Our Branham ancestors originated in England or Ireland, depending on the source you use. The Irish Branham's were first recorded in County Kilkenny, Ireland. The Irish surname Branham comes from the old Irish name O'Brachain, which was a patronymic name based on the first name of the ancestor's father. The English surname is a place name indicating a homestead or dwelling. Surnames, as a rule, did not come into common use until the 1200's.
We have found many variations for the surname, including Branam, Brannam, Branum, Brannum, Branom, Brannom, Brandham, Brantham, Branan, and Brannon. Among the early immigrants to America were Matthew Branan, age 21, a smith (blacksmith), from London to Maryland in 1774, an indentured servant; Margaret Branham from England to Virginia in 1773; John Brannon from Middlesex, England, in May 1767; Elizabeth Brannum from Middlesex, England, in May 1736, an indentured servant, transported for stealing linen; Nicholas Brannon, from Middlesex, England, October 1768; Michael Brannon from Middlesex, England, December 1774; and Thomas Brannon from London, England, September 1742, an indentured servant, transported for stealing shoes.
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Our 3rd great grandfather may have been named either Uriah Branham or James Branham. Old naming patterns indicate that often the first son was named after the father's father. Our great-great grandfather named his first son Uriah. His second son was named James. We found the name James Branham in various states and counties in early census records, but we found no Uriah Branham listed. As our great-great grandfather was named William, his father may have been named William Uriah Branham or Uriah William Branham, and was listed as William Branham on census records.
Our 3rd great grandmother may have been named either Frances or Susanna. Old naming patterns indicate that often the second daughter was named after the father's mother. Our great-great grandfather named his second daughter Frances. He named his first daughter Susanna. We believe our great-great grandfather had a sister named Hannah Jane "Jennie" Branham, who was born 1819, in Georgia and married Blake Tidwell. Since Hannah Jane was always called "Jennie", we assume that Virginia was part of her name (probably Hannah Virginia Jane or Virginia Hannah Jane). Blake Tidwell was the son of Robert Tidwell. Blake and Hannah Jane named their first son Uriah. We found no other males in the Tidwell family named Uriah, so the name probably came from Hannah's family. Blake and Hannah Jane named their second son James. Our great-great grandfather had a daughter named Virginia Jane H. "Jenny" Branham (or possibly Virginia H. Jane), who may have been named for Hannah Jane Branham. We have been told by other researchers that because Hannah Jane Branham was underage when she and Blake Tidwell married, her mother wrote a letter of consent for Hannah Jane to marry. The note was signed Fanny Branham. We have also been told that Hannah Jane Tidwell's death certificate said her parents were B. Branham and May Branham. Fanny's name may have been Frances May Branham.
We did not locate a Uriah Branham in early Georgia census. We did locate a James Branham on the 1820 Jackson County, Georgia census. The census shows James Branham, a male 26-44 (b. 1775-1794); one female 26-44 (b. 1775-1794), one male under 10 (b. 1810-1819); and three females under 10 (b. 1810-1819). The 1820 Washington County, Georgia census shows Susan Branham, a female head of household, 45 & over (b. 1775 & bef); one male under 10 (b. 1811-1820); and two females under 10 (b. 1811-1820). She was living nex to John Branham, a male 26-44 (b. 1776-1794); one female 26-44 (b. 1776-1794); and one male under 10 (b. 1811-1820). John was probably Susan's brother-in-law. The ages of the children shown on the census for James Branham in Jackson County, or for Susan Branham in Washington County would be correct for our great-great grandfather and Hannah Jane.
Our great-great grandfather William Branham was born about 1812, in Georgia, according to census records. We believe his name was James William Branham, but have no proof.
William married our great-great grandmother, Arenna R. (last name unknown), about 1830 to 1832, in either Georgia or Tennessee.
Arenna was born about 1812, in North Carolina, according to census records. We believe her maiden name was Lacey, as William and Arenna named their second son James Lacey. Old naming patterns indicate that the second son was often named after the mother's father, in which case Arenna's father may have been named James. As it was customary to give one of the older children the maiden name of the mother, it is altogether probable that Arenna was a Lacey. We found several Lacey families in both Georgia and Tennessee. Arenna's mother may have been named Susanna. Old naming patterns indicate that often the eldest daughter was named for the mother's mother. William and Arenna named their first daughter Susanna.
Census indicates that William and Arenna's first child was born in Tennessee. The family may have been living in the northern part of Georgia, near the Tennessee state line when she was born. We know that the family moved to Blount County, Alabama, about 1834.
Appearing in Blount County, Alabama about the same time as William, was Hannah Jane "Jennie" Branham, who we believe was a sister to William. (Note: We have not found her listed as Virginia in any records, but since she was always called "Jennie", we assume that Virginia was part of her name.) Hannah Jane "Jennie" Branham was born January 26, 1819, in Georgia. She married Josiah Blake Tidwell on October 12, 1834, in Blount County. As Jennie was only 15 years old at the time she married, a letter of consent was written and signed by her mother, Fanny Branham. We assume that Jennie's father died prior to that date or he would have written the consent letter, as was customary. We have not been able to document that William and Jennie were siblings or that Fanny was William's mother, but many Tidwell family researchers also believe that was the case.
We believe Hannah Jane's mother Fanny Branham died prior to 1840, as we did not find her on the 1840 Alabama census. Blake and Jennie lived near William and Arenna and many of their children had the same names. Jennie and Arenna were both members of the same church. Children of Blake and Jennie (Branham) Tidwell included Uriah Tidwell (born 1838), James Tidwell (born 1839), Isaiah Tidwell (born 1843), Robert Tidwell (born 1847), Francis Tidwell (born 1850), Jeremiah Tidwell (born 1853), DeForest Tidwell (born 1857) and Louvisa Tidwell (born 1860).
William Branham appears on the 1840 Blount County census in East Division. The census shows him as William Brandham, a male age 20-30; one female 20-30 (Arenna); one female 5-10 (Susanna); one male under 5 (Uriah); and two females under 5 (Frances and Jennie). Blake and Hannah (Branham) Tidwell and their children were living nearby.
Although there were several Branham's in other counties in Alabama in 1840, William was the only Branham listed in Blount County on the 1840 census.
Some members of the Branham family attended church at the Mt. Pisgah United Baptist Church of Christ. Minutes of the church meetings were transcribed by Douglas and Melba H. Lowe and printed in a book, Minutes of The United Baptist Church of Christ at Mt. Pisgah 1838-1880, Chepultepec (Allgood), Blount Co, Alabama. Our thanks to Melba for permission to print the following excerpts from those church minutes (the spelling is as it appears in the book):
Page 5: "Names of persons
of the United Baptist Church of Christ of Mount Pisgah 1838......Sorena
Branham (dism. by letter)."
Page 16: "May 1842......Sorena Branham joined by experience of faith."
Page 16: "July 1842......Serenah Branham was Baptise. Done in church conference."
Page 21: "Dec. 1842......Sister Arreny Branham made application for leter which was granted her, done in church conference."
Page 23: "Apr. 1843......brother John Branham joined by exp. of grace, was recd and Bapt. Done in church conference."
Page 32: "Dec 1844......Sister Areney Branham joined by leter and was recd in church conference."
Page 37: "Dec. 1845......our beloved sister Areney Branham mad application for a leter of dismission from us. The church grants her a leter."
Page 49: "Sept 1849......Anne Branham came forward and joined by letter."
Page 50: "Sept. 1849......State of Alabama, Blount Co, our assoc. came and continued with seemingly good affect and on Sunday night the door of church was opened and none came forward. The congregation met again on Monday the 17th and after a divine service the door of the church was opened......and then came forward Sister Susanah Branham and joined by an exp of grace and was recd and bapt then came forward Sister Frances Branham and joined by exp of grace and was recd and bapt."
Page 63: "Sept. 1853......Then the church took up a charge against Sister Susan Branham for joining the Methodist and excluded her."
Page 79: "July 1858......In the case of Francis Branham, she was excluded for disorderly conduct."
Page 85: "Nov. 1860......Church granted unto beloved sister Surrena Branham and Betsy Tidwell letters of dismision in full fellowship."
Page 92: "Sept. 1865......Lucinda Andlet(?) Branham joined by exp of grace and was recd and bapt the Sunday folowing...."
Page 104: "June 1868......sister Areney Branham returned her leter that she obtain from this church some yers ago."
Page 123: "Names of women at Mt. Pisgah Church in 1865......Lucinda Antilet Brannum"
Pages 125, 128, 129, 131, 134: "Names of all the members belonging to Mt. Pisgah church.....John Branham (decd 1847).....Arrenah Branham (dismissed by letter 1860).....Susanah Branham (excluded.....Frances Branham (excluded July 3rd, 1858)"
(Note: Lucinda Antilet Brannum listed above was Lucinda Annette Branham, born in 1847, daughter of James William Branham and Evaline W. Caudle. James William Branham, born 1820, in Georgia, was the son of Tarlton Branham, born 1785, in Virginia. James William moved his family to Blount County just prior to 1855 and appears on the 1855 tax list. We are unsure who John Branham was, but we believe he was a very close family member. We have found no other Branham's in Blount County in the 1840's except for William's family.
The 1850 Blount County census, Subdivision Township, shows William Branham, 38, a farmer; Arenna, 38; Susan, 17; Frances, 15; Jenney, 14; Uriah, 10; James, 8; Lucinda, 6; and Jeremiah, 4 years old. William was the only Branham listed in Blount County on the 1850 census.
The 1855 Blount County tax list shows the following individuals paid taxes that year in Blount County: Francis Branham, J. W. Branham, L. L. Branham and William Branham. We believe the L. L. Branham on the tax list, was Lewis L. Branham who moved to Arkansas shortly before William moved there. J. W. Branham was James William Branham, son of Tarlton Branham.
(Note: Lewis Langston Branham was born April 4, 1829, in Georgia. He married Artemisa McClung on September 25, 1850. Artemisa was born March 14, 1833, in Alabama, the daughter of Richard McClung and Peggy Tidwell. Lewis appears on the 1855 Blount Count Tax List with William. About 1859, Lewis left Blount County and moved with his family to Searcy County, Arkansas. William Branham moved his family to Searcy County about 1860-1861, and settled in the same area. Lewis Branham appears on the 1860 Searcy County, Arkansas census in Wiley's Cove Township. Artemisa died August 31, 1908 and Lewis died October 20, 1911, in Searcy County, Arkansas. Lewis and Artemissa's children included Margaret Branham (born 1852), James Branham (born 1854), Virginia Branham (born 1857), Martha Branham (born 1863), Lewis L. Branham (born 1864), William Branham (born 1867), Charles Branham (born 1869), John Wesley Branham (born 1871), and Martha Branham (born 1873). We are unsure how Lewis and William were related (cousins perhaps?), but we know there was a close family connection. The story goes that sometime in the late 1800's there was a mix-up in mail being delivered to the wrong Branham family and as a result Lewis L.'s family changed the spelling of their name to Branum. We believe Lewis and William were cousins.)
William Branham received a land patent on 79.2 acres of land on April 2, 1857, in Blount County. The property was described as the W 1/2 of the NE qtr. of Sect. 31, T 13S, R 2E.
On March 1, 1858, William received a land patent on 79.69 more acres of land in Blount County. The property was described as the SE qtr. of the SE qtr. of Sect. 30, and the NE qtr. of the NE qtr. of Sect. 31, T 13S, R 2E. William was a farmer all his life. We have been told that In later years he was also a lay preacher.
The 1860 Blount County census, Eastern Subdivision Township, shows William Branham, 49, a farmer, real property valued at $500 and personal property valued at $609; Arenna, 47; Frances, 24; Uriah, 20; James, 17; Lucinda, 16; Jeremiah, 14; Rolen E., 7; and the twins, Arenna M. and Samantha E., 2 years of age. Living beside William was the family of his daughter Jane H. "Jenny" Farley, and living beside Jane was another daughter, Susanna Hill. The census was dated July 17, 1860.
In November 1860 the United Baptist Church of Christ at Mount Pisgah in Blount County "granted unto beloved sister Surrena Branham a letter of dismision in full fellowship." Arenna requested this letter from her church prior to leaving Alabama.
We don't know why William decided to leave Alabama, possibly because of the growing unrest over the political issue of slavery and states rights, and the beginning rumblings of impending war. It appears William just packed up and moved away from his 160 acres in Blount County. William may have chosen Arkansas for his destination because Lewis Branham was living there.
William's family traveled to Searcy County, Arkansas between November 1860 and about April 1861. We don't know if his eldest son, Uriah, his daughter, Frances, or his married daughters, Jane Farley and Susan Hill and their families traveled with them. William settled near Lewis Branham's family in Wylie's Cove Township, in Searcy County.
William's son, James Lacey Branham, and Lewis L. Branham, both joined the Confederate 45th Arkansas Militia, Co C, in Wylie's Cove, in Searcy County In November 1861. On June 16, 1862, James Lacey and Lewis L. both joined the Confederate 32nd Arkansas Infantry, Co F, at Burrowville (now Marshall), in Searcy County.
William Branham appears on the 1862 Searcy County Tax List, when he paid a poll tax. That is the only written record we have of his time in Arkansas.
We are unsure exactly when William's family traveled to Illinois, but it was after about May 1862 and prior to early 1865. (William's daughter Lucinda married in Macon County, Illinois, in September 1865.) The Civil War began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate forces fired upon the Union forces at Ft. Sumter, South Carolina. Arkansas declared its secession from the Union on May 6, 1861. The war officially ended on April 9, 1865, when documents of surrender were signed at Appomattox Court House, Appomattox, Virginia.
We are unsure how many members of William's family went to Illinois. The younger children, Jeremiah, Rolen, and the twins Arenna, and Samantha would have been with their parents of course. We know their daughter Lucinda went to Illinois because she married there in 1865. Their daughter Jane and her son were in Illinois prior to the 1870 Illinois census. We have no record of daughter Frances or son Uriah. They may have remained in Alabama and never migrated to Arkansas. Uriah could have died in the war. Daughter Susanna probably remained in Alabama when her family moved to Arkansas. The 1870 census indicates she had children born to her about 1863 and 1865 in Alabama.
William and Arenna traveled back to Alabama with at least two of their children prior to May 1868. We know this because church records show that in May 1868 "sister Areney Branham returned her leter that she obtain from this church some years ago." She probably returned her membership letter to the church soon after their return to Blount County, Alabama.
By 1870, William and Arenna's family was scattered. Their daughters Jane and Lucinda were living in Illinois. Jeremiah was in Colbert County, Alabama. Susanna and her family were still living in Blount County and their son James Lacey was in Cherokee County, Alabama. Arenna May, one of the twins, died between 1860 and 1870 and the whereabouts of Frances and Uriah after the time of the 1860 census is unknown.
The 1870 Blount County, Alabama census, East Half District, shows Wm. Brannum, 57, farmer; A. R., 57; Rolin, 18; M.V.T., 12. (Note: The daughter listed as M. V. T. was Samantha Elizabeth. The M stood for "Mandy", a nickname for Samantha. We believe the census taker misunderstood the initial E and wrote a V instead. The census shows that William, Arenna and Rolen could not read or write, but that Samantha attended school within the year. It also shows that William's personal property was valued at $77. Either William sold the 160 acres on which he had received patents in 1857 and 1858 prior to leaving Blount County, or the land was forfeited for non-payment of taxes when he moved away.
William and Arenna moved to Colbert County, Alabama, probably soon after the marriage of their daughter Samantha in July 1877. The 1880 Colbert County census shows William, age 68, father born in North Carolina and mother born in South Carolina, and Arenna, age 67, father born in Virginia and mother born in North Carolina. The census was dated June 1880.
Arenna died between June 1880 and July 1884, in Colbert County. We believe she is buried in an unmarked grave beside William in the Mitchell Cemetery near Tuscumbia, in Colbert County.
Following are excerpts from a
letter we received from a Mrs. Joyce Mitchell of Muscle
Shoals, Alabama, dated September 13, 1998:
"I had William Branham's Bible for about 20 years. I just recently gave it to a cousin that thought he should have it. They played with it and left it outside when they were small and rain got on it. Half of words and dates you can not read. It is the record of William and 1st wife Arrena's family. He preached from this Bible in his later years here in Colbert County, Alabama. William and Arrena came to Colbert County, she died."
William married Theodoshia "Doshie" Davis on July 17, 1884, at Tuscumbia, in Colbert County. Doshie Davis was born April 30, 1856, in Alabama, the daughter of Dennis Denmark Davis and Euphemy Gowers. William was about 72 years old and Doshie was 28 years old and had two children when they married. Five more children were born after their marriage.
William died February 19, 1898, in Colbert County, at the age of 86. Doshie's youngest child was not yet one year old when William died. William is buried in Mitchell Cemetery near Tuscumbia, in Colbert County. There is a marker at his grave, but the date of birth on the marker is not correct. On one side of William's grave is a grave marked only with a rock. We believe that is Arenna's grave.
Doshie appears on the 1900 Colbert County census with six of her children. Doshie died December 16, 1914, at Tuscumbia, in Colbert County. She is buried on one side of William in Mitchell Cemetery near Tuscumbia.
The two children Doshie had when she and William married used the Branham name. Later all seven of the children changed the spelling of the last name to "Branom". Some of their descendants later changed the spelling to "Brannon". (Note: As all seven of Doshie's children used the Branham surname, we will list all of them as William's children.) Birth dates on William and Arenna's children came from the old Bible of William's that was spoken of earlier by Joyce Mitchell.
Children of William Branham and Arenna
1. Susanna E. Branham was born April 3, 1834, in TN.
2. Frances Branham was born Mar 15, 1836, in Blount Co, AL. She appears as one of two females under 5 on the 1840 Blount Co census. She was listed as 15 years old on the 1850 census, and as 24 years old on the 1860 census. Frances was listed several times in the minutes of the United Baptist Church of Christ at Mt. Pisgah, at Chepultepec (Allgood), Blount Co, AL (see church excerpts above). We do not know if Frances moved to AR, then to IL with her family, or if she remained in AL. We have no record of Frances after the1860 census.
3. Virginia Jane H. Branham was born Feb 3, 1838, in Blount Co, AL.
4. Uriah Branham was born Nov 14, 1839, in Blount Co, AL. He appears as a male under the age of 5 on the 1840 Blount Co census. He was listed as 10 years old on the 1850 census, and as 20 years old on the 1860 census. We do not know if Uriah moved to AR, then to IL with his family, or if he remained in AL. We have no record of Uriah after the 1860 census.
5. James Lacey Branham was born Sept 21, 1841, in Blount Co, AL. (our line)
6. Lucinda Adaline Branham was born May 3, 1844, in Blount Co, AL.
7. Jeremiah Branham was born Sept 16, 1847, in Blount Co, AL.
8. Rolen E. Branham was born June 16, 1853, in Blount Co, AL.
9. Arenna May Branham was born May 1858, in Blount Co, AL. She was a twin to Samantha Elizabeth. Arenna was listed as 2 years old on the 1860 census. She died prior to 1870.
10. Samantha Elizabeth "Mandy" Branham was born May 1858, in Blount Co, AL. She was a twin to Arenna May. Samantha married Spencer Tyler on July 22, 1877, in Blount Co. The 1880 Blount Co, AL, census Twp 13, shows Samuel Rufty, 60, widowed, farmer, b. NC; Elisabeth Tyler, 21, married, keeping house, b. AL; and Danniel W. Tyler, 2, b. AL. We have no other information on Mandy.
Children of William Branham and Doshie Davis
(The first two children were born before William and Doshie married, but we have included them as his children.)
11. Maggie "Alice" Branom was born Mar 31, 1881, in AL. She married m. Logan Mitchell. Maggie died Nov 27, 1904, and is buried in Mitchell Cem, near Tuscumbia, AL. She is listed as Maggie Branom on her headstone.
12. Maudenia Branom was born July 12, 1884, in Colbert Co, AL. She married Elmer Cole on Apr 8, 1902. Maudenia died July 8, 1959.
13. John S. Branom was born Jan 18, 1886, in Colbert Co, AL. He married Belle Wright and Essie Greenhill.
14. Marshall S. Branom was born Feb 1890, in Colbert Co, AL. He married Annie Moland. Marshall died Mar 4, 1962.
15. Harvey Terrell Branom was born Oct 8, 1891, in Colbert Co, AL. He married Pearl White. Harvey died Mar 8, 1952, and is buried in Mitchell Cem, near Tuscumbia, AL.
16. William Wesley Branom was born Feb 22, 1896, in Colbert Co, AL. He married America Isabel Garrett. William died Nov 28, 1969, at Winter Garden, Orange Co, FL. Children included: (1) Howard Willard Brannon; (2) Bertha Lee Brannon; (3) Mary Lee Brannon; (4) Reba Brannon; (5) William Wesley Brannon, Jr.; (6) Terrel Sylvester Brannon; (7) Lucy Marzella Brannon; (8) Earlene Dosha Brannon; and (9) McCoy Eugene Brannon
17. Lucy R. Branom was born Mar 20, 1897, in Colbert Co, AL. She married Elizah Stenson Masterson. Lucy died Feb 14, 1976.
I am not a professional genealogist and although I have researched much of the information found at this site, some of it was given to me by other researchers and may not have been documented. Each bit of information found here should be carefully researched and proved or disproved by you, the researcher. Researchers may copy information found at this site for their own personal use and to share with other researchers or genealogical organizations. Any commercial use or distribution without the written consent of this author is prohibited.
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Others researching the Branham line:
Dale Daley -- descendant of James Lacey Branham
Vicki -- descendant of Jessee Brannam b. 1818 Campbell Co, TN
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