Tabitha Branscomb, wife of Thomas Branscomb
Tabitha’s maiden surname is unknown. The name Tabitha appears fairly frequently in records for Brunswick and Greensville Counties as the eighteenth century gave way to the nineteenth, and we cannot discern whether Thomas’s wife was named in honor of any one of them.
(Note: in his book, Carroll, 1785-1815: the Settlements, [Hillsville, Va.: Alderman Books, 1985], John Perry Alderman gives Tabitha’s maiden surname as Williamson [p. 100], which may be correct. However, the reference Alderman cites is Thomas’s will, and that source does not provide Tabitha’s maiden surname. Later writers have cited Alderman as the source for the surname. Until such time as a valid record is found, the surname must be considered unproven. One tiny item of evidence: Robert Williamson was a neighbor of Richard Branscomb, and he purchased land from Richard [see the will for Richard Branscomb]. Robert’s will named Edmund as a son. If Tabitha was a Williamson, this Edmund could have been her brother, which would have explained why the second son of Thomas and Tabitha was given that name. Robert’s will does not name Tabitha as an heir, but neither does it name any other married daughter, although it does name two granddaughters whose surname was Adams. [Will Book 1, pp. 447-449, as cited by Sasser, p. 69]. In isolation this item of evidence is too slight to merit serious consideration.)
Thomas Branscomb’s will provided adequately for Tabitha. She continued to be head of household after Thomas’s death, and the tax rolls list her as follows:
1815: 1 slave >12, 1 horse, 9 cattle. Tax: $1.28
1816: 1 slave > 12; 2 horses. Tax: 88¢.
1817: 1 slave >16, 1 horse. Tax: 88¢.
1818: 1 slave >16, 1 horse. Tax: 88¢.
1819: 1 horse. Tax: 18¢.
1820: 1 horse. Tax: 18¢
1821: 1 horse. Tax: 13½¢.
The 1820 census showed Tabitha as head of a household, age greater than 45. No other white persons were present. She owned 1 male slave who was younger than 14 years of age, and the tax rolls for the years 1819-1821 do not show his presence. Also present in the 1810 census were seven free persons of color: a male and a female between the ages of 26 and 45, and three males and two females under the age of 14. The conflicting data raise questions which are unanswered. It appears that either Thomas or Tabitha manumitted all but one of the slaves which they might have owned at various times, although they might have disposed of them in other ways. The free Blacks in her household in 1820 may well have been a single family.
The disappearance of Tabitha’s name from the tax rolls after 1821 suggests that she was no longer head of a household; either she died or she made her home with a child or a grandchild. The official records of Greensville County may contain useful information. The 1830 census for her grandson Edmond Branscome in Grayson County, Va., shows a female resident age 70-80. Tabitha was almost surely older than 80 if she was alive in 1830, but ages as stated in early census data are often in error; this woman could have been Tabitha.
Thomas Branscomb, son of Richard and Sarah Branscomb
The children of Thomas and Tabitha Branscomb