Branscomb/Branscum Genealogy

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

by Fred Tubbs







Henry Branscomb, son of John and Olive E. Branscomb

The line of descent for Henry Branscomb is:

The details and the uncertainties concerning this lineage are discussed below.

The evidence for Henry’s birth date comes from the census data and tax records, and the 1850 census states that he was born in Virginia. He and Elizabeth Burris were married in Wayne County, Ky., on 16 May 1827. They had eleven children. Although it cannot be proven that Henry was the son of John and Olive E. Branscomb, his name is found in the records for Wayne County at the time that John and the children who are mentioned in John’s will were present, and he had ties with known descendants of John and Olive upon moving from Wayne Co., Ky., to Macon Co., Mo. If he was not the son of John and Olive, then who were his parents? Although the word “presumed” does not appear hereafter in referring to his parentage, readers should keep the word in mind.

According to a great-grandson, Henry was called “Bill,” which led to the belief that his name was either William Henry or Henry William. (Maude Branscomb, wife of #36A Terry, provided this information.) William Henry Harrison, who later became President of the United States, was already famous as a soldier, congressman, and territorial governor by the time Henry was born, and Henry could have been named in his honor. Henry and Elizabeth named one son John Harrison, another was named William P. and still another was named Henry Will.

In keeping with the presumption expressed above, it is likely that Henry was born in Patrick County, Va., ca 1809, that he came with his parents to Kentucky when he was an infant, and that he grew to maturity in Wayne Co., Ky. After the death of his father in 1821 Henry probably continued to live at home with his mother and his brother Isaac until he married in May 1827. One problem with the presumption is that the 1820 census for John Branchcomb in Wayne Co. does not show a male age 10-15 in John’s household. That census does show a female in that age range, otherwise unidentified, in the household, and it is possible that the enumerator made a mistake in recording.

The first record in Wayne County -- or anywhere else -- for Henry Branscomb concerns his marriage: Hiram Gregory filed a certificate on 2 September 1827 for the marriage ceremonies which he had conducted between May and August of that year. Hiram’s handwritten report is shown below. The image is somewhat indistinct, and the handwriting is difficult to decipher; the text reads:

Wayne County
I Hiram Gregory Justice of the peace in the county aforesaid do certify that I joined together in the holy state of Matrimony the following persons on the following days
[Then followed the names of five couples plus the dates on which the respective couples were married; the fifth couple:]
Henry Branscomb & Elizabeth Burris 16th May 1827.
Given under my hand this 2nd day of Cep 1827.
Hiram gregory JP

(NOTE: Bork [Vol. 5, Addendum, p. 181] states that Hiram Branscomb married Elizabeth Burris and gives the date of marriage as 18 May 1827. Nutter's book of Wayne County marriages shows, “Henry Branscomb [Barrier] & Elizabeth Burris, 16 May 1827 by Hiram Gregory Bond 17 May 1827.” This original record, discovered only recently (2004) makes clear that the bride and groom were Henry Branscomb and Elizabeth Burris. Hiram Gregory could have made an error in recording the date of the wedding but not in the names of the bride and groom, who would have been well known to him.)

Copy of certification by Hiram Gregory, J. P., for the marriage of Henry Branscomb and Elizabeth Burris, plus other marriages (from Wayne County records; provided by Ann Rouleau).

Four of the five weddings involved either Gregorys or Branscombs, and one involved both: the marriage of Henry’s brother Isaac Branscomb to Hiram’s daughter Ruth Gregory. (More information about Hiram Gregory will appear in the history for this Isaac Branscomb.)

Both Henry and Elizabeth were under age at the time of their marriage, so their respective parents must have filed consent forms. However, many early records for Wayne County are not available, and these consent forms have not been found.

Henry 's name does not appear on the Wayne County tax rolls until 1829; in that year he was taxed for one horse and no land. He was not taxed as a poll (a male over the age of 21) until the following year, and these two entries in the tax book support the belief that he was born circa late 1808 or early 1809. No deeds have been found for Henry in Wayne County, and the only taxable property shown for him on the tax rolls was his horse.

The 1830 census for Wayne County shows Henry as head of a household which includes a male and a female between the ages of 20 and 30, one male aged 5-10, and one female under five years of age. The female under five years of age was surely his first daughter Malinda; the male age 5-10 (born between 1820 and 1825) was probably not a child of Henry and Elizabeth. No further information is known for this male. He could have been the James F. Branscom whose marriage on 7 September 1858 to Mary Ann Rush is recorded in the marriage book for Putnam County, Mo. (book 1, p. 55), but other than this one record no information is available for James F. Branscom.

Henry's name continued to appear on the Wayne County tax rolls through 1838, and no records have been found for him in the county after that year. By 1840 he and his family were in Macon Co., Mo. Between 1830 and 1850 many families from Kentucky migrated to Missouri and southern Illinois. Later censuses for #5 William P. Branscomb say that he was born in October 1838 in Missouri. If that is correct, Henry and his family probably went to Missouri during late fall 1838, after crops were in. Perhaps they went as part of a group of related families: Burrises, Stones and Barrows (see Elizabeth). The 1840 census for Macon County, p. 14, shows Henry Branscomb as head of a household:
  Males Females Probable identities (not from census)
Persons age 30-40 1 0 Henry
Persons age 20-30 0 1 Elizabeth
Persons age 5-10 1 1 John H., Charlotte
Persons under 5 years of age 2 1 Martin, Henry Will; female uncertain

Other data for Elizabeth show that she was born ca. 1809, but this census report shows a female born between 1810 and 1820. According to later census records the eldest daughter, Malinda, was born ca. 1828, but this report does not show a female child born before 1830. Charlotte’s date of birth is reported as 8 July 1831. Since the census report is almost surely for Henry and his family, we must assume either that other estimates for these DOBs are too early or that the person who provided information to the census enumerator understated the ages of the female family members. The number of daughters (two) is correct, but the age categories are in question.

The 1850 census shows Henry “Bronscomb” in Macon County (p. 156, line 8, dwelling #519):
  Age Where born
Bronscomb, Henry 41 Va.
Elizabeth 41 Va.
John H. 17 Ky.
Asa M. 14 Ky.
William P. 11 Mo.
Thomas M. 8 Mo.
Daniel 5 Mo.
Barbara 2 Mo.

The first two children, Malinda and Charlotte, were married and were living nearby.

Henry’s name has not yet been found in later records; but Putnam County, Mo., has records for his wife and children, most of them in the vicinity of the Chariton River Valley near the border with Iowa. It appears that some time after 1850 Henry and his family still at home moved northward within the Chariton Valley to Putnam County. Most of the married children also moved, some at the same time and others later. No deeds have yet been found for Henry either in Macon County or Putnam County. The search continues for records which could help with the history of the family in these locations.

The date of Henry’s death is not known. The birth of his daughter Virginia Anna circa 1856 suggests that he was reasonably healthy in 1855. His widow remarried in October 1865. The date of death was therefore between 1855 and 1865. The absence of Henry's name in the 1860 census for either Macon County or Putnam County, Mo., suggests that he was dead by 1860. Two descendants report that Henry’s body was buried in the Rose Cemetery near Graysville in Putnam County, Mo. Apparently Henry’s grave marker is one of the numerous stones in the cemetery without an inscription.

See also:
Elizabeth Burris, wife of Henry
Children of Henry and Elizabeth (Burris) Branscomb




Copyright 2004
Frederick B. Tubbs

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