Branscomb/Branscum Genealogy

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

by Fred Tubbs







Olive E. Branscomb, wife of John Branscomb (son of Richard and Sarah Branscomb)

John Branscomb’s wife was named Olive E.; her maiden surname is unknown. (Several genealogies which are in circulation show Olive’s name as Olive or Oliva Harrison. The spelling of her given name in the official records is invariably “Olive.” No official record shows her surname. Several Harrisons, including Benjamin, Nathaniel and Harmon, resided in Brunswick County at the time Richard and Sarah lived there, and Harmon was a near neighbor. It is therefore possible that Olive was a Harrison; but no evidence has been presented to show that she was. My colleague James D. Thomas searched the microfilms of wills for Harrisons in Brunswick and Greensville Counties, looking for one which named Olive Branscomb or which listed an unmarried Olive as an heir; he did not find one. He did find an Olive as the wife of Nathaniel Harrison whose will was dated 25 March 1794 (Book 6, p. 63), and they had a daughter Olive, but the daughter had married a Smith. If anyone can provide concrete evidence or even a reasonable hypothesis that Olive was a Harrison, it will be welcome. The occurrence of the given name Harrison for later generations [and probably for Henry, the youngest son of John and Olive, if he was truly William Henry Harrison Branscomb] seems to reflect the popularity of William Henry Harrison [1773-1841] as soldier and statesman.)

The name “Ollie E.” appears frequently among the descendants and presumed descendants of John & Olive, and there was at least one Olive E. It is likely therefore that the original Olive was Olive E. and that she was called “Ollie.” Olive's name first appears in the official records when she and John sold their land in Greensville Co., Va., in 1798; she made her mark with a “+.” She was surely the female in John's household in Wayne Co. at the time of the 1820 census. John's will does not give the name for his wife.

For the years 1821-1822 and 1824-1826 Olive was taxed for the 100 acres on the Little South Fork which had been entered and surveyed in the name of John Branscomb and which had been patented to John. The omission of her name on the 1823 tax rolls is explained by an entry in the court minutes for August 1824 (Book B, p. 3):

It appearing to the satisfaction of the court that the commissioners appointed to take in the lists of taxable property for the County for the year 1823 took in a list of the taxable property of a number of persons whom they did not certify to the clerk of the court and by reason thereof the said persons are exempt from paying taxes. It is therefore ordered that the Clerk of this Court proceed immediately to make out a list of the taxable property of the persons omitted and deliver a copy of the same to the sheriff of this county for collection. . . [The] names here follow, towit: . . . Wesley Branscomb Olive Branscomb. . . .

After 1826 Isaac was taxed for that tract; it is likely that Isaac became the head of the household as he came of age or soon after when he married. Olive was probably the female between the ages of 60 and 70 in Isaac's household at the time of the 1830 census. If so, she was born between 1760 and 1770. No more information is available for her.

See also:
The children of John and Olive Branscomb
John Branscomb, son of Richard and Sarah Branscomb




Copyright 2004
Frederick B. Tubbs

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