pp. 70-71) The land was part of Rancho Los Coyotes and not in R12). The deed stated that the land was “in trust for the use and benefit of said Nancy Branscom during the term of her natural life and then to my three sons George Branscom, Denison J. Branscom and Benjamin Branscom.”

Henry died only eight months later.

(Note: additional information will be added later concerning some of these deeds.)

Ten children are known for Henry & Nancy. See The Children of Henry Branscomb and Nancy Hughes




Copyright 2007
Frederick B. Tubbs

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