Branscomb/Branscum Genealogy

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

by Fred Tubbs







Early Branscombs in America

The following persons named Branscombe were in the New World prior to 1776:

  • Thomas Brownscombe, “mariner, of Bankfull, Devon,” was on the muster roll of officers and crew of the ship “Discovery” under the command of Captain George Weymouth which sailed from London to the New World in 1602. The ship was part of an expedition which explored the waterway which later became known as Hudson's Strait. (Thomas Rundall, editor, Narratives of Voyages Toward the North-West in Search of a Passage to Cathay and India. London: the Hakluyt Society, 1983; pp. 58-60. Ronald Branscombe provided the reference.)
  • Elizabeth Branscombe, 8 July 1635: “Order for the following prisoners in Newgate to be transported to Virginia and to be executed if they return. . . Elizabeth Branscombe.” (Peter Coldham, The Complete Book of Immigrants 1607-1660: a Comprehensive Listing Compiled from English Public Records of Those who Took Ship to the Americas for Political, Religious and Economic Reasons; of Those who Were Deported for Vagrancy, Roguery, or Non-conformity; and of Those who Were Sold to Labour in the New Colonies. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1987; p. 155. The original source cited by Coldham was Calendar of State Papers, America and Colonial Series, Addendum #1, 1574-1674. H.M.S.O. 1983.)
  • John Branscombe was in Isle of Wight County, Va., prior to 1668; a single record has been found for his his presence in the county. Additional information for him appears below under "The first Branscombs in Virginia."
  • Andrew Branscombe, “husbandman of Cullompton,” was among the “Western Circuit Prisoners” ordered on 22 June 1669 “to be transported to Barbados” upon commutation of his death sentence. (Peter Coldham, Emigrants in Bondage. Surry, England: Purley, 1988; p. 94. James D. Thomas provided the data.)
  • Arthur and Deborah Branscomb settled in Boston in 1676. After Arthur died Deborah and their two daughters moved in 1711 to Portsmouth, N.H. (Sybil and Libby Noyes, Charles Thornton and Walter G. Davis, Genealogical Dictionary of Maine & New Hampshire. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1976; p. 107.))
  • Thomas Branscome was elected 31 March 1690 (note: the record read, “31st day 1st month 1690”; until the year 1752 the year began in Great Britain on 25 March instead of 1 January) to serve in the Pennsylvania Assembly representing “ye County of Sussex” (Colonial Records of Pennsylvania, Vol 1, p. 323. Kenneth V. Smith found this record, and Jim Thomas forwarded it to me.). He appears to match a Thomas Branscomb of Sussex County, Delaware, who died 9 December 1693, and whose will, dated 30 June 1693, named his wife as Mary and a daughter as Sarah. Records dated 1694 and 1705 are found for Sarah in the same location. The court minutes for Sussex County, for10 March 1867 have this entry: “The Judgement of the Inquest upon the body of James Colle late servant to Thomas Branscom being found dead was read in Court and ordered to be recorded.” The will of William Dyer of Sussex Co., PA, written 20 February 1688, describes his land as bordering that of Thomas Branscomb. (During the 1690s Delaware was a part of Pennsylvania: in 1682 the Duke of York [soon thereafter James II] conveyed the three counties of Delaware to William Penn, and these “lower counties” were represented in the first general assembly of Pennsylvania in December of that year. Conflicts interrupted the relationship, but Pennsylvania exercised a degree of control over Delaware’s counties until 1776 when Delaware became a separate state. For the relationship between Pennsylvania and Delaware, see Wayland F. Dunaway, A History of Pennsylvania. Englewoods Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1948; Chapter 2. Ronald Branscombe found the court minutes concerning Thomas’s servant James Colle. )
  • John Branscombe did not come to America but was mentioned in the records for 1713 as a “shipper” for John Pym's emigration from Exeter to New England on the “Leghorn Marchant.” (Peter Coldham, The Complete Book of Immigrants 1700-1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992; p. 142. Coldham gave as his source the Public Records Office, London, E 190/986/1. This information was provided by LeAnn Kelley.)
  • George Brancomb was ordered on 27 October 1720 to be transported from Newgate Prison in London to Maryland. He came to America on the ship “Gilbert.” (Marion and Jack Kaminow, editors, Original Lists of Emigrants in Bondage from London to the American Colonies, 1719-1744. Baltimore: Magna Carta Book Co., 1967; p. 19.)
  • Arthur Brancombe, a ship’s captain, was reported to have been in Charleston, S.C., at least twice during 1739 and 1743.
  • William Branscomb, a ship's captain, settled in New Castle, N.H., and in 1764 moved to Hampton, N.H. He married in 1732 Elizabeth White. They had at least five sons. William died 16 May 1788, aged 78 years and 9 months (= b. August 1709), as shown by his grave marker. (Sybil and Libby Noyes, Charles Thornton and Walter G. Davis, Genealogical Dictionary of Maine & New Hampshire. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1976; p. 107.) Several books report that William md. (2) Prudence (Martin) Page.
  • Charles Branscomb (b. 1750, d. 18 September 1875), the youngest son of the foregoing William and Elizabeth, was probably the person of that name who served in the American Revolution. CEB stated (p. 7) that Charles lived at Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Charles md. 5 July 1791 at Blue Hill in Hancock Co., Maine, Rebecca Tinkin of Mount Desert, Maine, who was probably a second wife (In 1791 Charles was 41 years old and Rebecca was 36 or 37). In September 1839, at age 95, Rebecca applied for a pension as the widow of a soldier of the Revolution. (Beulah Branscum provided transcriptions of both Circuit Court documents from Carline.)
  • Simon Branscomb (d. 1768), another ship's captain, also settled in New Castle, N.H. He was married in 1750 to Elizabeth Sheafe. The names of Simon and William appear together in some of the New Hampshire records. (Sybil and Libby Noyes, Charles Thornton and Walter G. Davis, Genealogical Dictionary of Maine & New Hampshire. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1976.)
  • Arthur Branscombe (b. 1751, d. 15 January 1825), came to America from Devonshire. He was a Loyalist who moved to Canada at the conclusion of the American Revolution. He, his wife, and three children under the age of ten years were part of Unit 15 which arrived in St. John Harbor in New Brunswick in July 1783 on the ship “William” under the command of Captain William Wright. Arthur was assigned lot #975 in Parr Town, which is now a part of the city of St. John (another reference says Lot 13, Range Grand Lake, NB). Arthur's wife was Rachel LaFurgie (b. 1751, d. 15 December 1841). (The source was possibly Loyalist Lineages of Canada 1783- 1983, as that is the source listed in Paul J. Bunnell's The New Loyalist Index. [Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, Inc, 1989] for much the same information.) Arthur's will names four sons: Arthur, Henry, John and William. (An abstract of the will appears in R. Wallace Hale, Early New Brunswick Probate Records, 1785-1835. Bowie, Md.: HeritageBooks, Inc., p. 46.)
  • Arthur Branscomb (1764-1792) married Mary Hill (1764-1860). They lived at New Market, Rockingham County, N.H. Sybil and Libby Noyes, Charles Thornton and Walter G. Davis, Genealogical Dictionary of Maine & New Hampshire. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1976.)
  • Phillip Branscom from Greenwich, Mass., served in the American Revolution (CEB, p. 12 - see note below).

Of the hundreds of thousands of emigrants from England to America during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the ships' passenger lists are known for only a small fraction. Records for the transportation of prisoners are more readily available. The three Branscombs in the foregoing list who came to the New World as prisoners formed probably an insignificant percentage of the total. Surely many others came voluntarily but the records are not available.

The first Branscombs in Virginia

The first Branscombe known to be in Virginia was the John Branscombe who was mentioned in the court order books for Isle of Wight County. An entry for July 1668 reads:

William Boddie & Anna his wife to Henry Joyce a parcel of land on Cypress Swamp formerly let by Wm. Boddie to John Branscombe, now ack. to Henry Joyce.

(The court order book for Isle of Wight County for this period was not available for review. This entry was copied by John Bennett Boddie in Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight County, Virginia [Baltimore: Genealogical Publish­ing Co., 1980], p. 564. An earlier record in the same book [p. 342] stated that William Body had received 3350 acres of land from Sir William Berkeley on 12 July 1665 for the transportation of 56 people, one of whom was John Branson. The simi­larity of “Branson” to “Branscombe” may lead to speculation [Caution!] that it was John Branscombe who was transported in 1665.)

A Cypress Swamp lies north of Franklin in Isle of Wight County. The Cypress Swamp east of Dendron in Surry County may be part of the same body, as they both lie along the Blackwater River which flows through both counties.

CEB wrote that John Branscombe bought land in Isle of Wight County in 1665 and added, “He disappeared and the land was resold” [p. 8]. I did not find John Brans­combe's name in the deed index for the period. CEB may have found a deed in one of the books which was not available in the courthouse in 1994, but in the absence of documentation it is impossible to know his source. In the foregoing record, however, it is clear that the land was owned by William Body/Boddie and was only let [rented] and not sold to John Brans­combe. Nothing more is known about him. It is unlikely that he had anything to do with the arrival of other Branscombs in Brunswick County a century later. In view of the hazards of life in the seventeenth century, especially in the area which at the time was on the frontier of European settlement in the New World, it seems best to conclude with CEB that this John Branscombe “disappeared.”

An unsupported account states that a James Greene Branscomb was in Culpeper County circa 1750. That account is discussed in the segment for Zachariah Branscomb and Mazy Towns.

Note: The following named book is cited in the text by the authors' initials, "CEB." Branscome, Cletie Elroy--"Branscom, Branscome, Branscomb, Branscombe." Laurel Fork, VA: published by the author (1966).




Copyright 2004
Frederick B. Tubbs

Permission is granted to make copies of information on this Web site for personal (non-commercial) use only, and only with the provision that you include all the caveats expressed by the author.

I have relied upon competent and dedicated colleagues who provided census data, information from county records, correspondence, and other sources. We have worked closely to assure that the content on this Web site is as free from error as we can make it.

We will be glad to hear from anyone who can provide firm evidence to correct any error. Please see the contacts page for a list of individuals responsible for maintaining accurate information on the various family branches.