Table of Contents


 To pass on to my kin some of the findings which I have found to record and preserve the same that these findings may be made known to interested persons.

This writer has spent much time and effort to collect these volumes of information. He has gone in person in direct search for these facts and information to the Isle of Wight, Virginia Beach, Raleigh, North Carolina, Greenville, South Carolina, and Georgia where the lotteries were held in 1803, 1827, and 1832. He drove to Nashville, Tennessee, three times, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

He drove more than 8,000 miles collecting information. Some were located in the Archives of Raleigh, North Carolina, Richmond, Virginia, and Nashville, Tennessee. He visited courthouses over all the nation searching deeds, wills, census records, cemeteries, and contacting individuals. Only a small amount of his findings can be in this small booklet.

The writer has talked with many distant relatives who were intensely interested in gaining more information on their families. With these he has corresponded for several years. He trusts that the information presented in this booklet will help all who are working on their family history.

An effort has been made to bring the lineages of different families from the early 1600's to 1900.

It is a difficult and tedious task to trace lines, especially before 1850. Prior to that time, the head of the households only was given. In so many cases the sons were named for their father, grandfather, or uncles thus making a web that was hard to separate. A second name or initial did not come into common use until about 1800.

My wife, who helped to gather information and do the secretarial work, searching and copying records, has been a great help. She, too, has enjoyed working with me, and trusts that the book will help others in their search.

It is the writer's opinion that the name BRASWELL originated in Basel, Switzerland, derived from brass welders. All BRASWELLs are adept with their hands. They are excellent mechanics, engineers- any work that requires deft fingers. Also they became doctors, teachers, and ministers.

We will be happy to exchange information with any interested BRASWELL or descendant. Information in this book may be freely used, but not copyrighted. The price of this book is based on cost of printing and binding.

Dr. Roy Bennett Braswell, Ph.D.



The BRASWELL name, according to records, is of Scottish origin. Webster's dictionary states the word "brae" means a hill or slopping bank. The word "well" means a spring or source of water.

Some writers have deduced that the original BRASWELL clan lived on the banks of a stream and thus acquired the name. This idea cannot be justified for all early people tried to live on the waterways of the earth. The land was more fertile and transportation was much easier than by land.

Through the centuries the name BRASWELL has been spelled in many ways, beginning with the BRAISNELLE in the Doomsday Book (1140-1159). Where it is found in Yorkshire Charters it is spelled BRAYCEWILL (1471). All BRACEWELLs and BRASWELLs of England and the United States are descendants of this original stock.

(From the BRASWELL FAMILY, by Elizabeth Braswell Pearsall of Rocky Mount, NC.)



The following is from PENNINGTON PEDIGREES, GROUP X- THOMAS OF SUSSEX (Vol.s 4-8 1972-1976) AND EARLY PENNINGTONS IN ENGLAND (Vol.s 13-15), page 412.

"The Braswell's first appeared in the Sixth Century A.D. in the Kingdom of Ulster, Northern Ireland. About 500 A.D. a chieftain-king of Ulster raised two sons, one became Regent and the other, named Prince Bresal, was our ancient ancestor.

"According to archaic Irish barbs, the ancestry of Prince Bresal led backward through time and connected to King Milesus of Spain, who conquered Ireland over 1500 years before the birth of Christ. The coat of arms, a gold lion on a scarlet background, reflects Milesian ancestry of the clan. As the centuries passed the descendants of Prince Bresal came to use the surname "Brassil" to indicate their descent from this ancient noble.

"The early descendants of Prince Bresal were considered aristocratic and were large landholders in the Kingdom of Ulster. The family was listed on the social register of Erin up to the Seventeenth Century. During the first decade of the 1600's the lands of all Ulster noblemen, including the Brassil's, were confiscated by the British Crown in revenge for Ulster's part in an abortive attempt to overthrow English rule. In 1610 we find where a Corman McTirlagh Brassil was granted 12 acres by the British Crown in return for his confiscated estate. On the vast lands of Ulster, taken over by the English Monarch, the Crown settled thousands of Scottish Lowlanders which gave birth to the Scotch-Irish race that later migrated in mass to the American colonies.

"Luckily, the Braswell family escaped the hardships suffered by their distant relatives in Ireland during the plantation of Ulster. About 1100 A.D. a small band of Ulster Brassil's crossed the narrow Irish Sea and settled in York County, England. This tiny colony grew until the entire community in Yorkshire came to be known as "Bracewell."

"The earliest record of the Braswell family in England is dated 1276 A.D. when mention was made of a certain Williamus Bracewell. In the Lincolnshire Records Society publications other references are made to individuals described as "de Bruncewell" in the thirteenth century. As we approach the fifteenth century the search begins to solidify. There appears to be two sets of Braswells, the de Bruncewells of Lincolnshire and the Bracewells of Yorkshire.

"On 27 March 1560 an EDMUND BRACEWELL of Grantham, Co. Lincoln, Sadler, London, England died. He had a son ROBERT.

"This ROBERT BRACEWELL married JONE. He was 30 years of age on 14 May 1583. He was Churchwarden of Grantham in 1596-97. He died 23 September 1613. He had five sons; Nathaniel, RICHARD, Robert, Edward, and John. The BRASWELL that migrated to America was the son of this RICHARD."

Note: Information located by David Kruger of Houston, Texas (cousin to Joyce Ann Braswell on her paternal Grandmother's side.)



 The early BRASWELLS settled in what is now Nash and Edgecombe Counties, North Carolina. All this territory was owned by the English Crown, but North Carolina had a more liberal charter than Virginia.

About this time (1688) William and Mary went to England as sovereigns to replace the deposed James II. This posed a grave problem for the Loyalists, because the colonists had named their

children for the English rulers Elizabeth, James, or others. There were many Elizabeths. This had been done to gain more favors from the Crown. Now with William and Mary the name William became more popular. William BRASWELLs were found all up and down the swampy creeks, and this made a problem for each one to retain his own identity. So the BRASWELLs, like many others, changed the spelling of their last name to be distinguished from cousins, uncles, nephews, and fathers. So BRACEWELL became BRASWELL, BRAZIL, BRAZEL, BRASUEL, and other spellings, but an effort was made to keep the sound of BRACEWELL.

About this time a certain William BRASWELL (writer's grandfather several generations back) found himself in an embarrassing situation- his religion would not permit him to swear. Yet his loyalty to the colony required him to take an oath of allegiance to the state of Virginia. He hesitated or put off signing the oath of allegiance along with fifteen others of his belief. They were arrested and brought before the judge and charged as being "recussants" (refusing to cuss). For this crime he was forced to pay double taxes. He had refused to swear because the Bible said "Swear not". From that time until now his descendants have taken pride in his religious fervor. This incident has been passed on from father to son until this good day. The courts now accept that one may affirm if his conscience forbids him to swear. (From William and Mary Quarterly)

The Revolutionary War came to a successful close about 1783. The population had so increased that there was an entirely new outlook for the future for the vast flood of immigrants who were to seek homes on the eastern shores of the New World. Every farmer and planter were seeking enough land to have a plantation.

Nearly all the able-bodied men were pressed into military service. This caused them to travel and fight for all the land south and west that had been described by the colonial charters. Virginia had its boundary set by certain latitudes and extended to the Mississippi River. North Carolina likewise extended to the Mississippi River. (South Carolina also tried to claim the same territory.) The soldiers who had fought in this area were paid for their services in bounty land. Many of the men had fought in Virginia, North and South Carolina, what is now Georgia, Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee, and Indiana. They had seen the good land and were eager to get home to these places. Almost over-night there were caravans of BRASWELLs, Woodwards, Snows, Smiths, and many others headed to see all the different areas. It is to these BRASWELLS (whatever the spelling) that this book is written. To serve as an aid in tracing their ancestry back to colonial days.

Some of the many great problems which faced the settlers were who would make up the group, how would they go- by wagon, horseback, boat or on foot, and would the land be available when they reached their destination. These fearless men and women set out on the long journey with these questions unanswered, but strong in the belief that the country would be good and would become theirs. Scouts were sent out (a few of the older men) going before their families and acquiring the locations. Those who adventured too far from the white settlements made the grave mistake of underestimating the Indians and lost their scalps as in Illinois. In 1832 the Indians swept down and massacred an entire area, this caused many of the white settlers to flee the country until forts could be built.

Many of the BRASWELLs who had settled in Illinois were forced into Arkansas and Tennessee to obtain the protection of the forts that had been established against the relentless Indians.

Samuel BRASWELL, son of William BRASWELL (1707-1785), was born around 1738, married about 1762 and had a son William born 1763 and a son Sampson also born about 1763. This Samuel served in the American Revolution and continued to serve in the militia. He along with his brothers, nephews, and cousins (Brittian, Valentine, James, William, Jacob, and Druery) were sent to South Carolina (1789) and served there.

This Sampson had a son, Samuel, who was born in South Carolina in 1800. He also received land in the Cherokee Lottery of 1832- now Clay County, North Carolina. This Samuel migrated to DeKalb County, Tennessee, then on to Robertson County, Tennessee where he established his home and family. As he was still in the militia, he and a company of men were sent to put down an Indian uprising. He was killed by one of his men accidentally while returning from this mission in 1852.

He left his wife Sarah, sons William and Bennett, and a daughter Mary. Bennett and Mary were minors. Two sons, John, born 1825(?), and Vincent, born 1827, had already established their own homes.

William, son of Samuel (1800-1852), remained in Robertson County, but soon Bennett was seeking new adventure in Missouri and Oklahoma Territory. Bennett's son, William Francis BRASWELL, was in the Oklahoma Land Run and obtained land there, and later moved on to the New Mexico Territory and Texas. Today, the children of William Francis are scattered from Texas to California. Thus the old tradition of the BRASWELLs was kept in the family- ever seeking new lands and adventure. (Perhaps they have itching feet!)


    SECTION I (Rev. Robert Bracewell's son Robert Bracewell, Jr., Direct Line)




(Note: there will be Family Tree image here soon) 



A question has been raised about the title Gent. shown above. We got in touch with a friend in England, Brigadier General Holtom, CBE, Ret. and we feel it will be helpful to add the American and English definitions.

Oxford English Dictionary (From the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, a huge book that weighs 10 lbs.)

"Gent Latin - genitum born, hence, well-born, noble etc. 1. Noble, high-born; having the qualities attaching to high-birth - 1672"

Brig. Holtom further explains: "During the period, which was at the time of Henry VIII, a gentleman was definitely someone of high birth. Later the term became attached to anyone of means and could include people in trade - (you mean you actually work for money dear boy?) By the early 20th century the term was attached to anyone and could even be a disparaging comment. The term genteel derives from Gentleman meaning polite, polished, well bread etc.

In Sam's case (Rev. Robert's ancestors) because it is a 16th Century reference, the title Gentleman really means his ancestors were people of considerable reputation and substance (a real gentleman) and living in the centre of the capital city. It is important that you include the title (because that is what it is) as presented."

American Webster Dictionary:

"gentleman n., pl. men. 1. a man of good family, breeding, or social position.2. (used as a polite term) a man: the gentleman in the tweed suit. 3. gentlemen, (used as a form of address): Gentlemen, please come this way. 4. a civilized, educated, sensitive, or well-mannered man. 5. a male personal servant; valet. 6. a male attendant upon a king, queen, or other royal person, who is himself of high birth or rank. 7. a man with an independent income who does not work for a living. 8. a male member of the U.S. Congress: The chair recognizes the gentleman from Massachusetts. 9. (formerly) a man above the rank of yeoman. gentlemanlike, adj."

And the definition for yeoman from American Webster Dictionary:

"yeoman n., pl. men, adj. -n. 1. an enlisted person in the U.S. Navy whose duties are chiefly clerical. 2. Brit. a farmer who cultivates his own land. 3. (formerly, in England)a. one of a class of lesser freeholders, below the gentry, who cultivated their own land. b. an attendant in a royal or other great household. c. an assistant, as of a sheriff or other official. "

In our new world the term is used as a sign of respect the majority of the time. We hope this clears up any question about the title used with the Bracewell family ancestors.

Pioneer Certificate

issued to:
Roy Bennett Braswell, August 4, 1981

When Captain John Upton made his will in January 1651, he mentioned three-hundred acres of land he had sold to Mr. Robert BRACEWELL (Will and Adm. Bk. A, pp. 32-33).

As water was a most important means of transportation in colonial times, most of the early settlers established themselves on some body of water or stream. So, too, Robert BRACEWELL's plantation was located on the Blackwater River, some miles south of the James River and the colonial town of Jamestown, a few miles northwest of where the town of Smithfield, Virginia, now stands. Robert BRACEWELL's pastorate, known as Lawn's Creek Parish, was changed to Southwark Parish in 1737.


In 1653 the Reverend Robert BRACEWELL was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses. At this time in history separation of church and state was the subject of much agitation in both Europe and America. According to the records of the 1653 session of the House of Burgesses, "It is ordered that Mr. Robert BRACEWELL (cleric), be suspended since it is un-presidential and may produce bad consequences." (Hemning I, pg. 376). If clergymen were not allowed to hold political offices it would seem odd that he was elected to hold the office to begin with.

The Will of the Reverend Robert BRACEWELL was made February 15, 1667. It was one of the earlier wills made in this country and can be found in Deed and Wills Book 1, pg. 9 of the Isle of Wight County records of Virginia. Whether the Reverend Robert BRACEWELL was a wealthy man before coming to Virginia, or whether he accumulated his wealth after coming to the New World has not been established, but at the time of his death in 1668 (Will proved May 1, 1668, Book 2, Page 52), he was the possessor of considerable property. He was referred to in the WILLIAM AND MARY QUARTERLY Vol. 7 as a "notable minister." (THE BRASWELL FAMILY- Elizabeth B. Pearsall).

Isle of Wight County Records,
William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine,
(Vo., 7, No. 4, Apr., 1899). pp. 205-315.

" In 1736, William Bidgood was clerk of the Upper church, and Joseph Weston clerk of the "Brick church," which seems to show that the present St. Luke's, near Smithfield, was originally in the Lower parish. Rev. John Camm (afterwards President of William and Mary College) succeeded Rev. John Gammill in 1745, and then followed Rev. John Reid from March 8, 1746, to April, 1757; Rev. Mr. Milner from February, 1766, to May 3, 1770; Rev. Henry John Burges (In the churchyard at Williamsburg is a tombstone to the memory ) from of "Ann Burges, wife of Rev. Henry John Burges, of Isle of Wight, who died Dec. 25, 1771, in giving birth to an infant daughter." 1773 to 1776; Rev. William Hubard, who died on the Glebe in 1802; Rev. Samuel Butler, who officiated occasionally in 1780, and Rev. William G. H. Jones, who officiated from 1826 to 1832.

To this list of ministers might be added the names of Robert Bracewell, who died in Isle of Wight about 1667, and of Robert Dunster, who died in 1656.

The Southside counties had many dissenters among their population. Col. Byrd attributed the fact to the low grade of tobaco grown in those counties, which rendered the support of a competent clergy difficult and precarious. At an early day a considerable Puritan party developed, at the head of whom were the brothers, Richard and Philip Bennett, who had settled in Nansemond county. Upon their invitation New England sent to Virginia three Congregational ministers, but Governor Berkeley gave them a dose of the medicine, which they had long been administering to Episcopalians in their own country. He banished them from the colony, and got the Legislature to enact a law against all non-conformists."

In his Will, Robert BRACEWELL directed that his two underage sons- ROBERT, JR. and Richard- were to receive the bulk of his estate and were to share the 700 acre home plantation and 600 acres on the western Branch of Nansemond County. They were also to share in the new mill when it was completed. He named two friends and neighbors- George Gwellin (Welsh for William) and Richard Izard- to act as guardians for the children, they were each to receive forty shillings with which to buy himself a ring. He further directed that his two sons be placed in a school to learn to read and write. His three married daughters were to receive three cows each; the indentured servant Elizabeth Hall, was to receive a heifer. Seven of his friends were to receive one cow, and his son-in-law William West, a cow and a yearling.

Included in the inventory of his property were sixty-three head of livestock, a servant boy, a library worth 500 pounds of tobacco, a sloop (a single-masted, fore-and-aft-rigged sailing vessel), silverware, and numerous articles of clothing and household furnishings. The total value of his estate was given as 35,800 pounds of tobacco (Will and Deed Book I, pg 55). From an accounting of his estate rendered on 10 January 1669-70 and signed by Richard and Rebecca Izard, it appears that Mr. Izard, who owned the adjoining plantation, must have performed his duties as guardian in a very satisfactory manner indeed (Will and Deed Book I, pg 28).


1. Jane BRACEWELL was born about 1645 in the Isle of Wight County, Virginia, and died a very wealthy woman in 1713. She was married three times, her first marriage was to

Robert Stokes, her second marriage was to Robert Eley II, and her third marriage was to John Roberts. According to Hildon B. BRASWELL, Jane was evidently very attractive, married well, and "became one of the largest owners of land and other real property." Jane's first marriage was to Robert Stokes in 1667. Robert, along with his brother-in-law William West, participated in Bacon's Rebellion and was hung by the Brittish in 1677 for his involvement. Although they were married for only a short time before his death, they had three daughters: Mary, Ann and Rebecca Stokes. Jane next married Robert Eley, II in 1678 and they lived in Virginia. They too, were married a short time (less than three years) and only one child was born to this union, Robert Eley, III. Jane's last marriage was to John Roberts in 1680. To this marriage was born three children: John, Thomas and Jane Roberts.

2.Rebecca BRACEWELL was born in 1647 in the Isle of Wight County, Virginia, and died in 1700. Rebecca married William West in 1668 and they had only one daughter, Rebecca West. William was involved in Bacon's Rebellion (see page 154) along with his brother-in-law, Robert Stokes. Both William and Robert were captured by the Brittish January 16, 1677 (SEVENTEENTH CENTURY ISLE OF WIGHT, by John Boddie) during the conflict, but William escaped and was later pardoned by the King. (Greater detail on the role played by William West and Robert Stokes in Bacon's Rebellion may be found in Hildon Braswell's book see end of this report for title.)

3. Ann BRACEWELL was born in 1649 in the Isle of Wight County, Virginia, and died in 1734. She married James Bagnal in 1667 in Virginia and they had four children: Rebecca, Joseph, Robert and Mary Bagnal.

4. ROBERT BRACEWELL, Jr. was born in the Isle of Wight County, Virginia, in 1650. ROBERT married SUSANNAH BURGESS and they had four children: James, Ann, William and Richard.

5. Richard BRACEWELL was born in the Isle of Wight County, Virginia, in 1652 and died in 1734. He married Sarah Sampson on January 16, 1673 (reference Hildon B. Braswell's Book). Sarah died in 1735. Richard and Sarah had nine children: Richard, Ann, Robert, Valentine, William, Martha, Jane, Jacob and John BRACEWELL.

 A good deal of the information on Jane, Rebecca and Ann BRACEWELL was provided by Hildon B. Braswell from his book THE BRASWELL FAMILY HISTORY AND ALLIED FAMILIES (c. 1984), and was used with his permission.


Robert BRACEWELL, Jr. was the elder son of the Reverend ROBERT BRACEWELL and his wife REBECCA, of the Isle of Wight County, Virginia. He was born about 1650. He married Susannah BURGESS- daughter of John and Mary (Wyatt) BURGESS (SOUTHSIDE VIRGINIA FAMILIES by Boddie). This is further affirmed by one Joyce Cripps, who in her will referred to "Susannah BRACEWELL", my sister's daughter (Deed and Will Book 2, pg. 202).

 Five years after the death of his father- the Reverend ROBERT BRACEWELL, Robert Jr. beginning 3 February 1674, sold 500 acres of land in three separate lists. The 300 acres where his father had lived he sold to his sister Ann and her husband James Bagnall on the 31 March 1674. On the 9 March 1680, James Bagnall escheated (forfeited) the 300 acres and a mill, once property of the Reverend ROBERT BRACEWELL (Deed Book 1, pg. 457).

Note: we have started a timeline by year, date and abstract or deed or will. We have located more evidence of Rev. Braswell and Rbt. Jr.'s holdings starting 1670. Robert Jr. would have to be 21 by 1670 in order to receive the 800 acres grant for 16 headrights. (see timeline)

When one Roger Toole made his will 5 November 1692, he mentioned the three youngest children of Susannah BRACEWELL, i.e. Richard, William, and Elizabeth (please note, Elizabeth was Robert Jr. and Susannah's grandaughter not daughter, reference Susannah's Will below), each to receive one-third of an estate of land at the age of seventeen years (Book 2, pg. 323). Toole's will is evidence that James, Ann, William (b. abt 1680, making him 12 years old) and Richard, the four children of Robert, Jr.and Susannah BRACEWELL (both abt 42 years old) were born before 1692, which helps establish the approximate dates of their births.

On 27 March 1696 Robert BRACEWELL, Jr. appointed his loving wife Susannah BRACEWELL to act as his attorney. Whether this was due to his failing health or for business reasons is not known (Deed Book 1, pg. 627). In SOUTHSIDE VIRGINIA FAMILIES by Boddie, is stated Robert appointed his "loving wife as his attorney and left the country". The last time Robert BRACEWELL's name appears in the Isle of Wight records was 9 April 1702, when he witnessed a deed for Owen Bourn (Deed Book 1, pg. 351). No will has been found that was recorded in the name of Robert BRACEWELL, Jr., and there is no record of his death has been found. It is just as possible that Susannah learned of her husband's death at some point prior to 22 October 1714 and made her Will to protect their children James, William, Richard and Ann (Bracewell) Riggs.

Susannah BRACEWELL must have outlived her husband by many years. She made her Will on 22 October 1714, (she was living in the "Upper Parish of the Isle of Wight County") but it was not probated until 26 June 1732. She left the home plantation (upper parish) to her son Richard ("RICHARD BRASWELL and to his Heirs the plantation I now live upon with Sicty Acre of Land"), whom she named as her executor along with William. To her son WILLIAM, she gave the old plantation house with forty acres of land and various household items ("WILLIAM BRASWELL my Old Plantation House with fforty Acres of Land joining to it out of the Hundred Acres in all"). Susannah remembered her daughter Ann, her granddaughter Elizabeth BRACEWELL, and her grandson- John RIGGS, Jr.- with small bequests; and left the remainder of her estate to her elder son James ("and for rest of my worldy Goods within Doors and Without I Give and Bequeath unto my Son JAMES BRASWELL to him and his Heirs "). This James later moved to Edgecombe County, North Carolina, and became the direct ancestor of the late James Craig BRASWELL, well-known citizen of Rocky Mount, North Carolina (Will Book 3, pg. 304). The children of Robert BRACEWELL, Jr. and Susannah BURGESS: James, WILLIAM, Richard, Ann (BRACEWELL) Riggs, and granddaughter Elizabeth and grandson John Riggs, Jr.


There is proof that William BRACEWELL was the son of ROBERT BRACEWELL, Jr. and SUSANNAH BURGESS, and that he was born about 1680. The records show another William BRACEWELL witnessed a deed for this first William BRACEWELL as early as 1714 (Chowan County, North Carolina, Deed Book B, pg. 179). This and later records of another William BRACEWELL have caused some confusion among genealogists. It seems that Richard BRACEWELL, brother of ROBERT, JR., also had a son named William. If so, he would not have been included in the will of Richard as he preceded his father in death. (Richard BRACEWELL made his will in 1724/25.) Although there is some uncertainty as to which William bought the land, they both are

descendants of the Reverend ROBERT BRACEWELL, Sr. of the Isle of Wight County, Virginia.

In 1711 our William BRACEWELL and his wife Mary were in Chowan County, North Carolina. He was the first of his family to move to North Carolina, but was soon joined by four of Richard's sons- Richard Jr., Robert, Valentine, and Jacob, with whom he was closely associated during his short life there.

Toward the latter part of the seventeenth century, the vast unsettled lands of North Carolina had been opened for homesteaders. After the Tuscaroras Rebellion was crushed in 1712, there was a rush to secure choice plantation sites along the rivers and creeks of the new territory. Many younger sons of prominent and wealthy families who by law of primogeniture inherited no share in their father's estates, took advantage of the opportunity to make their fortunes. New arrivals from England and indentured servants who had completed their period of servitude joined the throng of hungry land speculators.

William and Mary BRACEWELL took advantage of the demand for land and became land speculators. The first time they appeared in the records of Chowan County, North Carolina, was when they patented two 640 acre tracts of land on Cypress Swamp, issuing out of the Moratuck (Roanoke) River (Land Grant Book 2, pg.s 173-174). During the next nine years, William and Mary patented four more large tracts of land in Chowan Precinct and purchased other parcels of land. This brought their total to over 5,340 acres of land which they resold portions of from time to time. There are numerous accounts of William and Mary BRACEWELL's activities in the early records of Chowan and Bertie Counties from the 4 May 1711 to the 8 September 1722 (Patent Book 3, pg. 26; Patent Book 8, pg. 220; Chowan Deed Book B, ppgs. 19, 125, 135, 144, 178, 179, and 377; Hathaway, Vol. 1, ppgs. 19, 287 and 3000).

William BRACEWELL and his wife Mary also assisted his relatives and friends in their business transactions by witnessing their deeds and acting as power of attorney (SEVENTEENTH CENTURY ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY, VIRGINIA, by Boddie- pg. 651; Chowan Deed Book W, pg.s 166-167; Hathaway Vol 1, pg. 154).

On 1 April 1720, William BRACEWELL was listed among the members of Captain Robert Patterson's Militia (Hathaway Vol 1, pg. 443). Some time during the latter part of the 1720's William BRACEWELL died intestate in Bertie County, North Carolina. His eldest son, WILLIAM BRACEWELL, inherited all the lands of his father subject to his mother's dower rights.

Mary BRACEWELL, widow, paid poll tax on 1600 acres of land for the year 1721. She must have continued their land speculations as time went on, for she purchased 190 more acres in 1721 and 300 acres in 1722 (Chowan Deed Book C, pg. 182). Mary, widow of William BRACEWELL, was remarried some years later to Moses Quinn (Bertie Deed Book C, pg. 119).

There is definite proof that a William BRACEWELL (Sr.) had a son named James, as a James BRACEWELL, son of William BRACEWELL, bought land south of Roanoke River in Edgecombe County, North Carolina, on 4 January 1741 (Edgecombe Deed Book 5, pg. 51). There is a Benjamin BRACEWELL, who was probably a son of William BRACEWELL (Sr.), as he was constantly associated with William's son James.

Chowan Precinct, which had formerly been a part of Albemarle County, became a part of Bertie Precinct in 1722. In 1741 the area where William and his family had lived became a part of Hertford County.

The children of William and Mary BRACEWELL: WILLIAM (Jr.), James, and Benjamin.


William BRACEWELL, Jr. was born about 1707 in the Isle of Wight County, Virginia. His parents, WILLIAM and MARY BRACEWELL, moved to Chowan County of North Carolina when William was a young child. On the 28 May 1728, the former MARY BRACEWELL and her second husband, Moses Quinn, quit-claimed to William BRACEWELL, Jr. the estate left by his father WILLIAM BRACEWELL. This would indicate that William Jr. had come of age at this date (Bertie Deed Book C, pg. 119). Almost immediately William Jr. began to dispose of the land he had inherited. On 31 July 1728, he sold 100 acres to Robert BRACEWELL, and on the same day sold 250 acres to John Wood (Deed Book C, pg. 3). In August of the same year he sold 240 acres to his step-father Moses Quinn (Deed Book C, pg. 79). Then on August 31, 1728, William Jr. and wife Margaret BRASWELL (he had by now changed the spelling from BRACEWELL to BRASWELL), he being the son and heir to WILLIAM BRACEWELL deceased of Bertie County, sold 250 acres to Thomas Daughtery, in accordance with his father's bond (Deed Book C, page 5). In February of 1729, William BRASWELL, planter of Bertie County, sold 603 acres "All the tract where my father last lived", north of Meherrin River to John Baude (Boddie- Deed Book D, pp. 9-10).

It is apparent by this time that William Jr. was planning to move. On 25 May 1734, he was living in Edgecombe Precinct when he sold the last of his Bertie County land "To the Reverend John Boyd, Gentlemen, minister of the gospel in Bertie County 300 acres where the said Boyd doth now live and dwell." (Deed Book D, ppgs 150, 313).

William BRASWELL's kinsman, Jacob BRASWELL, and his wife Elizabeth had preceded him to Edgecombe County in 1728, having sold their land in Bertie County in 1727 (Bertie County Book C, pg. 360). BRASWELL newcomers and the descendants of the early BRASWELLS soon began spreading out over the surrounding counties. In 1751 Peachtree Creek was written into the records as Braswell Creek due no doubt to the increase of the BRASWELLS in that section of the county.

Jacob BRASWELL received a grant of 284 acres of land north of the Tar River and in an eastern direction of Swift Creek in 1728 (Edgecombe County Deed Book 3, pg. 286). This tract of land would have been a few miles northwest of where Tarboro now stands, probably in the area of the Leggett community. Jacob sold his land to Robert BRASWELL in 1740 (Edgecombe County Deed Book from 1732-1741, pg. 391). Jacob also patented 528 acres north of the Tar River in 1729. The boundaries of this tract were marked by trees growing on the bank of the river. Evidently this land was near the site of the present city of Rocky Mount, as the river makes a turn just north of the city and flows in a southwesternly direction.

Jacob lived on this land for many years, but sold part of it to Benjamin Bunn in 1748. He sold the last of his holdings in Edgecombe County in 1762 and moved to Johnson County (Halifax County Deed Book 1; Edgecombe Book 1, pg. 232).

From about 1663, the territory now embraced by Halifax, Edgecombe, Bertie, and others were known as Albemarle County. In 1732 a petition was presented to the Governor's Council for a new precinct south of the Roanoke River and Fishing Creek. The petition was granted, but not settled until 1741. The new precinct was called Edgecombe Precinct.

Although William BRASWELL, Jr. was living in Edgecombe County as early as 1734, the first record of a land grant or patent made by him was on 21 March 1742, when he patented 500 acres north of the Tar River on Maple Creek in Edgecombe County (Patent Book 5, pg. 132). The next year William Braswell secured 500 acres more north of Stony Creek, Edgecombe County (Patent Book 5, pg. 157). These grants were located in the central section of what is now Nash County, North Carolina.

Many of William BRASWELL'S relatives began taking up land and establishing homes and plantations in the central and western parts of Edgecombe County. One of the first to arrive was Richard BRASWELL, who settled in the extreme southern parts of what is now Nash County on White Oak Swamp. When Richard divided his property among his sons in 1747, he had over 1,000 acres and thirty slaves. This was a large number compared with the number of slaves owned by most plantation owners in this area of the country (Halifax Deed Book 3, pp. 177-178; Land Grant Book 16, pg. 252).

Nash County was formed in 1777, so from that date all further records were kept at the county seat.

William BRASWELL's brother James (son of WILLIAM BRACEWELL) bought 150 acres of land in Edgecombe County from Christopher Ginn on 5 January 1741 (Book B, pp. 50-51). Another James BRASWELL, son of ROBERT BRACEWELL, Jr., was active in the county both before and after 1760. At that time he purchased a lot in the new town of Tarboro (Edgecombe Deed Book O, pg. 294). This was the direct ancestor of the late James Craig BRASWELL of Rocky Mount.

The early activities of William BRASWELL in Edgecombe County are easily found as he and his son William were the only William BRASWELLS in the county until 1760, when other Williams began to appear in the records. William BRASWELL made his will 4 March 1785 (see page 185). He did not mention his son William as he had died sometime before- probably about 1778, as his daughter Mourning BRASWELL, had a guardian- Joel Exum- when taxes were listed in 1782. The original copy of this will is in the North Carolina State Archives.

William BRASWELL, Jr. and his sons figured prominently in the records of Edgecombe County until the Revolutionary War. They served as jurymen, were assigned to lay out roads, build bridges, and keep up the roads in their districts. Frequently they bought or sold land, applied for permits to build a mill, and witnessed deeds for friends and relatives in their community.

One of the more interesting patents can be seen in the North Carolina State Department of Archives and History (Grant No. 7, File E, as Lg., 12c):

William BRASWELL, Jr. signed this patent with an X which indicates that he, unlike his forefathers, may not have been educated (see page 155). In those days, surveyors used young boys to carry their equipment and their names were recorded on the deed or patent along with that of the surveyors, the grantor, and the grantee. The above abstract shows that the two eldest sons of William BRASWELL, Jr., William and Jacob, served as chain bearers. They must have been about twelve or fourteen years of age at that time.

Pigbasket Creek rises in the northwestern part of Nash County near Castalia and flows in a southeasterly direction emptying into the Stoney Creek a few miles northeast of Nashville, North Carolina. The above tract of land was situated about two or three miles north where the town of Nashville now stands-- and became the home of several generations of BRASWELLS.

The children of William and Margaret BRASWELL: William who married Martha, Jacob, Arthur, SAMUEL who married SARAH [MOORE], Dorcus (BRASWELL) Hooks, Patience (BRASWELL) West, Patty (BRASWELL) Bridgers.


Samuel BRASWELL, who was born about 1738 in the vicinity of Edgecombe County, North Carolina, was the son of WILLIAM BRASWELL, who was born in 1707 probably in the Isle of Wight County, Virginia. Samuel whose wife was Sarah, had a brother William whose wife was Martha, and a brother Jacob. His sisters were: Dorcus (BRASWELL) Hooks; Patience (BRASWELL) West; and Patty (BRASWELL) Bridgers. Samuel was born on his father's farm and married Sarah.

The children of Samuel and Sarah BRASWELL: Micajah, Wilson, SAMPSON, Elizabeth (BRASWELL) Woodward, Sallie, Margaret, Queenie. Two possible sons were John and William although they were not mentioned in the will. In Samuel's will he mentions two grandchildren- Sampson and Polly BRASWELL, but does not indicate who their fathers were. (See page 184)

Note: The marriage record index of Edgecombe County, North Carolina (see page 179) shows a Sampson BRASWELL's marriage to Miss Moore and SAMUEL BRASWELL's marriage to Mary Williams.This could be an error on the part of the index researcher.Or this is not the same Sampson.

Samuel's will clearly shows his wife's name to be Sarah and there is nothing yet to indicate that Samuel was married more than once.


 SAMUEL's son Sampson, who was born about 1763, was reared on his father's farm, which had belonged to his grandfather WILLIAM BRASWELL (1707-1785). The farm had been given to Sampson in the will of SAMUEL BRASWELL in 1794 (see page 184).

This Sampson served in the Revolutionary War and received land for his services. (Research is currently being conducted to confirm this. There is a record of a Lucretia BRASSWELL filing a widow's pension claim on a Sampson BRASSWELL, but at this time there is no way to know if it is our Sampson. There is also evidence that a widow of Samson BRASWELL filed a widow's claim in both the twenty- seventh and twenty- eighth Congress and that her first petition was tabled and the second petition wasn't acted upon.) Sampson spent from about 1791-1810 in the corners of North and South Carolina and Georgia which was known as Cherokee Land. He later migrated to DeKalb County, Tennessee, where he settled before 1815.

The children of Sampson BRASWELL: Benjamin "Bennett" born about 1798, SAMUEL born 1800, Reuben, Mahalia, and Elizabeth (BRASWELL) Starnes.

(It is possible that Sampson and Polly, the grandchildren of SAMUEL BRASWELL mentioned in his will of 1794, could be the children of Sampson. However, as Sampson's brother Micajah was also married at the time of Samuel's will, they could be his children as well. It is impossible at this time to tell whose children they were or whether or not they were brother or sister. Hopefully, more research will determine where they belong on the family tree.)


Samuel BRASWELL was born about 1800 in South Carolina near Brass Town. He was always seeking ways of improving his living condition and was often on the move during his short eventful life. When quite a young man, he fought in the Indian wars. Samuel BRASWELL, who served under R.S. Clark, drew No. 175, District 22, Section 2, 160 acres in the 1832 Cherokee Land Lottery of Georgia- (Smith, pg. 234) "Samuel BRASWELL, soldier, was granted Land in the 11th district, third section- received 160 acres".

After this he was found in DeKalb, Tennessee, where SAMPSON, his father, had already acquired a good plantation. Samuel with his brother Benjamin Bennett and perhaps Reuben migrated to Tennessee with their families. This area of Tennessee later became Putman and DeKalb Counties. How long Samuel remained in DeKalb County is unknown. In the early 1830's he, wife Sarah, and at least two sons, William and BENNETT, went to Robertson County, Tennessee, and settled on Buzzard Creek near the town of Barren Plain. Today Barren Plain is a tiny town near Springfield, Tennessee. Samuel's farm was located in the rich valley of the waterway.

The Indians were still troublesome and the settlers were often forced to fight the raiding Indians. On one such mission, Samuel was accidentally killed by one of his party while returning to camp. He was returned home and buried on his own farm on Buzzard Creek. The location of his grave is not known today as it was not marked. As his death was unexpected he had not made a will. Sarah, his wife, continued to live on the old home place with William, an elder son, who now became head of the household. Sarah probably died in 1881 as her will was made 14 November 1879 but not probated until 1881. She left all the land that she owned to William.

On the 1850 United States Census of Robertson County, Tennessee, the following is given:

Vincent and John, born in Smith County, Tennessee, and believed to be sons of this Samuel, did not appear in the 1850 Census as they had already established households of their own (see pg. 65). According to the 1840 Census, there may be yet another son named Vincent (see page 217).



4. William BRASWELL was born April 22, 1830, and died February 8, 1915. His first wife was Nancy M. Mason who was born November 27, 1831, and died in 1896. To this marriage was born one daughter and three sons. After the death of Nancy Mason, William married Laura Lin Dowlin on September 9, 1897. (It is unknown if there were any children by this marriage.) William is buried in the BRASWELL Cemetery which is located on the old family farm near Ba0xen Plain, near Buzzard Creek. The farm was the headquarters of the plantation. The farm is still in the possession of the descendants of SAMUEL and SARAH BRASWELL.

The 1870 United States Census of Robertson County, Tennessee:

The 1880 United States Census of Robertson County, Tennessee:

(The two Strange children were the sons of Mary (BRASWELL) Strange, William's sister.)

 William's eldest son, John Henry BRASWELL, was born April 19, 1853, and died November 3, 1886. He married Panthea Cook who died October 10, 1870 (note: the date of death for Panthea was taken from her husbands headstone. Panthea obviously was alive at the time the 1880 Census was taken.) William and his son John Henry dealt in land and traded in tobacco. The land was black and productive. Today corn is the crop that is largely grown where tobacco used to be King.

The 1880 United States Census of Robertson County, Tennessee:

5. BURNIE BENNETT BRASWELL was born in 1837 and died in 1900. He married VIRGINIA (SCRUGGS) Yarborough May 10, 1864 (see below & also pg. 69).

6. Mary BRASWELL was born in 1844 in Robertson County, Tennessee. Little is known other than the fact that her first marriage was to G. Strange, and that she had at least two sons- Samuel and George Strange. The Robertson County Census of 1880 shows that Samuel and George were living with their uncle, William BRASWELL, and gives their ages as twelve and seven respectively. Why they were living with their uncle is unknown. Her second marriage was apparently to Zack Stovall.

Vincent and John (sons 2 & 3) are believed to be the elder brothers of William, BENNETT and Mary, and already heads of households at the time of the 1850 Robertson County Census. For more information on Vincent see page 66.


Burnie Bennett BRASWELL, the son of SAMUEL and SARAH BRASWELL, was only fifteen years old when his father was killed. His brother William was a young man and Mary was only eight. Bennett and Mary were made wards of the Fathering Foundation (the Foundation gave them a yearly allowance). Sometime later, Bennett may have become dependent on William. (The Fatherings could have been related to the BRASWELLS as they are buried in the same tiny roadside cemetery with the BRASWELLS.)

On the 10th of May, 1864, Bennett married Virginia T. Yarborough in Robertson County, Tennessee, Confederate States of America. They were united in marriage by the Reverend W.S. Adams. Virginia had been married before and her maiden name was SCRUGGS. She was born around 1841 in Kentucky. Bennett and Virginia continued to live in Robertson County. (See page 221)

In 1881 Bennett was still living in Robertson County, for in that year his deed to William BRASWELL was recorded in the Book of Deeds. He deeded his undivided interest in the land to William. Sometime after this he and his family migrated to Missouri, to the little town of Republic, not far from Springfield. Here he bought land and established his home. As his children married and moved away, he too moved westward into the Oklahoma Territory- then Indian Territory.







10 MAY 1864

Marriage Record Book 2, page 25,

31 July 1971

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Bennett became a minister in the Missionary Baptist Church. As his education had been neglected in his early days, he found it necessary to educate himself. He was hungry for knowledge and surrounded himself with CLARK'S COMMENTARIES and good encyclopedias and became a well- informed man. He was bent from early illness and had to deliver his sermons from a chair.

His wife Virginia died about 1899 and was buried near Noble, in the Oklahoma Territory. After her death he longed for old familiar faces and places so he returned to Republic, Missouri, where he still owned some land. He lingered only a short time after making the move. He died in 1900 and was buried in the Brookline Cemetery, Brookline, Missouri. He was laid to rest by S.S. Buck, the father-in-law of his daughter Ann Eliza. (S.S. Buck was later laid to rest beside Burnie Bennett.) Virginia was buried by the side of the mother-in-law of her daughter, in a small cemetery. The grave marker for Bennett BRASWELL was placed by his grandson and namesake- Roy Bennett BRASWELL. The stone is granite and simply reads: "The Reverend Burnie Bennett Braswell, 1837-1900. Dying is but going home."

The children of Burnie Bennett and Virginia BRASWELL: Julia Ann (BRASWELL) Russell, WILLIAM FRANCIS BRASWELL, Ann Eliza (BRASWELL) Buck- Forthage, and George F. BRASWELL.

Page 20b, continued (William Francis Braswell)