Table of Contents


Pages 135 - 156


Bracewell, England, is a small, picturesque, agricultural community located in the county of Yorkshire just a few miles north of the old Roman Road. It is located in an area known for it's wool products andthe raising of sheep. Some believe this is the early home of our ancestors.

According to local legend, the town's name came to be Bracewell because of events that occurred about the time of the Norman invasion (1066 A.D.). A man of Scottish origin by the name of Brae owned a well. As fresh water is a necessity of life for people of all generations, it is easy to understand why a town grew up around Brae's well. During the Middle Ages, people were known only by their first name as the use of surnames did not become common practice until about 1200 A.D. Another way of distinguishing one person from the next, was by giving the place he or she came from. Therefore a man named William, who lived in the vicinity of the well, would have been known as William of "Brae's well". Over the generations, and as people began taking surnames, Brae's well became Bracewell.

Quiet and pastoral as it may be, history has not passed Bracewell by. Two kings once sought refuge here. King Henry the VI is said to have taken refuge in the local church, St. Michael's, after the battle of Hexham (1464) before heading on to Waddington. King George is also said to have defended himself (it is believed successfully) from the revolution in a local barn which to this day is known as George's Barn.

The religious heritage of this area is quite interesting and extends back to the time of the Norman invasion as well. The foundation of the church, St. Michael's, has been dated at 1100 and it's architecture is of the Norman style. In it's earliest documentation, approximately 1147, it was called St. Mary's Mount by the Cistercian monks who took it from the original inhabitants. By May 19, 1153, the monks had evacuated and the chapel was returned to it's rightful owners. In 1743 the church recorded that there were thirty families within the area of St. Michael's with two families being "dissenters" (one Baptist the other Presbyterian). The church underwent massive renovation in 1847 and 1848 and further repairs were made in 1861. St. Michael's has been "...overlooking the little parish and the centre of daily life..." (THE STORY OF ST. MICHAEL'S THROUGH EIGHT CENTURIES, Colin C. Mackay, Bracewell Vicarage, 1953) for more than eight hundred years.

While the church itself is quite beautiful, with it's tower, whose walls are five feet thick, and it's windows of painted glass, perhaps the most important aspect of the church to the BRASWELLs is it's graveyard. Two monuments have been placed here honoring early BRACEWELLs. The monument hanging on the wall honors William BRACEWELL and his son (also William BRACEWELL) and was placed by his employees "as a token of respect and esteem for their late masters" (Glenn E. BRASWELL) and the other is the tomb of Mary Jane BRACEWELL, daughter of William. According to research done by Glenn E. BRASWELL, the BRACEWELLs apparently owned a large mill in the area.

This report was written with the information sent from Glenn E. BRASWELL and Olin Klute BRASWELL to Hildon BRASWELL who in turn sent it to me with the hope I would include it in this book- JAB.

Reserved for picture


 Church of St. Michael's, Bracewell, England.
Photo by Glenn BRASWELL of Alexandria, Virginia.


Reserved for monument picture

Monuments to Mary Jane BRACEWELL, William BRACEWELL and son in yard adjacent to St. Michael's. Photo by Glenn E. BRASWELL of Alexandria, Virginia.

 Photos on this page courtesy of Hildon Basil BRASWELL.

Members of the Clan BRAZIL were descendants of the colonists whose legendary ancestor, EREMON, went to Ireland from Spain with the Milesian migration of 335 B.C. Their ancestral lineage extended either to the Carthagenians, or their kinsmen the Phoenicians. They were experts in trade and travel and quite probably were aware of the great western continent at this very early date.

These people were lovers of the sea and may have visited the New World about 500 A.D. St. Brendan- a member of the BRAZIL Clan... made his voyage [he was looking for paradise] which extended over seven years. The ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITTANICA Volume 4, page 152 in the 1971 edition states that the voyage of St. Brendan is clearly based on authentic reports and that the Irish had knowledge of the Americas before 400 A.D.

The clan BRAZIL began to leave northern Ireland about 800 A.D. and came to the American continent. They gathered the valuable dye products noted in treaties and listed in taxable imports on many ancient records. It is known that the clan BRAZIL of Ireland gave its name to the dye of ancient records, and with the discovery of like products in South America, the country of Brazil, South America, was given its name. (See BREAZEALE NOTES March 1972, pages 66-67. This magazine is no longer in publication.)




"My Grandfather, B.A. WAGNER, was born 1831 in Ohio (his father was a native of Germany. He was a justice of the peace, also a shoe cobbler. He was married to Emily MARQUIN (French descent). To this union six children were born: John, Joe, Orpha, George, Mary, and Harvey, my father. His father died when papa was thirteen months old. His father left (my) Grandmother half of the property and $1,000 to each of the six children to be given to them at the age of eighteen. Papa's mother died when he was thirteen years of age. Uncle John, an M.D., kept him until he was eighteen years old and was graduated from high school. At that time, he decided to go out on his own and go to Kansas and stake a claim and build a house of his own.

"He bought a span of mules, new wagon and harness and started to Kansas alone. Things went fine until he came to the White River. It was a rather narrow river, but was deep and swift. Though there were fresh signs of the river having being crossed, he was most afraid to drive into the river. So he built a campfire, fed the mules, cooked and ate his dinner, then he decided to cross the river. He drove into the water, (which) was so swift it turned the wagon over, sending all down stream. Papa managed to get the tugs loose from the singletrees, lost the wagon, but swam the mules out safe.

"When he got to Topeka, Kansas, he bought a new wagon and visited a few days with his sister, Orpha and husband. Then he went on to Dexter, Kansas, where his brother George, a doctor, lived. He found a lovely piece of land (prairie) with a nice creek running through the place. It was in a way smuggled by homesteaders, but Dr. Wagner had been living there a few years, put Papa wise. Papa filed a contest on the eighty acres of land and lived there as a "squatter", as he was not old enough to file on a homestead.

"Papa met and married Millie E. HIGHTOWER in December 1873. To this union three children were born: Ada B., Arthur B., and Laura B. Laura died the 20th day of March, and Mother died five days later on March 25th, 1879. A few weeks later Papa brought Arthur and me to San Marcos, Texas, to his youngest sister Mary and Uncle Will (or Bill?) Dudgeon lived.

"I remember that we had a rough trip on the train. Most of the way we had to ride on a freight train. It kept us busy holding tight onto Papa to keep us from falling off of a straight bench without a back and just Papa to hold on to. Papa's half-brother, Uncle Ben (Sebrin?), met us at the depot in Austin,


Pioneer of Kansas Certificate presented to Roy Bennett BRASWELL for Ada Wagner.

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Texas. This was early in April. In the fall Papa and Uncle Will (Bill?) each bought a tract of land eight miles south of Kyle, Texas, and eight miles northwest of Lockhart. It was a beautiful tract of prairie covered with tall blue-stem grass. Said land was bought from Colonel Sledge of Kyle, Texas, a big landowner.

"We lived in Caldwell County and I walked to school in Hays County. It was called the Rawhide School.

"September 1888, Papa sold our farm and he and Arthur left in a covered wagon for the Indian Territory and Oklahoma as it was opened up for the RUN for homes. When Papa got to Pauls Valley in the Chickasaw Nation, the land looked very productive. Farms were scattered along every few miles. Apples, pears, peaches, grapes and various fruits were grown. Wherever a tree was found it produced well. Papa drove on twenty miles farther, a mile from Wayne Indian Territory, and bought 350 acres, a ten year Indian lease with a two-room house and a half dug out. Fifty acres of the land was in cultivation. Papa sent for Mama and me, and the four little children. We felt awfully cramped up in the three rooms. The large dug out was kitchen, dining, and bedroom for Arthur.

"Papa sowed forty acres of wheat early. Seasons were great so we soon had a good horse and cow pasture. Most all winter farms were scattered as it was thinly settled. Papa put out a three acre orchard and the first fall and spring after Papa dug a well. We got an abundance of good soft water at eighteen feet. Papa was a firm believer in diversified farming, early planting, and fall and winter plowing so as to catch in his deep listed furrows the winter rains and snow. The winter of 1889 we had a lovely three foot snow. It was beautiful- so level with no snow drifts.

"Neighbors were few and far between, but no problem there as we had plenty of good fat horses and ponies to ride, and it was fun for us to saddle our ponies and ride five miles to a neighbors to a birthday dinner and to spend the day.

"After six years Papa traded our lease for 160 acres of land three miles south of Norman, Oklahoma. My step-mother had died and I then became Papa's housekeeper and took care of our family- Papa, Arthur, myself, two half-sisters and two half-brothers, ages ten, nine, eight and one eighteen months old. All the weekdays I was home cooking, washing, ironing, sewing and keeping house. Sunday morning I went to Sunday School. I was teacher of our young people's class and that is where I met my husband, he was in my class. When I met him my heart turned a few flops but I gave me a little talk, and said, "Now Ada, go slow, he is Sarah's friend and she is your friend, don't double cross her, you're not sure of him anyway." Five months later, he and Sarah broke up.

"June 20th, late Saturday evening I received a note from him- W.F. (or Will) BRASWELL, asking for a date at 1:30 Sunday. "Yes", was the answer. We attended Sunday School at White Mound school house every Sunday at 2:30 PM. At 2:00 each Sunday Papa drove the wagon around to the front of the house and called for us all to come. It is time to go and I was expecting Will to come any minute. I saw him when he was about a mile and one-half away.

"I hid Oscar's cap behind a big square pillow on the bed. The family was looking everywhere for the cap until Will rode up. I met him at the door. Papa called, "Ada, come, we will be late." We went to

the wagon and Papa said to get in, I tried to excuse myself. "Get in the wagon Ada, you are the secretary and also have a class." We got in the wagon in chairs back of Papa. August 29, 1895 we were married.

"When Will asked Papa for my hand in marriage Papa said, "I have a request of you that you and Ada stay here thirty days so Ada can continue to care and keep house and take care of the children till we get the broom corn taken care of." We granted him his request and when the broom corn was taken care of Papa went to town, bought him a new suit of clothes, hat, shoes, and everything needed, and that night we took him to the train to go to Dexter, Kansas. He had confided in me all along of his plans and let me read all the letters. He went to his brother- Dr. G.P. Wagner for a visit, so the half-sisters and brothers thought. But the lady he went to see lived across the street from Uncle George. Said lady, Sallie Brian, was a widow that Papa knew when he and his brother and all were single and before any of them were married. Uncle George tied the horse hitched up to the buggy. He came into the house and said, "Harvey, I have a call and have to go now. Best wishes with you, bye, see you later. The horse and buggy are ready for you."

"Papa and Mama (?) went out to the buggy. Papa helped her in, he got in took the reins in his hands and said "Get up." The horse stood still. Still again Papa said "Get up". Aunt Florence laughed and said, "Harvey, untie the horse, then he can go." Was Papa's face red? He untied the horse and then they went to the preacher's house and were married. They took the train that night and came home. They were back in time for breakfast the next morning."

 These memories were written by Ada Bertha (WAGNER) BRASWELL when she was alone after the death of her husband. The hand-written article was given to her granddaughter- Lee Ellen (Stoops) Williams of San Antonio. Lee Ellen prizes this token of her Grandmother BRASWELL'S love.



Summarizing the movements of William Francis BRASWELL who was born August 28, 1869 or 1870, near Barren Plains, Tennessee, where the old family home is located. William spent the first fourteen years of his life near Springfield, Tennessee, on the farm of his great-grandfather, Samuel BRASWELL, whose wife was Sarah. As land become scarce in that area, a delegation of BRASWELLS and Russells migrated three hundred miles west to Springfield, Missouri. William's father, Bennett BRASWELL, acquired a plot of land fourteen miles south of Springfield in the year 1884.

Young William grew up cutting wood and selling it in Springfield, Missouri, to help support the family. In 1896 he was on the move again to the Oklahoma Territory where he acquired land. Here he reared his family. By 1906 he moved to Clovis, New Mexico Territory, where he spent several years.

Prior to his death, he and his wife, Ada Bertha WAGNER, spent some time in Brownsville, Texas, where he pastored a church. Later he moved to Carrizo Springs, which is about fifty miles south west of San Antonio. Here he spent the last years of his long, eventful life. He passed away in 1951 at the age of eighty-six. He was truly a frontiersman during the time when the gun was the law.

Ada Bertha WAGNER was the daughter of Thomas Harvey WAGNER and Mildred HIGHTOWER. She was born December 18, 1875, Dexter, Kansas. She had one brother, Arthur Beale, and five half brothers and sisters. Ola Wagner married David Mason; Grace remained single; the boys were Guy, Oscar, and Hugh. Ada received a good education and taught school for some time and wrote articles for religious periodicals. She was a very strong woman with a wonderful sense of humor. She was always engaged in some kind of work- gardening, canning, cooking, teaching the children, yet having time to have singing and parties for her children.

After the death of her husband, William Francis, she sold her place and lived with some of her children- Sallie Davis, San Antonio, Maggie Stoops, and Edna Burdine of Amarillo. She also spent much of her time with Arthur and Effie in Redlands, California. The last few years of her life were spent in a convalescent home in Pomona, California, which was operated by Audrey Lee BRASWELL. The experience was new to her, but she had always been able to adjust herself to any and all circumstances. She was happy and seemed to enjoy being with the others, listening to their problems, and giving comfort to all less fortunate than she. She suffered a stroke and lingered only a few days. She passed away in the home surrounded by some of her children, January 7, 1965. Services were conducted for her in her own church in Pomona, then the last trip to Amarillo. She was laid to rest by the side of her beloved husband in the Llano Cemetery, Amarillo, Texas. At the time of her death, she had thirteen living children, fifty-nine grandchildren, one hundred thirty-four great-grandchildren, and thirteen great-great-grandchildren.



In 1965, Elizabeth (Hubbs) BRASWELL set down recollections of her early years near Green Forest, Arkansas. Olin Klute BRASWELL, her son, graciously gave it to Roy Bennett BRASWELL, who relates it here in his own way.

About 1883 a group of farm people of Indiana formed a wagon train to move west. In this train were five horse-drawn wagons, and one wagon drawn by a yoke of oxen. The trip from Indiana to Carroll County, Arkansas, took six weeks. The father of Elizabeth, Thomas K. Hubbs, secured a tract of land with a house. As he was a carpenter he made furniture for the new home. He brought materials and tools from Indiana. The family worked hard and soon were producing good crops. Her mother spun wool on her spinning wheel, from which, she made clothes and blankets.

Life was good in this new land. A school was built and the building also served as a church house and community center. The families had gay parties and singing on Sunday afternoons. In those days singing schools were popular and a person could obtain ten lessons for one dollar. It was at a singing school that Elizabeth Hubbs met her future husband, Jimmie BRASWELL. He was the son of Andrew Jackson BRASWELL. Jimmie and Elizabeth were married November 17, 1895. She was seventeen and Jimmie was twenty-three.

Jimmie's father gave them a five or six acre tract of land. On this land Jimmie built a two- room house and furnished it with home-made furniture. He was a gifted man- a musician, carpenter, painter, printer, and photographer.

Elizabeth (Hubbs) BRASWELL died November 1, 1970, at the age of ninety-one years, four months, and eight days in Berryville, Arkansas. Her life had been long and eventful. She met each new challenge with a brave heart and a happy smile. Her son, Olin Klute BRASWELL, lives in Berryville, Arkansas. His home is lovely and interesting. Many clocks tick away the hours. He is a man of many interests and hobbies and has done a lot of research on the BRASWELLS both in America and England. He has a storehouse of information and some day he hopes to compile his work and perhaps publish it. He is always happy to share his information with others. His home is 111 Pritchard, Berryville, Arkansas.



Retold from the CARROLL COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLY, the following may be a legendary story relating to the murder of James BRASWELL of Tennessee (see page 76). He is believed to be the brother of William BRASWELL (see page 76 and 81).

This account was sent by Olin Klute BRASWELL of Berryville, Arkansas.



 Establishing his home in Shackleford County, Texas, in 1891, Derrell Crofford BRAZELL, during the years intervening before his death, became highly regarded in that section as one of its honest, industrious and helpful citizens. Although not attaining a position of prominence in civic of political life, nor in any way seeking such, he was content with the rewards of his own labor and happy in the knowledge that his friends were numbered by the extent of his acquaintance.

Mr. BRAZELL was born in Cass County, Texas, July 8, 1871, the son of "Pink" and Sarah (Dempsey) BRAZELL. His common school education was received in rural schools of the community. During his youth he worked on his father's farm and later followed this and similar occupations in East Texas.

He then went to Shackleford County in the above mentioned year and began farming for himself on a modest scale. Judge William Poindexter, of Cleburne, who owned a farm nine miles east of Albany, later engaged him to supervise the activities on his farm. This was 1900 and from that year until 1916 Mr. BRAZELL was directly responsible for the good average yield of the crops that were raised. After sixteen years on Judge Poindexter's farm, he decided to utilize the practical experience and knowledge of the country derived therefrom by entering the ranching business for himself.

A home was established in the town of Albany and from there he directed the ranching activities on his property, located ten miles north east of that place. A mixed herd of cattle was raised on the ranch until just a few years prior to his death, and it was given over to the raising of steers for market. From the beginning, the enterprise was successful.

In fraternal and religious, Mr. BRAZELL was a member of the Baptist Church and the Woodmen of the World. He married Miss Eliza Brown on December 24, 1893. Mrs. BRAZELL, a daughter of James L. and Jane (Meadows) Brown, came with her parents from northern Arkansas at the age of six. They located in Shackleford County and she has continued to reside in that locality ever since. Following the death of her husband, Mrs. BRAZELL disposed of the cattle and leased the family ranch. The death of Mr. BRAZELL occurred November 21, 1927. We close his biography with the words of Mr. G.B. King, Albany, Texas.

"Crofford BRAZELL was the highest type of Western ranchman; pure souled, big hearted, high minded, optimistic, upright, direct and square, and fair in all his thoughts, words and actions. He was always hearty and jovial, never bothered by little things. He had a broad and sane viewpoint of life with a strong, robust, and wholesome personality. He had a pat on the back and an encouraging word for everyone, always joking and laughing. One of the most pleasant men I have ever known."

He was a capable, generous and helpful friend and citizen who has been remembered and missed ever since his passing.



 In the OLD WEST magazine Lewis S. DeLony tells of the murdering of Dr. BRAZELL and his son Bob. This edition was published in the winter of 1970 (a copy is now in the possession of JAB). Delony served as a Texas Ranger for forty years as a plain-clothes man for the state of Texas. His early recollections were of the Civil War and the havoc that spread over all the South after the close of the war. He received his commission January 1877.

As Texas was a new state and offered freedom and plenty, many settlers came to make their homes. It also became a haven for men who were fleeing from the law in other states. Mr. Delony related in his article "Forty Years a Peace Officer" of many gang killings in Texas. The one that would interest the BRASWELLS is the gang killing of Dr. George BRAZELL and his son Bob. On Christmas Eve 1876 there was a Christmas tree at the BRAZELL's [BRASSELL] schoolhouse that was about half way between Clinton and Yorktown (DeWitt County). Dr. BRAZELL and Dave Augustine were the trustees and Miss Amanda Augustine and Miss BRAZELL taught in the school. During the entertainment someone shot the lights out and a general fight broke out. Some shooting was done, but no one was killed.

A week later on New Year's night, there was a big ball in Yorktown, and the Taylor gang was there. The town people were frightened and were afraid that the ball would be broken up. Word was sent to the Rangers, who were at Clinton, for help. Meanwhile, an angry crowd gathered outside Dave Augustine's place and began to make threats against George BRAZELL, eldest son of Dr. BRAZELL. George was wanted as he was an outlaw, and the State of Texas had offered a reward for him- dead or alive. The mob outside Mr. Augustine's said they would not take him alive, they would kill him.

Delony did not go to Yorktown that night, but arrived the next morning about sunrise. He found the bodies of Dr. BRAZELL and another of his sons, Bob, near the forks of the road, the road that led from Yorktown and the residence of Dr. BRAZELL. There had been a fight here. There were horse tracks coming from Dr. BRAZELL's house and horse tracts coming from the main Yorktown road- showing that there had been shooting from both directions.

DeLony believed that a big battle had been fought there where the bodies had been found. Probably ten or more men on each side. He made his report to A.B. Davidson, the district attorney. Davidson refused to let DeLony enter the jury room, and the defense lawyers were afraid to have him as a witness. He attended the trial in San Antonio as a witness, but did not testify in the trial. He never revealed to anyone, except the county officers and the governor, what he thought about the killing. In those days he said, it was not safe to talk very much.

Three of the men were found guilty of murder in the first degree and given death sentences, but after six years in jail they were released. Those who had killed Dr. George Phillip BRAZELL and his son Bob were never brought to justice.

George BRAZELL, the doctor's outlaw son, may also have been killed that night, however, no account was given as to his fate.



 The family tradition of the origin of the Isham BRAZZELL line appeared in the December, 1965 "Brazzel Annals". The Dauphin Heir to the French throne the (lost) son of Louis XVI, last of the Bourbon Kings of France and Marie Antoninette, Arch Duchess of Austria, when he escaped the guillotine, fled to Ireland, assumed the name of BRAZZELL and made it legally his own, married an Irish peasant girl and embarked for America, landing in Carolina and died leaving three sons. This we do know that one Isham BRAZZELL and his wife died either of Indian raids or malignant fever in Carolina and left three sons- Charles age 6; Joel age 4; and Isham age 2 years old. The children were separated, each one being brought up in a different family. Charles remained in Carolina, Joel moved to Alabama, and Isham moved to Florida.



During the first five years of his reign, Charles II was greatly occupied with the American Colonies. In 1663 he granted a large tract of land that was between Virginia and the Spanish settlements of Florida, extending westward to the Pacific Ocean, to eight men (or noblemen). The charter gave the proprietors powers to make laws, with the assent of the freemen of the colony. The proprietors were not always wise and much discontent developed in the colonies. A community grew up on the Chowan River as early as 1670 by settlers from Virginia, and another settlement on the Ashely River that was just three hundred miles south. These two widely separated settlements gradually developed into North and South Carolina. They were not officially separated until about 1711. (note: South Carolina became a separate colony in 1729.)

There was growing discord between the settlers, governors, proprietors, and the king. Soon North and South Carolina became a haven for runaways, where everyone did what he believed was right in his own eyes. They paid no tribute to God or man. The Spanish invited the Indians to attack on the south and pirates swarmed on the coast and the swamps. In 1719 South Carolina asked King George I to take it under his protection, and ten years later North Carolina also became a royal colony. Thus the settlers owed allegiance to the English Crown. Daring men who had a desire for land filled these colonies rapidly. They wanted homes and families, and freedom. (Muzzy's AMERICAN HISTORY, pages 47-58.)


The BRAZEEL family was in North Carolina quite early and by 1790, Wood, Joel and Drury BRAZEEL, Jr. were living in Abbeville District, South Carolina. Willis, Valentine and Brittain BRAZEL were in Edgefield District, South Carolina, and the family was also represented in Greenville District, but not in Pendleton. Sampson BRASILL was in Wilkes County, Georgia, by 1781. Kenon or Cannon BREAZELLE bought from Walter Bell, 3/2/1799, land on Rocky Creek, and Joel and Cannon BRAZEEL were enumerated in that area in 1800 (Nos. 842, 853 below) near members of the Bell, Cannon and Clements families. The family was in Jackson County, 1801 and Britain BRAZELS being in the 1803 and 1805 tax lists with land on Mulberry Fork of the Oconee River, and he and William L. BRAZEEL in the 1805 Jackson

County lottery. Br. (Britton) and Martha BRAZEEL were enumerated in Jackson County in 1820; Martha was perhaps the Martha BRAZEEL born in South Carolina 1775, who was living in Hall County in 1850. Brittain BRAZIEL, Revolutionary soldier, in the 1827 Jackson County lottery drew land in Lee County granted 5/16/1833. Britton BRASSELL, Revolutionary soldier, in the Jones County lottery the same year drew land in Lee and Muscogee Counties, granted 5/4/1839. Sampson BRASWELL (wife- Lucretia) had North Carolina Revolutionary service (W-3930).



 The Battle of Chickamauga was fought September 19-20, 1863, in the northwest corner of Georgia and was the greatest Confederate victory of the war in the western theater. It was a fierce battle with some of the heaviest fighting on Snodgrass Hill. Both sides sustained heavy losses. Union casualties were approximately 16,000 out of a total of almost 60,000 men engaged. The Confederate army of about 66,000 sustained a loss of 18,000 men. (ENCYCLOPEDIA AMERICANA, Vol. 6, pages 435-437 in the 1987 International edition.)

The following is the actual report of a Confederate captain concerning the Battle of Chickamauga. It was taken from The War of the Rebellion, Series I, Vol. 30, part 2 and can be found on ppgs. 335, 336 and 337. Of particular interest is the part played by a Private BRASWELL of Company A, Twenty-second Alabama Regiment.

Report of Capt. Harry T. Toulmin, Twenty-second Alabama Infantry.

Hdqrs. Twenty-second Alabama Regiment, Missionary Ridge, October 5, 1863.



During the period in our nation's history known as the "Civil War", our nation was divided into two governments, the United States of America and the Confederate States of America.

The lower southern states seceded after the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. The first to secede was South Carolina in December of 1860. Delegates from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina met in Montgomery, Alabama, on February 4, 1861, to draft the new constitution. The Confederate States of America (C.S.A.) was organized February 9, 1861. By May 20 of that year, eleven states had seceded to join the newly formed nation whose government would last only four years.

The formation of this new nation led to a war the likes of which the world had never seen before. According to the ENCYCLOPEDIA AMERICANA, Vol. 27 of the 1964 edition, thirty one million people on both sides of the war were to suffer. Approximately 650,000 war deaths were recorded (by comparison, about 322,000 in World War II), many of which died of disease. The United States lost approximately three times the number of men lost by the Confederacy.

Although the C.S.A. was defeated in April of 1865, the process of readmitting the rebel states was a slow one. The period of Reconstruction lasted from 1865 to 1877. Tennessee, which had been occupied by Union troops since 1862-63, restored it's "civil" government on April 6, 1865 and was readmitted to the Union in 1866. In 1866, the Congress of the United States excluded the representatives from the ten remaining Southern states which led to the Reconstruction Acts of 1867. These acts placed the ten states into five military sections and placed them under military rule. Finally, with the passage of the 14th Amendment (the 14th guaranteed negroes the right to vote), the Southern states began to rejoin the Union.

An effort has been made to designate the events that took place, i.e. births, deaths and marriages, in the Southern states during the period from secession to readmittance to the United States, as Confederate States of America (C.S.A.). I'm sure some will argue that the C.S.A. only existed until the time of it's defeat in 1865. However, I feel that as they were denied representation in Congress, and were not formally considered a part of the United States until their date of readmission, they were still part of the Confederate States of America. If someone has information to the contrary, please let me know- JAB.



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The Old Brick Church, or St. Luke's, is the oldest existing church of English origin in America, and the nation's only surviving Gothic building. It was built in 1632 under the supervision of Joseph Bridger. It stands about five miles from Smithfield, Wight County, Virginia. It is often described as the most precious building in America, and today is a national shrine.

The bricks bear the date 1632. It was abandoned in 1830, and was restored about 1890. Here Tarleton's British cavalry camped in 1781. The parish books were buried for safe keeping during Lord Cornwallis' Virginia campaign. The records did not survive, but moldered to dust. The old church, in spite of time and war, has been, in its more than three hundred years of existence, the scene of worship and ceremonies. The rich and poor, the humble and great have passed it many times. In the early days before the Revolution, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and many more of our early patriots must have paused and knelt before the alter and asked God for guidance in forming our nation.

The beautiful windows are in memory of many loved and important people. One is in memory of the Reverend Alexander Whitaker who baptized Pocahontas and married her to John Rolfe. One to Captain John Smith and to Pocahontas the "first fruits" of the church of Virginia. The silver flagons of 1683, the Chalice of about 1600, the famous Smith organ of 1665, and the lovely Baptismal Font, hewn from an oak log, and the sacred altar with the Cambridge Edition Bible, 1629, are all part of the lovely furnishings of the old church that today stands surrounded by rugged trees.

Here, our Great Grandfather the Reverend Robert Bracewell served as pastor in 1652. There is a plaque honoring him, it has been placed by grateful descendants. In part it reads: "In honor of Reverend Robert Bracewell, 1613-1668. Happy and proud are all the Braswells today who can trace their lineage to this great good man of long ago who helped to shape our nation and give unto us a rich spiritual heritage."

St. Lukes is located at:
14477 Benn's Church Blvd., Smithfield, Virginia
Richard Austin, Curator
Telephone: (757) 357-3367


St. Luke's Church


Picture of Plaque honoring Rev. Robert

 Photo taken by Olin Klute BRASWELL.


Oldest Brick Church in America- 1632

Plaque honoring
 Rev. Robert. Bracewell



Thomas Harvey WAGNER was born November 7, 1852, in Coshocton County, Ohio. His father was Arthur Beale WAGNER (?? on legal papers, and in Ada's memoirs, his name is given as Beal A. or B.A. WAGNER), was born about 1831 in Ohio. The father of Arthur Beale (Beal A.) was a native of Germany. After the death of both his parents (his mother's name was Emily (MARQUIN) WAGNER), Thomas Harvey went to live with John Wagner, his uncle. At the age of eighteen, Thomas decided to go to Kansas and arrived in Topeka around 1870, later settling in Dexter. In 1873 he married Mildred E. "Millie" HIGHTOWER in Dexter, Kansas. Millie died there March 25, 1879, five days after the death of their youngest child, Laura. Thomas and Millie's children:

After Millie's death, Thomas Harvey married Alice Notherall. He moved his family to the Indian portion of the Oklahoma Territory in September of 1888 as it had been opened for the "Run for homes", Alice died here in the early 1890's. He and Alice had the following children:

After the death of Alice, he returned to Dexter, Kansas, and married Sallie Brian in August of 1895 and returned with her to his home in the Oklahoma Territory. Thomas spent the last eleven years of his life in Comal Township, Oklahoma and died there March 10, 1927. He was buried in Edmond, Oklahoma.



William West's participation in Bacon's Rebellion was evidently quite extensive. The following is the petition sent to the Commissioners of Isle of Wight County for the pardon of William West, who was captured January 16, 1677, and subsequently escaped. William was the husband of Rebecca BRACEWELL, daughter of the Reverend Robert BRACEWELL (see page 10).

"Petition of His Majesties most loyal and obedient subjects of Isle of Wight to his Majesties Commissioners, in behalf of William West, a rebel absconding, who took up arms against the Indians by whom his father had been most barbarously murdered, was taken prisoner and carried aboard a ship, from hence to prison and was condemned to death, but has made his escape and as yet has not been found. We pray for his life and the restitution of his estate to his wife and children.


* James Bagnall was brother-in-law to William West by his marriage to Ann BRACEWELL. Richard BRACEWELL was Rebecca's younger brother.

This account was taken from SEVENTEENTH CENTURY ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY, VIRGINIA by John Bennett Boddie (1959).



In the Middle Ages, when most of the population was illiterate, it was common practice to use the X as a substitute for an individuals signature. Later, the practice was taken up by well educated people quite capable of signing their name. In fact, it was not uncommon for kings and queens to sign with an X.

The X became an important symbol for many reasons. The sign of one of the twelve apostles, St. Andrew, was an X therefore using his mark indicated you would honor your agreement in his name. Also, according to the Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 1 of the 1965 edition, the Romans crucified St. Andrew on a decussate (X shaped) cross which then came to be known as the Cross of Saint Andrew. It is also, like the swords of the early knights, a visual representation of the Cross of the Crucifixion. So the use of the X was deeply rooted in Christian symbolism.

The early settlers brought many customs from England to the Colonies. Therefore, you must consider the religious temperament, English custom and the education level of the parents and children of an individual to try to learn whether he could read and write. Do not be surprised if an important document, i.e. will or deed, was signed with an X instead of the signature of someone known to be educated. It was a common practice and, in some cultures, a document would not be considered legal and binding without it.

When going through early American court records keep this in mind. Do not automatically assume a person was illiterate if he or she signed with a X. In fact, it could prove to be quite the contrary.

 Source: IMPONDERABLES, by David Feldman, William Morrow and Co., Inc.,
copyright 1986, 1987, and was used with their permission.




This story was told to my father, Samuel Coleman, and his sister, Ramona, when they were young children and has to do with their father's uncle, George Featherston BRASWELL (see pg. 74).

Legend has it that George Featherston was being chased by a posse looking to hang him for horse stealing. George was hiding from them in a barn when it burned to the ground, leaving them to believe that George had perished in the blaze. Of course it didn't hurt anything when they pulled a body from the wreckage and it was identified as George by George himself! Obviously the posse didn't know what George looked like and he managed to pull off the hoax.

When the local people gathered with the posse to bury George Featherston BRASWELL, no one suspected that the man who gave the eloquent eulogy was the dearly departed and how it must have tickled him to preach his own funeral! Later the posse rode home secure in the knowledge they had done their job.

As stated above, this story was handed down from my Grandfather, Harvey Leonard BRASWELL. Research is being conducted as to it's accuracy, so if anyone has any information or remembers the story, please contact me- JAB.


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