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Christopher W. Branch (1602-1681)

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Christopher W. Branch was born 2 September 1602 in London, Middlesex, England to Lionel Branch (1566-1605) and Valentina Sparke (c1576-c1640) and died 20 June 1681 in Henrico County, Virginia Colony of unspecified causes. He married Mary Frances Addie (c1601-1665) 2 September 1619 in St. Peter's Westcheap. Notable ancestors include Henry II of England (1133-1189), William I of England (1027-1087), Charlemagne (747-814), Hugh Capet (c940-996), Alfred the Great (849-899), Rurik (c832-879). Ancestors are from the United Kingdom, England, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Ukraine, Italy.


  • Emigration: 1619 ENG to VA Aboard the "London Merchant"
  • Emigrated to Henrico Co. Va. aboard the "London Merchant" in 1619. He was Burgess in 1639 and Justice in 1656.

The founder of the Branch family in America was Christopher Branch I of-Arrowhattocks? and-Kingsland.? He was born in England, presumably in County of Kent. Christopher was the only son of Lionel Branch of London and Valentia Sparke who had joined with her husband in marriage at St. Martin, Ludgate, City of London, on 7 July 1596.

The date of birth to Christopher Branch I has been a subject of controversy among prominent genealogists. A deposition Christopher made regarding some London litigation showed he was born in 1602. Yet other evidence pointed to a 1598 birth, meaning he shaved his age to benefit the plaintiffs in the law suit. As a young man, Christopher Branch, Gentleman, married Mary Addy in England on 2 September 1619. She was baptized 16 August 1593, the daughter of Francis Addy of Darton, County York, England. Three weeks earlier at Darton, Yorkshire, her father had taken Margaret Lee as his bride. Margaret, the daughter of Raphe Lee, was baptized 5 September 1579. Raphe Lee was a son of Richard Lee and his wife, Alice. Richard was born by 1515 and was buried in Darton 15 July 1545.

Christopher and his wife departed March 1619/20 for America on the London Merchant. In February 1623/4 Christopher was living-att ye Colledg Land? in Henrico County and in the Muster of 1624/5, he, his wife, and their nine-month-old son, Thomas, were at the same place.

In 1634 the Land Office issued to Christopher Branch,-Planter, of Arrowhattocks? a 21-year lease on 100 acres on the north side of the James River. In 1635 he obtained a patent for 250 acres on the other side of the James River ? 50 acres for-his own personal adventure? and 200 acres for the transportation of four persons. He renewed this latter patent twice in 1638. In 1636 Branch had a patent for 100 acres. He assigned 60 acres to James Place in return for 100 acres belonging to Place. Branch renewed the 1636-patent and got another 350 acres for seven headrights in 1638. In 1665 Mr. Christopher Branch, Senior, obtained a patent on-Kingsland? as he now called his estate. The 1,380-acre plantation encompassed his earlier 250- and 450-acre patents and added fifty acres escheated from John Griffin and 630 acres for transporting thirteen persons.

Christopher Branch I held the important position of viewer of tobacco in 1639, was a county justice (1656), and was a member of the House of Burgesses (1640) from Henrico County. Soon before his death, Christopher confirmed the conveyance of 100 acres & to his son Thomas.

Christopher Branch died in Henrico County in 1681 (will dated 20 June 1678 &, recorded 20 Feb. 1681/2). He had three sons, Thomas, William, and Christopher Branch, but named just Thomas in his will since the other two were already dead. Perhaps as old as eighty, Christopher had grown grandchildren to whom he left legacies.

Will of Christopher Branch

In the name of God Amen. The twentieth of June 1678. I Christopher Branch, of Kingsland, in the County of Henrico being in years and memory, praised be to God, do make this my Last Will and Testament as follows: Item. I give my body unto the Earth from whence it came and my Soul unto my Savior Jesus Christ, who has bought it with his most precious blood. Item. I give unto my son Thomas Branch my great copper kettle and a book called Ursinis Catucis and I do confirm the two hundred and forty acres of land that I have given him by deed gift formerly. Item. I give unto my grandson Christopher Branch all the land between the river and the long slash, beginning at Proctors Creek mouth, and run upward on the river to the pine tree that parts my land and my son Thomas, and from Proctors Creek at the lower end of long slash on the inside of the slash running upward to my son Thomas?s land unto him and his heirs male forever, provided that he shall help to build for his brother, Samuel Branch a house [with] four lengths of board every length to be five foot with help of the Negro and Job. If they live until Samuel be of ability to help and to seat it, and to help him to clear a cornfield sufficiently fenced to keep out hogs and cattle. Item. I give unto my grandson Samuel Branch all the land that lies between the long slash and the bottom called by the name Jacks Bottom, beginning at Proctors Creek and running upwards to my son Thomas?s land to him and his heirs male forever provided that he, with the help of Christopher and the Negro and Job, if it pleased God they live, do build Benjamin one house of four lengths of board every length of board to be five foot long, clear and fence him a cornfield so much as they do for Samuel, with his help when he shall be able to seat it. Item. I give unto my grandson Benjamin Branch all the land that lies between Jacks Bottom and Proctors Creek beginning at Proctors Creek and running upwards to my son Thomas?s land to him and his heirs male forever. It is my will that Christopher do give unto Samuel and Benjamin six locust posts and two elm posts a piece when they shall build them their dwelling houses if they can find none on their own ground. It is my will that any of these ? Christopher, Samuel, or Benjamin ? do die before they come to the age of one and twenty years then their land shall return to the next brother and the goods that they shall have out of my estate after my decease. It is my will that after my decease, my son Thomas shall pay unto Christopher the rent that shall be due unto his Majesty yearly for his two hundred and forty acres of land when it shall be demanded. Likewise, Mr. Gower, Samuel, and Benjamin when they shall seat their land. Item. It is my will that neither Samuel nor Benjamin go off the plantation but to live with Christopher and to have housing and ground and to work together until they be able to seat their own land unless they be willing to go off themselves. It is my will that my part of my Job?s labor, so long as he has to serve, shall go to maintain Samuel, Benjamin, and Sarah, and the half of the Negro?s labor go to maintain them. Item. It is my will that the cart way be not stopped up nor altered that now is to go into the woods for timber or for firewood but to have a clear passage. It is my will that William and John Branch shall have liberty to fish or fowl in the creeks or swamp. If Christopher shall refuse to help to build and clear for Samuel and Benjamin as I have set down in this my will, then he shall pay to Benjamin six hundred pounds of tobacco. Item: I give unto Thomas Jefferson one hogshead of tobacco of four hundred pounds weight whom I make with my grandson Christopher Branch my full and sole executors of this my last will and testament and I desire them to see my will truly performed, my debts and legacies being paid and burial discharged, all the rest of my estate I give unto my grandson Christopher Branch and Samuel and Benjamin and Sarah and Mary Branch, the wife of Thomas Jefferson to be equally divided among them. Witness my hand and seal the day and year above written. Christopher Branch Witnessed: Abel Gower Richard Ward


On 13 April 1682, they recorded the inventory and appraisement of his estate of £38:7:10 and ordered the division of his estate to Christopher Branch, Samuel Branch, Thomas Jefferson, and Sarah Branch. & Christopher?s will was twice produced in court to resolve later property issues.

In 1691 Christopher Branch III and his uncle and-Kingsland? neighbor Thomas Branch were in heated dispute. Both lived on land that Christopher Branch I had owned and Thomas put a fence across an old cart path blocking Christopher?s way to the creek. After Christopher several times tore down the fence, Thomas sued him. To help resolve the issue, Christopher?s brothers, Samuel and Benjamin Branch, both now in their mid-twenties, were ordered to give depositions about where a cart path ran. Christopher III pointed to a clause in his grandfather?s will-that the cart way be not stopped up nor altered that now is to go into the woods for timber or for firewood but to have a clear passage? and the court ordered Thomas to leave a path fifteen feet wide.

Many years later, Benjamin Branch complained to the courts about the division of the Branch land. He was the eldest son of the eldest son of the Benjamin Branch who inherited the land fee tail between Jacks Bottom and Proctors Creek and to this younger Benjamin fell the property after the death of his father ? another Benjamin Branch. His complaint was with Christopher Branch who was heir at law to Samuel Branch the beneficiary of neighboring land in the above will. Samuel Branch and his son of the same name were dead and the right to the land followed the law of primogeniture ? first to Christopher Branch III ? Samuel?s eldest brother ? then to Henry Branch and hence to Christopher . Evidently, the defendant?s father and the plaintiff?s father had marked off the boundary between the properties in a manner that benefitted Christopher.

Benjamin held that the laws of entail superceded such a transaction and he wanted part of his land back. Christopher had even acknowledged publicly that he got the better deal but claimed it was too late to reverse the action. Sadly, we do not know the outcome of this suit.

Notes from http://www.angelfire.com/tv/trent/ursula.html

Christopher Branch, immigrated to Virginia in 1619/20. Christopher and wife, Mary Addie, have been identified as earliest American ancestors of Thomas Jefferson by Order of First Families.

Emigration: 1619 Place: abroad the ...LONDON MERCHANT... Occupation:1639 Place: BURGESS Occupation:1639 Place: Viewer of Tobacco Occupation:1656 Place: Justice

Notes from http://genforum.genealogy.com/elam/messages/399.html The OSBORNE headright can be found on pp. 41-42 of Cavaliers & Pioneers by Nell Nugent and also on p. 2 of Early Virginia Families Along the James River, Volume 1: Henrico County-Goochland County by Louise Pledge Heath Foley. P.106 of Cavaliers & Pioneers contains the 1638 Christopher BRANCH headright grant we've all heard about: -CHRISTOPHER BRANCH, 450 acs. Henrico Co., 28 Feb. 1638, p. 634. e. by N. upon the great river, S. by E. upon Proctors Cr. etc., & N. by E. upon land graunted to John Griffin, now in the tenure of sd. Branch. 100 acs. due by exchange from James Place, to whom it was due in right of 2 servts., & 350 acs. for trans. of 7 pers: Richard Peirce, James Hunt, Edward Salter, Thomas Morgan, Samuell Fitch, Tho. Richardson, Robert Elam, Charles Steward, Richard Bumpas.-

I think that what happened was that sometime prior to Feb 1638 Robert ELAM, Charles STEWARD, and Richard BUMPAS had returned to England. When they returned to VA, they were counted again. This type of ...double-dipping... was common. The headright system was susceptible to abuse, with grants being bought and sold, ...double-dipping..., etc. and was eventually abandoned.

Children


Offspring of Christopher W. Branch and Mary Frances Addie (c1601-1665)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Christopher Branch (1619) 1619 Ann Sherman

Thomas Branch (1623-1694) April 1623 St Peter's, Middlesex, England 1694 Henrico County, Varina Parish Elizabeth Gooch (c1627-1697)

William Addie Branch (1625) 1625 Henrico County Jane Hatcher

George Branch (1630-1688) 1630 Henrico County, Virginia, United States 1688 Anne England (c1634)






Sources and notes

‡ General
  • SOURCE: Rootsweb WC -- Jones Family of Prince George Co., VA -- Entries: 44874 Updated: 21 Feb 2004 Contact: Randy Jones < randy j 2222 @ yahoo . com >



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