More Information on Elias & Polly Bragg

More Information on Elias & Polly Braggs

(My 4th great grandparents on my Dad’s maternal grandfather’s side)

Elias and Polly Bryant Bragg were natives of Virginia as were their fathers before them. They lived near Charlottesville, having moved there from Fluvanna county, of which Palmyra is the county seat. They left Virginia in 1826 to move first to Ohio and then to Knox County, IL in 1834. As a veteran of the War of 1812, Elias had a bounty land warrant for territory in Chestnut Township and he and his wife settled there in a comfortable life. However, 20 years later, in his will, he deliberately and specifically disowned three of his children, for unknown reasons. Elias & Polly were buried in the private Bragg Cemetery near/in the old Bragg homestead, south of Delong, IL.

Elias Bragg was a member of the Virginia Militia guarding Camp Carter in the War of 1812 (Aug 1, 1814 – Feb 23, 1815). Elias Bragg appears with the rank of Sgt. of A Company of Infantry commanded by Capt. John Field of the 47th Reg’t Virginia Militia, in service under command of Brigardier General John H. Cocke, 8th Regiment, 4th Brigade, at Camp Carter, near Richmond (War of 1812 Company Muster Rolls. Elias Bragg enlisted at Camp Carter on August 31, 1814 and mustered out February 23, 1815 at Camp Carter. He was 105 miles from home. For his service he received $11 per month. He also was awarded an 80-acre land grant of the eastern half of the Southeast quarter of Section 5 in Chestnut Township, IL on March 15, 1852. After Elias died his wife again applied for Bounty Land but I have found no additional information about this application. Since he was not wounded in battle, his widow would not be eligible for a widow’s pension for the “forgotten” war.

WILL: The last Will and Testament of Elias Bragg: In the name of God Amen. I Elias Bragg being in Common health and perfect mind make this my last will and Testament—-after my legal debts are paid and my wife should survive me I wish her to be decently provided for at her own option during her natural life or widowhood after that is done I wish the balance of my property of every kind to be equally divided amongst a part of our Children (that is to say) there is three that I am not willing to give to either of them any thing more than will prevent there [sic] becoming Equil [sic] distributees with those —- —-. I wish hereby to disinherit and namely Elizabeth H, James A and John H and I do hereby declare they nor neither of them shall inherit my property given under my hand this fifth day of May AD one thousand eight hundred and fifty three. Elias Bragg (his seal). I Elias Bragg do hereby Certify that I have wrote my last will and Testament and dated it the fifith [sic] day of May one thousand eight hundred and fifty three and deposited in my pofsifsion [possession] to remain unopened during my life and then to acted on agreeable to the last will and Testament of Elias Bragg prroceding [sic] is to prevent the will from being know[n] while I live. This acknowledged in the presents [sic] of : G.W. Burndirgh. I am Elias Bragg (seal).” [Emphasis in bold added]

Elizabeth H Bragg is my 3rd great grandmother, married to my 3rd ggf, John J Moore (a Virginia farmer); their son Jeremiah B Moore is father of Benjamin Franklin Moore, my ggf. I wonder what these 3 did to make Elias disinherit them? The fact that he has sealed his will and wants NO ONE to read it while he lives indicates that he is perhaps paranoid or merely devious in his dealings with his own family. Perhaps he did not like Elizabeth’s choice for a husband, or was upset that she and the others did not accompany him to Illinois. John J Moore, my 3rd ggf, was a farmer but is listed as an auctioneer during the Civil War and must have lost that business or left it, probably because of his failing health. He is listed as a laborer in the 1870 census and he died that year of consumption (tuberculosis).  This is a mystery worth pursuing.


This small cemetery is located in the North West Quarter of Section 4, Chestnut Township on Knox Road 600 North, one half mile East of County Highway 8. It is on a small hill next to the road on the farm that Elias Bragg purchased and appears to have been used from 1842-1865. It is fenced, but not maintained, although it appears someone has done a little work to set the stones back up. A small sign with a “B”, made of reinforcing rod, has been placed inside the fence. The property is currently owned by Floyd Skinner. Following is the actual transcription of the cemetery (by Todd Walter July 2005).


Name                                     Birth Date                                                 Death Date               Age          Inscription/Comments

Julius Allen                                                                                                Sep 14 1865         2 yr 23 da     Son of James & Sarah M.

Darius Allen                                                                                              Sep 11 1855                                Son of J. & S. M.

Frances Allen                                                                                           Apr 27 1850          1 yr 8 mo 2 da    Dau of J. & S. M.

Infant Allen                                                                                              Oct 12 1855                                  Son of J. & S.

Loammi Mooers               Aug 10 1845                                                Aug 18 1845                                 Son of D. & H.

Mary A. Mooers               May 06 1849                                               Sep 04 1849                                  Dau of D. & H.

Polley H. Bragg                                                                                       Sep 14 1865        unreadable     Wife of Elias

Elias Bragg                                                                                               Jan 1861              unreadable      War of 1812 veteran

Mary Ann Hall                Oct 24 1811                                                   May 09 1842                                “Sacred to the Memory of…” Dau of Elias & Mary Bragg and wife of Erasmus D. Hall.

[There are 2 stones in the garage of Jane Peterzen, Clinton Iowa, that were take[n] there for repair, but her husband was killed before he could return them].

Additional WILL or PROBATE: Will of Elias Bragg

“To all to whom it doth concern Read these lines and you may learn–That I Elias Bragg doth let John S. Hall and Julius Bragg and sons of the above named Elias Bragg a certain colt to each of them at the price of fifty dollars each to bear interest at the rate of six per cent per annum from the first day of October one thousand eight and fifty three until settled given under my hand and seal as part of my last will Elias Bragg {Seal}. Knox County Ills October 1859–To whom it doth concern=Read these lines and you may learn–That I Elias Bragg doth let John and Richard Bragg sons of Joseph F. Bragg and grandsons of the above named Elias Bragg have a colt each of them at the price of fifty dollars each to bear interest at six pr cent per annum from the first day of October 1860 until settled those colt are for the benifit of the children of Joseph F. Bragg jointly but not at his disposal neither are they subject for debts of his contracting given under my hand and seal as part of my last will Elias Bragg.”

This will was written some time after the 1st will in which he disinherited 3 of his children. It is unclear whether this was an entirely new will or just an addendum (codicil). He identifies Julius Bragg as his son, as well as John S Hall as a son–this last probably a son-in-law. In the second item, he further identifies John and Richard as sons of his son Joseph F Bragg and his grandsons. He deliberately states that the value of the colts is for the sons of Joseph only but that he is not to own them or benefit from them! This last suggests that Elias wanted his grandsons taken care of financially, but also indicates that son Joseph must have been subject to huge debts (or lousy at financial matters). A check on my ancestry tree shows that Joseph F Bragg volunteered in the Civil War and was captured and died in Alabama and is buried there. His wife and children remained in Illinois. Joseph had three daughters as well as the two sons, yet Elias Bragg made no effort to leave them anything. 

From the Galesburg Republican Register, October 6, 18[6]3–

“Estate of Elias Bragg; affidavits of Francis Hendricks and Sarah Allen were filed Sept. 26, stating that Marks Bragg had not been heard from for 27 years, and praying that his portion of said estate, belonging too affiants, be paid too them. The Judge ordered that the County Treasurer, J. L. Burkhalter, pay said affiants each one tenth of said amount deposited in the County Treasury. The Judge further ordered that should it satisfactorily appear that $72 is on deposit for said Marks Bragg at the First National Bank of Knoxville, said Francis Hendricks and Sarah Allen shall be allowed too draw the same and distribute it as above provided.? [hole in this line of the paper]. Proof of death and will filed; it was then ordered that a dedimus [an exact copy] issue too some legal officer at Edmonton …testing witnesses.”

Sources: Lois Bragg Reinheimer, Todd Walter on


©2015 Linda L Labin, PhD