Eight Hundred Years Of The
History Of The Name Of
The Keepers of the Hounds
by William Brackett 1999
In my search to locate the origin of the family name of BRACKETT, I have located some concepts of its origin.
According to P.H. Reaney in his book The Origin of English Surnames, " There were difficulties between the Normans who knew no English and the English who were ignorant of french ... after the Norman conquest of 1066 ... gradually the upper and middle classes became bilingual."
Reaney goes on to say in the chapter; Nicknames From Animals, Birds and Fishes: "Brack, Middle English; Braches (plural), Old French; Braches (plural) of the diminutive Brachet, which survives today as Brackett and Brachett. From a hound which hunts by scent". He also states the most common suffixes are "et, ot ... (Luke) Luckett, (Lina) Linnett, etc". He says, "surnames become hereditary ... anytime during the three hundred years following the Norman Conquest." Until 1200 A.D. the peasants have no surnames but there are signs of their development from "1255 till they were in common use by 1355".
The Victoria History of Berkshire, volume four, published in 1924 by St. Catherine Press, London, can be quoted as saying in the chapter dealing with Kintbury and The Local Advowsons: "No church is mentioned in the Domesday Survey but before 1161 Gervase Paynel granted to the priory of Dudley the church here, to which appears to have been attached half a carcurate of land. This land was held of the priory in 1220-1221 by Robert son of John and Alice Braciatte." This could be an early scribing of the translation of the name of Brackett.
There are many spellings that can be found of the name Brackett in those times. In the year 1240 there is mention on the name William Braquit which is most likely a transcription of Brackett. The people of this time spoke a combination of French (Norman) and English (Anglo-Saxon). The earliest spelling that appears to repeat itself seems to be Brachet, which derives from the Old French for a type of hound, which hunts by scent. The Latinization of this name by clerks and the legal professions render it as Brachettii and I have seen it as Brakkette. None the less, I believe all these spellings refer to the same family name which is spelled today Brackett or Brachett.
In the book From Domesday to Magna Carta by Austin Lane Poole, published in 1951 by Oxford at Clarendon Press, I found notations about hunting hounds used in the Middle Ages. The author is quoted as saying; "They hunted with a mixed pack. There was one (liam hound), a heavy built hound, led on a leash for starting the quarry from it's lair; there were a couple of grey hounds (leporarii) which hunted by sight; and a larger number of ordinary hounds (brachetti) which followed by scent." This is the word around which the name of Brackett seems to have originated. The author goes on to say "when classical vocabulary failed them, scribes would not hesitate to Latinize and English word. Thus blanchet (blanket)".
This Latinization could account for the changes from Brachet to Braket and Brackett at later dates.
The name Brackett could have been given to a group of people or a family who kept the hunting hounds (brachetti). These people may have been Norman or of Anglo-Saxon heritage. As you will see later I believe they were Norman. These hounds could have been named for the family (Brachet) who kept them. I found a reference in the 1300s to the keeping of a (brachettum). The name of Brackett is traceable to a time period when surnames first came to England. Surnames were in common use at this time in Normandy and came to England with William the Conqueror after the year 1066 A.D..
Mr. Timothy Baker in, his book, The Normans, states the Normans kept names, which were in, common, use in the duchy. These first names included "William, Robert, Richard ... and some names had become rare such as Raoul which the English knew as Radulf or Ralf. Women's names of French origin are Maud (Latin Matilda), Alice, Agnes, Catherine, Margaret, Joan, Mary, Anne and Elizabeth." The author also asserts that later in the middle ages eighty percent of all Englishmen were christened "John, William, Thomas, Richard, Robert or Henry." The reason I include this information is that the two earliest Bracketts that I located in England were named Radulfum and the other William. Radulfum's fianc‚e was named Isabella. These names could indicate heritage as both men's names are French (Norman) names around 1200 A.D.. Mr. Baker goes on to say "some men described themselves after their callings or their locations. Many took variations of their Christian names such as Johnson or Jackson."
As one researches into the 11th century you find many spellings of a family name. Many people could not write and the church (Catholic) used Latin to record. The legal profession used either Latin or French. Many spellings are scribe's attempts to spell or translate these names. These variations are also due to the language combinations.
The earliest record I have seen is from England and is for a Radulfum Brachet from Canterbury, in the year 1214 A.D.. Radfulf is probably a Latinization of Raoul (French). It would be of value to know if he was called Ralf (Old English) or Raoul (French). This record is found in the Curia Regis and is a probate record. It is the record of Radulf filing claim to retain the dowry from his fiancee. Her name was Isabellum Freiland. This record indicates that Radulf was born in the late 1100s as he was about to marry in 1214. Of interest is the fact that both he and his fiancee have surnames. In England surnames were not in common use by peasants at this time. This would indicate they were of higher rank than a peasant or that they were Norman.
The next record I have seen is for William Braket who is in Bordeaux, Gascony (France). William is carrying a large sum of money, 10000 marks, on behalf of Margery de Ripariis (Redvers) from England to the King's clerk, Peter Chaceporc, keeper of the Wardrobe in Bordeaux. Margery was the wife of Richard de Ripariis (Redvers), Sheriff of Oxford and Rutland. The Sheriff was deceased at this time as Margery was being pursued for marriage by Matthew Bazill, who had filed claim of fine if she failed to marry him. These records are in the Calendar of Patent Rolls of 1243-1247 A.D. There is research that has come to light that indicate this name was spelled in earlier entries as Broket. This research was done by Adrian Brockett of England.
The Liberate Rolls of 1267-1272 make reference to one Peter Braket on June 30, 1268. Peter sold one ton of grapes to the King's representatives for wine making. This reference is listed under Woodstock, England.
The Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem for 1271-1306 makes reference to one Jordan Brachet dated March 28, 1300. The listing is for proof of age at Westminster County of Essex, England for Thomas de Wodeham and states: "John le Dekene, aged 56 says the like ... because the Christmas before he married Maud, daughter of Jordan Brachet who died two years ago" (1298).
The Patent Rolls of 1330-1334 make reference to one John Brachet dated January 28, 1334 under Woodstock. Robert de Brunneby has claim against John for an acre of land at Gerlethorpe.
In the year 1345 the Patent Rolls mention a John Brachet (may be one in the same) on March 18, 1345 at Westminster; claim is brought against him and several others for "maiming, assaulting and imprisoning one John de Leaume at Little Lekhamstede and mowing and carrying away his crops". There is also mention of one Peter Brachet, John's son, under a listing at Buckingham.
In an attempt to learn more about Radulf and William Brachet/Braket (1214/1243), I have tried to research their associates/relatives:
Radulf was engaged to Isabella Freiland in the year 1214. The only contemporary of hers that I could find was William Freiland. He, in the county of Surry, England, in the year 1207 witnessed transactions in the Royal Court. William Freiland may have been Isabella's father, brother or first husband. Radulf filed claim to retain her dowry but it was awarded to remain with Isabella.
In searching William's associates I looked to the Ripariis (Redvers) family. This family has numerous spellings recorded of its surname such as Ripariis, Ryparis, Riparia, Ryvers, Rivere, Riveriis, Reivers and Redvers, thanks to the clerks, scribes and language translations. The Ripariis (Redvers) family is well established as early as 1140 in England. Their status is indicated by the positions they held; Sheriff, Earl, Countess, Lady and Sir to name a few. They were in favor until Edward's reign, the late 1200s. There are three hundred years on baronage associated with this family.
Margery de Ripariis (Redvers), who trusted William Braket to deliver money to Bordeaux, is recorded as being the wife (widow) of the Sheriff of Oxford and Rutland, Richard de Ripariis (Redvers). The money William was in charge of could have been a loan from the Sheriff's estates but was more likely taxes collected on behalf of the late Sheriff's wife Margery. This money could also have been scutage. Margery was widowed in 1243 and was deceased by 1254.
William was associated with and trusted by Margery or the King. As the king at this time was Henry III and the King's at this time were Norman in heritage, it can be assumed that the Ripariis family was also Norman. One of the Ripariis brothers was the first Earl of Devon. This family's ancestor Baldwin (1140) was closely associated with Henry II and Elanor of Aquitaine who triumphed over King Stephen. This family also has ties to the Isle of Wright. If William Braket was a servant he may have been indentured or paid for his services. He may also have been a tax collector. Since William is a Norman name, he has a surname and is so closely associated with these Norman families it can be assumed he is of Norman heritage also. The Ripariis family also left Norman lands to a son. These facts are reported in the book The Anglo-Norman Nobility in the Reign of Henry I by Charlotte Newman.
In 1243 King Henry III was attempting to gain lands in Poitou and to regain Normandy from France. King John had lost Normandy, in 1210. John was the brother of King Richard the Lion Hearted. William Braket was in the service of the Sheriff of Oxford and Rutland in 1243. The duties of Sheriff included enforcement of taxes upon the people. William was carrying this money to Brodeaux on Behalf of Richard de Redvers wife Margery who had assumed her husband's estates and his duties until such time as she should remarry. This estate was passed on to their son Baldwin II.
Radulf Brachet, William Freiland, Richard de Redvers, Baldwin de Redvers and their wives were all contemporaries. It is very likely that they all knew each other. William Braket knew Margery de Redvers, probably Baldwin II (her son) and Baldwin's sister Isabella. William Braket was in good standing with the Redver's family who were royalists and supported the King. The kings which this family served were, Henry I, John I, Henry II, and Edward I, from as early as 1100 A.D. until 1290. In the 1260s Isabella Redvers was not as loyal as her brother Baldwin had been and Edward I sought her lands. In 1293 at her death her holdings became the Kings. These holdings included Devon, Aumale and the Isle of Wright.
Margery de Redvers, the Countess of Devon, wife of Baldwin I, Earl of Devon, was Margery fitz Gerold, who after the Earl's death, married the infamous Fawkes de Breute. The Redvers family were from the Isle of Wright or at least held lands there in the early 1200s.
One thing for certain is the fact that Bracketts owned land and were merchants who had sold their produce to the King's men in Woodstock, Oxford County, England in the year 1268. In the year 1334 John Brachet owned land in Woodstock. It is of interest that these ancestors owned land in Oxford County. This is the same county the Richard de Redvers served as Sheriff. Margery, his wife, is the one that William Braket represented in 1243.
Radulf Brachet, John Brachet, William Braket, Peter Braket and Jordan Brachet were probably all related. They all are located in the southeastern counties of England and I am quite sure that they are all one family. This family is the ancestors of the current Brackett family, as it is spelled today. These gentlemen are probably our first recorded ancestors in England. Unless I can discover further evidence, perhaps in Norman records, my search must end here in the year of our Lord 1190 A.D..
The family name of Brachet, Braket or Brackett becomes scarce during the second half of the 1300s and early 1400s. During this time the Black Death ravaged Europe and England. The plague killed nearly one third of the entire population of England. The family name once again appears in the town of Norwich, County of Norfolk, England in the 1450s, in the person of John Brakett.
The Brackett name can be traced back in America to the year 1630; three hundred and sixty years. In England it can be traced back to the year 1190 or slightly earlier. This is another four hundred and forty years. This is the eight hundred years I refer to on my title page. The reason the year 1190 is used is that Radulf Brachet must have been born at least by then as he was engaged in 1210.
Norman and English ancestors are related to the Scandinavian Vikings (Norsemen).
Just recently I came across a piece of information that may take the family name of Brachet beyond England and back into France. In Limousin, an ancient province of France, in the year 1140 A.D. there is record of one Guillaume Brachet. He was the Castellan for the Chateau of Raymond, Prince of Antioche. There is also record of Guillaume's son Mathieu Brachet who was the Seneschal of Limousin around 1152 A.D..
It is quite possible that these are the ancestors of Radulfum Brachet who was in England in 1214 and William Braket who was in Bordeaux on behalf of the King in 1243. Bordeaux is only a short distance from Limoges, capital of Limousin.
It is extremely interesting that the coat of arms for this family is reported to be a shield with a blue background and two silver dogs. This would seem to support my supposition that the family name revolves around brachetti (hunting hounds) that were recorded in the Middle Ages.
Thanks to Fr. Funck-Brentano's book The Middle Ages and John T. Appleby's book Henry II The Vanquished King, I have been able to piece together the relationship between the Brachets of France and those of England.
The Brachets who were in the service of Prince Raymond of Antioche were loyal Normans. Raymond was the brother of William X, Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Potiou. William' s daughter was Elanor of Aquitaine. Elanor married Louis VII, King of France. Raymond was Elanor's uncle. This relationship may have been the vital link that first brought the Brachets to England.
Elanor divorced Louis VII and married Henry II who was King of England. Henry was the Duke of Normandy and by marrying Elanor became Duke of Aquitaine. Aquitaine is where the province on Limousin is located. Henry had the title of King of English, Duke of the Normans and Aquitaine and Count of the Angivins. Henry and Elanor had several sons but Richard would become a crucial player in this story.
Richard was very close to his mother who was loyal to Aquitaine and Normandy, as her ancestors had been the Dukes and Duchesses of Normandy for years. They were both loyal to her Uncle Prince Raymond of Antioche. Richard was to later take his father's kingdom by force in 1189 A.D.. Since the Brachets were loyal to this family it is very possible that the first Brachets in England came there with Richard in 1189 A.D.. It was the custom for the Seneschal and domestics to accompany their Lords into battle. Richard was to free his mother from prison and appease her and their Uncle Raymond. It is also probable that Radulf Brachet (1214) was a direct descendant of the loyal family.
This is what I believe is proof that the Bracketts of today are from the Norman Brachet family who served the royal and ancient lines of Dukes and Duchesses of Normandy and Aquitaine.
ENGLAND DURING THE 1500s
(What caused our ancestors to leave England ?)
Credit for the first few pages of this chapter must be given to Mr. Kipling and Mr. Fletcher for their work Kiplings Pocket History of England and to Mr. Collins for his work The History of America in Picture from which many of the images are drawn.
In 1539 the monasteries were dissolved and the great Abbots ceased attending Parliament. Some of their wealth was used to found schools and professorships at Oxford and Cambridge but most went to the new nobles and gentlemen. Within three years nearly a quarter of the land in England had new owners. All the churchmen were removed from offices of state which were given to the new nobles. New Confessions of Faith were published; first the "Ten Articles" and then the "Six Articles". One was a step in the direction of German Protestantism and the other was nearly the old Catholic faith. It was the mid way position that most people preferred.
Henry VIII had ordered an English translation of the Bible be placed in every church. In 1544 he allowed the Litany to be said in English. When lay Englishmen began to read the Bible for themselves they would not be content to believe in confession to a priest or in the miracle of the Mass.
All these changes were brought under continued threat from abroad. The Pope had declared that Henry should be deposed and called on Catholic Princes to do the job. The danger was from old alliances of France and Scotland and also included Spain, Germany and Flanders. Henry armed his people to the teeth and later had a navy of seventy ships. He built castles all around the southern and eastern coasts and was always making guns to put in them. He knew that the few remaining descendants of Edward III were plotting to upset his throne. He had already sliced off the heads of all his royal cousins that he could catch. With the approval of his Parliament he settled that the crown should go after his death, to his son Edward. Also if Edward had no children it was to go to Elizabeth. Lastly if there were no heirs the crown was to go to the heirs of his younger sister Mary; Duchess of Suffolk. He did not want any of his elder sisters or Margaret; Queen of Scotland to have any part in the crown. He hated Scotland as much as had Edward I and Henry continued the border fights with Scotland until his death in 1547.
Henry was a great patriot and a great Englishman. He taught Englishmen to rely on themselves and their ships. He taught future kings to rely on their people. Great suffering came with these changes. The changes were morally bad for the generation that saw them. The new landowners were men who thought only of riches and turned out the tenants of the old monks by the hundreds. Beggars were turned loose to swarm the countryside; beggars that the monks had given daily bread and beer. Laws of whipping and forced labor had been passed to keep these men in order. Since the discovery of rich gold and silver mines by the Spaniards in the Americas, money had come into Europe in floods. This had sent prices of goods up. Great fortunes could be made and lost. The strong, the clever and often the wicked prospered and the weak and old-fashioned people were ruined.
The six-year reign of the boy Edward VI (1547-53) only made things worse. Everyone had been afraid of Henry VIII; no one was afraid of a child of ten. The result was that the government became a scramble for wealth and power among the new nobles. It was the fear of losing their lands and the desire of confiscating for themselves what remained of church property that drove these men to force on a reformation of the church. The results were good because the Protestant faith did get a lawful footing in England. Moderate men began to mistrust a reformation, which seemed to be bound up with greed for spoil and contempt of all that was England. At the same time, the leaders of the new Protestant Church were all men of high character.
You may abuse the greedy nobles but we should not regret a reign which put the Prayer Book into English and substituted Communion for Mass. Cranmer prepared two successive Prayer Books; 1549 and 1552. In Edward's reign the marriage of priests was allowed and the laws about burning heretics were abolished. Also in his reign the stained glass windows, statues and pictures were removed from most churches.
Edward's first Regent was his mother's brother, Edward Seymore; Duke of Somerset who was unfit to rule a nation. He continued Henry's vindictive quarrel with Scotland and drove the Scots into the arms of the French. Their girl-queen, Mary Stuart, who might have married Edward, was sent for safety to France and married the French King's son. Seymore was soon upset by John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, who pushed the Reformation at greater speed for his own ends. He brought in a lot of foreign Protestants and gave them places in the English Church. He brought in foreign troops to be his bodyguards, bullied Princess Mary, thrust all the leading Catholics into prison and tossed the remaining Church lands to his fellow nobles.
Edward was very delicate and drew near his end in 1553. Mary's succession was sure and it was certain she would stop the violent progress of the Reformation. The Duke persuaded the dying boy-king to make a will passing over his sisters and leaving the crown to his cousin, Lady Jane Grey. She was actually proclaimed Queen in London.
The whole nation rose to defend the injured Princess Mary. Within nine days Lady Jane was a prisoner in the Tower. She was executed a few months later. Mary rode into London with her sister Elizabeth at her side. Mary's reign of five years and four months is the greatest tragedy in the history of England. She was a good woman, attached to the Catholic faith and to the memory of her mother. She was learned, clever and of lofty courage, she was a Spaniard at heart and never an Englishwoman. She was vindictive.
If Protestantism was to triumph in the long run some of the fearful cruelty Mary had inflicted on it was necessary. Moderate men had seen it as a religion of a gang of selfish nobles seeking to divide all the riches of England among themselves.
But Mary cared little for her countrymen and cared only for her Church. She was determined to restore the state of things, which had existed at the beginning of her father's reign; the Pope and all his works. Also accomplish this by making an alliance with Emperor Charles and his son Philip. In six months she had terrified her people. She had wrecked the Catholic faith in the minds of the intelligent Englishmen.
Mary tossed all the leaders of the Reformed Church into prison and set about restoring the Catholic services everywhere. The greedy nobles professed themselves to be good Catholics so she dared not touch them. The one thing the nobles feared was the loss of their new lands. They knew the Queen was determined to restore the monasteries and the laws about burning the heretics. She could not convince Parliament to do the latter until 1554 and she never was able to touch the lands of the nobles.
This was a time of religious turmoil in England. The state religion was dependent upon the Monarch in power. For hundreds of years England had fluctuated between Catholicism and The Church of England, Anglicanism.
The burnings of the Protestant martyrs began in 1555 and in less that three years nearly three hundred persons had been burned at the stake. The burnings were nearly all in the southeastern counties of England, as the north and west remained Catholic. The four great Protestant Bishops were among her victims. Three fourths of the victims were persons of humble life. The people of those days were used to seeing all sorts of cruel tortures at executions. The high courage of these martyrs as they met their deaths made an impression that would not be forgotten. It was the reign of "Bloody Mary", not that of Edward VI, that was the true birthday of Protestantism in England.
Philip dragged England into one of his frequent wars with France and when Frenchmen seized the opportunity they captured Calais. The loss of Calais seemed a shame. The last two years of Mary's reign, revolts were always on the verge of breaking out. The French ships full of English Protestant exiles prowled the Channel and harassed the English and Spanish trade. No heir was born to the throne and Mary was slowly dying of dropsy. Her reign had been a nightmare of terror and it closed in loss, ruin, pestilence and famine.
The Princess Elizabeth came to the throne in November of 1558. She was very different from her sister. Her life had been in danger several times during Mary's reign. The Spanish councilors often urged Mary to put Elizabeth to death. Elizabeth was a woman of varied character; slightly stingy and mean, brave and fierce, passionately fond of her country and English to the bone. She was jealous that she could not bear to have her courtiers to even look at another woman. She was so vain of her beauty that even in old age she covered herself with gorgeous dresses and ridiculous jewels. She made her people follow, obey and worship her until at last she became a sort of crowned spirit and guardian angel of the whole nation. Men called her "Gloriana".
England was entirely without allies and almost bankrupt. Catholic Europe and many Catholic Englishmen considered that the Queen had no right to the throne for they had never approved of her father's marriage to Anne Boleyn. The true Queen of England, they thought, was Mary, Queen of Scots. In Elizabeth's first year Mary became Queen of France as well. The prospects of the union of France, Scotland and England frightened King Philip of Spain and made him more a friend than a foe to Elizabeth.
Elizabeth is considered one of the great Monarchs of England but she had to deal with many internal and external conflicts to her reign.
Philip implored Elizabeth to keep England Catholic and to marry some decent Catholic prince. Her sister's reign had killed Catholicism in the hearts of younger men in England. She rightly decided that she must reign as a Protestant Queen. The difficulties of settling the new Church were enormous. Elizabeth had to make Bishops of men who had fled aboard to escape death. Such men were the germ of the party called "Puritans" and later "Dissenters" or "Nonconformists". Elizabeth's great advisor for forty years was the wise William Cecil who was the most far-sighted and moderate of men. The Queen and Cecil and their Parliament were able to pass strong laws against those who refused to conform to it, regardless if they were Catholic or Protestant.
All her reign Elizabeth was in constant danger of being murdered by some Catholic agent of the Pope. Such men called her heretic, bastard, usurper and other ugly names. The Catholics considered those who carried out these plots to be martyrs not murderers. As each plot failed more moderate Catholics were driven to the English Church.
Elizabeth hated war partly because she had the idea that England was hardly strong enough or rich enough to engage in foreign war but also because she could not stand to pay her soldiers and sailors. She was often obliged to send small secret expeditions to help the rebel Protestants. Philip of Spain was engaged in a long attempt to suppress Protestantism in the "Low Countries" (Belgium and Holland) and the Queen was constantly sending aid to the Protestants there.
It was the same story in France, where a strong Protestant Party kept a civil war going for thirty years. This war weakened the two great Catholic powers and made Elizabeth stand out as the champion of European Protestantism.
On the whole her reign is mainly occupied with two long battles, one with Mary, Queen of Scots and the other with Philip of Spain. The dual with Mary lasted from 1560-87 and the one with Philip lasted until Elizabeth's death (1603).
Mary Stuart returned a widowed Queen to Scotland in 1561 to find Elizabeth had already helped the Scottish nobles to overthrow the French power and the Catholic Church with one blow. The new church, that was set up in Scotland, was called "Presbyterian" from its government by presbyters or elders instead of bishops. The new church was far more violently Protestant. Mary honestly believed herself to be the rightful Queen of England but she found it hard to keep her own crown. In six years she had lost it. She was always an object of suspicion to the Scottish nobles as she was a Frenchwoman and Catholic at heart. In 1567 Mary allowed her husband to be murdered and she married the murderer. Scotland rose in wrath, deposed and imprisoned her and crowned her infant son as King. They brought him up Protestant. Mary fled to England and Elizabeth pretended to pity her. Elizabeth kept Mary safe at first but later as a prisoner for nineteen years. Mary soon began to plot against Elizabeth's life. In despair, Elizabeth's councilors implored her to bring Mary to trial and in 1587, the Scottish Queen, was tried, condemned and beheaded in Fortheringay Castle.
This was an open challenge on the part of the English to Catholic Europe. Mary had made a will in which she passed over her son, left Philip of Spain heir to both crowns and implored him to avenge her. He was ready to do so as he was exasperated at the failure of the plotters to kill the English Queen. Philip prepared to send a great fleet, known to history as the Spanish Armada.
Now Henry VII and Henry VIII had been the real makers of the English Navy. They had been the first Kings to build big ships that could sail anywhere and fight anyone. Henry VIII had paid special attention to guns and gunnery. He had also been the true father of English merchant shipping. All merchant ships were equipped with guns so they could be ready for a fight with the pirates. Though the Spanish fleet was about twice as large as the English Royal Navy, the number of fighting ships that England could put to sea far out numbered those that Spain could put in the Channel. English men were going to fight, not only for Queen and faith, but for home and families, to fight for their own shores which were well known to them.
When Spain discovered America and the Portuguese found their way around the Cape of Good Hope, each tried to exclude all other nations from the seas they had explored, from lands they had discovered and from trades they had opened. The Pope had the astounding insolence to divide these seas, country and trade routes between the Spaniards and the Portuguese. He gave the Western World to Spain and the Eastern World to Portugal. Englishmen laughed at this exclusion. They meant to take and did take English goods to all countries where they could find a market for them. This rough deep-sea game went on for the entire reigns of Edward and Mary. In the reign of Elizabeth it became the game of the Englishmen. In 1589 the first English voyage around the world, the third such voyage in history, took place. More gallant English merchants and sailors pushed their ships and trade into every corner of Spanish America. The Spaniards hanged many of them as pirates. They also burned others as heretics.
Before the Spaniards reached the Straits of Dover their fleet had been crippled by the English guns and they were off Calais when a lot of boats, smeared with tar and pitch and full of gunpowder, were set on fire and sent adrift among them.
This so terrified the Spanish Admiral that he put about and fled into the North Sea. Perhaps half or one third and these only hulks arrived in the harbors of Spain. The winds and waves and rocks had finished what the English guns had begun. The great cause of freedom and Protestantism were saved and England and Elizabeth ruled the waves.
The great Queen lived fifteen years after her victory and her enemy, Philip, lived ten. Elizabeth never realized how complete that victory had been. She allowed occasional raids on the Spanish coast and colonies. Her last years were lonely and she had never married. The great men who had helped her make England a first rate power had died before her. The rising generation was all looking toward her successor and that could only be King James of Scotland, whom she cordially hated. The Church of England was indeed safe but the Puritan Party within it was growing and was strong even in Parliament. All this foretold that seventeenth century England would have plenty of troubles to deal with. Elizabeth died at Richmond in the seventieth years of age in 1603.
Henry VIII and Elizabeth had given England unity and patriotism. Would the Stuarts be able to maintain unity? James had trouble in Scotland between the nobles and the Presbyterian Ministers who were always preaching at him. He was a firm and very learned Protestant, a kindly man, though irritable and conceited. He never understood the temper of the English people.
The temper of the English people was going to be very serious to deal with. They had grown up and were fully aware that they had done so. They did not want to be "in the leading strings" anymore. Even the great Elizabeth had galled this proud temper quite often. James I and his son Charles I never thought of themselves as servants of their people. They were not tyrants or cruel men nor extortioners but they irritated the nation until they provoked rebellion and civil war. They broke the unity on King and people.
The main thing to remember about James and Charles is that they quarreled continually with their Parliaments. Nearly all their quarrels were over religion or money. The House of Commons took the lead in the quarrels because it was the most powerful body of gentlemen in the country. The Stuarts added more than a hundred members to the House of Lords in the hope of getting their support against the Commons, but without success.
England was growing more Puritan every day. Men saw that the Church of Rome had "set its house in order" and was regaining ground everywhere. It was catching hold of Kings even in lands that had been soundly Protestant fifty years before. Spain backed the Church up with the sword and gun. Spain was still a great power. James I was bent on keeping peace with Spain and he wanted his son to marry a Spanish Princess. This said the Puritans would simply bring back the Pope to England.
In 1605, some wicked and hotheaded Catholics plotted to blow up the King and both Houses of Parliament with gunpowder. The King, the Prince of Wales, the Lords of Commons and all the Bishops would have met a horrible death. The friends of Fawkes would have then seized the Government on behalf of the Catholics. Protestants hated and feared a religion in whose name such things could be planned. The Puritans also said that the Church of England was getting too much like the Catholic Church or becoming "High Church". The Bishops were too powerful, the services too splendid and even the teaching was once again too Catholic. So Puritans began to cry out, first for a limit to the power of the Bishops, then for their abolition and finally for the abolition of the Prayer Book. England was not united but was divided on the religious question. There were two camps, which were obliged to fight it out in a bloody civil war.
No one of any importance in England wanted the King to be able to take taxes at his pleasure, nor to keep people in prison without bringing them to trial. They also disliked the thought of making war or peace without consulting Parliament. The Tudors had done many of these things with the approval of the whole nation and for the good of the nation. The people they kept in prison were usually spies or traitors who were threatening the very existence of England. James and Charles sent members of Parliament to prison for speeches made in Parliament. They maintained a fine navy and they could build splendid ships but they did nothing with them. Their sailors were itching to cut Spanish throats in America and Portuguese throats in India. The fleet however was kept hanging around the Channel. Men were unwilling to serve in such a navy and had been compelled to serve. When King Charles, in 1635-37, asked for a tax called "Ship Money" to maintain the navy, men began to say "NO".
It was the same story with the army. The Tudors had not been very successful in their efforts to make this force a real one. Men hated the service and shirked it when they could. King James had a fine opportunity of showing that England could fight by land as well as by sea. A war broke out in Germany between Catholics and Protestants which was to last for thirty years. All good Protestants in England and Scotland were eager to go to help their brothers in Germany. There was no real army in England. James dismissed all his Parliaments in anger and used rude language in doing so. When he died in 1625 nearly all the seeds of the future civil war had been sown.
Charles I, the "Martyr King", was very different from his father. He was shy, proud, cold, ignorant of the world, obstinate and mistrustful. He did not mean to lie but he hardly ever told the truth. Neither his enemies nor his friends could trust him. He would have liked to be good friends with his people and was called "a good fellow". Charles's wife was a Catholic and a Frenchwoman and cared nothing for England. Though a firm Protestant, Charles was much more high church than was James and wanted to give the Bishops more power. In his first years he quarreled openly with his three Parliaments. He could hardly get enough money to help him live and govern England, let alone to defend the honor of England abroad. Then for eleven years, 1629-40, he called no Parliaments at all. This was the longest interval without Parliaments since the reign of Henry III and to all Englishmen this seemed intolerable.
During this period Charles took the customs at ports. The Colonies were beginning to be founded in North America. The East India Company, which began building the Indian Empire, had been founded at the end of Elizabeth's reign.
Besides the customs, there were lots of sources of income, many of which were against the law and Charles had revenue of about a million pounds a year. This was enough for him to live on as long as he kept the peace. Perhaps he might never have called another Parliament had he not quarreled with his subjects in Scotland about religion. His Archbishop of Canterbury was William Laud, an honorable but narrow-minded individual who decided to embark on an attempt to weed out the Puritan Party in the Church of England. He also insisted that everyone conform to the services of the Prayer Book. All Puritan England was already growling deeply at his efforts.
The first idea of all voyages to distant countries had been to find either gold, silver or precious goods, which could not be grown in England. Spain, Portugal, Holland and France had all been ahead of England in the race for discovery. It was Sir Walter Raleigh, in Elizabeth's reign, who had first imagined the true colony. He did not mean a sort of shop in which Englishmen were to buy gold or silver nor silk or spices but rather a plantation of Englishmen in some distant land. These people were to buy all their goods, iron tools, woolen clothes, linens and boots from England. This would create a piece of England beyond the seas. This would be an enormous boost to English manufacturers. Raleigh planned to plant such a colony in Virginia. It collapsed for want of funds. The idea lived on and in 1606 it was taken up again by a group of London merchants who subscribed money to send to the colonists. By the year 1620, Virginia was a flourishing little state.
In that year some sturdy Puritans, since called the "Pilgrim Fathers", got permission to immigrate to North America. They objected to being compelled to use the Prayer Book and they wanted to worship God in their own fashion. They founded a little state called Plymouth on the American coast. Other colonies soon followed and by 1660 the whole eastern coast of North America was dotted with little English states. Virginia and the more sternly Puritan New England lay in a wedge on the valley of the Hudson River, which was also settled by the Dutch. There was no gold on North America and except for tobacco, no other rich natural resources for England. There was a virgin soil of great fertility, vast forests, swarms of fur bearing animals and splendid fishing on the coast. These people rapidly grew into rich and prosperous states, working in a climate similar to that of Europe. They were doing the same work as their fathers had done across the sea.
Many of the colonies were full of Puritans and Protestant dissenters. These very men had fought against the Crown in King Charles's reign. There was born a spirit of resistance to government in general and a notion that government is oppressive. This spirit might easily lead to rebellion. The colonists knew that their protection was the English fleet. Some sort of loyalty to England was a necessity. England usually left them to themselves. She did not tax them although she sent governors, who raised the British flag but did very little governing.
Each colony set up a miniature House of Commons or something like it. They made laws on the English model. England insisted on one thing and that was that the colonies were to buy all their goods from English merchants. They were also to send all their produce that England could not grow herself to England.
THE BRACKETT NAME IN ENGLAND (1451-1700)
Between the years 1451-1700 there are several entries in the records of the County of Norfolk in England for persons of the Brackett name. As wills from this time are the main sources of information and these were not always written by the person, clerks wrote them, there seems to be varied spellings of this name. Some spellings are, Brackett, Bracket, Braket Brakkett and Brakett. I believe these are not the same family as those spelled; Brockett, Brickett and Bragott.
The Index of Wills Proved In The Consistory Court of Norwich and Now Preserved In The District Probate Registry At Norwich 1370-1550 and Wills Among The Norwich Enrolled Deeds 1289-1508, Compiled and Edited by M.A. Farrow and published by the Norfolk Record Society in 1943 includes a John Brakett. According to this book the “See of Norwich extended over Norfolk, Suffolk and a part of Cambridgeshire, and comprised four archdeaconries, viz. Norwich, Norfolk, Suffolk and Sudbury.” These registers are titled and dated. In the year 1451 John Brakett was listed as being from St. Stephen and his will is on page 81 and 82 of the register titled, “Aleyn”. The register “Aleyn” is dated from 1448-1455 and contains 547 wills.
It would appear that in the mid 1550s there were brothers named Richard and John Brackett in the Parish of Wreningham in the County of Norfolk, England. There is a will made out by John (see attachment #1) giving lands to Richard, his brother. This will is dated April 29th,1553 and is written in Latin. At this time both the Catholic Church and the legal profession used Latin to record things.
This Richard who was willed these lands is most likely the Richard who is referred to later as having entered Cambridge University in the mid 1550s. He is also likely the father of Richard Brackett, clerk of Norwich, whose will is included as attachment #2. This Richard (clerk of Norwich) had sons named Richard, Robert, Thomas, John and a daughter named Elizabeth.
I believe that these sons are possibly the Richard and Thomas who first came to America in 1629. This fact has not been clearly established but both these sons were only given money in the will as was Elizabeth, the daughter. The will is dated July 17th, 1634 after such a time as they were in America. The properties, after their mother's demise, were given to the sons John and Robert (see page 31).
As there is a reference, later, in regards to Captain Richard Brackett's sister being released from the church in Boston to go to Braintree, Massachusetts along with his wife, it is thought that Elizabeth was in New England at this time. I also feel that the belief that three Brackett brothers came to America (see page 46) is not entirely accurate. I feel that this belief refers to Richard, Thomas and Elizabeth. I feel that the Peter Brackett who is recorded as owning land adjacent to Richard is possibly a cousin or uncle rather than a brother, as is assumed.
It has since been found that Richard Brackett was from Sudbury, Suffolk County, England. Sudbury was under the diocese of Norwich in 1616 when Peter Brackett wrote his will. At one time Norfolk and Suffolk Counties were known as Anglica and were united.
All these items are
conjecture on my part based upon my research. They could be real possibilities,
as the time periods do coincided. Regardless of the correctness of these
conjectures, we are definitely linked to England and probably to Norfolk County
near the town of Norwich. There seems to be several Bracketts in this area in
the mid 16th and 17th centuries. As this name is not a common one, chances are
good that these are all our ancestors. There is some reference to the Brackett
name originating in Scotland. I have found no link to Scotland in my research.
Records become sketchy as one progresses back in time. I believe that Norfolk
County is where our ancestors were after the Black Death ravaged England
BRACKETTS I found in England, 1451-1700
Date Name Parish/Town Notation
1451 John St. Stephen/Norwich Will
1538 Catherine St. Stephen/Norwich Marriage
1539 Katerina St. Stephen/Norwich Marriage
1574 William Swaffham Will
1588-91 John Wreningham/Norwich Notation
1604-06 John Swaffham Will
1610 Ann Swaffham Marriage
1624 Elizabeth Shipdham Will
1626 Thomas St. Nicholas/Great Yarmouth Marriage
1631 John St. Gregory/Norwich Marriage
1634 Richard St. Augustine/Norwich Will
1638 George Swaffham Will
1639 Robert St. Augustine/Norwich Marriage
1654 Elizabeth North Elmham Marriage
1662 Robert St. Augustine/Norwich Marriage
1664 Richard St. Michael/Norwich Marriage
1666 Margaret Wreningham/Norwich Will
1684 * Mary North Walsham Christening
1700 * Mary St. Mary In The Marsh/Norwich Marriage
*These Marys are one in the same.
While researching I came across the following entries in the marriage licenses of London 1520-1610:
February 3rd Nicholis Norris of Whitham, County of Essex, yeomen and Alice Brackett of Hennye of said county; widow of ... Brackett, late of same county, husbandman at Hennye aforesaid.
1609 October 9th William Bayford of Walanstow, County of Essex, fabrum lignarium widower and Margaret Brackett of same, daughter of ... Brackett, late of County Norfolk, fabri lignari deceased at Islington County of Middlesex.
The Latin phrase farbrum lignarium and fabri lignari refer to woodworking, carpentry or woodcarver. It would appear that they are used to refer to an artist or artwork. The father of Margaret of Norfolk County seems to have been a woodcarver or woodworker.
The book The Able Men of Suffolk 1638 lists some of the Brackett name living in Suffolk County, England in the year 1638. These records are from a time just 3 to 10 years after Richard Brackett emigrated from this area to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Those listed are:
Parish/Town in Suffolk County, England: Name:
Samford, Thomas Brackett
Cosford, Edward Brackett
Bramford, John Bracket
Sudbury, Peter Bracket
Sudbury, Jesthro Brakett
Melford, Abraham Brackett
WILL FOR JOHN BRACKETT OF
NORFOLK COUNTY, ENGLAND
Translation of the will for John Brackett of Wreningham Parish, Norfolk County, England, as translated by Richard Price Genealogist:
"To all the faithful of Christ to whom this present writing shall come John Brakkett of Wreningham in the County of Norfolk (sends) greetings in the everlasting Lord. Know that I the aforesaid John have revised, released and forever quit claimed in everything of and for myself, my heirs and assigns forever to Richard Brakkett of the same (Wreningham), my brother, his heirs and assigns, all my rights, title, estates, claims, use, possessions, interest and demand which I ever had, have or in the future may be able to have of and in half c_acre of land and two stytches of arable land lying in two pieces in Wrennyngham aforesaid, that is to say the said half acre lying in the same open field called Churchffelde between the land of Oliver Sheeres gentleman or either side, that is to say the south and the north and abutting to the Queen's road leading to Norwich of the west and the two stytches lying in the same lodge/felde that is to say between the land of George Whitefoote on the north and the land of Willim Burges on the south side and adjoining Wrennyngham Common on the east.
That is to say that neither I the aforesaid John Brakkett not my heirs nor any other in our name nor any of our names shall ever be able to demand or claim any right, title, estate, claim, use, possession, interest or demand of and in the aforesaid half acre and two stytches or in any part of them by any reason. But we and any of us shall be totally excluded forever by these presents from any action, claim, right, title, estate, use, possession, interest and demand.
In witness whereof I have affixed my seal to this present writing. Given at Wrennyngham aforesaid on twentyninth of April in the first year of the reign of Lady Mary (1553) by the grace of God, Queen of England, France and Ireland and defender of the faith."
On the back; (dorsal) "Read, sealed and
delivered in the presence of Thomas Colier, Thomas Randall, William Burgesse,
Richard Rust and Richard Reede"
WILL FOR RICHARD BRACKETT
NORFOLK COUNTY, ENGLAND
This is a translation of the will of Richard Brackett clerk of Norwich, Norfolk County, England. Translated by William Brackett (1990). The first and last paragraphs appear to be in Latin and I could not decipher them but the main will reads: (punctuation is the translators)
In the name of God Amen, seventeenth day of July 1633. I Richard Brackett of Norwich, Clerk, being of sound and perfect memory; thanks be given to God, do make this my last will and testament in form following:
First I (emend) my soul into the hands of almighty God. Hopeing assureth, through Christ Jesus, that my sins be forgiven me and I shall be a partaker of life everlasting and my body I will to be buried in the chancel at St. Augustines Church of Norwich aforesaid.
Item: I give to the poor people in the Parish if St. Augustines ten shillings of lawful English money to be distributed amongst them.
Item: I give the like sum of ten shillings to be distributed amongst the poor people inhabiting in the town of Wrenningham.
Item: I give and bequeath unto Jane Brackett; my wife, my tenement situate and being in the parish of St. Martins of Pallace; in the said city, with all the grounds there unto belonging, which I purchased of Edmund Rugish gent.. To have and to hold to her and her assigned for and during the term of her natural life and the said tenement I will to be maintained and kept in sufficent repairs; by my said wife, through her term.
Item: I give unto Jane Brackett, my said wife, for and during the term of her natural life the sum of forty shillings of lawful English money in manner and form following: within one half year next after my decease twenty shillings during the time aforesaid.
Item: I give and bequeath unto Richard Brackett my son one bond obligatory of ten pounds. Wherein Abraham Fynck, my son in law, stands bound unto me for the payment of ten pounds. I will it shall be paid unto him, the said Richard, his executors, administrators or assigned by the said Abraham within one year next after my decease in or at the church porch of St. Martins of Pallace in Norwich; above written.
Item: I will that Jane Brackett, my said wife, shall have the occupation of these moneable goods following during her natural life, the one bedsted being in my hall chamber; with cord and net to the same, one iron frame, my best featherbed; with the bolster belonging to the same, my best coverlet, one pair of my best blankets, five pair of my best sheets, two pillows, two pillow ... belonging to the same , one half of my pewter and brass, my best iron pot, one pair of hooks fitten for the same, one little table in my kitchen, one pair of ... irons, two little chairs; one with a boarded bottom and another with a peggen bottom commonly used in my kitchen, one pail, one trundle bedsted with cord and net to the same, one yellow coffer of oaken bound, one little box; with key and lock to it, one great chest of walnut; standing in my hall chamber, my wife's best warming pan. All with moneable goods, my mind is that after Jane Brackett; my wife's, decease, that they shall remain to my eldest son then living. Promised always and my meaning is that if the said Jane Brackett, my wife, shall at any time hereafter my decease, detain and keep back from my executor any of my moneable goods not before given amounting to the sum of ... then remaining in her hands, or any other by her detains, and shall not upon proof of detaining, there of, deliver the said goods to my executor, then she shall thereby loose the benefit of my legacy formerly bequeathed and given.
Item: I bequeath unto Robert Brackett my son and to his heirs all the ... houses, lands and tenements what so ever situate, lying and being in Wrenningham; upon condition and so as the said Robert Brackett and his heirs, executors, administrators, assigned do pay or cause to be payed unto Elizabeth Brackett, my daughter, on or at the porch of the Parish Church of Wrenningham the sum of fifty pounds of lawful English money in form and manner following, that is to say within half a year after my decease; fifty shillings and each half year fifty shillings until the sum of fifty pounds be fully satisfied and paid; if she than be living, and if Robert his executors or administrators or assigned shall fail or make default in paying of the said fifty pounds or any part thereof in manner and form, as is above said, limited to be paid, that then and thenceforth it shall and may be lawful to and for her, the said Elizabeth, unto the said lands and tenements aforesaid before devised to the said Robert to enter and the same to have, hold, occupy and enjoy until she shall be fully satisfied and paid all such monies as shall be then owed and due unto her of the aforesaid fifty pounds and all also upon condition and so as that he the said Robert his heirs, executors, administrators or assigned shall pay or cause to be paid unto Richard Brackett, his brother, or to his certain attorney, executor administrator or assigned on or at the porch of the Parish Church of Wrenningham, aforesaid, the sum of one hundred and twenty pounds, and or from thenceforth yearly and every year; twenty pounds until the said sum of one hundred and twenty pounds be fully satisfied and paid; but if default be made in payment thereof, that then it will devise all my houses and lands aforesaid, before bequeathed, to the said Robert unto the said Richard my son and to his heairs upon condition and so as he the said Richard; his heirs, executors, administrators or assigned do pay or cause to be paid unto his sister Elizabeth; on or at the porch of the Parish Church in Wrenningham, aforesaid, the residue of the said sum of fifty pounds which was before limited to be paid by the said Robert; in manner and form following: that is to pay within one half a year next after his the said Richard entering into the premises aforesaid and thenceforth every half year until the whole sum of aforesaid fifty pounds together with the arranges thereof, if any shall remain then unsatisfied, unto her by the said Robert, her brother, be fully satisfied and paid. But if default be made in payment of the residue of the said fifty pounds, or any part thereof, in manner and form as is before expressed to be paid by the said Richard or that he the said Richard shall not satisfy and pay the monies with which last sum paid unto her the said Elizabeth, by the said Robert, that then and thenceforth it shall be lawful to and for the said Elizabeth unto the lands and tenements aforesaid to have, hold and enjoy until she be satisfied and paid her said monies; which shall be then owed and due unto her from the said Richard together with all such other monies as were before unsatisfied and unpaid by the said Robert; at the time of the entry aforesaid made by the said Richard into the premises aforesaid and whereas I stand bound with my son Richard only in ... all bonds and my son Robert with him in other bonds, for the said Richard's debts and my will and meaning is that if the said Richard his executors, administrators and assigned shall not satisfy said default and pay all such debts as the said Richard or my son Robert do in any way stand bound to pay or are .. there unto by these bound, for him the said Richard, my son, before the first payment thereof to him be made by my son Robert, that he the said Richard, my son, shall loose the whole and sole benefit of this my quest or devise which ever before to him given, by this my last will and testament, and my son Robert from thenceforth to enjoy all these my houses and lands in Wrenningham aforesaid, before to him devised, freed and discharged of any payment aforesaid, to be made to him by the said Robert.
Item: I give and bequeath unto said Robert, my son, my tenement in St. Martins of Pallace within the city of Norwich with all the grounds there unto belonging, which to have in lease from the said city, to have and hold to him and to his assigned; upon condition he permit and suffer the said Elizabeth, my daughter, from the time of my decease to inhabit and dwell in these house which are in the occupation of one John Tasemds. To have these and the occupation of the ground there belonging and monies in his lease, for and until the expiration of the term in that lease mentioned; if she live so long, she paying unto the said Robert or his assigned for the same yearly and every year until the expiration of the lease mentioned; if she live so long, in or at the church porch of the Parish Church of St. Martins of the Pallace aforesaid the sum of ten shillings of lawful English money and also upon condition that the said Robert or his assigned shall during the residue of the term, that at the time of my death shall be unoccupied by that is to maintain and keep all the houses aforesaid in good and sufficient repairs and if the said Robert shall not perform the condition according to the true intent and meaning of this my will, then it will devise, the said tenement, to my executor and his assigned for and during the residue of the term being then unoccupied.
Item: I give unto John Brackett, my son, and his heirs, after Jane Brackett; my said wife's decease, my tenement in St. Martins at the Pallace with all the grounds there unto belonging; upon condition that the said John, his executors, administrators or assigned in or at the church porch of the Parish Church of St. Martins at the Pallace aforesaid to pay or cause to be paid unto Thomas Brackett, my son, the sum of thirty pounds. That is to say within one year of my said wife's decease; five pounds of lawful money of England and so every year ; five pounds till the full sum of thirty pounds be fully satisfied and paid. But if my son John Brackett do not pay these sums aforesaid then it shall be lawful for my son Thomas Brackett to enter and hold my said tenement until he be fully satisfied and paid the full sum of thirty pounds and all such arranges as he shall put by the receiving of the said thirty pounds or any part thereof.
Item: I give unto Thomas Brackett my son thirty pounds of lawful money of England to be paid unto him by Robert Brackett, my son, out of the lands in Wrenningham; within one year next after my decease. Fifteen pounds within one year next and the like sum of fifteen pounds within one year after that in full payment of the thirty pounds. And if the said Robert his executors, administrators shall or make default in payment of the said thirty pounds or any part thereof in manner and form as is aforesaid limited to be paid; that then and thenceforth it shall be lawful to and for the said Thomas unto the lands and tenements aforesaid, before devised to the said Robert, to enter and the same to have, hold, occupy and enjoy until he shall be fully satisfied and paid all such monies as shall then arise and due unto him of the said thirty pounds.
Item: I give unto ... Wilkenson the wife of Peter Wilkenson in St. Martins of the Pallace in Norwich, aforesaid, my ... quilt and also my wife's best petticoat of ... after the decease of my the said Richard and Jane Brackett my said wife.
Item: I give unto Mary Wilkenson the daughter of said Peter a trunk with a lock, being in her Father's house where he now dwelleth in St. Martins of the Pallace, aforesaid.
Item: I give unto Peter Wilkenson my great gold ring which I do usually wear upon my little finger of my left hand.
Item: I give and bequeath unto the said Peter Wilkenson five pounds of lawful English money; the same to be paid unto him within one year next after my decease. I give unto Edmund Cake gent.; my attorney a gold ring of ... engraved in the same these words: Remember The Giver.
Item: I give unto Robert Kent batchelor of ... and minister of St. Martins at the oak in Norwich, aforesaid, ... to preach at my funeral.
Item: I give ten shillings to be bestowed in cakes and wine at the day of my funeral upon my fellow petitioners, singing men and chiorsters of the Church... where I do entreat them to sing chorus to the place where they shall be entered in the chancel of St. Augustin, aforesaid and under the stone where one John ..., in times past, Rector of the said Church was buried.
Item: I give unto Robert Kent ... my readers dictionary and my great ... common prayer book.
Item: I give forty shillings of lawful English money to be bestowed in cakes and wine amongst my neighbors of St. Augustin, aforesaid.
Item: I will that my executor shall keep in his hands, during the time of one year after my decease, ten pounds of lawful English money. With the said to be discharged all such duties and payments as shall be lawfully required of him by any man during the said time, in regard of being my executor and in the end of the said year to pay unto my eldest son, then living, the remainder of the same.
Item: I do ordain and make the said Peter Wilkenson my sole executor and do give him all the rest of my moneable goods, what so ever, not before bequeathed, he paying all my debts and distributing my legacies and performing this my last will and testament and if there be any remainder, thereof, shall be my executor paid unto my eldest son, then living, within one year next after my decease., And Further my will and meaning is that if my executor shall not prove this my will within ten days next after my decease or shall depart this life before the same shall be proved, then I do make and ordain my eldest son, then living, to by my executor. He paying my debts and performing this my last will and testament and lastly I do ordain and make the said Robert Kent to be my ... of this my last will and testament; to be aiding and attesting to my said executor and I do give unto him for his pains here in to be taken ... pounds of lawful of England to be payed to him by my executor within half a year next after my decease. I witness where of renouncing all other wills by me, here to said, formerly made. I have to this my present will and testament consisting of former sheets of paper, aforescribed my name to every leaf, hereof, and have set my hand and seal in the presence of James Cooke and Francis Fenne.
A codicil made by me Richard Brackett of Norwich; Clerk, the six and twenty day of December Anno Dommini 1634. Whereas I the said Richard Brackett by my last will and testament written with my own hand and being dated the seventeenth day of July 1633 amongst other things did give and bequeath unto Richard Brackett, my son, one bond obligatory of ten pounds wherein my son in law Abrahm Fynck stands bound unto me for the payment of ten pounds. I did will it to be paid unto him the said Richard, his executors, administrators or assigned by the said Abraham within one year next after my death in or at the church porch of St. Martins of Pallace, Norwich. As by the same my last will and testament amongst ... other things therein contained, more at large appeareth and as I have changed my mind concerning the aforesaid quest. I do hereby renounce, release and make void the said quest of the aforesaid bond of wherein he the said Abraham Fynck stands bound unto me the said Richard Brackett, Clerk, for the payment of ten pounds and it is that this codicil as shall be annexed unto my last will and shall remain as part and parcel of my last will and testament .
In witness whereof I have here unto subscribed my name and put my seal the day and year written above in the presence of Francis Fenne and James Cooke.
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF
CAPTAIN RICHARD BRACKETT, THE IMMIGRANT, OF BRAINTREE, NORFOLK COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS
Descent: William,William, Richard, Peter, Richard
Captain Richard Brackett was one of the first of the name in America. With certainty it is known that he was in the colony of Massachusetts Bay as early as 1630. With his descendants the tradition is as general as the tradition of the flood that three brothers by the name of Brackett were among the first colonists in New England. Other Bracketts in the Bay Colony at an early date were Peter Brackett of Boston and Thomas Brackett of Salem.
In the year 1629, the year they probably came to America, Richard was only seventeen years old. There is his oath of affidavit on July 2, 1668 that he is 56 years old. If this is true he was born in 1612. His tombstone reads: "Died March 1690 80 Years Old"; if this is true he was born in 1610. This is important as it bears on the question of whether or not he was accompanied to America by a guardian. It is believed that Peter was his elder brother and his guardian.
Captain Richard enjoyed the confidences of the ruling, Puritan, power of the colony at an early age. He agreed with them on all matters pertaining to religion and politics. He took a decided stand with a large majority of the people of Braintree. His life can be described as typical in quite all particulars pertaining to his conduct as a man and a religionist. The mundane rewards, which were his to enjoy, seem to have been quite all the honors and favors that fall to one who followed rather than led. He followed closely on the heels of those who led. He seems to have gotten his fair share of those favors the colonists had to divide amongst themselves. He seems to have been very successful in his undertakings and to have possessed a good mind at the time of his death.
On August 27, 1630, he was among the colonists that were instrumental in and with whom Governor Winthrop organized the First Church of Boston, the instrument is dated at Charlestown. Mr. Jeffery Richardson, a descendant of Captain Richard, wrote in his Brackett Genealogy, in 1860, that the church structure "was at first a low thatched-roofed building which was soon removed and one was built where Brazier's building is". Captain Richard remained with this church for twelve years; he then removed to Braintree. Under the date of September 8, 1635 one can read in the church records that "Alice; wife, of our brother Richard Brackett, signed the Covenant.
He was but twenty-three
years old in 1635 and had probably been with the Church for a short time when
his wife joined the Church. They were married, in St. Katherine by the Tower,
in London in 1633/34. His wife's maiden name was Alice Blower. He was admitted
freeman in Boston May 25, 1636 and on November 23, 1636 he became a member of
the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. Prior to March 21, 1636 he was
granted a lot upon which to build. His choice was limited to lots "not
being built upon (and) is free to be otherwise disposed of". He made the
selection of a lot now on Washington Street (1860), nearly midway between the
present West and Boylston Streets. He erected a house about which was a garden
and there resided until about November 20, 1637. He was then appointed by the
General Court to be the keeper of the prison. His salary and prerequisites were
thirteen pounds and six pence, increasing to twenty pounds June 6, 1639. He was
also given the use of a dwelling house. The following year he sold his property
on Washington Street. In volume one, page twenty-five, of the Boston Town
Proceedings, it is recorded:
"Granted to our Brother Richard Brackett to sell
his howes and yarding, June 11, 1638".
The property was sold to a Mr. Jacob Leger."
The town proceedings give some information as to Captain Richard's occupation. Prior to his removal to Braintree, under the date of February 12, 1639, it is recorded that leave was granted "to our Brother Richard Brackett to mowe the marsch lying in the newfield which he hath usually mowen, for the next summer time." It is clear that he had something to do in addition to his duties as jailer. He had an eye open for municipal windfalls and a yearning for agriculture.
He had a strong desire to lead the life of a husbandman, in preference to the other calling so many of his fellow compatriots followed; fishing. Many acquired a great deal of wealth as fishermen. Richard decided to turn his attention to farming. To accomplish this he would need to leave Boston.
In relating the period of his life when he is about to change his place of residence, to take leave of Boston, it is proper to mention the reference to Richard Brackett by S.G. Drake, in his History and Antiquities of Boston. It occurs in his picture of Spring Lane, at it's conclusion, as he recalls the first settlers visiting the spring, he wrote these words:
"And grim Richard Brackett, the jailer, may have laid down his halbred to quaff a moring draught."
The quote's briefness tells how pressed for data pertaining to those early days and the settler's activities the author was. It is known that he had only those few words to present relating to "Grim Richard".
Mr. Jeffery Richardson had heard it stated that the jailer in Hawthorne's Scarlett Letter was grim Richard. It seems certain that the description is not of the individual (Richard) nor that the author had in mind any particular individual as he wrote.
Mr Jeffery Richardson mentions that Captain Richard was jailer for many years. It is certain that he held the position to the time of his removal to Braintree. Whether he held it subsequently to this move, there is no evidence.
The "marsch lying in the newfield which he hath usually mowen" and which Richard was granted to mow February 12, 1639 was at Mount Wollaston where Thomas Morton; some seventeen years earlier, had set up his business, much to the annoyance of the Plymouth Colony. Morton's Maypole exercises were of the merriest kind and these and other doings brought the merrymakers such ill repute that they were driven out of the county by enraged saints. Braintree was incorporated in 1640. Captain Richard was associated with it's incorporation. He moved to Braintree perhaps in 1641 or 1642. The time is fixed by the date of his dismissal by the church in Boston. There is some uncertainty about this date. In some publications it is December 5, 1641 and in others May 8, 1642. Under the latter date, the records of the First Church of Boston read:
"Our Brother Richard Brackett was granted by the church
to be dismissed to ye church at Braintree at their desire
with ye office of Deacon amongst you."
The saints of the First Church of Boston entertained a high opinion of the integrity of the young Deacon and this opinion was shared by the Boston town authorities. The church in Boston appears to have exercised a parental care over the new church in Braintree and insured it's well being by patronizing it with one of it's model members as a Deacon. He was ordained Deacon July 21, 1642. This office was held by Richard in the church at Braintree until he died.
There were tracts of land in Braintree that were owned or claimed by the town of Boston. Boston appointed Captain Richard to oversee these tracts of land as it's agent:
"Agreed with Captain Richard Brackett of Braintree
that he should in the town's behalf, take care that noe
wast or strip of wood or timber be in the land belong-
inge to this town lyinge nere theier towne; but do his
utmost to prevent it or give information to the Selectmen.
In consideration whereof he hath libertie to cutt out of
the wood already fallen to the value of 40 cord.
25 December 1676."
Another time Captain Richard was granted by the town of Boston:
"Libertie to cut soe much tymber upon the common land
of Braintree as may serve for ye buildinge of 1/4 pte of
a vessel of 25 tun. Inconsideration of his care of the tymber
Volume 6 page 237 of the Suffolk County Deeds reads:
"Richard Brackett of Braintree, husbandman, sells 30 acres
of woodland in the township of Braintree but belonging to
Boston, and abt 25 years past by sd town of Boston gtd and
laid out to other men as by record of said town appeareth,
25 Oct 1660".
There was another tract of considerable extent in Braintree, which Boston claimed. A large part of that tract was purchased from an Indian Chief. It was the desire of a great portion of the people of Braintree to commence action to recover that tract from Boston. This was opposed by a few in the town, notably Richard Brackett and Edmund Quincy. They and Samuel Thompson, in March 1682, were appointed to a committee to meet with the town of Boston. The contest was a prolonged one and as late as 1687 Richard was still opposing the proceedings against Boston. A committee secured for Braintree what is known as a six-hundred-acre log.
Richard Brackett was one of the town's early officials, was it's first town clerk and held that office for some years. In 1652, he was chosen selectman and again in 1670 and 1672. The highest office his townsmen should bestow upon him was that of Deputy to the General Court. He was first selected to that position in 1643, again in 1655 and 1665.
In 1665, the colony had need of the services of it's ablest men in it's contest over the Province of Maine with the heir of Georges'. It required the counsel of such men as Richard to successfully steer the ship of state during the stormy period of restoration.
Again in 1667, Captain Richard was Braintree's Deputy to the General Court and also in 1671. In the year 1675 King Philip's War commenced and continued into the following year. The war ended but there was no lasting peace with the Indians until 1679. Richard once again represented the General Court in 1680.
Richard served his people in a military as well as a civil and religious way. He was chosen Sergeant of the organization of the train-band in Braintree and held that rank for a few years. He was promoted to Lieutenant and was the second to hold that position in the company. About 1654 Richard was promoted to be the Captain of the company, the third person to be so honored. This is where the title Captain Richard Brackett is derived from. For promotion to this office it was necessary that the approval of the candidate should be made by the General Court; himself being a member of the court.
Judging from the propriety he exercised in his own and the town's affairs and the regularity he observed in all his business transactions, it is believed that there was not a better drilled and more thoroughly capable Train-Band in the province. Though Braintree was near Boston, it did not escape the battles of King Philip's War. On February 25, 1675 the Indians raided Braintree and killed four persons. In March 1676 another person was killed. Richard's men responded to these and other alarms. They collected the women and children, scouts were dispatched to observe the enemy, messages were sent to neighboring towns to give them warning and summon aid and an energetic pursuit was organized. It is regretted that hardly a scrap has been preserved of the part taken in this war by Captain Richard and his men. The only record that has been handed down to us is:
The raids by the Indians caused the colony to establish a garrison on or near the line between the towns of Braintree and Bridgewater. The military committee of the General Court appointed Richard Thayer to take charge. This Thayer was ambitious to earn his wages and a name for vigilance. He raised an alarm on the most meager of rumors, stalked all phantoms of the wilderness and stampeded at the approach of a horse or a cow of any color. Night and day he had the people afraid of an immediate prospect of being swooped down upon by the braves. He had Richard Brackett stirred up and his anger thoroughly aroused and his men were worn out by keeping constant vigil and Watch. At last what Thayer had prayed for took place. One of King Philip's men, "John George, a poor half starved wretch, on his knees went through the snow to the garrison house and surrendered. He was too weak to walk. He was the only Indian that was seen by Thayer and his garrison". Thayer took advantage of the situation to proclaim his vigilance. He kept John George in the garrison house for five weeks at the expense of the town. Richard was sorely strained but he had to put up with it all as Thayer was also a General Court's man. The old jailer thought the jail was a good place to keep the Indian and took him from his keeper. Thayer protested and said he had a grievance and that all his bills had not been paid by the town. Richard had already prepared the evidence of his men in support of the course he had taken, which was approved by the men in authority.
The General Court took it upon themselves to banish the poor Indian (John George) from the county and it's records read that he was sold into slavery. It is to be regretted that Richard did not turn the poor Indian loose.
In Braintree Captain Richard Brackett was among the first in it's church, military and civil affairs. He was held in high esteem in Boston and other adjoining towns to Braintree. In all of these towns he had an extensive acquaintance of men of prominence, of residents and by some he was appointed to administer their wills and estates. He was nominated by the court to administer the estates of many people. Upon petition of members of their respective families his name is frequently mentioned. His selection for such trusts attests to his high standing in the community.
There is another position the Captain Richard filled, of which mention should be made, and that is of schoolmaster. Mr. Jeffery Richardson is authority that Richard was one who taught school in Braintree.
As he advanced in years he sought to disburden himself of the offices whose duties were too cumbersome and brought him little or no returns. He looked after positions where pay was attached for his services. He could disclaim all sinister motives for this action as he had frequently devoted the best years of his life to the common cause.
The records of the General Court read:
"On request of Captain Richard Brackett being 73 years
of age and the infirmities of age upon him; having formerly
desired and now again today, to lay down his place of Chief
Military Commander in Braintree, the Court granted the
request and appointed Lieut. Edmund Quincy to succeed
At the time he had been connected with the company for upwards of forty-three years and was it's Captain. On the petition of the inhabitants of Braintree he was appointed in October 1679 to perform marriages and to take oaths in civil cases.
In Braintree his pursuit of farming is recorded as in deeds and other records he is described as a husbandman. He had his choice of the best land in the town and acquired a considerable estate for that time period. When the town of Billerica was incorporated he became a freeholder there and two of his sons and two of his daughters settled in Billerica. His years following his move to Braintree and until his mid-life were devoted to the breaking and clearing of his farm. Once this was done he had time for other pursuits such as teaching school, administering estates and performing other services of a semi-clerical and professional nature. At whatever age, he was busy and had his daily duties in one or another capacity. At all times he was a highly honored and respected person in Braintree. He attained such positions as he could along all lines; military, civil and religious.
His wife was his lifelong companion from the time of their marriage. Her death occurred in 1690. No stone marks her place of burial but it is presumed that it is near Richard's grave. He died March 5, 1690' "after an eminently useful, active and pious life." He is buried in the north precinct of Braintree; now Quincy. On the stone you can read:
"Here lyeth buried
ye body of
Captain Richard Brackett
Aged 80 years
Deceased March 5
This is not the original stone but it is believed that the inscription is the same as on the original.
A silver cup inscribed:
which was used in the Unitarian Church in Braintree, which in the early days was Congregational, at communion services is the gift of Richard Brackett and his wife Alice.
Richard Brackett's will reads:
"In the name of God amen. I Richard Brackett of Braintree in
New England, being mindful of my mortallyty and bieng of
a disposing mind and trusting in God through Jesus Christ,
my only savior, for eternal life salvation, revoking and making
null all former wills made by me, do make this my last will
and testament as followeth:
My will is that all my just debts, if any be, be paid in full
and funeral charges be defrayed.
Item: I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Alice
Brackett, all my estate in housing, orchards, lands and
meadows in Braintry for her comfortable subsistance
during her natural life, as also the income of my estate
Item: I give to the children of my son John Brackett one
fourth part of all my land and meadows and housing in
Billerica, as it shall fall by equal division, to be equally
divided between them and their hiers. My meaning is
the children that he had by his wife Hannah Brackett.
Item: I give and bequeath the remaining three parts of
my housing and lands and meadows in Billerica to my son
Peter Brackett, and son-in-law; Simon Crosby, and son-in-law
Joseph Thompson, and to their heirs to be divided between
Item: I give to my son Peter Brackett five pounds in current
pay to be paid by my executors.
Item: My will is that the lands at Billerica, as above be
disposed, shall be made by indifferent men, the persons
concerned in each fourth part to choose one man.
Item: My will is that the children of my son John and Peter
Brackett, Simon Crosby and Joseph Thompson, shall pay unto
the two daughters of my son Josiah; deceased, Elizabeth and
Sarah, twenty pounds a piece in good pay when they attain the
age of twenty years respectively: , and in want of the payment
of said forty pounds, they Elizabeth and Sarah, shall have one
half of the land mentioned above, to them and to their heirs,
to be equally divided to them. And in the case either of said
Elizabeth or Sarah shall die without issue, the legacies to her
given shall be to the survivor. I give to the said Sarah, the
daughter of my son Josiah, five pounds in current pay and
the feather bed her Mother carried away.
Item: I give to my son James all of my dwelling house, barn,
orchard, land and meadows lying and being in Braintry;
aforesaid, next and immediately after my wife's decease
(excepting what may be necessary expended for her
maintenance during her life) to him and to his heirs forever.
Item: I give to my son-in-law Joseph Crosby ten pounds in
good pay which ten pounds, with five pounds given to my son
Peter Brackett as above, is to be paid within two years after
myne and my wife's decease.
Item: I give unto my daughter Hannah Brackett twenty
shillings in good pay. I give my great Bible to my daughter
Rachael Crosby, for her use during her life, and at her decease
to be my grandchild's Abigail Thompson.
Item: I give and bequeath to my beloved wife, Alice Brackett,
all the rest of my moveble s for her comfortable sustenance
while she lives and to be disposed of by her to whom she
pleases at her death.
Item: I give to Hannah Brackett, daughter of my son, John, the
feather bed which she lyeth on, and bolster what belonged to it
and my bedsted at Billerica, with moveble goods as shall
amount to twenty pounds.
Item: I appoint and nominate my son James Brackett to be my
sole executor to this my last will and testament, I have here
unto set my hand and seal the day and year above written.
Signed, sealed and published in presence of us, John Ruggles; Senr. and John Ruggles; Jr.
Signed John Parmenter
Whereas I have given my grandchild Sarah Brackett; the
daughter of my son Josiah Brackett; deceased, five pounds, my
will is that it shall be null and void and of none effect; as also
the ten pounds given to Joseph Crosby, I give to his daughter
Signed Christopher Webb Richard Brackett
Boston, December 19, 1690
Approved John Ruggles; Sen., John Ruggles; Jr. both at Braintree appearing at probate.
Richard, Peter and Thomas are the three persons to whom the tradition relates concerning the three Brackett brothers who first came to America. In this connection it should be mentioned that perhaps there was also a sister who came with them. Mr. Jeffery Richardson wrote (1860); "1641 June 26, (Richard Brackett) was with his wife and his sister dismissed from the First Church of Boston with letter to church connected therewith at the Mount."
*Meager is the evidence which has been obtained concerning Richard, Peter and Thomas's ancestry and the place in England from which they came. The scrap of evidence, which sheds light on this location, is a reference to a Richard Brackett's entrance to Cambridge University, England and reads:
"Brackett, Richard of Wrenningham, Norfolk, son of Richard
Brackett mediocris fortuna; deceased. School, Norwich, four
years Corpus Christi College six months. Age 21. Admitted
pensioner, May 13, 1574."
The foregoing is an extract from the matriculation or admissions book of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, England, as it appears in the East Anglican Magazine or Notes and Queries on Subjects Connected With The Counties of Suffolk, Cambridge, Essex and Norfolk (new series, Note 1, page 17-117-1885-6). This is the lead which brought me to my prologue and Chapter one conclusions of this writing.
While there is no certainty that the Richard, schoolmaster (clerk) of Braintree Massachusetts was connected with the Bracketts of Wrenningham parish there is sufficient to warrant belief that he was a relative. The Bracketts of Wrenningham had attained considerable distinction as early as the year 1550 and the name is one of an old English family.
*It was later found that this was Sudbury, Suffolk County, England.
Richard and Alice Brackett's Children were:
1. Hannah, bapt. 4 June 1634 in Boston, mar. 1st Samuel Kingsley, who died 21 May 1662 in Billerica, Mass. Mar. 2nd Deacon John Blanchard who died in Duntable in 1693. She survived her husbands and was killed by Indians in Dunstable 3 July 1706.
2. John, bapt. 7 May 1637 in Boston, mar. 1st 6 Sept. 1661 Hannah French, who died 9 May 1674. Mar. 2nd 31 May 1675 Ruth Ellice. John Brackett in Billerica was allotted land, in 1660, which adjoined the land allotted to his brother Peter. After the death of his wife, he and his four children went to Dedham to live.
3. Peter, bapt. 7 May 1637 in Boston, was a twin with John. Mar. 7 Aug.1661 Elizabeth Bosworth, who died 30 Nov. 1686. Mar. 2nd 30 March 1687 Sarah Foster (nee) Parker, who died 8 Apr. 1718. Peter lived in Billerica and was a farmer.
4. Rachael, bapt. 3 Nov. 1639; in Boston, mar. 15 July 1659 Simon Crosby of Billerica.
5. Mary born 12 May 1641; mar. 1 Feb. 1662 Joseph Thompson.
6. James born about 1645 in Braintree, mar. Sarah Marsh in 1674.
7. Sarah mar. 1 June 1689 Joseph Crosby who died 26 Nov. 1695.
8. Josiah bapt. 8 May 1652 in Braintree, mar. 4 Feb. 1673 Elizabeth Waldo. They had two daughters; Sarah and Elizabeth (mentioned in Richard's will).
It is apparent after comparing all the facts collected that there are two distinct groups of Bracketts that were in New England at an early date (1628-30).
Greenland, New Hampshire Boston, Massachusetts
Anthony, Thomas and Richard, Peter and
William Brackett Thomas Brackett
possibly from *probably from
Portsmouth, England Norfolk County, England
We (William Brackett b. 1949) are descendants of the Richard Brackett of Braintree, Massachusetts. These two groups may have, at one time, been related in England but based on their religions and the records, they did not associate in America. Both families gave rise to two distinct groups of Brackett descendants.
The H.I. Brackett genealogy does report:
“Peter Brackett, a near relative, probably a brother of Richard Brackett, was in Boston as early as 1630. In 1640, he owned land in Braintree, adjoining the land of Richard Brackett; mention is made in the town records of there being in his family twelve persons who had come that year to the town to reside. He was admitted freeman in 1643; elected a member of the general court in 1644, and several times in subsequent years; joined, in 1648, the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company; remained a resident of Braintree for several years, when he returned to Boston where he died; buried July 24, 1688. Was one of the founders of the Old south Church in 1669.
He was twice, if not three times, married; if he had but two wives the name of the first was Priscilla; if he had three wives the name of the first is unknown. Priscilla was the mother of many, if not all of his children; she died between 1663 and 1666. In the latter year he married Mary, the widow of Nathaniel Williams; she was the mother of five children by her first husband, and, perhaps, was well stricken in years at the time of her marriage with Peter Brackett. In her will made in 1679, it is mentioned that she has the permission of her husband to dispose of her estate.
No evidence has been found of the disposition, by will or by other process, of the estate of Peter Brackett. If it is true that he had ten children in 1640 he had a very large family, as of the thirteen children whose names follow, but five were, perhaps, born before 1640. So far as has been learned his children were (not in order of birth):
1. Peter, no further record.
2. Martha, mar. 23 May 1655, Robert Twelves.
3. Daughter, mar. before Feb 1666 to Upham.
4. Daughter, mar. before Feb 1666 to Cooke.
5. Priscilla, mar. before Feb 1666 to Nathaniel Reynolds.
6. John b. 30 Sept., 1641; mar. 2 Aug., 1662 Sarah Steadman, dau. Of John of Cambridge; d. 12 Dec., 1666. Estate inventoried of over L1,000. In will is mentioned “sister Upham” (perhaps then a widow), “Brother Cooke,” “Brother Twelves,” “Brother Reynolds,” “Brother Nathaniel Brackett” and “sister Sarah Brackett.” Widow mar. (2nd) Dr. Alcock of Boston; (3d) Hon. Thomas Graves; (4th) Col. John Phillips of Charlestown. Issue: 1st Sarah, bapt. 5 June, 1644; d. 19 Sept., 1665. 2nd John (posthumous), b. 21 Apr., 1667; mentioned in will, no further record.
7. Joseph, b. 13 Oct., 1642; d. 24 Jan., 1662.
8. Sarah, living in 1666, married John Shaw.
9. Nathaniel, b. about 1648, perhaps earlier; was a witness in 1662, to a deed of land by an Indian to Peter Brackett. A Nathaniel Brackett lived in Salem, where he d. in 1710, aged 62 years. No further record.
10. Hannah, b. 14 Aug., 1656; perhaps mar. Shaw.
11. Ruth, b. 23 Nov., 1660; dau. Of “Peter Brackett and wife Prescilla,” the record reads.
12. Mary, b. and d. in 1661.
13. Mary, living in 1679.
It was found that Peter was indeed a brother of Richards. Records indicate Peter Brackett was born about 1608 in Sudbury, England and married 1st 04 Oct 1632 at Cavendish, Martha Raye and they had a son Peter Brackett bapt. 07 Sep 1633, a daughter Rachel Brackett b. 22 Feb 1634/5, a daughter Martha Brackett b. 05 May 1636. Martha (Raye) Brackett was buried 14 Dec. 1637. Peter married 2nd Faith … Their son James Brackett was bapt. 06 Oct 1644. He married 3rd Priscilla … and they had a children. He married 4th Mary widow of Nathaniel Williams. If you add up the ten children he reportedly had in 1640 with those born after that period he may have had as many as 15 children? It is also possible the Peter Brackett who had a son with “Faith” his wife in 1644 may not be one in the same as it appears he was in Braintree, MA as early as 1640.
*The reason I am sure that Captain Richard Brackett is from the Norfolk County group is the similarities in given names (Richard, Thomas, Elizabeth). The time period coincides (1630s) and the fact that Captain Richard served as a clerk in Braintree, as did the Bracketts of Norfolk County (Norwich/Wrenningham Parish), England. The language in Richard's will is very similar to that of the will from Wrenningham Parish and since it states he wrote it himself, it appears he had training as a clerk.
I am most confident that if these are not the same family then at least they are very closely related, probably, by one generation.
*This assumption was later found to be inaccurate although close (see following material). It was discovered that Richard Brackett was from Suffolk County, England. This record is presented in the prologue to this text. It is, however, likely that the Richard of Norfolk and the Richard of Suffolk are closely related.
The Memorial History of Boston Including Suffolk County Massachusetts 1630-1880, edited by Justin Winsor, volume two, The Provincial Record, published by James Osgood and Company in Boston in 1881, has a copy of Richard Brackett's signature and a map of the lands sold by him in 1638.
While doing research at the University of Notre Dame in 1989 I came across a reference that discloses the maiden name of Captain Richard Brackett's wife:
"Richard Brackett born 1610 England
Deceased 1690 Massachusetts
Spouse Alice Blower.
This was in a book titled: New England New York Ancestors Before 1850.
In 1996, I received information that Richard Brackett and Alice Blower's wedding took place on 6 June 1633 at Saint Katherines, by the Tower, London, England. Alice was born 30 Jun 1615, St. Gregory’s, Suffolk County, England. Alice died 03 Nov 1690 in Braintree Massachusetts. If this information is correct, Richard had returned to England as he is recorded in colonial records as early as 1628 or 1629.
I recently (1997) came across the origin of the Bracketts who came to New England from England around 1630. In his book The Great Migration Begins, Robert Anderson says that Richard Brackett was the son of Peter Brackett and his wife Rachel; another son was Peter Brackett who came to Braintree, Mass. about 1636. Peter Brackett, Richard's father, died before 1618. Peter and Rachel lived in Sudbury, England where Richard was born in 1610. About 1618 Rachel Brackett, Richard's mother married Martin Sanders and in 1635 this Sanders couple, their children, Rachel Brackett Newcom, Richard's married sister, her husband Francis Newcom and their children sailed for New England on the ship named "Planter". Richard Brackett returned to England for on 06 June 1633/34 he married Alice Blower. She was the daughter of Thomas and Alice (Frost) Blower. Anderson says: "taking into account all these persons and their children there were more than forty future immigrants to New England who were related to Richard Brackett by blood or marriage before their departure from England."
About 1522 in Sudbury, Suffolk County, England William Brackett was born. He died 06 May 1575 in Sudbury. About 1545 William married Alice ... . They had at least five children, Edmond, Edward, Richard, William and Maud.
About 1552 Richard Brackett was born to William and Alice Brackett in Sudbury, Suffolk County, England. On 25 September 1579 Richard married Alice Harper in Sudbury. They had at least four children, Peter, Richard, Margerie and Robert.
About 1580 Peter Brackett was born to Richard and Alice Brackett in Sudbury, Suffolk County, England. About 1607 Peter married Rachel Wheatly . They had at least five children, Peter, Richard, Thomas, Rachel and Jonathan. Peter Brackett died before 1618 in Sudbury. Rachel then married Martin Sanders and they came to New England about 1635.
About 1610 Richard Brackett was born to Peter and Rachel Brackett in Sudbury, Suffolk County, England. About 1630 Richard and his older brother, Peter, came to New England and settled in what was to become Boston. Richard returned to England briefly, as on 06 June 1633 in St. Katherine by the Tower, London, Richard married Alice Blower. They came back to live in New England in Boston and later Braintree. Alice died 03 November 1690 and Richard 05 March 1691 in Braintree.
30 June 1615 Alice Blower was baptized in St. Gregory, Suffolk County, England. She was born to Thomas and Alice Blower. Thomas Blower and Alice Frost were married about 1610 probably in Stansteade, Sussex County, England. They later moved to Suffolk County near Sudbury. Alice Frost was the daughter of Edmond Frost and Thomasine Belgrave.
About 1585 Thomas Blower was born to Thomas and Susanna Blower in Stansteade, Sussex County, England. Thomas and Susanna had at least one other son who was born about 1588 and his name was Caleb Blower. Thomas Blower and Susanna Vincent were married about 1580. Susanna was the daughter of Andrew Vincent and Alice ... .
In 1996 I received information that Richard Brackett and Alice Blowers wedding took place on 6 June 1633/34 at Saint Katherine by the Tower, London, England. Alice was born 30 Jun 1615, St. Gregory’s, Suffolk County, England. Alice died 03 Nov 1690 in Braintree Massachusetts. If this information is correct, Richard had returned to England as he is recorded in colonial records as early as 1628 or 1629.
In 1997 I found records of Richard's family in Sudbury, Suffolk County, England. His father was Peter Brackett, born about 1582 and died about 1616. Peter was married to Rachel Wheatly about 1608 and their children were, (1.) Peter about 1609, (2.) Richard born 16 Sep 1610, died 05 Mar 1690 in Braintree Mass.. (3.) Thomas born about 1612. (4.) Rachel was born 28 Apr 1614 and (5.) Jonathan born about 1616. No further record of Jonathan has been found. He may have died young, in England? All were born in Sudbury, England. It is these three brothers and sister who came to America in the 1630s. Peter, being the older brother, was their guardian.
Peter Brackett's parents were Richard Brackett and Alice Harper. They were married on 25 Sep 1579. Richard was born about 1552. This Richard may have been the Clerk of Norwich referenced earlier in this work. Their children were, (1.) Peter born about 1580. (2.) Richard born about 1581. (3.) Margerie born 17 Feb 1582. (4.) Robert born about 1584 and died 06 Dec 1589. These were all born in Sudbury, England.
Richard Brackett's parents were William Brackett born about 1522 who married Alice... about 1545. William Brackett died 06 May 1575. Their children were, (1.) Edmond born about 1547. (2.) Edward born about 1550. (3.) Richard born about 1552. This Richard may have been the one admitted to Cambridge. (4.) William born about 1554. (5.) Maud born about 1556. All were born in Sudbury, England.
Alice Blower's parents were Thomas Blower and Alice Frost. Their children were, (1.) Alice born 30 Jun 1615 and died 03 Nov 1690 in Braintree, Mass.. (2.) John Blower born about 1617. These are also from Suffolk County, England and attended St. Gregorys= church probably in Sudbury.
Alice Frost's parents were Edmond Frost and Thomasine Belgrave. They were born about 1550.
Thomas Blower's parents were Thomas Blower and Susanna Vincent. They were born about 1560. Their children were, (1.) Thomas Blower born about 1585. (2.) Caleb born about 1588. (3.) Alice Blower born about 1590. They are from Stanstead, Suffolk County, England.
Susanna Vincent's parents were Andrew Vincent who married Alice ... . They were born about 1545.
Interestingly these families lived in and around Sudbury, England from 1522 to1630. Sudbury is not ten miles from Braintree, England. The immigrants, Captain Richard Brackett and his wife Alice, Thomas, Peter and Rachel lived, worked and died around the new town of Braintree, Massachusetts from 1630 to 1690.
In 1998 I received a translation of the wills of William Brackett and Peter Brackett of Sudbury England:
"4May 1575...The will of William Brackett of Sudbury, Sufflock, Butcher, being at this time in perfect memory...my body to be buried in the churchyard of St. Gregoryes...all my houses with the appurtenances in Sudbury which I have shall be sold by Richard Brackett my son and Peter Hallwell of Little Cornard within two years next and immediately ensuing my decease to the most advantage...the money to be disburst in manner and form following...to Alyce Brackett my wife 40 pounds presently after sale is made. In consideration of it she shall keep William Brackett and Maud Brackett my children and if she die or sale be made, then I will give the same 40 pounds to William Brackett my son and Maud Brackett my daughter to be equally divided between them...to Edmund Brackett my son 30 pounds to be paid after my houses be sold...if he die, to his children at 21...to Maud Brackett my daughter 10 pounds which Alyce my wife is to receive and give bond to my executor to pay to Maud at age 18, but if Maud die before 18, the 10 pounds to go to William Brackett my son...to Richard Brackett my son the residue of the proceeds of the sale...if the said Richard be able to bind the said houses, then I will that he should have the p'forment thereof giving for the same as another man will. Alyce my wife to have the occupation of all my said houses rent free until they be sold...to George Brackett my brother my maser tipped with silver and all my apparell...to William Brackett my son and to his heirs my staule in the m'kytte..to Alyce my wife to recevie the profit thereof until he reaches 21 but if he dies before 21 then the same staule to Maud my daughter...to Alyce my wife all the movable goods within the houses, one cow and all the swine, except one feather bed and one bolster which lyeth on the bed next to the entry which I do give unto Richard my son...to Richard Brackett my son all my leases of all those grounds, lands and meadows which I now hold and occupy...all my corn now growing and all my goods, chattles and movables unbequeathed. Richard to be my executor, Thomas Smyth to be overseer. Witnesses: Lawrence Newman; Clarke, George Brackett, William Curd, Nicholas Ruggell, John Brackett and Thomas Smythe" with others. Proved 5 July 1575.
Peter Brackett's Will:
"8 August 1616 I Peter Brackett of Sudbury in the countie of Suffolck and diocese of Norwich being sicke in bodie but whole in minde...Rachell my wiffe shall have all my goods, chattells and implement of householde in consideration that she shall bring up my children and pay unto every one of my children twenty shillings apeece as namely Peter, Richard and Rachell and my will is that the childe which my wiffe is with...shall have twenty shillings to be paid unto them at their severall ages of twenty and one years and if any of them doe dye before their portion to be divided among them that shalbe liveing. Item I will and my mynde is that my Father Richard Bracket shall have the rents of my house in the p'ishe of St. Peters in Sudburye wherein one Martyn London now dwelleth during his naturall liffe and after his deceasse I will and my minde is that my said house shalbe sold by my wiffe and the money thereof to be devided amonge my children that shalbe then liveing and my will is that my eldest sonne Peter Brackett shall have five pounds more than the residue. Item I ordaine and make Rachell my loving wiffe to be executrix of this my last will and testament." Signed Peter Brackett Witnesses: ...Ruggle, Rychard Bracket, Thomas Grigges, Edward Strachie, William Strutt. Proved 28 August 1616.
Their son Jonathan was born later that year 1616.
William Brackett was born about 1522. Richard, his son, was born about 1552. Peter, his son, was born about 1582. It is Peter Brackett who died in 1616 in Sudbury, England, that was Richard Brackett, Thomas Brackett, Peter Brackett and Rachel Newcom's father. These with Richard's mother and her new husband Martin Sanders, were in New England (Boston) by 1635. Peter's will does not mention Thomas Brackett as an heir. It is possible that Thomas was already established by the time the will was written. It is also possible that Jonathan went by Thomas? It is clear from the early New England Records that the three were closely related and most likely brothers. The family history is quite clear that three brothers and their sister came to New England.
John Brooks Threlfall in his book Fifty Great Migration Colonists to New England & Their Origins, 1990, Heritage Books, Inc. gives some interesting information regarding the Ricahrd Brackett/Alice Blower ancestors in England. He lists another prior generation of Brackett in the person of William Brackett and his brother Edward Brackett. Edward Brackett's Will reads:
20 Jun 1540 the will of Edward Brackett, "balie" of the town of Sudbury, Suffolk, hale in mind and in good and perfect remembrance ... may body to be buried within the churchyard of St. Gregory in Sudbury ... to every of my children John, James, Edward, George and Faith five marks at age of twenty and if Faith marry before age twenty then on day of marriage ... to Maud my wife all those my copyhold lease, intrest and term of years which I have and hold of the right worshipful Lady Dame Jane Corbett of and in certain lands and pastures lying in Assington, Suffolk, called by the name of Perefield ... Richard Baker of Sudbury to hold and occupy these leases during the nonage of son George and Edward my sons ... Also, to my wife Maud certain lease lands called Chyllton wente and Duckslade ... The residue of all my goods and cattle, money, plate, debts and implements of household not assigned or bequeathed to Maud my wife whom I make sole executrix. John Oxburghe of Sudbury, gentleman, and the said Richard Baker to be aiders and comforters to my said wife and for their pains six shillings and eight pence sterling.
Proved 19 Mar 1540
Threfall says both appear on the military rolls of Sudbury in 1522, William as an archer and Edmond as a billman and that both were buthcers. William Brackett had at least three sons: Willaim b. abt. 1515, George and Thomas.
He also gives many of the Blower ancestors on the side of Susana (Vincent) Blower: Her parents were Andrew and Alice Vincent, Andrew's parents were Nicholas and Agnes Vincent and Nicholas's father was Andrew Vincent.
Threfall also gives several generations of the Alice Frost family:
Her parents were Edward Frost and Thomasine Belgrave, Edward's parents were John Frost and Ann Scott, John's father was William Frost.
Ann Scott's parents were Richard and Joan Scott, Richard's father was Richard Scott and his parents were William and Clemence Scott.
Thomasine Belgrave's parents were John Belgrave and Joan Strutt, Joan's parents were John and Catherine Strutt, John's parents were Thomas and Joan Strutt and Thomas's parents were John and Elizabeth Strutt.
This book contains wills and genealogies for these familys and is a must read. It is in several genealogy libraries. Many thanks to Mr. Threlfall on his work.
Records of Richard Brackett's family in Sudbury, Suffolk County, England indicate his father was Peter Brackett born about 1582 and died about 1616. Peter was married to Rachel ... about 1608 and their children were: (1.) Peter about 1609, died in Massachusetts. (2.) Richard born 16 Sep 1610, died 05 Mar 1690 in Braintree Massachusetts. (3.) Thomas born about 1612?, died in Massachusetts. (4.) Rachel was born 28 Apr 1614, married Francis Newcom, died in Massachusetts. (5.) Jonathan born about 1616. No further record of Jonathan has been found. He may have died young, in England. All were born in Sudbury, England. It is these three brothers and sister who came to America in 1630s. Peter being the older brother was their guardian.
There is no mention of Thomas Brackett in Peter's will. It is possible that Thomas was older and established and was therefore not mentioned in the will. It is also possible that Jonathan went by Thomas? The family tradition of the three brothers who came to New England holds true.
OF BRAINTREE, NORFOLK COUNTY,
Descent: William,William, Richard, Peter, Richard, James
James Brackett was born about 1645 in Braintree, married about 1674 Sarah Marsh. Sarah Marsh was born 22 December 1649 in Hingham, Mass.. Sarah Marsh Brackett died 6 October 1727. Sarah was the daughter of Thomas Marsh who was born in England in 1618 and he died 2 September 1659 in Hingham, Mass.. Thomas Marsh was married to Sarah Beal. Thomas Marsh's father's name was George Marsh. Sarah Beal's father's name was John Beal. They came to America in 1635 and settled in Hingham. Sarah Beal (John's wife) married 2nd 7 July 1662 Edmund Sheffield who died in November 1710 at the age of 80. Soon after his marriage, James Brackett was deeded land in Hingham. This was his wife's property, which she had inherited from her father. In these instruments of conveyance James is described as a "cooper" *. It is possible that in early life James followed this trade in Boston, to which he removed in 1673 or earlier, with his wife Sarah Marsh Brackett. The records of the First Church of Braintree read:
"James Brackett, a child of this church dismissed to the Third
Church of Boston 9 February 1673."
The records of the third Church of Boston (old south) show he was admitted a member 2 March 1673. The time of his return to Braintree from Boston is shown by his readmission to the First Church of Braintree 19 March 1682.
His wife became a member of the church in Braintree 11 August 1694. It is possible that he did not marry until he moved to Boston. It is not certain that he resided in Boston from 1673 until his return to Braintree in 1682. There is evidence that for a time he resided in Beverly. A James Brackett took an oath of freeman there in 1673. In 1695, he was Sergeant of the Military Company in Braintree, was a selectman in 1701 and 1703, clerk in 1689 and 1694 and was appointed to run the line between Braintree and Weymouth.
By his will, dated 5 April 1718, he bequeathed to his son Joseph all lands and meadows south of the highway, about seven acres, "and six acres in the 600 acres". It also states he had already given son Nathan one hundred and fifteen pounds, "and a lot of woodland also 4 acres on my meeting house lot", about twenty acres, "lying beyond the sawmill of Edward Littlefield". To his wife Sarah, during her lifetime, house, barn and improvements of land. His sons Joseph and Nathan are to provide for her and their married sisters and have the property upon her death. The will mentions daughters: Sarah, Mary and Hannah Brackett, Deborah Baxter and son-in-law Richard Faxon. * A cooper repairs wooden casks.
On his tombstone one can read:
"Here lyes ye body of
Mr, James Brackett
Who died ye 8 day of April
1718 In the 73 year of
His grave is located in the old burial ground in Quincy, Mass.
James and Sarah Brackett's children were:
1. Joseph born 5 November 1675.
2. Nathan born 23 September 1678.
3. Sarah born 22 October 1679.
4. Mary born 30 August 1682.
5. Deborah born 15 August 1685 in Braintree, mar. 13 January 1713 Samuel Baxter of Braintree.
6. Anne (Hannah) born 18 July 1687 in Braintree, mar. 30 December 1709 Richard Faxon of Braintree.
7. Abigail bapt. 20 October 1689 in Braintree,
mar. 6 August 1719 Gregory Belcher Jr. of Braintree.
NATHAN BRACKETT OF BRAINTREE,
NORFOLK COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS
Descent: William, William, Richard, Peter, Richard, James, Nathan
Nathan Brackett was born 23 September 1678. He was baptized 28 September 1678 in the First Church of Braintree. He lived continuously in the place of his birth from 1678 until his death in May of 1743. The quiet farmer fulfilled his aspirations. The records do not disclose that he held any office, even minor town or parish offices. In 1723 he was chosen to be constable but asked his brother-in-law, John Veazy, to accept the position. In 1708 he signed a petition against the division of the town and the following year he voted against it's being divided.
Neither he nor his wife were united with the church until they were well along in years. She became a member 29 April 1722 and he on 3 February 1723. Nathan married Hannah Veazy on 27 March 1707. Captain John Wilson performed the wedding ceremony. She was baptized 21 January 1685 and died before 31 March 1753. Hannah was the granddaughter of William and Elinor Veazy of Braintree.
In his will dated 31 March 1743, Nathan mentioned all his children. In it's first provision the "ferry lot" was to be sold to pay debts. The rest of the real estate was devised to his wife for life as was "also the time of my Indian boy". Upon Hannah's death their son Nathan was to have two thirds of the lot "I bought of Peffer" and daughter Sarah, one third. To son James, the eldest, was given so much additional to what he had received from his father to make a double portion. All the remainder should be equally divided among the children of son, James.
The farm owned by Nathan and his ancestors remained the property of descendants of his in the direct male line until the first part of the nineteenth century. It was located near Mount Wollaston in Braintree and is referred to as being at Mount Wollaston. This is the Mount on whose top Thomas Morton erected the maypole, about which his "merry, merry, merry boys" circled to the delight of the spectators. It is also where Miles Standish and his melancholy band made their objective point when they went to seize those merry, merry, merry boys, destroy the pole and secure the beaver pelts.
The song for exercises on that May Day had a line or two seemingly designed for the benefit of the Saints at Plymouth:
"Give to the melancholy man, a cup or two of't now
and then, this physic will soon relieve his blood,
and make him of a merrier mood."
As setting forth the order of the exercises for the occasion the first verse of Morton's May Day song went:
"Make green garlons, bring bottles out, and
fill sweet nectar freely about, uncover thy
head and fear no harm, for here is good liquor
to keep it warm."
No doubt the program was carried out. The maypole they danced about was eighty feet high and on it's top was placed a plumb of buck horns. Standing at the highest point of the hill it was visible from the locality of Plymouth Colony across the bay. The settlers there were Morton's enemies whom he speaks of as "percise Seperattests". He relates how "it's setting was a lamentable spectacle ... They termed it an idol, yea they called it the Calf of Horeb and stood at defiance with the place, naming it Mount Dragon, threatening to make woeful, not a merry mount."
This worldly Tom Morton, who in 1622 dwelt near the Mount which or part of which, became the property of Captain Richard Brackett, Puritan, was the Thomas Morton who in later years was an instrument in saving to George Cleeve the vast estate that had become the property of the Bracketts of Falmouth. No doubt Captain Richard and George Cleeve, while together in attendance at the General Court, reviewed their recollections of the worldly Thomas Morton who knew how to do a good turn as well as make trouble. In Nathan's day the story was well shredded and had little of the framework left that most any yarn would have had. By that time Morton was little better than a pirate as the story was then told.
Nathan and Hannah Brackett's children were:
1. James, born 3 November 1709.
2. Josiah, born 1 April 1712. He was a housewright, mar. Anna Beale on 17 March 1736.
3. Samuel, born 28 November 1714.
4. Mary, born 20 February 1717.
5. John, born 14 April 1719.
6. Sarah, bapt. 17 June 1722 mar. 1748 Jonathan Hayword of Braintree.
7. Nathan, born 1 July 1724.
JOHN BRACKETT OF BRAINTREE,
NORFOLK COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS
Descent: William,William, Richard, Peter, Richard, James, Nathan, John
John Brackett was born 14 April 1719 in Braintree, Massachusetts. He was baptized on 19 April 1719 and was a bricklayer by trade. With his brother, Samuel, they worked on the construction of King's Chapel in Boston. The chapel was dedicated 21 August 1754 and Samuel was a pew owner in the church.
The two brothers moved to Boston as young men and both resided there. John moved from Boston in 1760. In the contest between the Colonists and Great Britain, John supported England. He is listed as being in Bennington, Vermont in 1775 when, at the age of sixty years, he enlisted in the British Army, about the time of Burgoyne's invasion. John moved to Manchester, Vermont where he died in the year 1800. He was about eighty years old at the time of his death. There is some uncertainty that the John Brackett who died in Manchester was one in the same as the John Brackett who was born in Braintree in 1719. There is, however, the distinct possibility that he was the same person. His associations in Boston well fitted him for his part in the war and his age at his death would make his year of birth 1719.
John married 26 April 1742 in the Trinity Church in Boston. Rev. Addington Davenport performed the marriage. John married Damaris Dean who had been baptized 2 November 1718. John was a member of the Trinity Church. He may have married a second time?
John and Damaris Brackett's children were:
1. George baptized 13 July 1743.
2. John baptized 3 June 1744 and died 15 July 1758.
Perhaps they had other children.
CHISTOPHER BRACKETT OF BENNINGTON,
BENNINGTON COUNTY, VERMONT
Descent: William, William, Richard, Peter, Richard, James, Nathan, John, Christopher
*Christopher Brackett was born perhaps in Boston. For a time prior to and probably during the War of the Revolution, he dwelt in Bennington, Vermont. After the war he moved to Manchester where he lived until about 1800. Christopher moved to Elbridge, New York and settled on a farm south of town where he died at the age of seventy-three years of age. For a time he and probably his second wife lived in Connecticut. During the War of the Revolution he served in Elijah Dewey's company. His name appears on the company roster as it was formed at the Battle of Bennington, 16 August 1777. He served on the opposite side in the war, as did his father. His father supported the English and served with the British Army. Christopher married first, about 1768, Elizabeth Tuttle, by whom all his older children were born. He married second, Elsa ... .
Christopher and Elizabeth Brackett's children were:
1. Ezra born in 1769.
2. Jemima who married Abraham McIntyre of Elbridge, New York, her date of birth is unknown.
3. Elizabeth born 4 July 1780 in Bennington, Vermont.
4. Belinda born 4 June 1782 in Bennington.
5. Sabra born 26 August 1785 in Manchester, Vermont.
6. David born 12 May 1788 in Manchester, lived in Elbridge.
7. Morris who drowned in the Osage River in Elbridge, New York, his date of birth is unknown.
8. Jonathan born around 1790 in Connecticut, moved to Upper Canada (Ontario) in 1817 from Elbridge.
9. Newman, date of birth unknown.
10. Sylvia who married ... Rice and moved to Buffalo, New York.
* The Alva Tuttle, who’s genealogy of the Tuttle family, I borrowed from, indicates Elizabeth Tuttle married Christopher Brockett. The Brockett family can be traced back in America to a John Brockett who was in New Haven, Connecticut as early as 1640. The Brockett name traces back from there to a Sir John Brockett of Hertfordshire, England and a Brockett Hall to the 1300s. There are numerous Brocketts in the Connecticut records. The Vermont histories record this name as Brackett or Brackit. Tuttle also indicates that Christopher’s father was John Brockett who was married to Jemima Tuttle. The 1790 census index for Connecticut records this name as Brackett but no Brocketts. In the 1800 census index these same persons are recorded as Brockett but no Bracketts. The 1790 census index for Vermont shows Christopher Bracket, Henry Bracket, Simeon Bracket and Bracket&Fisk. There is record in which Damaris (Deane) Brackett indicates her husband, John, died early in Boston. The John Brackett of Bennington/Manchester Vermont may have been a Brockett? Since few of these original records exist and they have been transposed into histories and census records we are at the mercy of the authors. This question may never be solved.
The following records were found on a trip to Bennington and Manchester, Vermont in June of 2001.
On June 19, 2001 in the Manchester Town clerk’s office in Manchester, Bennington County, Vermont The following records of birth were found:
Elizabeth Daughter of Christopher & Essea Bracket was Born Bennington July 4th 1780
Belinda a Daughter to Christopher & Elsea Bracket was born Bennington June 4th 1782
Sarbra Daughter to Christopher & Elsea Bracket was born Manchester August 26, 1785
David Son to Christopher & Elsea Bracket was born Manchester May 12th 1788
Sometime between 1782 and 1785 Christopher and Elsea Brackett moved from Bennington to Manchester, Vermont. This record would indicate Christopher married Elsea as late as the fall of 1779. It is reported his first wife was Elizabeth Tuttle but if this was the case it is not likely Elsea would name their first daughter Elizabeth unless her mother’s name was Elizabeth or maybe she was a sister to Elizabeth? It may be that Elsea is actually Elizabeth or that he was not married prior to this time?
It is not clear when these records were written. They were in very old faded brown ink but probably had been copied from another source. The first record seems to have been written by a different individual than the other three.
JONATHAN BRACKETT OF ELBRIDGE,
ONONDGA COUNTY, NEW YORK
Descent: William, William, Richard, Peter, Richard, James, Nathan, John, Chirstopher, Jonathan
Jonathan Brackett was born around 1790 and his wife was born in 1792. It is recorded that Jonathan was born in Connecticut and later lived in Vermont. Around 1800 his father, Christopher, moved the family from Vermont to New York. They settled on a farm south of the town of Elbridge. Little more is know about Jonathan other than his wife's name was Hannah and that he moved to Upper Canada (Ontario) in 1817. His wife and he are recorded in the 1850 census of Kalamazoo County, Michigan. They owned land in Richland at that time. No children are mentioned in the census but I believe they were all grown and out of the house by that time.
Jonathan and Ezra were sons of Christopher. Ezra is listed as a farmer and Jonathan lived in Canada with his family. The only two of Jonathan's children that I have located were born in Elbridge, New York. Since Ezra's sons, Ezra II and Martin S., are recorded as having worked in Canada as surveyors on railroads and canals, it is likely that they worked with or for Jonathan. Jonathan's son John E. and Ezra's son Martin S. were both attorneys with the Michigan Bar.
Jonathan may have played a major influencing role in Ezra's children's lives as their uncle. I believe this to be true as he was more Ezra's children's age than he was Ezra's age (his brother).
Jonathan and Hannah Brackett's children were:
1. John E. born around 1814 in Elbridge, New York.
3. Franklin born around 1816 in Elbridge, New York.
Probably had other children.
FRANKLIN BRACKETT OF BARRY TOWNSHIP,
BARRY COUNTY, MICHIGAN
Descent: William, William, Richard, Peter, Richard, James, Nathan, John, Christopher, Jonathan, Franklin
Franklin Brackett was born in Elbridge, New York in 1816. The 1850 census of Barry County, Michigan lists him and his family. The census states that he is thirty-four years of age. It is believed that Franklin spent much of his early life in Upper Canada (Ontario) with his father, Jonathan. By 1850 the family had moved to Barry County, Michigan. Many of the Bracketts who came to Michigan did so around 1840 and many bought land within miles of each other in Barry, Kalamazoo and Calhoun Counties.
Franklin is recorded as being a farmer and owned forty acres in Barry Township. He lived here with his wife, Catharine and their four children. Franklin married Catharine Scott 02 Jun 1841 in Van Buren County, Michigan. It is believed that three of, if not all, of these children listed in the 1850 census were born in Canada. Franklin died in Richland, Michigan where his brother John E. owned land. Richland is in Kalamazoo County. His wife at the time of his death is listed as Finette ... . He must have remarried after 1850. Franklin died in 1901 and Finette died in 1896 both in Richland. Franklin and Catharine Brackett's children were:
1. Malvina born 1843 probably in Canada. The 1860 census of AntwerpTownship, Michigan lists a Melvina Brackett working as a maid in the Thomas Scott household and she is 17 years of age.
2. Hana born 1844 probably in Canada.
3. John W. born 1846 Canada, Wst. (this is how his birthplace is listed).
4. Helen born 1849 probably in Michigan.
Probably had other children.
There is a listing of Franklin Brackett in the 1880 Barry County census. His wife's name is Finette, she is 53 years old and there are five children listed. This Franklin is 65 years old and would have been 34 or 35 in 1850. It is thought that these are one in the same. Finette's name before this marriage was Hunt.
The Franklin listed in the 1880 census was living in Hope Township of Barry County. His year of birth would have been 1815 or 16.
Franklin and Finette Issue:
1. William born 1857 or 58 in Michigan. (May have been his first wife's son.) 22 years of age in 1880.
2. Bertha born 1866 in Michigan. Bertha was14 years of age in 1880.
3. Charles born 1869 in Michigan. Charles was11 years of age in 1880.
4. Henry born 1871 in Michigan. Henry was 9 years of age in 1880.
5. Ida born 1874 in Michigan. Ida was 6 years of age in 1880.
Franklin’s first wife, Catherine Scott may have been the daughter of Thomas and Louisa Scott. In the 1860 census of Van Buren County, Michigan there is a record of them. Thomas and Louisa were living in Antwerp Township of Van Buren County and living with them was Melvina Brackett. This is probably Malvina the daughter of Franklin and Catherine (Scott) Brackett. Thomas is recorded as being 64 years of age and born in Pennsylvania while Louisa is recorded as being 63 years of age and born in Connecticutt.
JOHN W. BRACKETT OF PIPESTONE TOWNSHIP,
BERRIEN COUNTY, MICHIGAN
Descent: William, William, Richard, Peter, Richard, James, Nathan, John, Christopher, Jonathan, Franklin, John
John W. Brackett was born in the year 1846, possibly in Ontario Canada. It is a fact that he was born in Canada as the notation reads: "Birthplace Canada, Wst.". Wst. could stand for Canada West. John was born just prior to his parents moving to Michigan. Franklin and Catharine bought forty acres in Barry Township, Barry County, Michigan. His birth took place in Canada just before the families settled in Barry Township. Several Brackett families came to Michigan during this same time period. The middle initial I included here was found in records relayed by his son, Edgar L. Brackett. By 1850 this family was living in Barry County.
On 16 September 1868, at the age of 22 years, John married Sarah Jane Brant, who was born in Livingston, Illinois. They married in the town of Millburgh in Pipestone Township in Berrien County. Sarah's family were landowners in this township. It is reported that John's family disapproved of this marriage. Work called John and he went to work on the railroads.
When Sarah notified John's parents of the birth of their son, his parents told her that John had been killed in an accident on the railroad. The place of this accident or even the fact that it took place has not been verified. John's death is reported to have taken place in 1869. No death record has been located. If it were not for the few months that John and Sarah had together our branch of the Brackett family would not exist. They had only one son.
In April of 1870 Sarah remarried; John James, in New Buffalo, Michigan and they lived in Iowa and Minnesota. This record may be in error as it only lists the name as John James but is likely John James Powell. Her children born after 1870 were of the Powell family name.
John and Sarah's Brackett's son was:
1. Edgar Lacey born 11, July 1869 in Pipestone
Township; died 8 December1952 in New Troy, Michigan and is buried in the New
EDGAR LACEY BRACKETT OF WEESAW TOWNSHIP,
BERRIEN COUNTY, MICHIGAN
Descent: William, William Richard, Peter, Richard, James, Nathan, John, Christopher, Jonathan, Franklin, John, Edgar
Edgar L. Brackett was born 11 July 1869 in Pipestone Township, Michigan to John and Sarah Brackett. He was their only child. Edgar's middle name was Lacey.
It is reported that Edgar was involved in several occupations during his lifetime including, house moving, peddler, pilot of a ferry boat on the St. Joseph River near Berrien Springs and farming.
When Edgar was young he was afflicted with a painful swelling of the knees. It is reported that he was treated for this problem by a local Potawatomi Indian and was cured.
On 3 November 1890 at the age of 21 years he married Sarah J. Wooldridge, who was born in New York. They married in St. Joseph, Michigan. For a period after their marriage they lived in Illinois where both of their children were born. Around 1900 they returned to Michigan where they purchased eighty acres of land along Wagner Road in New Troy, Michigan.
Sarah died in 1926 and Edgar later remarried. All are buried in the family plot in the New Troy cemetery. Edgar died 8 December 1952.
Edgar and Sarah's issue:
1. Adeliah M. born 1892 in Michigan; died 1963 in New Troy, mar. Peter Ferry. They are buried in the New Troy Cemetery. They had one son Edgar Ferry of New Troy.
2. Walter Madison born in Lekota, Illinois 10
March 1894; died 6 September 1966 in New Troy.
I have not been able to locate Lakota, Illinois on any current maps. Since Edgar once lived in Iowa I looked there and there is a Lakota, Iowa. No birth record has been found.
Page 83 of Liber
"G" of the Berrien County Marriage Records records the marriage of
Edgar L. Brackett and Sarah J. Wooldridge. It states the license was issued on
November 01, 1890. On November 03, 1890 they were married and had both been
living in Hager Township of Berrien County, Michigan. It reports that Edgar's
father was John W. Brackett and his mother was Sarah Brant. Sarah's father is
recorded as William Wooldridge and her mother as Jane Genet*. The record also
indicates that Sarah Wooldridge was born in New York. The witnesses to the
marriage were William H. Wooldridge and Olive Powell. Edgar L.Brackett was 21
years of age and Sarah Wooldridge was 18 years of age.
Page 83 of Liber "G" of the Berrien County Marriage Records also records the marriage of Willaim H. Wooldridge and Olive Powell. William is reportedly 21 years of age and Olive Powell is 18 years of age. Their license was also issued on November 01, 1890 and they were married on November 03, 1890. This was a double ceremony as Edgar and Sarah Brackett witnessed this marriage. William H. Wooldridge's father is listed as William Wooldridge and his mother is listed as Jane Genet*. Olive Powell's mother is listed as Sarah Brant and her father as John Powell. Olive Powell is listed as being from Royalton Township and William H. Wooldridge is listed as being from Hager Township. William H. Wooldridge is listed as being born in New York and Olive Powell as being born in Iowa.
The Justice of the Peace who performed both these ceremonies was Talma Hendrick. They took place in Hager Township.
Edgar Brackett and Olive Powell were half brother and half sister. They had the same mother Sarah Brant but different fathers.
*The name Jane Genet was in error. It has been found that William H. Wooldridge and Sarah J. Wooldridge's mother's name was Janette Elwell.
WALTER BRACKETT OF WEESAW TOWNSHIP,
BERRIEN COUNTY, MICHIGAN
Descent: William, William, Richard, Peter, Richard, James, Nathan, John, Christopher, Jonathan, Franklin, John, Edgar, Walter
Walter Madison Brackett was born 10 March 1894 in Lakota, Illinois. He is the only son born to Edgar and Sarah Brackett. They had only two children. Upon the family's return to Michigan, around 1900, they settled on a farm on Wagner Road just southeast of New Troy, Michigan.
On 15 August 1915 in St. Joseph, Michigan he married Cora E. Upson, who was born in St. Joseph on 12 April 1898. The farm was shared with Adeliah, his sister and her husband, Peter Ferry and for a while Edgar and his wife also lived on the property. The house which Edgar and his wife shared burned. Some years later Walter and Cora also experienced a fire but their house was not destroyed and was rebuilt. This house is currently occupied (1999) by their daughter Caroll and her husband James Stuckey.
Walter was employed for some time at the Industrial Rubber factory in New Troy; he also farmed. Walter and Cora had eleven children. Both Walter and Cora died in Memorial (Lakeland) Hospital in St. Joseph and are buried in the family plot in the New Troy Cemetery. Walter died 6 September 1966 and Cora died 19 December 1969.
Walter and Cora Brackett's children were:
1. Harold Earl born 29 March 1916, died 12 January 1981. Lived on Wee Chick Road in New Troy.
2.Sarah born October 1917, died 1938 mar. Gus Pollock, she is buried in the Brackett family plot in New Troy. There were no children.
3.Walter Lavern born 1919, died 1921, buried in the family plot in New Troy.
4. E.L. born 12 December 1919, died 13 March 1983, buried in the family plot in New Troy. He never married and was handicapped by a childhood illness, which left him unable to speak. The initials E.L. are for Edgar Lacey, his grandfather but it is reported that the grandfather protested and he was called Ed.
5. Mary born 3 February 1927, died 4 February 1927, buried in the family plot in New Troy.
6.Adelia Mae born 4 February 1928, mar. Martin Mensinger, lived on Hanover Road in New Troy. Had four children.
7.Marjorie Lucille born 4 January 1930, mar. Ellis (Bub) Shepardson. Lived in Galien, Michigan. Had four children.
8.Donna Mae born 14 January 1933, mar. 1st Elwin Teadt. Married 2nd Ollie Jackson. Lived in New Troy and Three Oaks, Michigan. Had five children by Elwin Teadt.
9.Jack A. born 1 December 1935, mar Joy Vinnedge . Lived in Three Oaks, Michigan. Had two children. His wife was married prior to this marriage and had children by her first husband. Her maiden name was Glassburn.
10.Robert O'Dean born 21 June, 1938, mar. Mildred Melton. Lived in Three Rivers, Michigan. Had four children.
11.Caroll Ann born 17 June 1940, mar. 1990 James Stuckey. Lived on the family farm on Wagner Road in New Troy. No Children. ˙
All their children were born on the family farm
on Wagner Road in New Troy, Michigan.
HAROLD BRACKETT OF NEW TROY,
BERRIEN COUNTY, MICHIGAN
Descent: William, William, Richard, Peter, Richard, James, Nathan, John, Christopher, Jonathan, Franklin, John, Edgar, Walter, Harold
Harold Earl Brackett was born 29 March 1916, the first child of Walter and Cora Brackett. He was born on the family farm on Wagner Road in New Troy, Michigan.
Harold married 1st Ann Pries of New Troy. They had a daughter who was born premature and was stillborn. She was born 16 February 1937. Upon Harold's return from World War II he and Ann divorced. Harold served in the United States Air Force, a fact of which he was always proud.
On 12 February 1946 he married 2nd Ula Arvena Daniel, nee Hambrick, in Bridgman, Michigan. They were married by the Justice of the Peace. Arvena was born in Middlebrook, Arkansas 28 August 1918. Arvena married 1st Lucien Farris Daniel and they had a daughter Edna who died in infancy. She is buried in Black's Cemetery near Corning, Arkansas. They also had a son, James Lucien Daniel who she brought into her second marriage. Harold and Arvena settled on a farm just west of the New Troy Cemetery. Harold and Arvena built a house in which their children were born and raised.
Harold was employed for twenty-eight years at Clark Equipment Company in Buchanan, Michigan and he also pursued farming. Arvena worked several jobs; sometimes two at a time, throughout her lifetime. She retired from Gerwin Incorporated in Michigan City, Indiana, when her husband became too ill to work.
Harold and Arvena had three children and were married thirty-four years at the time of his death. He died at home on 12 January 1981. Harold (Earl) and Arvena Brackett's children were:
1. William Earl born 14 July 1949 in New Troy. His birth is also recorded as 13 July.
2. Charlotte Alice born 19 December 1951 in New Troy mar. Marvon Walk of New Buffalo, Michigan. Lived in Three Oaks, Michigan and had two children.
3. Harlen Ula born 11 April 1953 in New Troy
mar. 1st Paul Bradlaw Heppler of New Buffalo, Michigan. Married 2nd Larry Whitney
divorced and returned to the Heppler name. She had two children. Lived in New
Arvena Hambrick's parents were Gussie Rapert and Thad Hambrick. Gussie Rapert married Thad Hambrick on 27 Oct. 1912 in Middlebrook, Arkansas. Gussie was the daughter of John Francis Rapert and Ula Balkus Swindle. Mrs. John F. (Ula) Rapert's death announcement reads:
MRS. JOHN F. RAPERT OF OXLY
PASSED AWAY FRIDAY
Mrs. John Rapert died at home Friday
at Oxly last Friday at the age of 62 years 1month
and 4 days. She was the daughter of the late Dr.
and Mrs. W. T. Swindle, who for years were
prominent citizens of the state line community
between Poynor and Middlebrook, and had many
friends in Ripley and Randolph counties.
Mrs. Rapert is survived by her husband; two
daughters, Mrs. Arthur Gayle of Osage and Mrs.
Thad Hambrick of Tallapoosa, Mo.; four sisters,
Mrs. MatLuter of Biggers, Ark., Mrs. George Green
of the Bethany neigborhood in this county, Mrs. Willisten
Bates of Pocahontas and Mrs. Nancy Odom of Reyno,
Ark., and three brothers, W. T. Swindle of Leroy, Ill.,
A. E. Swindle of Poynor and A. H. Swindle of Pocahontas.
The funeral was held Sunday.
Ula Swindle Rapert's death occurred in December of 1938.
Thad Hambrick was born 27 Oct. 1891 in Middlebrook, Arkansas. He died 31 May 1954 in Baroda, Michigan. Gussie Rapert Hambrick died 15 Jul. 1953 also in Baroda, Michigan. They are buried in the New Troy, Michigan Cemetery.
Thad Wilson Hambrick was born in Middlebrook, Arkansas 27 October 1891. On 27 February 1897 Gussie Rapert was also born in Middlebrook. Gussie and Thad later met and married in this same small town on 27 Oct. 1912. Thad was 21 years of age and Gussie was 15 years of age when they married. They also lived in areas around Middlebrook and Maynard, Arkansas and adjoining Missouri. They had seven children.
Thad and Gussie moved to Michigan after their children were grown. At this time three of their married children were living in Berrien County, Michigan; Arvena, Dixie and J.T.. While in Michigan they lived in New Troy and Baroda. Gussie died on 15 Jul 1953 and Thad died 03 Jun 1954 both in Baroda, Michigan. They are buried in the New Troy, Michigan Cemetery.
Thad and Gussie’s issue:
1. Agnes Hazel born 02 Sep 1913, died 23 Dec 1917.
2. Mazie born 18 Dec 1915, mar. 1st Mont Reeves by whom her two children were born. Married last ... Lester. She lived in Corning, Arkansas.
3. Ula Arvena born 28 Aug 1918 in Maynard Arkansas. Married 1st Lucien Farris Daniel, mar. 2nd Harold Earl Brackett, lived in New Troy, Michigan.
4. J. T. born 02 Jan 1921, died 1993. Married
1st Jewel Martin, married 2ndAnn Murray and lived in Paragould, Arkansas. Also
lived in Michigan for a while.
5. Dixie Rea born 05 May 1923, mar. Floyd Lockamy and lived in Galien and later Buchanan, Michigan. Died 07 Jan 1995 and is buried with her husband and son in the New Troy Cemetery.
6. Cona Jean born 24 Mar 1926, mar. George Dahne and lived in Van Austyn, Texas near Whitewright.
7. David born 30 Jan 1930, died in 1953 in an automobile accident near Bridgman, Michigan while on leave from the Army to visit his dying mother.
This accident also took the life of his wife, Katherine Lavonne Clay who was born in 1933 in New Troy, Michigan. They are buried in the New Troy Cemetery not far from their parents.
Thad Hambrick's father's name was David. Thad Hambrick's mother's name was Susan Navey. There are indications David may have remarried. I have found reference to a David Hambrick in Tennessee in 1800 who had a son named Joel (1833) who had a son named David (1860). Thad's father's death certificate indicates he was born in Tennessee. It was reported that Thad's heritage includes "Spanish" ancestors. The picture I have seen of Thad shows his dark skin and hair. This trait still is evident in the descendants. I have seen a picture of David, Thad's father. He had dark hair, a large black moustache and a dark complexion. David Hambrick is buried in the Johnston Cemetery near Reno, Arkansas.
David Hambrick married Susan Navey, they had five children: Thad, Willis (Wilts), Mac, Addie (Hadie) who mar. ... Williams had 13 children and lived in Pocahontas and Rhoda who married several times. Thad was the youngest.
Gussie Hambrick's parents were John Francis Rapert who was born 17 January 1875 and Ula Balkus Swindle born 27 October 1876. They were married on 26 March 1896. An interesting note is that J.F. Rapert is reported to have been a "full-blooded" indian. His tribe is reported to have been Cherokee. This has not proved researchable. There is an extensive Rapert family history most of it being oral. They do meet once a year for a family reunion in Maynard, Arkansas. J. F. and Ula Rapert are buried in the Siloam Cemetery near Donipahn, Missouri. They had three daughters and one son.
1. Gussie Irene born 27 Feb 1897, died 15 Jul 1953. Married Thad Hambrick.
2. daughter born, 1888 died 1889.
3. Grace M. Born 16 Feb 1900. Married Paul Brawley.
4. Hadley Franklin born 9 Sep 1903, died 1908.
Both children who died young are buried in Swindle graves not with their parents John and Ula Rapert.
Ula Balkus Swindle Rapert's parents were Dr. William.T. Swindle, who was born 13 March 1854 and Vandora Hatley who was born 12 Nov 1858. Others by the Swindle name found are:
Horace born 21 Sep 1881
Bill born 24 Mar 1884
Nancy born 29 Nov 1887
David born 05 Sep 1897
Thurman born 14 Dec 1893 (Gussie's uncle who signed her marriage license)
Amy born 09 May 1896
Willie born 13 Nov 1897
Ezra born 06 Jul 1901
These Swindle's relationships has not been researched.
J.F. Rapert's father was Jasper N. Rapert born 29 April 1849, died 2 April 1909 in Siloam, Arkansas. His wife was Sarah E. Vann.
The Hambrick family name can be traced back to North Carolina to about 1750. I have not been able to find it's origin.
The Rapert family name can be traced back to Pennsylvania to about 1740. I have been able to trace it to a German origin.
The Swindle family name is of English origin and it can be traced back in the U.S.A. to about 1740.
WILLIAM BRACKETT OF BERTRAND TOWNSHIP,
BERRIEN COUNTY, MICHIGAN
Descent: William, William, Richard, Peter, Richard, James, Nathan, John, Christopher, Jonathan, Franklin, John, Edgar, Walter, Harold, William
William Earl Brackett was born on his parent's farm in New Troy, Michigan on 14 July 1949, according to his mother. His original birth certificate records the day as 13 July. He was one of three children born to Harold and Arvena Brackett.
William held degrees from Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, Michigan, Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan and the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana.
While attending Western Michigan University he married Jane Rae Hauch on 10 October 1970, in Lakeside, Michigan. Jane was also born in New Troy and was the daughter of John and Lillian Hauch who had a farm on Pardee Road in New Troy. Jane was born 04 November 1949. William and Jane attended New Troy Schools, now River Valley Schools. Jane worked and helped William finish his degree at Western. Jane worked as a P.B.X. operator at Buchanan Hospital, which is now closed, and at Pawating Hospital in Niles; that is now part of Lakeland Regional Hospitals. They first lived in an apartment on West Main in Niles and around that area.
Upon graduation from Western, William had secured a teaching position in New South Wales, Australia. Jane and William left for Australia in December of 1972 and spent thirteen months in the town of Barraba, New South Wales. They returned home at the end of March of 1974. The return trip was made by ship and stops were made in South Africa, Canary Islands, Portugal, Holland and England.
Shortly after the return home, due to a shortage in teaching positions, William took a job at the Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant in Bridgman, Michigan in the field of security. Jane returned to work at Pawating Hospital. William took a security position with the University of Notre Dame in 1987 as their Security Coordinator. During a period of lay-off from the Nuclear Plant William served an apprenticeship as a mortician at the Pifer/Smith Funeral Home in Niles. In April of 1975, Jane and William bought property at 3070 U.S. 12 West, Niles, Michigan in Bertrand Township. Here they raised their two sons.
William and Jane Brackett's children were:
1. Phillip Ryan born 9 November 1975 in Pawating Hospital Niles, Michigan.
2. Stephen Troy born 8 October 1977 in Pawating
Hospital Niles, Michigan.
Descent of the Bracketts:
William prior to 1522 to ? England
William 1525 to ? England
Richard 1555 to ? England
Peter 1580 to 1616 Sudbury, England
Richard 1610 to 1690 Braintree, Mass.
James 1649 to 1718 Braintree, Mass.
Nathan 1678 to 1743 Braintree, Mass.
John 1717 to 1800 Braintree, Mass.
Christopher 1745 to 1820 Bennington, Ver.
Jonathan 1790 to 1860 Canada
Franklin 1816 to 1890 Richland, Mich.
John 1846 to 1869 Canada West
Edgar 1869 to 1952 New Troy,Mich.
Walter 1894 to 1966 New Troy,Mich.
Harold 1916 to 1981 New Troy,Mich.
William 1949 to Niles, Michigan
Phillip Brackett 1975 and Stephen Brackett 1977
William Brackett married Alice ... about 1545 in Sudbury, England
Richard Brackett married Alice Harper about 1579 in Sudbury, England
Peter Brackett married Rachel Wheatley about 1607 in Sudbury, England
Richard Brackett married Alice Blower about 1633 in London, England
James Brackett married Sarah Marsh about 1674 in Hingham, Massachusetts
Nathan Brackett married Hannah Veasey about 1707 in Braintree, Massachusetts
John Brackett married Damaris Dean about 1742 in Braintree, Massachusetts
Christopher Brackett married Elizabeth Tuttle about 1768 in Bennigton, Vermont
Jonathan Brackett married Hannah ... about 1810 probably in Upper Canada (Ontario)
Franklin Brackett married Catherine Scott about 1841 in Van Buren County, Michigan
John Brackett married Sarah Brant about 1868 in Millburgh, Michigan
Edgar Brackett married Sarah Wooldridge about 1890 in St. Joseph, Michigan
Walter Brackett married Cora Upson about 1915 in St. Joseph, Michigan
Harold Brackett married Arvena Hambrick (Daniel) about 1947 in Bridgman, Michigan
William Brackett married Jane Hauch about 1970 in Lakeside, Michigan
Jane Hauch's parents were John Hauch and Lillian Henspeter. John Hauch, who was born 13 May 1916 in New Troy, Michigan, married Lillian Alvina Henspeter in St. Joseph, Michigan 21 December 1934. Lillian was born in St. Joseph on 22 October 1918. Lillian died 30 September 1991 and is buried in the New Troy Cemetery.
John and Lillian's Issue:
1. Lucille born 13 September 1936 in New Troy, mar. Gordon Christopher and lived in New Buffalo, Michigan. Had four children.
2. Loretta born 17 December 1938 in New Troy, mar. George Zielke and lived in Bridgman, Michigan. Had three children.
3. John (Buck) born 25 April 1940, mar. Janet Kissman and lived in Texas. Had four children.
4. Jim born 28 September 1946 in New Troy, mar. Vicki Shaffer and lived in New Troy on the Peter's farm. John Hauch's mother married second Julius Peters. Jim and Vicki had two children.
5. Jane Rae born 4 November 1949 in New Troy mar. William Brackett and lived in Niles, Michigan. Had two children.
6. Joyce born 22 February 1951 in New Troy mar. first Ron Lingle and lived in Galien. Had two children. Married second Larry Green and lived in Three Oaks, Michigan
7. Julia born 8 August 1952 in New Troy mar. first Eddie Bradley of Galien, Michigan, mar. second Al Bradford of Buchanan, Michigan, mar. third Larry Clayton of Stevensville and lived in Holland, Michigan.
8. Jerry born 5 May 1954 in New Troy, mar. Nancy Boughner of Three Oaks, Michigan and lived in New Troy. They had four children.
John Hauch's parents were John Hauch, who was born in Russia, and Ottilie Schlacht, who was also born in Russia in 1885. She died in 1968 and had remarried Julius Peter. John and Ottilie Hauch had five children; William, August, Lydia, Otto and John. There were also children by the Peter's union. They lived on a farm on the corner of Wagner and Pardee Roads in New Troy. Interestingly, this farm is between the Walter Brackett farm on Wagner and the John Hauch farm on Pardee.
John Hauch of Germany was the son of Charles (Carl) Hauch and Mary Debar.
Lillian Henspeter Hauch 's parents were Frederick Joseph Louis Henspeter and Clara Augusta Angolin. They were married and lived in St. Joseph, Michigan and had five children, Gertrude, Frederick Louis, Margaret Marie, Henry and Lillian Alvina.
Clara Angolin Henspeter's parents were Charles Angolin and Mary (Marie) Tollman.
Frederick Henspeter's parents were Christ Henspeter and Alovina Yordell (Zordell). In 1893 Alovina Yordell Henspeter remarried Adolph Dombrowsky in St. Joseph, Michigan. Apparently something had happened to Christ Henspeter. He may have died before Alovina and her children moved to St. Joseph?
MICHIGAN BRACKETT FAMILIES BY COUNTY OF LISTING
1837 John E. Resided in Otsego, born Elbridge, N. Y.
1854 Daniel purchased land in Castleton Township
1873 Myra died, 28 yrs old, in the city of Allegan
1873 Thomas died, Myra's son, in the city of Allegan
1873 Ezra, 25 yrs old, married Ella M. Lay. He was born in Marshall, Michigan and she was born in Penn.. They married in Monterey, Michigan and Ezra was born in 1848.
1874 John B., 26 yrs old, married Emma Stubbert, 16 yrs old. He was born in Canada and Emma in Hopkins, Michigan. John was born in 1848. They married in the city of Allegan.
1878 Martin, 39 yrs old, married Ann Parker Nelson, 41 yrs old. Martin was born and resided in Canada and Ann was born in Hopkins, Michigan.
1879 Robert, 37 yrs old, was living and farming in Proctor. He is listed as having been born in England. His wife was Sarah S., 25 yrs old, a son William 5 months old was also listed. Sarah was born in New York and William in Michigan.
1880 John B. and Emma are listed as living in Dorr, Township. He is 38 yrs old and she is 21 yrs old. They had children, Charlotte who is 8 yrs old, Harry F. who is 3 yrs old and Mary E. who is 2 yrs old.
1906 Myron M. died, 28 yrs old, and was born in Indiana. His father was Fred and his mother was Jennie Marshall. They lived in Clyde, Michigan.
1916 Ezra C., 25 yrs old, married Hazel Thompson in the city of Allegan. He was born in 1891, the son of Ezra.
1922 Ezra, 74 yrs old, married Ellen M. Webb, 71 yrs old. Ezra was born in Marshall, Michigan and was the son of Cpt. Ezra. This Ezra was a minister in the city of Allegan and it was the second marriage for both.
1932 Ezra (the minister) died at 84 yrs of age. His father is listed as Cpt. Ezra and his mother is listed as Mary Woodward. This last name may not be accurate as her maiden name is listed elsewhere as Davisson.
1954 Laura Kellogg Brackett died in the city of Allegan at 66 yrs of age. She was the wife of Lloyd C. This is interesting, as there was a Laura Kellogg Brackett in 1865 in Calhoun County, Michigan who married a Charles Brackett. This Laura's (1954) father was named Jay and was from Monterey, Michigan. The earlier Laura was from Battle Creek, Michigan and her father's name was John.
1965 Lloyd C. died and his wife was listed as Mildred. He must have remarried. He was the sonof Ezra and Ella Brackett of Monterey, Michigan.
The towns that were listed for these Bracketts were: Allegan, Darr, Hopkins, Otsego, Monterey and Clyde; all of which are in Allegan County, Michigan.
1850 Franklin, 34 yrs old, owned 40 acres in Barry Township with Catherine, his wife, 26 yrs old, Malvina, their duaghter , 7 yrs old, Hana, their daughter, 6 yrs old, John, their son, 4 yrs old and Helen, their daughter, 1 yr old
1880 Franklin, 65 years old, with his wife Finette, 53 yrs old living in Hope Tonwship. They were born in New York. Their shildren were William, 22 yrs old, Bertha, 14 yrs old, Charles, 11yrs old, Henry, 9 yrs old, and Ida ,6 yrs old.
These are believed to be one in the same person. William could have been fron his prior marriage to Catherine?
1860 E. R. Brackett, delgate to Republican Convention, Buchanan news article. This doe not mean he was from Buchanan, Michigan.
1869 John Brackett married Sarah Brant, Millburgh, Michigan
1871 Ann, Niles City Directory
1871 Nancy, Niles City Directory (not same address as Ann)
1879 Phillip and his wife Olive had a son named george. Phillip is listed as having been born in Germany. Olive was born in Michigan
1893 Martin, Niles City Directory
1893 Myron, Niles City Directory
1893 Myron and wife: Mabel's daughter died at 2 days old
1913 Mary died and buried in Calvary Cemetery in Benton Harbor
1919 Josepn John, husband of Mary died and buried in Calvary Cemetery in Benton Harbor reportedley born in Italy in 1845
1930 Elizabeth, Niles City Directory, daughter of Martin
1880 Albert E. and his wife Mary are listed as living in the city of Coldwater. He was 34 yrs old and she was 31 yrs old. He was born in Michigan and she in Ohio. Their children were: Ransom 5 yrs old and Ernest 2 yrs old. Children born in Michigan. There is also one servant and one boarder listed (no names).
No date John E. Brackett died here
1838 Ezra in convis Township, son of Cpt. Ezra.
1839 Mrs. I. D. wife of Irving D. Brackett
1865 Charles married Laura Kellogg in Convis Township, son of Ezra II
1870 William, son of Charles and Laura Brackett was born
1878 Charles listed as 34 yrs old having been born in Penn. With wife Laura, 29 yrs old, born in Michigan were living in Convis Township with children: Willia, 9 yrs old, Vera May 5 yrs old and Clare 1 yr old. Children born in michigan
1881 George C.'s daughter died (georgia), wife's name was Maria
1882 Mary Brackett died
No date Elizabeth (Madison) wife of Ezra II
1838 Stoddard Brackett, attorney, son of Cpt. Ezra, in Bellevue, Law office in Marshall
1838 Mary (Earll) Brackett wife of Martin S., she died in 1887
1845 Edgar, Son of Martin S. Brackett he died in 1886 in Charlotte
1858 Reuben E. Brackett married Helen _, son of Martin S.
1858 Vela Brackett witnessed a marriage in Charlotte
1880 Reuben E. with wife Helen, he is 45 yrs old and she is 39 yrs old. He is listed as being born in New York (elbridge) and she in New York. Their children were: Clara, 19yrs old, Reuben E., 14 yrs old and Nellie L. 8 yrs old. They were living in Charlotte
1880 Edward D. with wife Lydia E.. He was 35 yrs old and she was 21 yrs old. He was born in Michigan and she in Ohio. They were living in Charlotte with a child; D. Ray Brackett, 1 yrs old. D. Ray is also listed as living with his grandmother; Jane E. Clark of Charlotte
1881 Lydia, wife of Edward D. gave birth to a son; Irving D. Brackett
1881 Augusta died in Charlotte, was born 1841
1895 Adelaide died in Charlotte, was born 1841
1915 Maria s. died in Charlotte, Wife of George C. Brackett
1919 Irving D. died in Bellevue
The following are buried in the Bellevue Cemetery even though they lived in other counties; Cpt. Ezra, Elizabeth, Charles, Martin S., Minnie and Edgar Brackett
1880 William Brackett with his wife, Delia. He was 35 yrs old and she was 32 yrs old. They were living in Gaines Township. William was listed as having been born in York (Canada) and Delia in Wisconsin. Their children were; Sattie, 10 yrs old, born in York, Mina, 7yrs old being born in Nebraska and Edina 5 yrs old born in Michigan
1858 Ephriam Brackett born in Ononadga County, New York, his son Landon H., Landon's wife Charlotte A. and Ephriam's wife Joanne are living in Acme Township.
1880 L.H. (Landon) Brackett and his wife Charlotte are living in East Bay Township. He was 45 yrs old and she was 28 yrs old. He was born in New York and she in Canada. Ephriam, the father, is listed as living with them and was 88 yrs old and was born in Maine. There is also, living with them, John Botten (no relation), Francis Hopper (no relation) and Francis's wife Moriah Hopper along with their son, Perry Hopper, 4yrs old
1836 John E. Brackett jioned the Bar in Kalamazoo
1850 Jonathan and his wife are listed as owning property in Richland. He was born in Conn.
1866 Schuyler, son of James and Mary Brackett, enlisted in the Civl War from Kalamazoo
1866 Ellen J. Brackett married
1875 Immaus' daughter, Bertha was born. His wife's name was Sarah
1876 Charles and Lizzie Brackett's son was born, Charles
1876 David, Charles's brother
1881 Freeman married, also Charles's brother
1881 Dora _ married Freeman Brackett
1896 Finette died, 2nd wife of Franklin. Her name before this marriage was Finette Hunt
1897 Ida died in Kalamazoo
1898 Henry Brackett married Maria _
1901 Franklin Brackett died in Richland
1910 Frederick married in Kalamazoo
1912 Frank, son of Henry and Maria Brackett born
1917 Mildred died
1920 Minnie Brackett married in Kalamazoo
1924 William Brackett died in Kalamazoo
1954 Fred died in Kalamazoo
1963 Walter T. Bracket died in Kalamazoo
1824 Stephen P. Brackett in Tecumseh
1874 Nathaniel in Tecumseh
1890 R. E. Brackett in Tecumseh
1879 George Brackett in Big Rapids with wife Ellen. He was born in Maine and she in michigan. He was 37 yrs ols and she was 31 yrs old. Their children were; Fred T., 13 yrs old, Lille B. 7 yrs old, Cora E. 5 yrs old and George A., 2 yrs old. The older two were born in Maine and the younger two in Michigan. Also listed is ellen Stengle, 51 yrs old, George's mother-in-law who was born in Canada
1991 While in Big Rapids I found several listings in the phone book for Brackett. These are descendants of george Brackett (above) and can be traced to Anthony Brackett (the immigrant) of Greenland, New Hampshire. These are the only Bracketts that I have found in michigan that did not trace back to Cpt. Richard Brackett of Braintree, Massachusetts.
1880 Truman Brackett was living in Pierson Township with his wife, Sarah. He was 34 yrs old and she was also 34 yrs old. He was born in New York and she in Penn.. Their children were: Franklin 10 yrs old, Bertha 4 yrs old and Leonard, 2 yrs old. The children were born in Michigan
1880 Frank C. was living in Evergreen Township in Sheidan with his wife Maggie. He was 29 yrs ols and she was 26 yrs old. They were both born in Michigan. Their child was Anna, 3 yrs old. His brother David E. Brackett was also living with them. David was also bron in Michigan
1880 John Brackett was living in Le Roy township with his wife Rosalie. He was 38 yrs old and she was 26 yrs old. They were born in Michigan. Their children were; Villa, 7yrs old, Walter, 5 yrs old, Lewis, 2 yrs old and Frank 6 months old. There was also listed "one domestic"
Van Buren County:
1873 E. Brackett
1874 Sarah M. Brackett had a son born in Racine, wisconsin
1919 Mary (Coffee) Brackett died in Bangor Township
No date Truman Brackett
When I began this research (1982), I had John Brackett who was born in 1846 as my earliest known relative. Many times I have run into dead ends only to have some new lead pop-up and take me off in a new direction. This can become addictive. I must thank both Mr. Jeffery Richardson for his Brackett Genealogy and Mr. H. I. Brackett for his. Both are in the Library of Congress and they are both masterpieces. All our results would not have been possible without the input of so many Bracketts.
After years of sifting through the numerous Michigan Bracketts named John, Martin and Ezra, I believe I can finally reconstruct the families as they first came to Michigan. They all can be traced to Christopher Brackett of Vermont with the exception of the George Brackett family of Big Rapids (as stated earlier). Christopher's two sons, Ezra and Jonathan, are the patriarchs of the Michigan tree. Jonathan moved to "Upper Canada"; Ontario in 1817. He had at least two sons and probably more. His known sons were John E. and Franklin. Ezra also had at least two sons: Ezra and Martin S.. It is these four cousins and their families who first came to Michigan with their parents and grandparents in the late 1830s. They settled in the counties of Allegan, Barry, Eaton, Calhoun and Kalamazoo.
Ezra II and Martin S. are reported to have worked in Canada and probably worked with their Uncle Jonathan and their cousins John E. and Franklin. They were involved in railroad and canal construction, some were civil engineers and some were surveyors. A couple of these Bracketts were attorneys. John E. owned land in Allegan County, joined the Bar in Kalamazoo and died in Calhoun County at the family homestead of Ezra's family branch. Franklin, John E.'s brother, owned land in Barry County and is very likely the father of John Brackett born in 1846, my earliest known relative. Ezra II and Martin S. owned land in Calhoun County and Martin S. was an attorney in Marshall. As Ezra's family branched out many of them ended up in Allegan and later Berrien Counties with John and Franklin's relatives. Allegan County is adjacent to Berrien where Franklin's son John married Sarah Brant in 1868.
It is rather obvious that the way in which the initial "E" and the names John, Ezra and Martin keep appearing in all these counties that these are the patriarchs of the family. Since Ezra brought his father Christopher with him from New York, it is likely that the others also brought parents as well as other relatives with them. The John E. who is reported to have been married to Hannah could have been Captain Ezra's son Jonathan. This could be the same Jonathan who had moved to Canada in 1817. Jonathan's wife was also named Hannah. Since Franklin named two of his children John and Hana it is likely that these are one family. There are many Ezras and E.s and others named after Capt. Ezra. Martin and Ezra named their sons Ezra, Martin and John. They also used variations of these two names making it very difficult to sort them all out. There was an Ezra Brackett in Allegan County as late as 1932. Captain Ezra's whole family came to Michigan, as there are references to Rueben E., John E., Ezra, Christopher, Jonathan and Martin in Michigan between the years of 1837 and 1850. It is clear that as the Michigan Bracketts were involved in railroad and canal construction in New York, Conn., other eastern states and in Canada, that they followed their profession to Michigan. The reoccurrence of these families throughout these counties is probably due to the following of their trade. They were also farmers and since Michigan was a fledgling state they also claimed land. The Erie Canal also made the trip to Michigan from the East, much easier.
The ancestor who was the key for me and the one that I could find the least information about, was John W. Brackett (1846-1869) of Berrien County. I have placed him as a descendant of Franklin as he matches the age of their son John. I could have also placed him under Martin or Ezra. I have not found any records to prove his parentage. I do feel that since Franklin's family was close to Berrien County and since their son was born in 1846 that they are one in the same. St Joseph, Michigan was a major travel destination at this time and could be how John met Sarah. I must also state that it is possible that John W. Brackett of Berrien County may be the son of any of the four brothers, but my evidence leads me to believe he is Franklins' son.
In 1991 I discovered the John Brackett of Barry County, Franklin's son. I am now certain that he is the John Brackett who married Sarah Brant in 1868 in Berrien County, Michigan. Franklin was listed as a riverboat pilot on the St. Joseph River, which could have brought him and his son into Berrien County and St Joseph, Michigan. John's son, Edgar Lacey, was reportedly a "river boat pilot" on the St. Joseph River near Berrien Springs, Michigan.
The most exciting link was the discovery of John B. and Martin Brackett who married in Hopkins, Michigan (Allegan County) in 1874 and 1878. These two Bracketts claimed Canada as their birthplace. Martin claims to still reside in Canada. John B. was born in 1848 and John W. of Berrien County was born in 1846. I have toyed with the thought that these are one in the same, even though this would have been after John of Berrien County's death. I have never found record of his death as mentioned earlier. All these are relatives of the four cousins and all the four cousins have connections to Canada. All these Bracketts lived within fifty miles of each other and several of them returned to Bellevue, Michigan for burial. They are all descendants of Chrisopher Brackett of Vermont. It may never be certain as to their exact relationships, as the county records for the newly admitted state of Michigan are sketchy.
The State of Michigan did not require registration of births until 1867. Death records were not required until after 1916. Some marriage records are on file prior to 1840.
There is an earlier edition of this work in which I placed John of Berrien County as a descendant of Ezra II. This occurred before I had found the John Brackett, son of Franklin of Barry County. This version is mainly in the hands of my family.