Letter No. 1
From CAREY H. BRACEWELL:
"ROBERT BRACEWELL, Jr. was already of legal age by 3 Feb. 1674,
proof that he was born before 1653, the same as his brother,
RICHARD. Note that ROBERT's wife, SUSANNAH, did not sign her
dower on any of these deeds, indicating their estrangement was
immediate and permanent (SUSANNAH was bearing RICHARD
TOWLE(Y)'s illegitimate offspring by c. 1672 ). ROBERT, Jr. was
already in Nansemond by 1674 as suggested by his willingness to
acknowledge his conveyance in either Isle of Wight or "Nansemond
Cort." By the 3 Feb. Deed to his brother-in-law JAMES
BAGNALL (ANN BRACEWELL's husband), ROBERT had built his own house
(and orchard) on land inherited from his father, but has since left
it...and "wife"...behind. The deed of March 31 shows
that ROBERT, Jr. did in fact inherit his father's original 300 acre
plantation home...which he sold JAMES BAGNALL (ANN died about 1682,
leaving all this to BAGNALL). The companion deed of the same date in
which ROBERT, Jr. received the original BAGNALL plantation in a swap
for a similar tract of 100 acres where "WILLIAM TOLEY now
dwelleth" that had belonged to ROBERT lets us know that the
TOLEYs had ingratiated themselves with both husband ROBERT and
"wife" SUSANNAH. ROBERT's power of attorney to
BAGNALL proves that he was gone by the following August 29.
ROBERT evidently never returned to Isle of Wight from Nansemond.
The next-and lat-we ever hear from his is a 1694 power of attorney
to "loving wife SUSANNAH" to answer suits in his name in
Isle of Wight. Evidently he died without issue."
* * * *
"From CAREY H. BRACEWELL:
ROBERT BRACEWELL, Jr. was already of legal age by 3 Feb 1674,
proof that he was born before 1653, the same as his brother, RICHARD."
His legal age was already established prior to 3 Feb 1674.
On 22 April, 1670 he was granted 800 acres by
Governor William Berkeley Knight in upper parish of Nansemond
county. Law required all recipients to be of legal age.
"Note that ROBERT's wife, SUSANNAH, did not sign her dower on
any of these deeds,"
According to Common Law, she was not required to sign because her
right of dower was already granted by law! She brought to the
marriage 1300 acres left to her by her father John Burgess. "
...indicating their estrangement was immediate and permanent"
There is no indication of their estrangement, much less being
permanent. The law does indicate that he had to make certain
improvements on the property, 800 acres in Upper Nansemond,
either to farm it or develop it. Further, in addition to his
share of the 600 acres in which his 300 included the plantation home,
there was also the matter of 350 acres, his share of the Western
Nansemond inheritance from his father, Robert, Sr. and
the 1300 acres Susannah brought to the marriage, Robert Jr. , it
would appear, was, from all indications, quite busy managing the 2750
acres confirmed up to this point of our research!
"(SUSANNAH was bearing RICHARD TOWLE(Y)'s illegitimate offspring
by c. 1672 )."
How was this established? On issues of morality, the law was very
strict in such matters and people of that period had no inhibitions
about 'blowing the whistle' on such behavior. As a matter of
fact, a person would have been in serious trouble had he made such a
statement during that period based on hearsay. See "unusual
punishments" as applicable to "bearing false
witness." He could have had his tongue pierced with a
heated awl. Punishments were severe for abhorrent behavior during the
colonial period. Had Susannah been having an adulterous affair
it would not have gone unnoticed and certainly not unpunished for the
Law as set down was read twice daily and deeply instilled in the
minds of the people. See Colonial
Law, paragraphs 7 and 9 It should
also be noted that,
by law, a will was required to be
retained by the court and held there open to public inspection forever.
Such a brazen act, again, would not have gone unnoticed.
"ROBERT had built his own house (and orchard) on land inherited
from his father, but has since left it...and 'wife'...behind."
Where did Robert build this house (and orchard)? Was it on his
share of the Western Nansemond property inherited from Robert
Sr.? Or, was it on the 800 acres of Upper Nansemond (see terms
of grant)? Or, could it have been on the 1300 acres of land
Susannah inherited from her father? He also makes
no mention that Susannah was busy taking care of her mother after the
death of her husband and marriage to a wife beater. (see Court
Judgment for Susannah against her step father).
"The deed of March 31 shows that ROBERT, Jr. did in fact inherit
his father's original 300 acre plantation home...which he sold JAMES
BAGNALL (ANN died about 1682, leaving all this to BAGNALL)."
In this statement he fails to say that the sale was almost four and a
half years after Robert received the grant of 800 acres and makes no
mention that James Bagnall forfeited the land, Deed Book 1,
page 457! This raises more questions. Did it revert to
Robert? Apparently it did for Susannah left the home plantation
to her son James and the old home plantation with 40 acres to her son
William. (see Susannah's Will of 26 June, 1732)
It should be made clear that the Rev. Robert left his 600 acre
plantation to be divided between his two sons with the plantation
home being on that portion going to Robert Jr.. Now we add more
to the mix. Owning a plantation home already in place why would
Robert build another house (and orchard) unless, of course, it was to
comply with the terms of the Grant of 800 acres? This, he
obviously did (Susannah's
Will, probated 26 June, 1732.) in which she refers to the
home plantation which was left to Richard and the old home plantation
left to William.
"The companion deed of the same date in which ROBERT, Jr.
received the original BAGNALL plantation in a swap for a similar
tract of 100 acres where "WILLIAM TOLEY now dwelleth" that
had belonged to ROBERT"
Which Bagnall plantation comprised of 100 acres? '...for a
similar tract of 100 acres where "William Toley" now
dwelleth. In the Deeds, there is no mention of a swap, however,
if this is indeed the case, the land where"William Toley now
dwelleth" belonged to Robert because of Bagnall's forfeiture of
the land. Another oversite? If there was a swap made, Bagnall would
have owned the land and not subject to forfeiture. Assuming
Carey's 'Toley' and 'Towley and Towle' are of the same family, then
the land referred to in Towley's will already belonged to Robert.
" lets us know that the TOLEYs had ingratiated themselves with
both husband ROBERT and "wife" SUSANNAH"
Why and how should we know the Toleys ingratiated themselves to
Robert and Susannah? We have found nothing anywhere that makes
or supports this statement. From the wording, especially
"dwelleth, is an indication that Towley was a tennant on the
land. Even if they did, so what? This obviously is another assumption
made by Carey.
"The next-and lat-we ever hear from his is a 1694 power of
attorney to "loving wife SUSANNAH"
Again, just not true. The last recorded date of his return, at
this point, is 1702 in which he witnessed a deed for Owen Bourn on 9
April, 1702 (Deed Book 1, page 351). Robert Jr. referred to his
"loving wife SUSANNAH" which is not indicative of her being
a person of "loose morals." An interesting observation is
that when others' are seeking information on people who may have
lived in Nansemond County, their records were burned yet when queries
concerning Robert Jr., having properties in Nansemond County, are
raised the seemingly stock answer from Carey (Brazil) Bracewell is
"he died or disappeared after leaving his wife."
Now we come to the Towley Will which Carey (Brazil) Bracewell likes
to quote as his reason for attempting to banish an entire line of
Braswells. Without supporting documentation, the will in and of
itself means absolutely nothing. Check the Will yourself.. Towle
Finally, when Susannah referred to the "home plantation"
she was apparently talking about where she lived at the time she
wrote her Will. Could it have been in the house that Robert
built, with the orchard, in Upper Nansemond? Or, could it have
been on the 350 acres left to Robert Jr. by Robert Sr. in Western
Nansemond County? Could it have been, possibly, on the 1300 acres
left to Susannah by her father? The answer to all three locations?
Possibly! The "old plantation" to which she referred
in bequeathing it to her son William, was, in all
probability, the original home of the Revered Robert Sr., the
home in which Robert Jr. and his brother Richard grew up
together. End of Rebuttal.
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