Branscomb/Branscum Genealogy

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

by Fred Tubbs







Benjamin Branscomb (1792-1862) and Tabitha Seward (1786-1891)

Following is the line of descent for Benjamin Branscomb:

For Tabitha I report the line as researched by others. I did read Joseph Seward’s will (Brunswick County Will Book 12, p. 127), dated 21 January 1833 and proven 23 September 1833, and, although it does not name Tabitha, it does provide five pounds to Benjamin Branscomb. (The will did not name any of Joseph Seward’s daughters except the one who was still a minor at home; rather, it named the sons plus the husbands of his daughters.) Further, Joseph Seward gave consent when his daughter Tabitha married Benjamin Branscomb on 7 December 1815. The bond was dated 30 November 1815, and (Tabitha’s brother) Samuel Seward gave security. Cary James, the Methodist minister, officiated. (John Vogt, Brunswick County Marriages, 1750-1853. Athens GA: Iberian Publishing Co., 1988, p. 20. See also pp.196 and 396 of the Register of Marriages for Brunswick Co. 1751-1853 in the Virginia State Library, Richmond, VA). The wife, Martha, named in Joseph’s will, was not Tabitha’s mother. Joseph is reported to have married Susannah Phillips in Brunswick County, VA on 12 September 1782, and he married Martha King after Susannah died in 1823.

The earliest extant tax records for Brunswick County show several Sewards in Meherrin Parish of Brunswick County. Joseph is named in 1783: two titheable males, 5 taxable persons (no doubt slaves), five horses and four cows. Later tax records show only one slave, except two in 1796 and three in 1798.

For Benjamin: In a sworn declaration which Benjamin Branscomb made on 14 March 1855 he gave his age as 62, meaning that he was born between late March 1792 and early March 1793. Next to Tabitha’s grave marker in the Mount Zion Cemetery in Jackson County, OH, is a grave stone too weathered to be decipherable; it is probably that of Benjamin. (D. W. Williams, The History of Jackson County, Ohio, Vol. 1 [Jackson Co.: The Sciota Salt Springs, 1900] reports from the grave marker, “Benjamin Branscomb, died 7 January 1862, age 69 years and 26 days.” Assuming that Williams was able to view the grave monument before weathering defaced it, the DOB can be calculated as 12 December 1792. However, see the qualification below about the DOD in the portion below about Tabitha’s application for a pension.)

Benjamin’s parents Edmund Branscomb and Joanna Ingram were married in October 1791, and Benjamin was surely their firstborn child. His place of birth was Greensville County, VA. The tax rolls for Greensville County show that for the years1809-1812 Edmund’s household contained one male age 16-21; no tax rolls exist for 1808. (The 1807 tax rolls show a male age between 16 and 21, and Benjamin would have been only 15 at the end of that year.) In1813 Benjamin’s name appears on the rolls as a male over age 16 in Edmund’s household.

In 1814 the male age 16 or more in Edmund’s household was named as Thomas; Benjamin had attained the age of 21, and he was not in his father’s home. He had gone to war -- but not until September of that year. Four decades later, on 14 March 1855, Benjamin made a declaration in order to qualify for a bounty land warrant and stated that he served in William Dancy’s Company of Virginia Militia in the regiment commanded by Col. Scott. Benjamin stated that he enlisted at Hicks’ Ford on 10 September 1814 and served until 10 December, and then was honorably discharged at Campowel’s Creek. A statement on the cover of his declaration, made by an auditor, gave the dates of service as 29 August to 3 December 1814. The cover statement also identified Benjamin’s unit as the 13th Regiment. (When in 1878 his widow Tabitha made application for a pension she stated that Benjamin was in Lt. Robinson’s company; we may assume that after more than 60 years her recollection of what she had heard was faulty; she stated also that she did not know Benjamin at the time of his military service).

If Tabitha was correct that she did not know Benjamin Branscomb at the time he was in military service, she must have met him soon after his return. They were married in December 1815. Benjamin’s name appears on the tax rolls for Greensville County beginning in 1815 and continues through 1830. Following are the assessments for Benjamin through 1820 as shown on the tax rolls:

1815: one horse, 8 cattle. Tax: $0.88
1816: one slave over 16 years of age, two horses. Tax: $1.06
1817: one slave age 12-16, two horses. Tax: $1.06
1818: one slave over 16 years of age, one horse. Tax: $0.88
1819-1820: one slave over 16 years of age, two horses. Tax each year: $1.06

The 1820 census shows Benjamin Branscomb as head of a household in Greensville County: one male age 26-45, one female age 16-26, and two males and a female under ten years of age. The children were actually under four years of age: Joseph Edmond, b. 1816, Ervin Ruffin, b. 1817, and Joanna, b. 1819. The census also listed 1 female slave age 14-24 plus one male slave and one female slave under the age of 14.

Continuing with the tax rolls for Benjamin in Greensville County:
1821-1822: two slaves over 16 years of age, two horses. Tax each year: $1.33
1823: one tithe only; no assessment for property.
1824: one horse. Tax: $0.12
1825: two white males over 16 years, the other being William Bray. One horse. Tax: $0.12
1826: one slave over 16 years of age, one slave age 12-16, one horse. Tax: $1.06
1827 (as Benjamin Branchcomb): two slaves over 16 years of age. Tax: $0.94
1828 (as Benjamin Branchcomb): one slave over 16 years of age, one horse. Tax: $0.59
1829: one horse. Tax: $0.10
1830: Benjamin’s name appears on the tax rolls, and beside it is the abbreviation “Rem,” signifying that he removed from Greensville County during the year. No tax was assessed.

On 16 December 1828 Edmund and Elizabeth Branscomb conveyed to Benjamin “for and in consideration of one dollar to them in hand paid” a 163-acre parcel of land “on which said Benjamin currently resides.” (Greensville County Deeds, Book 6, p. 323) Following is the property description:

Beginning on Douglas Run on a pine now dead thence along a branch between Campbell’s land, the said land to a corner Sweet Gum in Francis Furgason’s line, thence along Fergason’s line to his corner pine thence along his line to a corner hickory in S Fergason’s line a corner to E Branscomb and Isaac R. Walton thence along Walton’s line to a corner pine in Mrs. Drewery’s line on the side of a slash thence down the said slash on a [illegible] line to Douglass run. Thence down the said run to the beginning.

Benjamin’s father Edmund had purchased 153 acres of land from Henry and Susannah Williamson on 5 December 1802 (Deed Book 3, p. 206) The property descriptions in that deed and in Edmund’s deed to Benjamin start with a pine tree on Douglas’s Run, and both mention a corner pine on Francis Ferguson’s line. It is doubtful that the “pine now dead” would have appeared in the property description in 1828 had not the living pine been part of the property description in 1803. However, the property conveyed in this latter deed contains ten more acres, and the boundaries are described principally by the names of the owners of adjacent lands, whereas the earlier deed was bounded partially by “a branch [not otherwise identified]. . . down the said branch to the Run, thence up the said run to the beginning.” This land was probably part of the 845 acres which Edmund’s grandfather Richard Branscomb had received by patent; see the map under Branscomb land in Brunswick and Greensville Counties, Virginia. Richard sold a tract of that land to Robert Williamson on 22 February 1771 (Brunswick County Deeds, Book 10, p. 122). However, Henry Williamson was roughly contemporaneous with Robert Williamson and not an heir (Will Book 1, pp. 404-405, as cited by Ray Sasser in Greensville County Virginia, Abstracts of Wills 1781-1806. Emporia, VA: published by the author, 2003 ), but the connection between Robert and Henry is unknown.

On 26 September 1829, ten months after his father Edmund “sold” this land to Benjamin for one dollar, Benjamin gave power of attorney to Edmund:

I Benjamin Branscomb of the County of Greensville and State of Virginia do hereby . . . ordain and constitute my Father and most faithful friend Edmund Branscomb . . . my true and lawful attorney. . . to pay and liquidate my unfinished business of all kinds . . . with ample and full powers to do & manage my estate & property . . . of what kind soever. . . . (Deed book 6, p. 398)

Benjamin and his family were preparing to leave Greensville County for Jackson County, OH, probably in company with other residents of Brunswick and Greensville Counties. Richardsons and Meachams with roots in Virginia show up in the records of Jackson County, OH, and it is likely that they were from the families with those names who lived in close proximity to the Branscombs in Greensville County, VA. The documents which are cited above suggest strongly that Benjamin and his family moved some time between the taking of the 1830 census and the visit later that year by the tax assessor. According to the aforementioned declaration which Benjamin made in 1855 in order to qualify for a land warrant, however, he stated that he did not move to Ohio until approximately 1835. Some of the documents which are cited next support that statement.

The 1830 census for Greensville County (p. 46) shows Benjamin Branchcomb as head of a family:
  Males Females
persons age 40-50 1 0
persons age 30-40 0 1
persons age 15-20 1 0
persons age 10-15 1 1
persons age 5-10 0 1
persons under 5 1 1

  • On 13 August 1831 Benjamin Branscomb pledged the 163 acres which he had received from his father as security for two notes: (1) $31.43 dated 10 August 1831 and payable to Thomas Avent, and (2) $20 due 8 June 1831 to Hartwell Cawale (this name is in doubt). This indenture extended the due dates for the notes to 25 December 1831. (Deed Book 7, p. 15.) It is possible that Benjamin’s father Edmund executed these notes under the power of attorney, but the deed book shows the Benjamin signed the notes and does not mention a power of attorney.
  • On 4 January 1832 Benjamin signed a second indenture pledging the same 163 acres to Thomas Avent as trustee to secure a note to Enoch Branscomb for $60.00 due the following Christmas (Book 7, p. 45). This second deed was executed within two weeks of the due date of the aforementioned notes. It is likely that Benjamin’s father Edmund arranged for his cousin Enoch Branscomb to advance the money for repayment of the earlier notes and to accept the acreage as security for Benjamin’s loan, but again the deed book shows that Benjamin signed the document.
  • On 8 October 1834 Benjamin and Tabitha Branscomb sold the 163 acres to William A. May for $280 (Book 7, p. 199). William was almost surely Benjamin’s stepbrother. No doubt on this occasion Benjamin extinguished his debt to his cousin Enoch. (See under the heading for Edmond Branscomb Jr. for further information about this 163-acre tract.)

While it is possible that Benjamin’s father Edmund signed the earlier indentures under the Power of Attorney, it is clear that Benjamin and Tabitha were present for this last transaction; Tabitha made the customary disclaimer of dower in the presence of witnesses.

(Betty Lawrence sent me information about the foregoing Power of Attorney and the deeds which are described above.)

(Note: CEB wrote [p. 9] that Benjamin “sold the land in four different plots in 1830, 1831, 1832, and in 1834.” It is obvious that he was referring to the indentures which are cited above, as listed in the deed index. It is also obvious from the content that the first three were deeds of trust rather than of conveyance.)

The birthplaces for the children, as listed in later censuses, may provide a clue concerning the time of the move, but, alas! data for the pivotal children is not consistent. The 1850 census for child #8, William, b. 16 October 1833. gives his birthplace as Virginia, but later censuses show consistently that he was born in Ohio; the 1850 and 1870 censuses for child #7 Benjamin Jr., who, as shown by the 1900 census, was probably born in March 1831, give his birthplace as Virginia, but the 1860 and 1880 censuses say that he was born in Ohio. Whatever the time of the move from Virginia to Ohio, at least by 1840 Benjamin and his family were in Jackson Co., OH. The 1840 census shows Benjamin Branscom (p. 5, line 8):

  Males Females Probable identities
Persons age 50-60 1 0 Benjamin, age 47-48
Persons age 40-50 0 1 Tabitha, age ca. 44
Persons age 30-40 0 1 ???
Persons age 20-30 1 0 The likely male was Henry, b. 1820.
Persons age 15-20 0 2 Martha, age 18, and Parthenia, age 15
Persons age 5-10 2 0 Benjamin, age 9, and William, age 7
Persons under 5 0 0  

Joseph Edmond and Joanna were already married and were living elsewhere, and young Tabitha had not yet been born. These numbers account for all of the other family members except Ervin Ruffin age 23, who had probably left home to "seek his fortune." Also, Benjamin the father was shown as a bit older than his actual age, and Martha (b. 1822) should have been in the age category of 15-20. The female age 30-40 could not have been a child of Benjamin and Tabitha.

On 20 May 1843 Benjamin bought land in Jackson County, Ohio, from David F. Radcliff, a parcel of real estate currently known only as “lot #21.” On the same date Benjamin conveyed the property to John Stephenson, Justice of the Peace, in a transaction which was probably a deed of trust. The contents of Benjamin’s will suggest that the lot consisted of 61 acres. No earlier deed has yet been found, so it is likely that Benjamin rented land prior to making this purchase. Another deed was dated 5 March 1850: Alexander and Ellen Young conveyed to Benjamin Lot #1 in the Town of Scioto, T6 R19, “commonly called the Scioto Salt Reservation” consisting of 64.02 acres.(Book K, p. 470) Benjamin’s son-in-law John French was one of the witnesses to this deed.

The next available record for Benjamin and his family is from the 1850 census for Jackson County, Ohio; they were in household #1096 in Franklin Township ( p. 894 [p. 308?]):

    Age Where born
Branscon Benjamin   58 VA
  Tabitha   52 VA
  Benjamin   19 VA
  William   16 VA
  Tabitha   8 OH
Hatton James   30 VA
  John   6 OH

The children who were older than young Benjamin (b. 1830) had already left home. James Hatton was a son-in-law, widower of #5 Martha Branscomb.

Several references appear above concerning a declaration Benjamin made on 14 March 1855, a declaration addressed to the U. S. (Military) Pension Office in order to qualify for a land warrant as a result of military service. The information about his military service is given above. Benjamin stated that he had already received a warrant for 40 acres. Following is the portion related specifically to a land warrant:

And the said Benjamin Branscomb further saith that at the time & place of his said discharge he received a certificate of honorable discharge & kept the same in possession for several years and finally left the same at his brother’s house in Virginia in or about the year 1835 at which time he left Virginia for the State of Ohio where he has ever since resided. And the said Benjamin Branscomb further saith that the No. of his regiment he cannot now recollect but believes it to have been 14, and further saith that under an application made some two years since he received therefor a Warrant for Forty Acres of land for his services above described.

He makes this declaration for the purpose of obtaining the bounty land to which he may be entitled under the “act granting land to certain officers and soldiers who have been engaged in the military service of the United States,” passed September 28th, 1850 & the amendatory & additional act passed March 3d 1855 and requests his Warrant to be sent by Mail to himself at Jackson C. H., Jackson Co., Ohio. [The first paragraph above was printed on the form; the second was handwritten.]

This statement was signed “Benja Branscom” by a hand only moderately accustomed to a pen.

The cover of the application on 14 March 1855 has a notation, “Warrant 9058 Issd May 30 1851.” Evidently the acts of 1850 and 1855 allowed additional warrants to persons with military service. It does not appear that Benjamin was successful in his application of 1855; the land in Benjamin’s estate upon his death probably consisted of the two tracts which he had bought. However, after his death Tabitha apparently received in 1878 a warrant for 120 acres. That matter is discussed below after the transcription of Benjamin’s will.

The 1860 census for Jackson County, p. 160, dwelling n. 746, shows Benjamin, age 66, and “Lelitha” (should be “Tabitha”), age 61, in household #746 of Franklin Township. With them was Susanna, age 16; this Susannah appears to be the daughter of Benjamin’s brother Edmond Jr. Benjamin’s daughter Tabitha and her family lived next door, and son Benjamin and his family lived next to Tabitha.

Benjamin wrote his will on 23 September 1861, and it was proved in Jackson County, OH, court on 15 January 1862. Following is a transcription (Jackson County Wills, Book A, pp. 340-341):

In the name of the Benevolent Father of all, I Benjamin Branscomb of Jackson County, Ohio, do make and publish this my last Will and testament.
Item 1st. I give and devise to my beloved wife Tabitha Branscomb in lieu of her dower the farm on which we now reside situate in Jackson County Ohio containing One hundred and twenty five acres during her natural life, to be used and enjoyed by her, for her support and benefit only.
Item 2d. It is my will that my said wife shall keep and retain all such articles of household or kitchen furniture and other personal property as may be necessary for her support and convenience during her natural life, out of my personal estate, said items of personal property to be so retained by my said wife are to be agreed upon by her and my Executor hereinafter named, and all the residue of my personal property of every kind and description shall be sold by my said Executor according to law, and the proceeds of such sales, as well as all moneys on hand at my decease, and all surplus proceeds arising from the use of my said farm over and above what is necessary for my said wife’s support and convenience, annually shall come in to the hands of my said Executor, who shall, after he has paid all my just debts, funeral expenses, and costs of administration hold as Trustee of my said wife during her natural life, all the residue of said moneys so arising as aforesaid, so that the said moneys may draw interest. and my said Executor as such Trustee shall pay to my said wife from time to time such sums of money as may be necessary for her support and convenience, but for no other purpose.
Item 3d. It is my will that at the death of my said wife (if she should outlive me) all my said real Estate and all my said personal property and money as may remain at her death shall be equally divided among my children, my Grandson John Hatton to have the share of his mother Martha Hatton deceased. The names of my children are as follows, to wit:
Joseph, Ervin, Benjamin, William, and Henry Branscomb, and Joanna French wife of John French, Parthenia Richardson wife of James Richardson, Tabitha Washam wife of W. T. Washam, and Martha Hatton deceased mother of said John Hatton.
Item 4th. It is my intention herein to dispose of all my Estate real and personal, which I may own at my decease in the manner and upon the terms above stated. I hereby revoke all former Wills and appoint my friend Hezekiah Shepard of Jackson Ohio my Executor and trustee as aforesaid, and in case of his death or disability I hereby appoint my friend Isaac Rickabaugh as such Executor and Trustee. In testimony [w]hereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 23d day of September A.D. 1861.
        Benjamin Branscomb (seal)

Signed and acknowledged by said Benjamin Branscomb as his last Will and testament in our presence and signed by us in his presence.
    F. C. McClung    Porter Der Hadway

After Benjamin’s death Tabitha went to live with her youngest daughter Tabitha and Tabitha’s husband William Washam. The 1870 census (Lick Township. p. 139, dwelling #5) shows her as age 70 in William’s household. On 20 April 1878, as stated earlier, she made application for a pension as a widow of a former soldier, “under the provisions of Sections 4736 to 4740 inclusive Revised Statutes, and the Act of March 9, 1878. On the same date she made application for bounty land under the act of March 3, 1855, again as the widow of a veteran of the War of 1812; she requested a warrant for 120 acres as an addition to the warrant which Benjamin had received in 1851 for 40 acres. The notation appears on the cover of her application for a pension: “Wt. 6676-120-55.” (Meaning: she was issued warrant #6676 for 120 acres under the provisions of the act of 1855.) Her application for a pension was labeled No. 17864. That number also appears on the cover of Benjamin’s application in 1855, along with the notation: “cir 5 -16 -5 -78 -W[?] Wid Pend. 17864.” (Does the 16 - 5 - 78 [16 May 1878] give the date on which Tabitha's application was processed?) The summary sheet for Benjamin’s military service confirms that warrants were issued for 40 and 120 acres, respectively; it also shows the date of marriage for Benjamin and Tabitha and the dates reported for their deaths. (It will be of interest to check the land patents after 1878 to see if William Washam was awarded one for 120 acres on the strength of the patent issued to Tabitha.)

Tabitha made her mark on both applications with an X. Son-in-law John French and Robert Richardson, brother of son-in-law James, witnessed the applications.

In both applications Tabitha gave 7 February 1862 as the DOD for her husband Benjamin, whereas, as stated, his will was proved in court on 15 January 1862. Perhaps by 1878 Tabitha’s memory was no longer keen; other statements in the applications are inaccurate: name of the unit in which Benjamin served, length of his service. The statement appears in the application for bounty land “. . . that there is no record of her husband’s death except the bible record, but that event can be proven by competent witnesses.” In a supporting statement made 7 August 1878, John and L. W. French were quoted thus:

That they were each personally well acquainted with the above named Benj. Branscom, for many years before his death. We know that his death occurred on or about the 7th of Feb. 1862 in Jackson Co., Ohio: we were present at the funeral; and are positive as to the fact of his death, but give date thereof from memory, aided by credible information. The Dr. (Mitchell) who attended him in his last illness is now dead.

(Above I reported a reference which gave the DOD as 7 January 1862. If that date comes from the grave marker, as implied, then these relatives surely would have known it.)

Tabitha qualified for a pension. In a form letter dated 15 December 1891 J.Mitchell, local Pension Agent, wrote to the U. S. Pension Agency in Columbus, Ohio:

Sir: I hereby report the name of Tabitha Branscom (1812), who was a pensioner on the rolls of this Agency, under Certificate no. 9707, and who was last paid at $12 to 4 December 1891, has been dropped because of information from P M of Jackson O that pensioner died-no date being given.   Very respectfully,

Tabitha’s actual DOD is from her grave marker in the Mount Zion Cemetery in Jackson County. She died 10 December 1891. The grave stone next to hers is too weathered to be decipherable but is probably that of Benjamin. On the other side of the stone thought to be Benjamin’s is the stone for their daughter Martha.

See also
The children of Benjamin Branscomb, son of Edmund Branscomb
The connection between Branscombs and Hunsingers


Copyright 2007
Frederick B. Tubbs

Permission is granted to make copies of information on this Web site for personal (non-commercial) use only, and only with the provision that you include all the caveats expressed by the author.

I have relied upon competent and dedicated colleagues who provided census data, information from county records, correspondence, and other sources. We have worked closely to assure that the content on this Web site is as free from error as we can make it.

We will be glad to hear from anyone who can provide firm evidence to correct any error. Please see the contacts page for a list of individuals responsible for maintaining accurate information on the various family branches.