John and Hannah
John of Nash County
John Brantley (top)
John Brantley was born ca 1723-1730 in Isle of Wight County, Virginia. We maintain that he was the son of James Brantley who died in Isle of Wight County in 1741. John and his wife, Elizabeth left Va. in 1764 and went to Halifax County, NC and later to Edgecombe County. He died in Nash county in 1785. Among his known children were Matthew Brantley, Jacob Brantley, John Brantley, Jr. and Lydia Brantley. There were likely several others. Many of John's descendants live in the Nash County area today and there are countless descendants throughout the nation.
John and Hannah (top)
Among the many Brantley kinsmen living in their time, there were none more prolific than John and Hannah Brantley of Chatham County, N.C. They are the ancestors of perhaps 20% of all American Brantleys living today. Perhaps all of the Washington County, Georgia Brantleys are descendants of John and Hannah. Washington County, itself was the most populated county in America for Brantley households from about 1825 through 1930. John was born ca 1710 in Isle of Wight County, Va. He married Hannah __?_ about 1730 in Isle of Wight County. By 1750, he and his brothers Lewis and Joseph had located in Granville County, N.C. John became a judge. He would spend the reminder of his life near the Rocky River in an area, which became Chatham County, N.C. Two of John and Hannah's children and many grandchildren went from Chatham County into Georgia soon after the Revolutionary War. Others went into Tennessee. Five sons were mentioned in the will of John Brantley in 1777/1782. They were Joseph, Benjamin, John, William and Phillip Brantley. Benjamin and Phillip went to the area of Wilkes/Warren County, Georgia about 1784. Descendants of John Jr and William would soon follow. There were no daughters mentioned in the will, but a deed clearly identified a daughter as Priscilla Brantley. She married Daniel Hidgon. Another daughter was found to be Mary, who married Sugan Jones. Other daughters are suspected.
In one DAR application, we noted in 1987 that the name Harper had been written in as the maiden name of Hannah. It was obviously an added entry. I talked with the lady who applied to the DAR with the application and she stated that she did not make the Harper entry. We speculated never the less that Hannah could be Harper. Others have declared her as a Harper based only on this unknown addition. Since the finding, we reviewed our entire records of Va and NC. There is NOT ONE record with a Harper and Brantley mentioned together. We cannot find enough evidence to support the entry made by this unknown person.
Among the many descendants of John and Hannah, are Dr Wm Theophilus Brantley (noted clergyman), Lt Col Hattie Lamar Brantley (decorated WWII prisoner of war) Newby Odell Brantly (inventor), Jeff Brantley (leading National League relief pitcher) and Adam Medows (Offensive Tackle- Indiana Colts). I am a descendant of this couple as well as foremost researchers, William Kizziah, William Timothy Brantley, and the late Gene Doyle Brantley.
Joshua Brantley (top)
Brantley was the father of a large family in Northeast Georgia and was
another key progenitor of the Brantley family.
He has several thousand descendants living in America today. Of
his descendants, the following statement was made in the early 20th
century book “Georgia and Georgians.”
Today we continue to find his descendants who have entered the medical profession.
Joshua Brantley was born 1777
in, likely, Chatham County N.C. He first appeared in Wilkes County
Georgia in the early 1790s in the estate papers of William Phillips.
Joshua Brantley and Joel Phillips were among those who held accounts against the estate of Wm Phillips decd - 1792-1802
We see from the records of the
Church at Williams Creek (Wilkes, later Warren Co) that he was
excommunicated from the Church for non-attendance before 1794. In 1799,
1800 and 1801 he was on the tax list of Jackson County, Georgia. Clarke
County sprang from Jackson County in 1801 and he showed up on the tax
list of Clarke County in 1802 and 1805. By 1810, he appeared on the tax
list of Morgan County, which sprang from Clarke County in 1807. He is
shown again in Morgan County in the tax records of 1817. In 1818, Walton
County sprang from Morgan County and in the 1820 census, he was found in
Walton County. In spite of the census findings showing him in Walton
County until his death, we find the following deed entry in Morgan
County in 1820.
May 24 1820, Joshua Brantley of Morgan County purchased from Geo Upton 50 acres of land on the Appalachia and joining Archibald Tanner for $250 - Book L pg 141
While he would live his
remaining life in Walton County, this property at least adjoined the
Walton County property. Today, one can find along the Appalachia River
in Walton County, "Tanners" Bridge Rd,
"Braswell' Road and the "Kilgore" Cemetery
(his son married Sarah Kilgore) and other landmarks that clearly point
to his residence there.
One can see from this record
that while Joshua was shown in 5 different counties, he would not have
had to move but once. After an apparent move to Jackson County, it was
likely the creation of these new counties that gave him the different
county residences. The last 3 counties
all sprang from the original Jackson County. The move from Wilkes/Warren
County around 1794 was substantial, as we note that the Williams Creek
Church, from which he was excommunicated about then, is still located
today in Warren County. His residence in Walton County places him
approximately 100 miles NW of Williams Creek.
While we do not know the father
of Joshua we, without hesitation, place as a descendant of the Chatham
County, NC family. Many factors point to
this. (Please refer to our 6th report). All the Brantleys who were in
the Williams Creek Church with Joshua Brantley, Phillip, Benjamin and
Joseph Brantley and their descendants; as well as Jeffery Barksdale and
Benjamin Braswell are proven descendants of Chatham County, N.C. We
would see later Benjamin Braswell follow Joshua to Jackson County and he
too would ultimately reside along the Appalachia River in what is now,
In early 2000, we declared Joshua to be a son of Lewis Brantley, who reportedly died in an Indian Massacre in Morgan County in 1813. We did this based on a reported claim of a story given by one of his descendants. When the written documentation came in several weeks after our newsletter publication; however, we saw that the reported claim not only did not support this hypothesis, it completely conflicted with it. Reference was made repeatedly to "Uncle Lewie". Of course there would be no reason why an earlier kinsman to refer to his great grandfather as "Uncle". (For more on this see our forth-coming record on the Indian Massacre study). We apologize for this blunder. We feel it more important to correct the record rather than save face and let it rest.
Since it appears that Joshua
was not Lewis' son, we can now focus in on another and now seemingly
even more likely candidate, James Brantley who came to Georgia about
1777. His family could have followed him a year or two later, giving the
reason of Joshua's birth in N.C. James married Easter Shaddock. In 1777,
James Brantley & wife Esther and Benjamin Braswell & wife Mary sold land
on the Deep River in Chatham County, NC. That same year they both
appeared on a petition in Wilkes County, Georgia to remove General
McIntosh from his command. James and Esther also sold land in 1774 to
Valentine Braswell. He too would later reside near Joshua in Walton
County, Georgia. As reported in our 6th report, Jesse, Edmund and Lewis
Brantley were found in Jackson and in Clarke Counties with Joshua. In
one case, these men, along with Benjamin Braswell, drew consecutive
draws in a land lottery. While it is without question that all these
people were closely related, the exact family arrangement cannot be
determined. Certainly, James was the right
age to be the father of Joshua, but there was at least one other
candidate. Thomas Brantley and wife Nancy Harris, once of Chatham County
also came to Georgia during this time. Only one son Thomas Jr is a known
descendant of this union. Surely there were others. One appears to be
Harris Brantley who also appeared on the petition against Gen McIntosh,
but others mentioned above cannot be ruled out.
Joshua married first Nancy
Phillips (often shown as Phelps). Their two children were Elizabeth
Brantley; m Dr. Shadrack Turner and son James M. Brantley, m first
Lucinda Sental. They moved to Wayne County,
Joshua married second,
Temperance Radford on Feb 1, 1809. She bore him 10 children: William
Radford, Thomas Russell, Piety, Mary Ann, Henry, Joshua E, Levi G,
Reuben W, John M, and Temperance Ann Brantley
There are 390 descendants of Joshua in our computer files to 1900.
Kentucky James (top)
For many years researchers from all over the south have studied the history and genealogy of James Brantley, born ca 1770, who fled Georgia in 1811 and went first into Tennessee and later to Livingston County, Kentucky. He spent the rest of his life and died in Kentucky in what was by then Crittenden County in 1841, leaving a large family. To the Brantley Association, he has become known as Kentucky James.
It is most intriguing to study the progeny of this man who once was a fugitive from Georgia and who would later become the ancestor of the entire Kentucky Brantley population. James Brantley drew land in Bullock Co in 1804. A dispute broke out on the night of August 3, 1811, while James Brantley and acquaintance Elijah Beacham were visiting at the home of William Tomerlin, also a residence of Bullock County, Georgia. These men had obviously known one another for several years, as they were “chain carriers” during a survey years earlier in nearby Montgomery County. The subject of the dispute is not known, but Brantley and Beacham became involved in a fight and according to witnesses, James Brantley stabbed Elijah Beacham several times. Beacham died, and on September 2, 1811, Georgia Governor David B. Mitchell issued a warrant offering a $100 reward for the apprehension of James Brantley. According to the order, James had already "absconded from the county of Bullock.” He soon appeared in Smith county, and later Sumner county, Tennessee. His first wife's name is unknown to us, but he was a witness to several deed transactions in the following years involving persons surnamed Harris. (See note on this below).
Facts discovered over the years have shown that he was almost certain to have once been a resident of Edgecombe County, North Carolina. Mr. Tomerlin, mentioned above, was also once a resident of Edgecombe County. According to the census of 1850 James' first son, William (b ca 1793), was born in North Carolina. His second known child was born in Georgia, about 1795. This would, of course, place his arrival in Georgia about this time. It is important to understand at this point that only 3 other Brantley families are found to have migrated to Georgia between 1790 and 1820. They were the families of brothers Amos and Malachi Brantley and Benjamin Brantley all of whom came from Edgecombe County, N.C. to Hancock County, Georgia. We believe that Benjamin is another brother to Amos and Malachi. We have no reluctance in declaring our James to be closely related to them. Amos and Malachi were both sons of William Brantley of Edgecombe County. James named his first son William and another son Malachi. After 20 years of research on all of these families, we can say that all 4 of the Malachi Brantleys born prior to 1900, are tied to the Edgecombe County family.
Other given names found in the decadency
of James are almost exclusive to Edgecombe county families. They include
Malachi, Matthew, and Greenberry (Green Berry) Brantley. We felt at one
time that James was a brother to Amos and Malachi, but more recently
discovered records have compromised such a position. In or about 1799
James Brantley Sr and James Brantley Jr were listed as the only tax
payers in Montgomery County, Georgia. Surely, our James is one of these
and assuming these are father and son, it would mean that he was the Jr
as he would not have been old enough to have a grown son then.
Therefore, the Senior would seemingly be his father. If so, then
we would conclude that his father might have been the brother to Amos
and Malachi. We recognize however, that it is possible that he is even
further removed, but he is, no doubt, as they are, a descendant of an
earlier James Brantley who died in Isle of Wight County, Va in 1740.
study of John Brantley Nash County, NC.)
first wife of James
A James Brantley married Nancy Harris on August 2,
1793 in Southampton County, Virginia. For some time, we speculated that
this was our James, as mentioned earlier, as he was seen mingling heavy
with the Harris family in Tennessee after his flight from Georgia. One
researcher later provided a record from a progenitor of 2 generations
earlier who recorded that James married Mary Elizabeth Harris, but gave
the date as the same one shown as the marriage of Nancy Harris to James
(August 2, 1793). Although the given names were different, this gave us
further reason to conclude that this was our James.
Then came the
estate records of Nancy Brantley, widow of James Brantley deceased of
South Hampton County, VA. In the estate records, it showed
that she was the Nancy Harris who had married James Brantley and that he
had died. Her Harris brothers were participants in the estate
We now must
conclude that although our Kentucky James perhaps married a Harris about
the same time, it would have to be a different Harris lady. This
marriage should have occurred in N.C. and probably, at least, a year
earlier. We can only suppose that an earlier researcher, having been
satisfied that James had indeed married a Harris, assumed the union of
the James Brantley to Nancy Harris was between Kentucky James and Nancy
James' first wife was apparently dead by 1831 when he married Talitha Allen. Apparently she died within months, for on Jan 13, 1832, he married Eliza Brintzfield. There was one daughter born to this union. She was Mary Jane Brantley. She would marry __?___ Elder
While some may suppose James to have been an
outlaw and renegade, we make no such conclusion. First, we really don't
know the outcome of the charges made against him. Some family members
were told that he was ultimately acquitted. This would be supported by
the fact that he would serve in the War of 1812 and continue to use his
name until his death in 1841 rather that use an alias. In any case, what
we do observe is that he is the progenitor of thousands of Americans
today. Among them are some of the most down to earth and honest people
among us. The Brantley Association sees no more support from descendants
of his generation, than from those of Kentucky James. I have spoken with
descendants of Kentucky James in all parts of the country; in Alabama,
Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia: In Kentucky, No Carolina, So
Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri,
Illinois, and California. I find no one more enthusiastic about their
genealogy than those among his progeny.
See our 6th report for the family and descendants of James Brantley
John of Nash County (top)
This research was originally written as a letter to well-known individuals who have studied the Brantley family in depth and to The Brantley Association members.