Moores to Braggs

My 2nd great grandfather, 4. Jeremiah B Moore (1833-1917) was the son of 5. John J Moore and 5a.Elizabeth Bragg. John J Moore was born in 1808 in Albemarle, VA and died April 1870 in Weston, Lewis, WV. He married 5a. Elizabeth R (or K) Bragg on 11 March 1833 in Albemarle, VA. From 1825 he was a farmer, but was merely a laborer by the time of his death. He and his family appear in the 1850 census in District 30, Lewis County, VA. In 1861, the IRS Tax Lists show he was an auctioneer, owner of JJ Moore & Co. He died at the age of 62 from consumption (tuberculosis). John J and Elizabeth had 12 children.

5a. Elizabeth Bragg was born in 1812 in Albemarle, VA, and moved to Lewis County, VA by 1850 and would remain there until her death in 1886. In 1870, when John J died, she is living with children Harriet F, Robert Cummings, and William H Moore. Her parents were 6. Elias Bragg and 6a.Mary “Polly” H Bryant Friend. Polly was born 13 July 1790 in Augusta, VA and died 22 September 1865 in Chestnut Township, Knox Co, IL and is buried in Hermon, Knox, IL. She and Elias Bragg married in Buckingham, VA when she was 17 and by 1850 they had moved to Knox, IL. The Friend’s family is a long and fascinating story, to be told in another post.

6.Elias Bragg was born 20 September 1784 in St James Parish, Goochland, VA and died 20 January 1861 in Chestnut Township, IL. He served as a Sergeant in Captain John Field’s Company of Light Infantry, 8th Regiment, 4th Brigade, VA Militia, under command of John H Cocke, during the War of 1812. He enlisted at Camp Carter, near Richmond, on 31 August 1814 and mustered out 23 February 1815 at Camp Carter. He was 105 miles from home during the war, earning $11 a month as a sergeant. For his service, Elias received a government grant for 80 acres of land in the east half of the southeast quarter of Section 5 in Chestnut Township, Knox County, IL on 15 March 1852. After his death, Polly Friend Bragg re-applied for more Bounty Land, but I have not located the results of that application.

Elias was the son of 7.John Bragg and 7a. Frances Marks. John Bragg was born 1733 in Richmond, VA and died in 1812 in Fluvanna, VA. He married Frances Marks 26 Dec 1781, when he was 48 and she was 31 (in Goochland, VA). They had 6 children that we can verify. On 4 August 1752, when he was just 19, John Bragg sued Sir Marauder Beckwith for being a witness and the court ordered Beckwith to pay him 50 pounds of tobacco (a common money substitute of the day, when tobacco farming was at its height). Six years later, John appraised and inventoried his mother’s estate and was granted a certificate to obtain letters of administration on her estate.

We see him in Fluvanna County, VA on 1 December 1778, age 45, purchasing 99 acres on Roundabout Creek adjoining Elias Williams and Willson Miles-Cary, from a John Pierce. In that time, men often married late in life, when they could afford to support a wife and family. On 5 October 1797 he bought another acres from Elias Wills. Unlike men of his era, he lived to be 79 years of age. Frances Marks was born in Richmond, VA in 1750 and died in Fluvanna, VA in 1828.

According to some sources, prior to his marriage to Frances Marks, John Bragg married Mary Newport around 1753, the daughter of Peter Newport and Elizabeth Butler. They had 11 children! For a time, then, John Bragg lived in Granville County, NC. If Mary Newport was his 1st wife, his late marriage to Frances Marks makes sense.

ABSTRACTS OF GRANVILLE COUNTY NC. – BOOK 1, 1772-1787–June 1, 1782 – Aug. Court – Will of Peter Newport – To Wife Jenny as long as she lives on the plantation, my still; to daughter Catherine Head, a Negro slave and at her death to her son James Head and also to her all she has received of me; to daughter Mary Bragg, a Negro slave and at her death to her son Peter Bragg all that she has received of me; to daughter Elizabeth Butler, a slave and at her death to her son Turner Butler but for her life and that of her husband James Butler, the use of Negro; to Turner (Leemon?) Butler, a whipsaw, file and pot, my wearing apparel and a gun; to daughter Nancy Liddle, 2 Negro slaves, 160 acres of land next to George Head’s land and at her death, to her lawful issue; to her daughter Elizabeth Butler Liddle, a watch; also to daughter Nancy Liddle, cattle and a horse, etc.; to daughter Lovina Newport, 2 Negro slaves, 160 acres of land at Nancy Liddl’s line, and to my daughter Lovina’s daughter Salley Fletcher, a horse and a chest, and to daughter Lovina, my still but just when her mother-in-law needs it in the fall; to daughters Sarah and Frances, one shilling each.  Exr: my daughter Lovina Newport. Wts: John Owen, Edward Leavel, and William Owen. “

John Bragg was the son of 8. Joseph B Bragg and 8a. Elizabeth Nash or Moore (1710-1757). Joseph B Bragg was born 1690 in Rappahannock, Richmond, VA and died 4 May 1747 in Richmond, Wise, VA. In December of 1714, Joseph was summoned by the Sheriff of North Farmington Parish to answer to the Grand Jury for not attending church for the past two months. On 7 July 1715 he was summoned to court and fined 100 lbs of tobacco for not attending church.

On 16 April 1716 he married Mary Settle (Suttle) and they had 5 children: “The above is a Just and true account of what Marryage Lycences have been issued out of my Office since the 19th day of January 1709/10, a list whereof according to custom annually in October gave to the Sheriff of the Couynty to collect but by whom or to whom or in what manner they have been discharged I cannot certifie and as to the above Lycences not yet delivered to the Sheriff, I have received of ISAAC WEBB twenty shillings for the Governor Given under my hand the seventh day of May 1715 MARMADUKE BECKWITH, Cl R. Cur.“

Almost immediately after her death, he married Elizabeth Nash (Moore). On 1 May 1723, Joseph B Bragg made a court claim seeking a reward for capturing a runaway servant named Michael Williamson belonging to William Mercalf of Northumberland County. The fact that the runaway has a first and last name and is referred to as a servant rather than a slave suggests that this was a white indentured servant. To have a chance at life in the new world, many young men and women indentured themselves to someone who paid their passage; in exchange these poor people had to agree to work for their ‘master’ for a period of time (usually 5-7 years).

They received room and board but no pay and were supposed to be apprenticed to the master so that they learned a trade so they would have a future when they were freed. Masters often abused their servants so some did run off. Punishment could be harsh. Parents who could not afford to pay for an apprenticeship would indenture their own children in the same scheme, except that the children had to endure their indenture until they reached 21 (if they survived).

In 1727, Joseph B Bragg was appointed “Surveyor of Highways from the Rappahannock Bridge to Coll’s Carter’s Mill…to Lisson’s Landing and ordered that he forthwith clear all the said roads according to law.”

On 31 May 1735: “William Marks sold to Joseph Bragg 8000 lbs. tobacco of cask for 150 acres in parish of Lunenburg late north farm, being one moiety of half of 300 acre formerly granted to McHugh Barrott (g/father of Wlm Marks) & granted by B. to his dtr Patiense Marks.”

In 1740, he again made a court claim for capturing runaway servants, this time a “woman named Wilnor Gurman belonging to Stanley Gover of this county.”

On 26 January 1746 he made a will in Lunenburg Parish, Richmond, VA in which he bequeathed some slaves to his sons and daughters, disowned one daughter, Catherine, and left the remainder of his estate to his wife Frances:

In the name of God Amen I Joseph Bragg Sr. of Lunenburg Parish in the County of Richmond being very sick and week but of perfect Since and Memory thanks be to God for the same doe make and ordain this to be my last Will and Testament in manner and form following that this is my first and principally I bequeath my soul to God and that gave it my body to earth to be decently buried in a Christian manner at the discretion of my Executor hereafter named. 

Item – I give and bequeath to my son Joseph Bragg my Negro girl named Mariah to him and hid heirs forever with her increase only the first child the said Negro girl shall have that lives to be two years old it is my will and desire my young son shall have delivered to him at the age of twenty years and if in case this my young son shall dye before he arrives to the age of twenty years or without lawful heirs to my son Newman Bragg and his heirs. 

Item – I give and it is my desire that my son Monroe Bragg and his heirs shall have the plantation that he now lives on.  Together with my Negro girl Hannah to him and the lawful heirs of his body begotten and if in case he should without such heirs of his body to my son John Bragg and his heirs. Item – I give my daughter Eliz. A. Bragg a cow and calf. 

Item – I give and bequeath to my daughter Catherine Bragg one schilling and noe more. Item – It is my desire that my two sons Moore Bragg and Newman should have three years schooling out of my personal estate. Item – If please God my Negroe wench Winny should have another Child after this she now goes with I give and it is my desire that my son Richard Bragg should have it to be delivered to him at age of twenty years. 

Item – I give and bequeath to my beloved wife all and singular Est. real and personal during her natural life except what I have already bequeathed and after her decease to be equally divided between my children that has not a Negro given them. Except my daughter Catherine which I desire to have no more than one schilling as before mentioned. And do also make and ordain my well beloved wife my whole and sole Ex. of this Will and Testament revoking and disannualling all other Wills and Testaments by me heretofore made as witness my hand and seals this 26th day of January 1746.  Wit: Richard L. Dawson, Wm. Lawson, Ingoe Dozer.”

Joseph B was the son of 8.Joseph Bragg and 8a. Mary Tapp. The senior Joseph was born in 1670 in Rappahannock, VA and died 4 May 1747 in Richmond, Wise, VA. He married 8a.Mary Tapp (1670-1731) in Old Rappahannock, VA on 10 March 1689 and they had two sons and two daughters. She was the daughter of THOMAS TAPP and MARY LEWIS. (Order Book Pages, Rappahannock).  

On 5 August 1685 the “Commission of Administration is granted to Mary Tapp upon the Estate of her dec’d husband, John Tapp, she giving in security to be accountable for the same either to this court or to whom it shall properly belong. Ordered that Thomas Gaymes, Rosomund Jacob, Wm Johnson & Leonard Chamberlaine do the last day of Sept next, inventory and appraise the estate of John Tapp dec’d and that they make report thereof under their hands at the next south side court held for this county. Mary Tapp, together with John Waters, enter themselves in an assumpsit of 10,000 lbs of tobacco and cask for the said Mary Tapp’s due administration of the estate of her dec’d husband committed to her. [This record refers, perhaps, to Mary Tapp Bragg’s mother Mary Lewis Tapp.]

On 2 December 1685 Ordered that Mary Tapp make her personal appearance at next south side Court held for this county and that she give and exact and true account (upon oath) of her decd husband’s estate. 

On 1 December 1731 at Richmond Co., Virginia, Bond of Joseph Bragg, Charles Bragg, Richard Branham & Henry Suttel of Richmond, in the sum of 100 Pounds to insure that Joseph and Charles Bragg, Administrators of all the goods, chattels, and credits of Mary Bragg dec’d make an inventory of the goods etc of the dec’d.6 An inventory of her estate was presented by Joseph and Charles Bragg, administrators on 5 January 1732 at Richmond Co., Virginia. (Death; Title: George Harrison Sanford King, Registers of North Farnham Parish 1663-1814 and Lunenburg Parish 1783-1800., Pg. 19).  

His father was 9. John Bragg and his mother 9a.Alice Sheffield or Bassett (1647-1663). John was born 1647 in Rappahannock, VA and died there, we think, after 1670. He married Alice Sheffield (Bassett) in 1663 at the age of 16 and they had four sons. He served in the Colonial troops before the Revolutionary War.

John was the son of 10.William Bragg and an unknown woman. William was born 1624 in Northhampton, VA and died in 1679. Some records indicate his arrival in Virginia in 1649, but he must have been sailing to his parents’ home in England and then returning here. Vital Probate Records for Wiltshire Parish, England has a reference that might relate to William Bragg’s father: 25 September [1640]–New Sarum, Wiltshire, England—William Bragg and others.

PASSENGERS AND IMMIGRATION LISTS INDEX. VOLUME 1. A – G. Ed. Y Pk William Telley w/Mary K Meyer. 1981. Bragg, Wm. n.a.; Virginia 1650 – 2772 page 42.

EARLY VIRGINIA IMMIGRANTS 1623 – 1666. George Cabell Greer. 1989. Bragg, Wm. 1650 by Wingfield Webb and Richard Pate.

CAVALIERS AND PIONEERS. ABSTRACTS OF VIRGINIA LAND PATENTS AND GRANTS 1623 – 1666. Nell Marion Negent. Vol. I. 1983. Page 185 – William Bragg transported by Captain Randall Herle 5 October 1649 to Northampton County.Page 204 – William Bragg transported by Wingfield Webb (Webbe) and Richard Pate 12 December 1650.

Men and women ‘transported’ to the colonies were sent there as indentured servants to work out whatever sentence they had been given by the Royal Court for (mostly) petty crimes—owing money (for which entire families would be imprisoned until debts were paid), theft of a spoon or bit of cloth, assault, and the like. Those convicted of capital crimes like murder were generally executed after months of agonizing prison stays that might include torture and certainly included disease, filth, and starvation.

As the colonies in VA and MA began to grow, the Crown gave convicts the option to be transported as felons indentured for a period of time, learning a trade, and then being freed with a suit of clothes and a small amount of money. The chance for a new life with the opportunity for freedom seemed too good to be true; for many, it meant a quick death by an Indian tomahawk or arrow or a slow death from starvation and disease. Nevertheless, many took the chance and became the foundation for America.

This is where the trail gets rocky. If the William Bragg mentioned in the Wiltshire and Immigrant documents, his parentage may be questionable. Here’s my best guess:

William Bragg, my 9th great grandfather, was the son of 11.Thomas Bragg and 11a. Mary (Molly) Newport, she the daughter of 12.Captain Christopher Newport (1561-1617), the true founder of Jamestown, VA, and 12a.Katherine Proctor (Procter) (1566-1589). The Newport line is rich in heritage and a fascinating story, but some inconsistencies and questions remain as to Mary Newport’s parentage (more on this in the Newport History).

11.Thomas Bragg was born before 23 January 1579 in Lancashire, England and was baptized on that date in Hawkshead, Lancashire, ENG. The marriage date and place for Thomas and Mary is still unclear, but it is believed that they married in Jamestown, VA about 1615. One record indicates that he arrived at Jamestown, VA in 1649, at the age of 70, and died there in 1660, but this ‘arrival’ might have been after returning from a visit to England.

This is a version of the story of the English Bragg brothers, 3 of whom went north and 3 south. Thomas, William, and John went south and sailed on the Susan Constant with Captain Christopher Newport (former pirate and eventual Admiral of the RN fleet in charge of the VA expeditions. The DAR has confirmed that Thomas and John Bragg, teenagers, were on board.

Thomas served in the Royal Navy prior to being hired by Capt. Newport, his future father-in-law.  Having “obtained land grants from the Crown” for his services in the Navy, Thomas and his new bride, Molly Newport, settled down to raise children, the first Braggs born in America, William (1624) and John Bragg. Little is known about John and his family, but the descendants of his brother William have been extensively researched. (Bragg Family Genealogy Forum and

Thomas Bragg (1579-1660) was the son of 12. Thomas Bragg and 12a. Agnes Braithwaite (1550-).  He was born 17 November 1551 in Solihull, Warwickshire, England, married Agnes Braithwaite 23 January 1579 at Hawkshead, Lancashire, ENG and died after 1579. More on the Moore/Bragg lineage to come…

© Copyright 2015 Linda L Labin, PhD