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Brunson Family History[1]


3rd Generation.. 1

4th Generation: American migration ............. 2

     John Brownson, Jr. (1602-1680)........ 2

     Hartford: 1636-1641 8

     Farmington: 1641-1680.................. 9

5th Generation: SOUTH CAROLINA MIGRATION............ 13

     John Brunson (1642-1711)............... 13

     Wethersfield: 1664-1695............... 13

     South Carolina: 1695-1711............... 14

6th Generation......... 15

     Isaac Brunson, Sr. (1680-1733)............... 15

7th Generation......... 17

     Isaac Brunson, Jr. (1706?-1770)...... 17

     Sumter Area (Wateree, Black River & High Hills of Santee): 1740-1770............... 17

8th Generation......... 18

     David Brunson, Sr. (1729-1784)............... 18

9th Generation......... 22

     Margaret Brunson (b. 1766)...... 22

Bibliography......... 25


3rd Generation

Roger Brownson (1576-1635). He was born at Earl’s Colne, England. He was a taylor. He married at Lamarsh, Essex in 1600 Mary Underwood. He died at Aldham, Essex County, England. (T. Terrar’s Family Group sheets, p. 276), [1.30.2(2-3)D]. In the following passage, family historian Elsie Tracy describes Roger and his immigrant offspring:

The Bronson-Brownson-Brunson family was established in the New World by John who left Massachusetts under the leadership of The Reverend Thomas Hooker to settle at Hartford in Connecticut in 1636. In John’s party were his wife Frances and two daughters, his brother Richard and a sister Mary. It is quite certain that this party left London in July 1635 and landed in Boston in October the 8 that year from the ship “Defense” with Edward Bostock, Master. Thomas Hooker served parishes in England in the vicinity of Earl’s Colne and it is likely that they knew his leadership before coming to the New World, in fact, may have come because of his teachings.

Several people have presented books and papers on this family, and related that the three Bronson people came with their father “Old Richard” to Hartford. Mr. Donald Lines Jacobus, genealogist of New Haven, ably corrects this misconception after collaborating with Mrs. V. Hiddon of Fisk House, Iver, Bucks County, England, who examined the parish records of Earl’s Colne, Lamarsh, and Halsted. His conclusions are published in the American Genealogist of October 1962, Part I, vol. 38:193. He establishes that John, Richard, and Mary are children not of a Richard, but of a Roger Brownson of Earl’s Colne by citing the birth dates of these people as sons and daughter of Roger born at Earl’s Colne, the son of John of that parish, and his wife Mary Underwood. Roger and Mary were married 12 May 1600, and their son John was bapt. 21 Sept. 1602 at Lamarsh, Richard was bapt. 23 July, 1615, and sister Mary was born about the 6 Mar. 1622/3.

John, our immigrant, was married to Frances Hills, the daughter of John Hills 19 Nov. 1626. She was born 23 July 1605 according to the St. Andrews Church Register of Halstead County Essex. They had children born in England, two daughters who migrated with the group and two sons who died there before the migration. Mr. Jacobus gives a detailed account of this family and its background in England.

1. John b. or bapt. 21 Sept. 1602, Lamarsh, Essex, England, migrated to Boston in 1635, and to Hartford 1636, again to Farmington in 1641 as a planter, died there in 1680, the inventory of his estate of £312 was taken November 28 of that year. He had served in the Pequot War of 1637, and for that service he was assigned land in the “Soldier’s Field.” While living at Farmington he served the town as Constable, organizer of the Church of Farmington, and as Deputy to the General Court several terms.[2]

4th Generation: American migration

John Brownson, Jr. (1602-1680). As noted above in the quote from Elsie Tracy, John Brownson, Jr. was born at La Marsh, England. He is said to have  migrated about 1635 to the Massachusetts Colony.[3] However, as will be seen below, there is no documentary evidence as to the specific year of his migration or that he went to Massachusetts. He came with his brother Richard and other family members. They are said to have been influenced by or part of the congregation headed by the clergyman Thomas Hooker. They came to Hartford in May or June 1636. There is no documentation of this.

The Federal Writers Project gives a summary of early colonial Connecticut history in the 1630s. It mentions that most of the immigrants at that time came from the Massachusetts Colony rather than directly from England. It maintains that they came for economic reasons. The settlements in Massachusetts were running out of land for those newly arriving. Discontent with the political and religious bent of Massachusetts was also a factor for some:

The settlement of the Connecticut Valley in the 1630’s was the beginning of the westward movement of the English colonists in the New World. When news of the fertility of the Connecticut Valley reached Massachusetts, many land-hungry groups who had grown restive under the restrictive Massachusetts laws began to migrate westward.

A Dutch navigator, Adriaen Block, was probably the first to observe the possibilities of the region, when he sailed along the coast and up the Connecticut River, which he discovered in the year 1614 and called the Varsche River. Nearly twenty years passed, however, before the Dutch established a trading post and fort near the future site of Hartford (June 1633). By this time the Indians had reported the existence of a fertile country with valuable trading possibilities to the Plymouth colonists, and Edward Winslow made an exploratory visit to the Connecticut Valley in the summer of 1632. Next year a Plymouth expedition sailed up the Connecticut, past Dutch point, to the mouth of the Farmington River. There, on September 26, 1633, they established a post at Mattaneaug (Windsor). In the same year, John Oldham of Watertown and three others explored the Connecticut Valley, and ‘discovered many very desirable places upon the same river, fit to receive many hundred inhabitants.’ This report accomplished what the persuasions of Winslow and Bradford had not effected, and stimulated the first permanent settlement from the Bay towns of Watertown, Dorchester, and New Town (Cambridge).

In 1634, a large party from Watertown, with Oldham among them, settled at Pyquag (Wethersfield). They claimed that they were the first settlers to plant a crop in the valley. In the summer of 1635, emigrants from Dorchester settled in Windsor, erected a building, and thereby gave present historians of Windsor an opportunity to argue that his town was the first. But the severity of the winter was such that most of the ‘inhabitants’ were driven down the Connecticut River to the new military post at Saybrook, where they took ship to their homes in Dorchester.

In October, 1635, the first general migration took place, when fifty persons from New Town (Cambridge) under the leadership of John Steel moved across Massachusetts with all their household goods and settled at Suckiaug (Hartford) close by the Dutch trading post. The Reverend Thomas Hooker and his congregation trekked westward in the following spring. The prime motive of these migrations was land hunger, as the constant arrival of newcomers from England taxed the resources of the early towns of Massachusetts Bay. To economic causes were added the rivalries of strong-willed men, such as Hooker and John Cotton, and a dislike of some of the autocratic and theocratic features of the government of Massachusetts. These colonists from Watertown, Dorchester, and Cambridge, who were settled in Wethersfield, Windsor, and Hartford, soon absorbed the small number of Plymouth people and kept the Dutch confined to their trading post, which was finally abandoned in 1654.

In 1638, the Fundamental Orders, drafted under the inspiration of Hooker’s sermon of May 31 and largely the work of Roger Ludlow, were drawn up, and in January, 1639, they were adopted by the three towns. Under this document, sometimes called the first practical constitution, the towns formed ‘one publike State or Commonwealth.’ Already (April 26, 1636) a general court had been held, in which Steel and Ludlow took part; and it now became the supreme authority, with deputies from the towns acting in concert. It is not without significance that Thomas Hooker was John Pym’s brother-in-law. To Pym, Hampton, and other reformers in the mother country, the main organ of political power was the House of Commons. So here in Connecticut, the Governor was merely a presiding officer, and the courts were creations of the legislature by which their judgments could be set aside. Until the Constitution of 1818 replaced the Fundamental Orders and the Charter of 1662, the legislative body continued to dominate the executive and the judicial. It is worthy of note that the preamble presumed a close relation between Church and State, and that in 1659 the general court imposed a property qualification for suffrage. There was a distinct aristocratic element in this democracy.[4]

Historian David Roth gives further general background about the large English migration to New England in the 1620s and 1630s:

Between 1630 and the outbreak of the Puritan Revolution in England in 1642, over twenty thousand Puritans in some two hundred ships made the treacherous Atlantic crossing to New England. Although the major thrust of the Puritan migration was along the shores of Massachusetts Bay and nearly thirty miles into the interior, the concern here will be with those hardy Puritans who left the relative security of Massachusetts Bay to settle in the area the Indians called Quinnehtukqut—“Beside the Long Tidal River.”

By the mid-1630s settlements had been established in Windsor, Wethersfield, and Hartford, and the Reverend Thomas Hooker—the guiding force behind the settlement in Hartford—gradually emerged as the spiritual leader of the River Towns.

Another major Puritan thrust into Connecticut centered on the settlement in New Haven in 1638. Inspired by the Reverend John Davenport, former vicar of St. Stephen’s in London, and Theophilus Eaton, a successful Puritan merchant who had served as commercial agent of Charles I at Copenhagen, two boatloads of English Puritans arrived in Boston in 1637. . . Such were the beginnings of the Connecticut colony, which by the eve of the Revolution would consist of seventy towns and a population of nearly two hundred thousand.[5]

In his discussion of early Connecticut history, historian Roth goes into detail about Thomas Hooker and the religious and political background in which the Brownson’s migrated to American:

Strangely enough, rule by a religious elite had not been the intention of Connecticut’s founding father, the Reverend Thomas Hooker. Born in Leicestershire, England, in 1586, Hooker was educated at Queen’s and Emmanuel Colleges, Cambridge University, receiving his A.B. in 1608 and his A.M. in 1611. He was converted to Puritanism while he was a fellow at Emmanuel from 1611 to 1618, and his subsequent ecclesiastical career in England was conducted under the disapproving glare of James I and the Anglican clergy. Persecuted by William Laud, the Bishop of London, and his agents, Hooker fled to Holland, where he preached in Amsterdam, Delft, and Rotterdam. But he saw only limited opportunities for himself in Holland and none in Stuart England, so Hooker decided for America, arriving in Boston in September 1633. Although chosen as a pastor at Newton and selected by the Bay leaders to answer Roger Williams in debate, Hooker was apparently restless in Massachusetts Bay. When members of his Newton congregation looked beyond the Boston area for better land, Hooker supported the decision to transfer his flock to the Connecticut Valley.

Once he was in Connecticut, Hooker made clear that he had in fact nourished opposition to the principle of the Massachusetts Bay leadership, for Hooker’s preaching in Hartford indicated that he thought the people should play a greater role in their government than they had enjoyed in the Bay Colony. In a sermon preached on May 31, 1638, Hooker laid down the principle on which the colony’s framework of government—The Fundamental Orders of 1639—would be based. Hooker maintained that the foundation of authority rested in the consent of the people expressed through the electoral process. Yet despite Hooker’s call for popular participation in government and the fact that the Fundamental Orders clearly called for separation in Connecticut of civil privilege from church membership, there was erected in the colony a system of government based on membership in and leadership by the Puritan Congregational Church.

Connecticut’s founding fathers erected their system of government on the proposition that the mass of mankind, the non-Elect, was evil, corrupt, and hardly fit for political participation. Connecticut’s leaders held that “the making of rulers of the lower sort of people will issue in contempt, let their opinion be what it will.” [Quoted in Richard Bushman, From Puritan to Yankee: Character and the Social Order in Connecticut, 1690-1765 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1967), p. 12]. One sermon held that government by common men “directly tends at once to destroy both the Rectitude and Success of Government. . . and to enervate the Force of all their Administrations.” If the common sort should gain political control, government would “sinke into the mire of popular confusion.” [Quoted in Bushman, From Puritan to Yankee, p. 13.] Functioning on the basis of such assumptions, Connecticut’s leaders erected barriers to mass participation in the government. To participate in town affairs, one had to be an “admitted inhabitant”: an adult male, possessing a freehold estate rated at fifty shillings a year or forty pounds in the common list, of “Honest Conservation,” and regarded as acceptable by a majority of the town’s voters. To be a freeman and serve in and vote for colony-wide offices, one had to meet property qualifications of a freehold estate of forty shilling or forty pounds personal, be of “Quiet and Peaceable Behaviour and Civil Conservation,” and be approved by the town’s freemen and selectmen.[6]

Genealogist John Coddington describes the Brownson migration from England in the following passage. Coddington states that there are no records of what ship the Brownsons took to America or exactly when or where they arrived. That is, there are no records of them in Massachusetts, but because most migrants passed through that colony, Coddington maintains that the Brownsons did likewise. He also speculates as to the ship they came upon and their time of arrival:

The emigrants may well have sailed on the Defence (Edward BOSTOCK, master), which departed from London “the last of July 1635 and arrived at Boston 08 Oct 1635. Passengers on the Defence included the celebrated Mr. Thomas SHEPARD, who had preached at Earl’s Colne in 1630 and was later to become minister at Cambridge, MA.[7] Other passengers on the Defence were Mr. John WILSON, future teacher of the church at Boston; Mr. Hugh PETER, former pastor of the English church at Rotterdam and future minister at Salem, MA; Mr. John NORTON, future minister at Ipswich, MA., and later teacher of the church at Boston, MA., and Fairfield, CT., and most significantly for the BROWNSONS, there was Roger HARLSKENDEN age 23, of Earl’s Colne, with his wife Elisabeth (BOSVILE), age 18, and his sister Mabell, aged 22, the said Roger and Mabell being younger brother and sister of Richard HARLSKENDEN, esquire (1606-1677), lord of the manor of Earl’s Colne. The passenger list of the Defence is incomplete, and though the BROWNSONS’ name does not appear on it, there is no reason to believe that they did not come on that ship, and every reason to think that they did.[8]

Coddington goes on to state:

The majority of New England setters at this period landed in Boston, but there is no trace of the BROWNSONS in Massachusetts Bay records, so this family group must have removed to the new settlement at Hartford on the Connecticut River with the first settlers of that place, led by Mr. Thomas HOOKER, the minister, in May and June 1636. Mr. Hooker had preached and taught for some years at Little Baddow, Essex, and was doubtless known to the BROWNSONS in England. The family’s surname was usually spelled “BRUNSON” in the early records of Hartford, and under that name John enlisted for service in the Pequot War in 1637, and had several parcels of land assigned to him by the division of Feb. 1639-40; the lot on which his dwelling house stood abutted on the highway leading to the Neck on the east, and on Richard CHURCH’s land on the north and William HEATON’s on the south.[9] One of the earliest references to him in Hartford is undated. It is a list of “The Names of Such Inhabitants as were Granted lots to have only at the Townes Courtesie with liberty to fetch wood & keep Swine or Cows by proportion on the Commons.” The first name on the list is “John Brunson.”[10]

Ray and Jean Brunson comment about John Brownson Jr.’s religion and its influence upon his migration to America:

John was a Puritan and no doubt strongly influenced by the many Puritan preachers in Essex. In fact, he was so strongly influenced that at the age of ca. 33 year, he headed a party composed of his wife, two small daughters, a 20 year old brother, teen-aged sister and perhaps others of whom we have no knowledge which sailed from England to the Massachusetts Colony and then moved to Hartford.[11]

Hartford: 1636-1641 At Hartford John Brownson ran a sawmill and served in the Pequot War of 1637.[12] He had a lot on Soldier’s Field in Hartford on Neck Road, which was given to him for his service in the Pequot War. He lived there in 1640. Ray and Jean Brunson describe his land ownership in Hartford:

At about this time, his name headed the list of “The names of such inhabitants as were granted lotts to have onely at the Townes Courtesie with liberty to fetch wood & keep Swine or Cowes by proportion on the Commons.” In February of 1639, he had several parcels of land assigned to him by the land division which occurred. One of these was land on which he had his home. It bounded by the highway leading to the Neck on the east, by Richard Church’s land on the north and by William Heaton’s land on the south. (See Mabel Hulburt, Farmington Town Clerks and Their Times, 1945, p. 358). The writers found at the Connecticut Archives in Hartford a map made in 1838 from the old records showing Hartford in 1640. John Brownson’s lot #34 was on the edge of town. Only Richard Church’s lot #35 separated him from the Cow Pasture.[13]

About the Pequot War in 1637, historian David Roth describes it as having been pretty horrible. He simplistically attributes the needless slaughter to the Puritan religion:

One result of this Puritan sense of mission was the manner in which Connecticut’s seventeenth-century Puritan dealt with the Pequot menace. When Thomas Hooker and his small band reached Hartford in 1636, there were sixteen Indian tribes in Connecticut, all members of the Mohawks to the west, Connecticut’s Indians, who numbered between six and seven thousand, sought the friendship of the newcomers. The Indians sold land to the English and provided instruction in New World agricultural, hunting, and fishing techniques.

The generally harmonious Puritan-Indian relationship in the colony was disturbed by the Pequot, a tribe that had migrated from the Hudson River Valley to the southeast corner of Connecticut in the region of the Mystic River. From the outset of white intrusion in Connecticut, the Pequots, whose name according to Roger Williams meant “destroyers of men,” clearly indicated they were spoiling for a fight. In 1633 the Pequots wiped out a small group of English traders on Long Island Sound. When such provocations were followed by a Pequot attack on the English fort at Saybrook, and by evidence to indicate that the Pequots were seeking an alliance with the Narragansets to drive the whites from Connecticut, the Puritans mounted an offensive.

In 1637 Connecticut’s River Towns assembled a force of ninety men under the command of Captain John Mason to deal with the Pequot menace. After some deft maneuvers during which Mason apparently convinced the Pequots that he was reluctant to join in battle, the Connecticut force managed to surprise the Indians with a night attack on the Pequot fort at Mystic. There then took place as horrible a slaughter as one is likely to find in all of American history. The English set fire to the fort, and those Pequots who were not burned to death were shot down by the Puritans who surrounded the burning enclosure. Mason calculated that six to seven hundred Pequots—including women and children—were slain.

The Puritans were not yet through with the Pequots. The remaining members of the tribe were tracked to a swamp in Fairfield, where once again they were surrounded. After scores of Pequots were killed trying to break through the Puritan lines, a pitiful remnant of the tribe surrendered, to be ultimately given as slaves to tribes friendly to the English.[14]

Farmington: 1641-1680. John Brownson, Jr. with his family and with his younger brother, Richard, moved from Hartford to Farmington, Connecticut about 1641, when it was established. Genealogist John Coddington describes John’s move to Farmington:

It is not known just when John BROWNSON, BRONSON, or BRUNSON moved from Hartford to Farmington. Farmington was founded by Hartford men in or about 1641, and BROWNSON was certainly there by 07 Mar 1649-50, when he served on the Grand Jury; and was grand juryman again 15 May 1650; he served as Deputy from Farmington to the Connecticut General Court four times, May 1651, Oct. 1655, May 1656 and Oct. 1656; was sworn Constable of Farmington for a year beginning 04 Mar. 1651-2, and as such collected “ye rate for ye Fort at Seabrook” from his fellow-townsmen. He was one of the “seven pillars” of the church at Farmington from its foundation, 13 Oct. 1652. The Medical Journal of Gov. and Dr. John WINTHROP, Jr., of Connecticut, mentions four of John “BRUNSON’S children as patients in 1657, Sarah, aged 18; John, aged 15; Isaac, aged 12; and Abraham, aged 10; and in 1669 referred to the son Jacob as 28 years old and still a bachelor. John BROWNSON was on the list of freemen of Farmington, 1659. He served on petit jury, 07 Mar 1660-1661. On 04 Dec.1662, “John BRUNSON” was freed from “training, watch and ward,” doubtless on account of his age, for he was then 60. On 16 May 1670 Cherry and Will, the Indians, with three of the Milford Indians, were adjudged to pay John BRUNSON 20s. for the ‘sider” they had stolen from him.[15]

The Federal Writers Project gives a description of the early history of Farmington:

Often called the ‘mother of towns,’ because it formerly included land which has been divided into nine other towns, Farmington was settled in 1640 by a party of colonists from Hartford, a year after Captain John Mason had been sent by the three river towns of Hartford, Wethersfield, and Windsor to explore the region then inhabited by the Tunxis Indians. Five years later, the settlement was incorporated and named Farmington, probably for the English Farmington in Gloucester, though the name may have been suggested by the occupation of the settlers.[16]

John Brownson, Jr., as described by John Coddington, helped start Farmington and with his brother ran a sawmill, which they sold in 1650. Family historian Andrew Pikosky describes the location of John’s home in Farmington:

John Bronson, the father of the Waterburn Bronsons, was early in Hartford. . . After the purchase of Tunxis (Farmington) by the Hartford people, John Bronson, about 1641, removed to that place. His house lot was on a road running out of the village in an easterly direction and half a mile distant.[17]

Historian Mabel S. Hurlburt write more extensively about the location of John and Richard’s home and sawmill in Farmington:

Richard lived on the south side of the mill road about opposite the junction of the present Hatters Lane and Colton Street next west of his brother. . . With his brother Richard, John owned a large part of the land in the triangle formed by Hatters Land and Colton Street and land on the south side of the mountain road now called Diamond Glen Road. At the top of this mountain road the brothers built a mill which was in operation for sawing lumber until 1650 when sold to Stephen Hart Sr. The remains of the mill can still be seen on the banks of the brook. The last house on the right side of the road is very ancient and was probably one of the mill houses. It was converted into a dwelling house by Mr. H.H. Mason, most of the paneling being remade from the old church pews, discarded 1836 when the interior of the First Church was rebuilt. The pews were stored 75 years in horsesheds. The pine, dark with age, is flawless, free from knots and 30 inches wide.

In 1650, John Brownson lived on the south side of the Ould Mill road near the present junction of Colton and Diamond Glen roads with Hatters Lane. A road was attempted thru the swamp known as Potters swamp which was to be a continuation of Meadow Lane. The road thru the swamp was soon found impractical, and Hatters Lane, also known as as the road to the ould mill, used instead. However, occasionally we find a reference to a highway which means none other the first attempt to travel directly from the fork at Meadow Lane to Brownson’s mill thru the swamp. Until 1700 there were two roads leading to ye ould mill—the present Colton Street and Hatters Lane.[18]

As Coddington and others mention, John was a Puritan, a deputy to the Connecticut General Court in the 1650s, a constable, and he helped establish the First Congregational Church of Farmington and was one of the seven pillars of the Farmington Church in 1652. Ray and Jean Brunson, following the scholarship of John Coddington, describe John’s religious activities in Farmington:

John was one of the “seven pillars” who founded the church at Farmington on 10-13-1652. The beautiful old church, First Congregational of Farmington, contains a tablet inscribed with the names of the founding fathers of whom John Brownson was one.[19]

John Brownson, Jr. was politically as well as religiously active. Ray and Jean Brunson describe his  political activities in Farmington:

In Farmington, John became active in politics. His first recorded activity was 3-7-1649 when he served on the Grand Jury. The next year on 5-15-1650, he served on the Grand Jury again. Four times he was the Deputy from Farmington to the Connecticut General Court: May 1651, October 1655, May 1656 and October 1656. He served as the sworn Constable for a year beginning 3-4-1651. In this capacity he was evidently something like a tax collector because it was his duty to collect “ye rate for ye Fort at Seabrooke”.[20]

Concerning the political activities of John Brownson at Farmington, Ray and Jean Brunson also mention:

John was on the list of Freemen of Farmington in 1659. On 3-7-1660 he served on the Petit Jury. 12-4-1662 John was “freed from training, watch and ward”—probably because of his age. He was 60 years, old for that day. Last mention found was 5-16-1670 when Indians, “Cherry and Will with three of the Milford Indians” stole “sider” from John; the court ordered them to pay 20 shillings.[21]

John Brownson, Jr. married Francis Hills in 1626 in Essex, England. He died at Hartford/Farmington, Connecticut. (p. 267). In the estate inventory, it is mentioned that John and Francis owned two tables, one bedstead, 2 chairs and one box and books worth four shillings. About John’s estate, Ray and Jean Brunson comment:

John died intestate shortly before 11-28-1680, the date of the inventory of his estate. He is styled in the probate records as “John Brunson, Farmington”, but wording in the estate suggests that he may not have been living at that time in Farmington. As will be seen there was still unfinished estate business 47 years after John’s death. . . .[quotes the probate records]

The writers viewed the actual inventory papers at the Connecticut Archives. There is a patch over the listing of the land which makes it impossible to read some of it. Some of the old handwriting is very difficult to read. Considering that the paper is over 300 years old, it is in excellent shape. Although the inventory is for John “Brunson”, the children’s names written on the side are Jacob Brownsonn, Isaac Brownsonn, Abraham Browsonn, Mary Ellis, Dorcas Hopkins and Sarah Kilbourn. Note that John’s possessions were in three locations: Farmington, Mattatuck and Hartford.[22]

John Brownson was at Farmington for forty years in the period 1641-1680.


John Brunson (1642-1711). He was born in Hartford or Farmington, Connecticut and moved to South Carolina about 1695. He married Hannah Scott. He died at Dorchester (Santee River Valley, Craven County or Berkeley County? South Carolina) (p. 262). (p. 276), [1.30.1(4-5)D]. Some have said (incorrectly) he was part of the Dorchester emigration. He had an Indian slave, Peggy. In Connecticut he had lived at Farmington (Notchy Sleep) and Wethersfield.

Wethersfield: 1664-1695. Ray and Jean Brunson describe the life of John and Hannah Brunson in Farmington and Wethersfield:

According to a manuscript in the Connecticut State Library, “They made their home in Farmington and owned lot No. 23, containing 185½ acres. They later sold this land and moved to Wethersfield, Connecticut, and bought more land and John was very prominent in public affairs.” This may be true as on 8-25-1665 the Vital Records of Wethersfield show that a son, John Brownson, was born to John and Hannah.

The reason is not known why John moved from Farmington to Wethersfield. However, Wethersfield was one of the largest seaports in New England at that time. An excellent harbor was provided by navigating the Connecticut River from the Atlantic Ocean. It is possible, but not verified, that John was involved in or had some ancillary function involving trade from the port. The reason becomes even more intriguing when John moved from Wethersfield to a place at the end of navigation of the Ashley River in South Carolina.[23]

Ray and Jean Brunson provide further information about the life of John and Hannah Brunson at Wethersfield:

On 2-23-1693/4, the proprietor of Wethersfield decided there was more land in the commons (public land) than required. Therefore, part of it was divided into lots, and a lottery was conducted in which only taxpayers of Wethersfield could participate. In this lottery, about 13,000 acres or more than 20 square miles were divided into 165 individual lots. The names of the eligible person had been arranged in alphabetical order; as the names were called, each drew out a number, but if a drawer was not present, Sgt. Obadiah Dickinson drew in his or her stead. John “Bronson” Sr., the ancestor of this generation, drew lot number 143 in tier No. 5. His son John “Jr.” drew lot number 165. The exact date of this lottery is not given, but it was after 4-15-1695.[24]

South Carolina: 1695-1711. About the migration of John and Hannah to South Carolina, Ray and Jean Brunson give the following account:

It is a mystery as to why John, at his age of 53 years, would leave Connecticut, which was comparatively civilized, and locate upon the South Carolina frontier within a few miles of a village of the warlike Tuscarora Indians. It is also uncertain exactly who was in John’s party. The arrival rights of 200 acres, as shown previously, was the land given for four people coming into South Carolina. The list of these people in the Secretary’s office is missing. However, seven of John’s family, including John and Hannah, appear later in South Carolina records. It is inconceivable that they made the journey to South Carolina in any way other than by ship as Wethersfield was a large seaport. This sea journey between Wethersfield and Charles Town was repeated several times by members of the family, especially their grandson John Brownson.

A description of the location of this land has not been found in South Carolina land records, but after John’s death, his sons Isaac and Abraham described it as a part of “Rose’s Tract”. Rose’s Tract was 2,500 acres at the limits of navigation of the Ashley River about 26 miles from the present city of Charleston. A part of this trace became the town of Dorchester named after Dorchester, Massachusetts. This came about because a body of Puritans from Dorchester, Massachusetts established a Congregational Church in the area. However, records show that John Browson was already in South Carolina when the people from Dorchester, Massachusetts arrived. Not only was he already there when they arrived, but he had received his land as an individual while the Massachusetts group received theirs as a group and drew lots for parcels. It is most unlikely that John Brownson had any direct connection with the Dorchester Church people before their arrival in South Carolina.

The original Will of John Brownson was filed in Charles Town in Package F, No. 9, which has been burned. Also, the inventory of his estate was on record in Package D, No. 2, and it was has been burned or lost. Fortunately, the recorded copy of his Will has survived and is found in Will Book 1711-1718, page 34. The following is an exact copy of the recorded will . . . [25]

Family historian Mrs. W. Loring Lee, Jr. writes about the establishment of Dorchester, S.C.:

In 1696 the Brounsons had reached The Colony of Carolina. They decided to settle on the Ashley River not far from the settlement of Charles Town. They named their new home Dorchester after their old one in Massachusetts. By 1698, the town had been laid off in lots; and homes, schools and other buildings, erected. They built their Congregationalist Church and a fort to protect them from the Indians. The town of Dorchester was situated at the head of navigation on the east bank of the Ashley River. It was about 26 miles from Charles Town by water. The settlers took up altogether 4,050 acres of land. They divided this up among them into farm lands and lots in the “trading town” in the village. . .  At its most flourishing period it contained a population of about 1800 souls. At the outbreak of the Revolution, although still a mere village, it was, next to Charles Town and Georgetown, the largest town in the colony.[26]

According to John’s Will, he still had land at Farmington at the time of his death.[27] John and Hannah Brunson were at Wethersfield for 30 years 1664-1695.

6th Generation

Isaac Brunson, Sr. (1680-1733). Isaac Brunson, Sr.’s last name was also spelled Brownson and Brunsen. He was born at Wethersfield, Connecticut. He was a carpenter and helped establish the Congregational Church for Dorchester, South Carolina. He married Thankful Dribble in 1707 in Connecticut and then married Margaret in S.C. in 1710. He died at St. John’s Parish, Craven County, South Carolina. (p. 249) [1.30(24-25)D].[28] Some say he was in Connecticut from 1711 to 1721.[29] His widow Margaret in the 1750s gave a Farmington and Wethersfield land deed to clear title.

Family historian Marion Brunson gives the following account of Isaac Brunson, Sr.

Isaac and Thankful Dibble, daughter of Samuel Dibble, had two sons, and tradition is that they were named Samuel and Joseph. Isaac drew a land lot in the new Carolina Territory which was being opened in the South and was gone for two years where he improved his land and built a house. Upon his return to Wethersfield, Connecticut about 1710, Isaac divorced Thankful.

Isaac Brunson secondly married Margaret of Wethersfield, Connecticut. It is not certain what her maiden name was, therefore she will be referred to as Margaret Brunson. Isaac and Margaret lived in Hartford County until after 1720, because all of their five sons, George, Isaac, James, William and David, were born there.

About 1721, Isaac and Margaret and their five sons moved from Connecticut to South Carolina. It is assumed that the two sons born to Isaac and Thankful remained in Connecticut with their mother. It will be noted that Isaac’s parents, John and Hannah and all of his brothers and sisters went to South Carolina when he drew land there. When Isaac returned to Connecticut some of the family remained in South Carolina and homesteaded land of their own around the Santee River. They first moved to Craven County, which was later changed to Clarendon County.

Some of the early land transactions of Isaac Brunson are as follows: January 12, 1712, Isaac memorialized two tracts of land in Craven County. Isaac purchased 115 acres from William Way in St. James parish and 57 acres from Thomas Way on the Wateree River.

Isaac was a large planter and owned a Santee Plantation which today are show places in Clarendon County, where the Brunson’s first settled when they came to South Carolina about 1708. It is said that when the loads of Negroes from Africa arrived in Charleston, the Brunson’s were among the planters who would meet the boats and buy slaves for their plantations along the Santee.

The will of Isaac Brunson was dated February 20, 1732. Charleston Memorial Book 3, page 142. It is believed that Isaac died that same year, since Margaret Brunson signed land transactions the following year. It is not certain the year that Margaret died, but it was after 1752 when her last land transaction was recorded.[30]

7th Generation

Isaac Brunson, Jr. (1706?-1770). He was born at Dorchester, South Carolina [?] and was early into the backcountry. He married Mary Neilson and lived in an area called Prince Frederick Parish. In 1757 this area became St. Mark’s Parish, Craven County. Following the Revolutionary War it became Clarendon County and Claremont County of Camden District. Later it became Sumter County. In 1798 it became Sumter District.

Sumter Area (Wateree, Black River and High Hills of Santee): 1740-1770. Isaac Brunson, Jr. died at St. Mark’s Parish, S.C. (p. 241) [1.30(12-13)D]. According to one source, he died testate but his will is lost.

About Isaac Brunson, Jr. historian Marion Brunson writes:

The Brunson plantation was located on Jack’s Creek in Clarendon County, South Carolina. Tradition is that it was a fine and stately colonial mansion. Isaac acquired other lands in addition to the home place, as the plantation was referred to. He memorialized one hundred acres on the north side of the Santee, on Jack’s Creek, June 23, 1764. He also memorialized one hundred acres on Jack’s Creek in Clarendon County, plat certified September 10, 1762. Isaac’s will was dated march 10, 1770 of the Charleston Wills. . . Isaac bought from Elizabeth Vernor, widow of Charleston, one hundred acres of land in Craven County in 1764 (Charleston Deeds, B-3, p. 598). Isaac owned several plantations and some fifteen hundred acres of land as his will indicates. His will is as follows. . .  First I give and bequeath to Mary, my beloved wife, one ninth part of my personal estate and allow her to live in the house I now live during her widowhood, also I give and bequeath to my son Daniel and his three children one hundred pounds good and lawful current money of South Carolina, that is to say one hundred pounds to each of them. I give and bequeath to my son David Brunson one ninth part of my personal estate and also my old place on Black River containing two hundred acres of land and to his heirs forever. . . Proved by Virtue of Dedimus directed by the Hon. William Bull, Esq. July 20, 1770. Qualified Peter Mellet Executor in the Court of Ordinary September 7, 1770 qualified Josiah Brunson. Recorded in Will Book 1767-1771, page 475 Charleston Wills.[31]

Family historian Mrs. W. Loring Lee, Jr. describes Isaac Brunson, Jr. in the following passage:

After the death of his father in 1739, Isaac, Jr. decided to move out of Dorchester with his family and find new lands to conquer. Isaac, Jr. had been born 1714 in Wethersfield, Connecticut but had come to the Colony of Carolina as a child with his parents. He married a local girl, Mary Mellette[?], and all of his children were born in S.C. He is one of the first on record to settle east of Wateree. In 1740, he obtained a warrant for 200 acres adjoining lands of Peter Porcher, “near a place called High Hills.” After he settled near the High Hills, Isaac, Jr. was appointed in 1747 as one of the Board of Road Commissioners whose district along the waters of the Black River extended up to Pine Tree Creek. Ten years later, 1757, when St. Mark’s Parish was established, he was one of the commissioners for building the Parish church. He was a captain of the Militia in 1749. He had seven sons and two daughters: David, Daniel, Isaac III, Josiah, Matthew, Moses, Joshua, Mary who married Peter Mellette and Susannah who married Randolph Platt. Isaac, Jr. died in 1770 and his will is recorded in the Sumter County Courthouse (Exhibit III). From his children have sprung all of the Brunsons of Sumter District and most of the South Carolina Brunsons.[32]

8th Generation

David Brunson, Sr. (1729-1784). He was born at Dorchester, South Carolina. He was a rice farmer and married Elizabeth Cantey before 1754 at Prince Williams, S.C. He died at St. Mark’s Parish, South Carolina. (p. 235). About David Brunson, Sr. the following is related by Marion Brunson:

David Brunson, the fifth and last son born to Isaac and Margaret Brunson, was born about 1720 in the Santee River District of South Carolina. He owned a tract of three hundred acres in the High Hills of Santee, originally granted his mother, Margaret Brunson, July 4, 1749. David bought a hundred acres of land from Josiah Cantey which was originally granted him in 1768, and situated on Lynch’s Creek. Charleston Deeds, R-4, p. 54. David memorialized several grants along Black River, between 1770-1775 and was a wealthy planter. He waited late in life to marry, but about 1765 he married Susannah Johnson [Elizabeth Cantey?], a daughter of Benjamin Johnson, They had one son, David, who was born about 1770. David Brunson, Sr. died February 10, 1785 and his citation was read at Salem Church in Sumter, South Carolina where he was buried.

After David’s death, Susannah secondly married Benjamin Webb who reared her son David Brunson to maturity. Benjamin Johnson, David’s grandmother listed him as an heir when the Johnson property was sold to Evan Benbow, March 5, 1803.[33]

Family historian Mrs. W. Loring Lee, Jr. has also written about David Brunson. Her account appears to be more detailed and accurate, when compared with that of Marion Brunson above:

David who had married Elizabeth Cantey, and had eight children, inherited 200 acres on Black River in his father’s will. His children were: William, David, Daniel, Jesse, Margaret, Susannah, George, Elizabeth Cantey Brunson. In 1796, William and Daniel, sons of David, with some of their cousins, started out with a band to seek new lands again. They got as far as Lewisville, Ga., which in a letter William wrote home, he described as a thriving town and one that he thought had the appearance of becoming a center for all the business of the southern states. They must not have prospered for they returned to South Carolina. William’s only son was William Leonard Brunson and he had four daughters. Many of his descendants still live in Sumter County.[34]

Ray and Jean Brunson in this book Four Generations, offer the following information about David Brunson:

David Brunson, son of Isaac and Mary Brunson, was born in 1729.[35] David was likely born in Dorchester, South Carolina form data showing where Isaac was living at the time. In fact, Isaac, in his Will, gave land in Dorchester to his son Isaac.[36] However, the family moved up-country while David was very young.

It is not known what education David received. On the audited accounts for the Revolutionary War supplies that he furnished, he signed his name in an attractive, legible handwriting.

According to the tradition of the South Carolina Brunson, David married Elizabeth Cantey. No one document has been found to conclusively prove this, but circumstantial evidence supports this contention.[37]

The death date of Elizabeth, wife of David Brunson, is given in a Bible record as “died 3 January 17. (illegible) age 51 years, 4 months and 5 days.[38] Although the year is not given, from additional information it is possible to scope a probably death date and therefore, a birth date. She is more than likely the “Mrs. Brunson” on the 1790-S.C. Census in Camden District, Clarendon County. She appears as the head of the household with one male over 16 years (her son George) and two females (herself and daughter Elizabeth Cantey Brunson). This census was enumerated consecutively as opposed to alphabetically. The neighbors of “Mrs. Brunson” included: Daniel Brunson (her son), John Webb (son-in-law, who married daughter Susannah), Isaac David (son-in-law, who married daughter Margaret), and William Brunson Jr. (her son). The compiling of the 1790 Census in S.C. began on 4-1-1790 and lasted 18 months before completion.[39] Therefore, the earliest death date for Elizabeth Brunson is 1-3-1791. Elizabeth’s first child William was born 12-29-1754.[40] The average age for marriage for women of that time was 14 to 16 years old, with their first child born when they were 15 to 17 years old. This equates to a probable death date of 1-3-1791 and a probable birth date of 8-29-1739. This birth date makes it more than probable that she was the daughter of William and Elizabeth Cantey.[41]

David’s first land transaction found took place on 2-27-1752 when he leased and on 8-6-1752 when he bought from Margaret Brunson 300 acres in Craven County, bounding North on the Wateree River, Southwest on lands of Capt. Peter Porchers,, all other sides vacant; lease witnessed by Isaac Brunson, George Brunson, Samuel Neilson, Jr.; sale witnessed by Isaac Brunson, Mary Brunson, Samuel Neilson Jr.[42] David bought this land from his grandmother Margaret Brunson; witnessed by his parents, uncle George Brunson and cousin Samuel Neilson, Jr.

On 3-22-1769, David’s land was bounded East of the Santee River near John Dargan’s glebe tract by 70 acres of Andrew Rembert and Col. Isaac Brunson.[43] Col. Isaac Brunson was David’s brother and David’s father Isaac Brunson was also living in the area.

Apparently, David and Elizabeth moved eastward to the fork of the Black River where he remained until he died. On 12-28-1769, he had a survey for 100 acres in St. Mark’s parish in the fork of the Black River on the north prong, bounded northeast on said north prong and all other sides vacant.[44] The Will of his father Isaac Brunson, dated 3-10-1770:

. . . Also I give and bequeath to my son David Brunson one ninth part of my personal estate and also my old place at Black River containing two hundred acres of land.[45]

8-2-1771, David’s land in the Wateree Swamp was bounded southwest by 550 acres of Mathew Singleton, Isaac Brunson and grant of Andrew Rembert.[46] 9-10-1771, David had a survey for 100 acres on Sammy Swamp, a prong of the Black River bound: west—said David Brunson, east—Smart, all other sides vacant.[47] On 1-17-1773, David bought 100 acres from Josiah Cantey, both of Craven County, S.C.; land being on the south side of Lynches Creek in St. Mark’s Parish, originally granted to Josiah Cantey 7-15-1768; witnessed by Arthur Graham and William Brunson.[48] Josiah Cantey was likely the uncle of  David’s wife, Elizabeth. The identity of the William Brunson, who witnessed, is not definitely known. If it was David’s eldest son William, he was witnessing before he was 21 years of age.

David as David Brunson, Sr. was a Petit Juror for the East Side of the Wateree in 1778-1779.[49] He was juror again in 1783 for Camden District.[50] During the Revolutionary War, David furnished supplies to the Revolutionary army. The first account was for 400 pounds of clean rice for the use of the troops under command of General Marion. On 1-6-1781, the southern army under Major General Green purchased a cow; o 2-1-1781, they purchased 3 more cows. On 2-6-1781, the State of South Carolina purchased 200 pounds of clean rice. On 5-20-1783, David furnished two cows to the account of the State of South Carolina. On 2-7-1784, long after the war was over, David “personally appeared” and swore that the United States owed him £50.4.3. After David’s death, his son William Brunson, Jr. executed a document stating that as administrator of David’s estate the amount due from the Revolutionary audited account should be paid to John McFaddin; dated 4-28-1786. Finally, on 3/15/-1789, John McFaddin signed for the full receipt of funds.[51]

David Brunson, planter of St. Mark’s Parish sued John Woodbury and Peter Lord of Charleston, merchants; dated 5-5-1784.[52]

The last action found for David in life was 7-29-1784 when a survey was made for him for 640 acres in the fork of the Black River on Pen Branch, bound: vacant land, General Sumter, William Belcher and Graham’s estate.[53]

David Brunson died 10-24-1784, aged about 55 years. The citation concerning his estate was read at the Salem Black River Presbyterian Church in what is now Sumter County, S.C. on 11-27-1784.[54]

David’s estate papers are at the courthouse in Camden, South Carolina in Apartment 12, Package 379. These papers show that his sons William Brunson, Jr. and Daniel Brunson qualified as Administrators of his estate; John Nelson and John Webb were securities with them for the bond of 3,000 pounds sterling. 1-27-1785, the appraisers of the estate were John Nelson, William Gillam, John Lafferty, John Webb and Daniel Conyers. William Gillam, John Lafferty and Daniel Conyers served. The inventory of the estate of David Brunson: [the inventory of the estate is then listed].[55]

A few things should be noted from the above inventory. There is no mention of rice seed although it is known that he supplied the army with rice during the Revolutionary War. He obviously had raised indigo, a good crop under the British before the Revolutionary War. A writing desk in the average up-country home was most unusual for the period. The several lots of books also was not the norm. Mention of paper, ink, etc. suggests that perhaps David had some type of official capacity that has not come to light as of this date.[56]

9th Generation

Margaret Brunson (b. 1766) married Isaac David. In 1807 they had 106 acres on Crow Bay in the fork of Black River. Ray and Jean Brunson in this book Four Generations, offer the following information about Margaret:

Margaret, the daughter of David and Elizabeth Brunson, was born 8-22-1766.[57] She married Isaac David.[58] Using the 1800 and 1810 Census, it can be calculated that Isaac was born 1756 to 1765. Isaac was the head of a household on the 1790 Census which included only himself and 1 female, probably Margaret.

On 11-14-1793 Isaac bought from Thomas Sumter 300 acres in Clarendon in the fork of the Black River on Crow Bay; he later sold these to Edward Haley.[59] On 9-27-1799, he bought from Thomas Sumter another 400 acres in Clarendon in the fork of the Black River on Crow Bay, bound: NE—Abraham Hodge, all other sides General Sumter.[60] On 3-18-1807, he bought from William Taylor 106 acres in the fork of the Black River on Crow Bay.[61] On the following day, he sold to William Taylor 50 acres of a tract on Crow Bay that General Sumter had sold to him.[62] On 3-9-1813, he bought 71 acres in the fork of the Black River from Thomas Sumter, adjoining “where Isaac David now live.”[63] On 6-5-1827 he gave to his son George B. David 527 acres in the fork of the Black River on Crow Bay “whereon I now live,” reserving for me and my wife Margaret the use of house and land for life, plus 6 negroes witnessed by John Nettles and Isaac Norton.[64]

On the same day as the conveyance to his son George B. David above, he signed his Will. The Will of Isaac X David was signed 6-5-1827, proved in Sumter District on 12-18-1832: to wife Margaret, 2 negroes; to my granddaughter Margaret Susannah Windom; to my 3 daughters Charlotte, Ameliah E., Leah N. David 3 negroes each; to son George B. David: Executors son George B. David and nephew William L. Brunson; witnessed by John Nettles and Isaac Norton.[65]

It is not known when Margaret Brunson David died. She was alive on 6-5-1827 when the deed of gift and Will above was signed. Nineteen years after the signing of the Will, the following was entered into his probate records. 11-20-1846; Isaac David died, leaving widow Margaret and children: George B. David; Harriet who was then wife of William G. Windham and has since died; Charlotte who has since the death of Harriet married Wm. G. Windham; Leah N. David married 1st Jacob C. Caton, and married 2nd since the death of Isaac David to Carter G. Capell; Amelia A. David, who has since married William R. Bentley.[66]




Adams, Sherman W. and Stiles, Henry. History of Ancient Wethersfield, Connecticut, (Somersworth, N.H.: New Hampshire Publishing Company, [1904] 1974).

Anonymous, Colonial Records of Connecticut, vol. 1, pp. 218, 278, 281, 283.

Anonymous, Records of First Congregational Church, Farmington 1652-1877 (Hartford: Connecticut State Library, 1940), Microfilm LH 4075.

Anonymous, Records of the Particular Court of Connecticut: 1639-1663 (Hartford: Colonial Connecticut Historical Society, 1928); vol. 14, pp. 576, 578; vol. 22, pp. 10, 12, 72, 77, 82, 109.

Boardman, William F. J. Ancestry of Jane Maria Greenley, Wife of William Francis Joseph Boardman (Hartford, Connecticut: Self-Published, 1906), p. 253 (Hinman theory).

Bronson, Henry. History of Waterbury (Waterbury, Connecticut: Bronson Brothers, 1858), pp. 137-138 (undecided on which Brownson came to Waterbury).

Bassette, Buel B. One Bassett Family in America (Springfield, Massachusetts: F.A. Bassette Co., 1926) (Hinman theory).

Brownson, Ernest R. Genealogy of One Branch of the Richard Brownson Family: 1631-1951 (Mayville, N.D.: Self-Published, 1951) (Hinman theory).

Coddington, John. “The Brownson, Bronson, or Brunson Family of Earl’s Colne, Essex, England, Connecticut, and South Carolina,” The American Genealogist, vol. 152:38, no. 4 (October 1962), pp. 192-211. This is reproduced in Marjory Cory-Hall, (ed.), Brownson Branches (Sultan, Washington), vol. 1 (March 1994), pp. 5-11.

Cory-Hall, Marjory (ed.), Brownson Branches (Sultan, Washington), vols. 1-2 (1994-1995).

De Forest, Lewis. Our Colonial and Continental Ancestry, or The Ancestry of Mr. And Mrs. Lewis William Dommerich (New York: De Forest Publishing Co., 1930) (Hinman theory).

Gay, Julius. Manuscript at Conn. Historical Society, 1 Elizabeth St., Hartford, Conn., says John Brunson (1642-1711) was son of John (not Richard). Uses Anonymous, Farmington Land Records, 6:206-208; 7:190 (printed in abstract form in TAG (The American Genealogist), 11:111-113) (cite from Cory-Hall, Brownson Branches). In a series of deeds, one dated 20 May 1739, three dated 28 May, and one each dated 18 June, 21 June and 25 June 1739, the various South Carolina heirs conveyed their rights in land in Farmington and Wethersfield, which descended to them from their “honored predecessor John Brounson, formerly of said Farmington, decease to John Brunson of Prince Frederick Parish, then in Craven Co., S.C.” who convey this property to his cousin Aaron Brownson of Kensington in Farmington, Connecticut. John Brunson made a trip from South Carolina in 1739 to Connecticut to settle the claims of his branch of the family. All those signing were descendants of John, not Richard.

Hewes, Lydia, A Short History of Farmington, Connecticut (Farmington, Connecticut: Farmington Committee of the Tercentenary, 1935).

Hinman, Royal Ralph. A Catalogue of the Names of the Early Puritan Settlers of the Colony of Connecticut with the time of their arrival in the Country and Colony  (Hartford: Case, Tiffany and Co., 1852), pp. 342-347 (John Brownson [1642-1711] moved from Farmington to Waterbury, while John son of Richard settled in South Carolina. [John and Richard Brownson were brothers, both immigrated to Connecticut]).

Hulburt, Mabel. Farmington Town Clerks and Their Times (Hartford, Connecticut: Finley Press, 1945).

Jacobus, Donald Lines. American Genealogist (author is actually John Coddington, see above) (October 1962), Part I, vol. 38:193.

______, Ackley-Bosworth Ancestry (1960), p. 217 (Hinman theory).

Salley, Alexander S. “Journal of Elder William Pratt, 1695-1701,” Narratives of Early Carolina: 1650-1708 (New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1911).

Shepard, James. Connecticut Soldiers in the Pequot War (Meriden, Connecticut: Journal Publishing Co., 1913).

Sibley, Harriet, Bronson Lineage 1836-1917 (Dallas, Oregon: 1917) (Hinman theory).

Smith, Henry A.M. “The Town of Dorchester in South Carolina—A Sketch of its History,” South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, vol. 6, pp. 62-95.

Tracy, Elsie Bronson, Borwnson, Brunson: Some Descendants of John Bronson (manuscript, Hartford: Connecticut Historical Society, 1973).

Trumbull, James Hammond. Memorial History of Hartford County: 1633-1884 (Boston: E.L. Osgood, 1886).


[1]Andrew Miles Clark Pikosky, Some Descendants of the Family of Richard Bronson of Hartford and Farmington, Connecticut (Hartford, Connecticut:  manuscript, Connecticut State Library, 1958), p. 1, writes about the various spellings of the Brunson surname:

“The name is usually spelled Brownson on the Hartford, and Brunson on the Farmington records.“ Thus, it seems, begins every account of the Bronson family of Hartford and Farmington, Connecticut, to which ought to be added that the name is usually pronounced, at least in Connecticut, “Brunson” although spelled “Bronson.”

[2]Elsie Tracy, Bronson, Borwnson, Brunson: Some Descendants of John Bronson (manuscript: Hartford, Connecticut: Connecticut Historical Society, 1973), p. 1.

[3]Ray and Jean Brunson, Four Generations of Brunson and Allied Families (Self-Published, 1988), III, p. 1 (my p. 8).

[4]Federal Writers Project for the State of Connecticut, Connecticut: A Guide to its Roads, Lore, and People (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1938), pp. 26-27.

[5]David Roth, Connecticut: A Bicentennial History (New York: W.W. Norton, 1979), pp. 36-38.

[6]Roth, Connecticut, pp. 39-40. About Connecticut’s early government, Roth, ibid., pp. 47-48, writes further:

The first step taken to insure the purity of New England’s Wilderness Zion was to put the Puritan Congregational churches on a firm legal footing. The Fundamental  Orders of 1639 had charged the colony’s magistrates with “preserving the discipline of the Churches, which according to the truth of the said gospel is now practiced amongst us,” and the Code of 1650, the first codification of Connecticut’s laws, directed the “Civil Authority to see the peace, ordinances, and rules of Christ be observed in every Church.” Attendance at one’s local Congregational church on Sundays and days of fasting and thanksgiving was required on penalty of a five-shilling fine. Heavy penalties awaited the individual who interrupted or challenged the minister. A first offense brought censure, while a second transgression called for a five-pound fine. If the fine were not paid, the offender might be put on display on lecture day “with a paper on his breast written with Capital Letters, AN OPEN AND OBSTINATE CONTEMNER OF GODS HOLY ORDANCES.” [Quotes Albert E. Van Dusen, Connecticut (New York: Random House, 1961), p. 67.] Finally, the Code of 1650 restated a law of 1644 that made the financial maintenance of the ministers of the Puritan Congregational Church an obligations upon everyone, Congregationalist or not. This provision was strengthened many times in Puritan Connecticut, notably in 1691, 1697, 1699, and 1717.

[7]Coddington quotes the following:

The list of “such Ministers in Essex as are not comfortable in opinion or practice 25 Nov 1630” was headed by “Mr. Thomas SHEPEARD, Lecturer of Earl’s Colne”: Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, Charles I, 175:104, quoted by Gerald FOTHERFILL in New England Historical and Genealogical Register—hereafter referred to as NEHGR – 61:394.

[8]John Coddington, “The Brownson, Bronson, or Brunson Family of Earl’s Colne, Essex, England, Connecticut, and South Carolina,” The American Genealogist  vol. 152:38, (October 1962), pp. 192-211. This is reproduced in Marjory Cory-Hall, (ed.), Brownson Branches (Sultan, Washington), vol. 1 (March 1994), pp. 5-11. In the above passage, Coddington cites the following references: Col. Charles E. Banks, Planters of the Commonwealth (Boston: 1930), pp. 167-171; G. Steinman STEINMAN, “Pedigree of HARLSKENDEN, of Kent, and Essex,” Topographer and Genealogist, vol. 1 (1846), pp. 228-258, 395-6, especially pp. 235, 395; The Journal of American Genealogy, vol. 1 (1921), p. 94; Meredith B. COLKET, Jr. “The HARLAKENDEN Claim of Royal,” pp. 209-214; Samuel Eliot MORISON, The Founding of Harvard College, 1935, pp. 197-198 (HARKLAKENDEN), 382 (HOOKER), 385 (JONES), 394-395 (PETER), 400 (SHEPARD), 408 (WILSON).

[9]John Coddington, in ibid., cites the following references: “Original Distribution of Lands in Hartford,” Coll. Conn. Hist. Soc., vol. 14, pp. 68, 91, 139, 146, 152-154, 160, 162, 173-4, 182, 188, 322, 387, 405, 429, 464, 506-8.

[10]Ibid., p. 501.

[11]Brunson, Four Generations, III, p. 1 (my p. 8).

[12]James Shepard, Connecticut Soldiers in the Pequot War (Meriden, Connecticut: Journal Publishing Co., 1913), p. 12.

[13]Brunson, Four Generations, III-p.2 (my p. 9).

[14]Roth, Connecticut, pp. 43-44.

[15]John Coddington, “The Brownson, Bronson, or Brunson Family,” reproduced in Cory-Hall, (ed.), Brownson Branches, p. 9.

[16]Federal Writers Project, Connecticut, pp. 144-145.

[17]Pikosky, Some Descendants of the Family of Richard Bronson of Hartford and Farmington, p. 1-1.

[18]Mabel Hulburt, Farmington Town Clerks and Their Times (Hartford, Connecticut: Finley Press, 1945), pp. 3, 358. Andrew Pikosky in Some Descendants of the Family of Richard Bronson of Hartford and Farmington, p. 8, gives the following information about the Brunson’s in Farmington:

“Tunxis Sepus,” was the Indian name of Farmington, translated “at the bend of the little river.” According to a list taken from Trumbull’s Memorial History of Hartford County (1886), Farmington’s 84 proprietors consisted of such of the following men as resided in the town in 1672, or their sons . . . Richard Brownson, d. 1687. . . John Brownson, removed to Wethersfield. . .” A gristmill was erected on the brook by 1673, and than a fulling mill, where John Bronson shrank the homespun woven by the housewives. A corn mill stood on the river by 1701, probably near the site of the present mill which must have existed by the middle of the century, and which remains the last one of these early establishments in existence. While the huge mill wheels still do the grinding, a modern turbine has replace the overshot waterwheel. . . The Bronson Mill was located on Diamond Glen Road, Colton Street and Hatters Lane, with the dam still being in evidence.

[19]Brunson, Four Generations, III-pp. 2-3 (my pp. 9-10), citing Records of First Congregational Church, Farmington 1652-1877, Microfilm LH 4075, 1940, Connecticut State Library, Hartford, p. 15, which state: “Anno Dom. 1652 Upon the 13th of October Mr. Roger Newton, Stephen Hart, Thomas Judd, John Bronson, John Cole, Thomas Thomson and Robert Porter joined in church Covenant in Farmington. About one month after, myself, (John Steele) joined with them. . .” Then is listed the wives of the founders joining with them, but John Bronson’s wife is not included. If she joined, it had to be at a later date.

[20]Brunson, Four Generations, III-pp. 2-3 (my pp. 9-10), citing Colonial Records of Connecticut, vol. 1, pp. 218, 278, 281, 283; Colonial Connecticut Historical Society, Records of the Particular Court of Connecticut; vol. 14, pp. 576, 578; vol. 22, pp. 10, 12, 72, 77, 82, 109, 222, 227, 256.

[21]Brunson, Four Generations, III-pp. 2-3 (my pp. 9-10), citing Donald Lines. Jacobus [actually John Coddington is the author], American Genealogist (October 1962), Part I, Whole Number 152, vol. 38, no. 4, p. 201.

[22]Brunson, Four Generations, III-pp. 3-4 (my pp. 10-11), citing Records of First Congregational Church, Farmington 1652-1877, Microfilm LH 4075, 1940, Connecticut State Library, Hartford, p. 15, which state: “Anno Dom. 1652 Upon the 13th of October Mr. Roger Newton, Stephen Hart, Thomas Judd, John Bronson, John Cole, Thomas Thomson an Robert Porter joined in church Covenant in Farmington. About one month after, myself, (John Steele) joined with them. . .” Then is listed the wives of the founders joining with them, but John Bronson’s wife is not included. If she joined, it had to be at a later date.

[23]Brunson, Four Generations, IV-p. 2 (my p. 17). The Federal Writers Project, Connecticut, p. 311, gives the following history of early Wethersfield:

In 1634, John Oldham, an adventurer of Watertown, Mass., who had explored the region during the previous year, settled here with a following of ten men. Later they were joined by additional colonialist from Watertown, Mass., many of whom came by boat. On this colonization, Wethersfield bases its claim to the honor of being the first English settlement in Connecticut, because it was the only one of the ‘three River Towns’ (Hartford, Windsor and Wethersfield) which was originally founded as a permanent settlement rather than as a trading post.

[24]Brunson, Four Generations, IV-p. 3 (my p. 18), which cites Sherman Adams and Henry Stiles, History of Ancient Wethersfield, Connecticut, (Somersworth, N.H.: New Hampshire Publishing Company, [1904] 1974), pp. 923-927.

[25]Brunson, Four Generations, IV-p. 4 (my p. 19), which cites as a source concerning “Rose’s Tract” Caroline Moore, Abstracts of Records of the Secretary of the Province 1692-1727 (1978), p. 324; Henry A.M. Smith, “The Town of Dorchester in South Carolina—A Sketch of its History,” South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, vol. 6, pp. 62-95; and A.S. Salley, “Journal of Elder William Pratt, 1695-1701,” Narratives of Early South Carolina, pp. 191-200.

[26]Mrs. W. Loring Lee, Jr. “The Brunson of South Carolina,” The Brunsons of South Carolina, ed. Cassie Nicholes (Columbia: R.L. Bryan, 1973), p. 1.

[27]Will of John Brownson, recorded Charleston, South Carolina, Book 1711-1718, pp. 33-34. The Photocopy of the original recorded Will of John Brownson in South Carolina Will Book 1711-1718, p. 34, is at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia, South Carolina. The will is reproduced in Brunson, Four Generations, IV-p. 4 (my p. 19).

[28]Brunson, Four Generations, IV-p. 4 (my p. 19), which cites as a source concerning “Rose’s Tract” Caroline Moore, Abstracts of Records of the Secretary of the Province 1692-1727 (1978), p. 324; Henry A.M. Smith, “The Town of Dorchester in South Carolina—A Sketch of its History,” South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, vol. 6, pp. 62-95; and Alexander S. Salley, “Journal of Elder William Pratt, 1695-1701,” Narratives of Early Carolina: 1650-1708 (New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1911), pp. 191-200.

[29]The Will of Issac Brunson Sr. is from Craven County, May 20, 1739. According to Elsie Tracy, Bronson, Borwnson, Brunson: Some Descendants of John Bronson, p. 3:

This Isaac Brownson had drawn land in territory to be developed in Craven County, South Carolina and went there to establish his claim by developing the land and to build a house. He returned to Connecticut in 1710 according to the Col. Enderton account and in that year he and Thankful were divorced and she married the Isaac grandson of John while in the same year Isaac, her divorced husband married a Margaret---Isaac Brownson did not return to South Carolina until 1721.

[30]Marion B. Brunson, A History of the Brunson Family (Enterprise, Alabama: Self-Published, 1963), p. 10.

[31]Ibid., pp. 15-16.

[32]Lee, “The Brunson of South Carolina,” Nicholes (ed.), pp. 3-4.

[33]Marion B. Brunson, A History of the Brunson Family (Enterprise, Alabama: Self-Published, 1963), pp. 13-14.

[34]Lee, “The Brunson of South Carolina,” Nicholes (ed.), p. 6.

[35]Ray and Jean Brunson cite as the source of this birth date Leonardo Andrea, professional genealogist, deceased, Columbia, S.C., who in his Brunson file, cites the Bible owned by the family of Mrs. Walter T. Jones, 862 N. Waterman, Jacksonville, Florida for the fact that David Brunson’s death date was 10-24-1784. Andrea also cites the “Brunson Bible” (Devonshire, England: T. Wright and W. Gill, 1772), owned in 1960 by David Brunson, 804 Brantford Ave., Silver Spring, MD, now deceased and copied in 1960 by Mrs. Jean Tooley Boyd, for the following, “David Brunson, Sr. departed this life Oct. 24 aged 55 years.” Also cited is the Camden Courthouse, Apt. 12, Package 379, estate papers for David Brunson Sr., which confirms a death date year as 1784.

[36]Ray and Jean Brunson cite the Will of Isaac Brunson, Charleston Wills, vol. 13, p. 807-808; S.C. Dept of  Archives and History, Columbia.

[37]Ray and Jean Brunson comment, “The most notable are the most obvious—the naming of their first child as William, which was not used in David’s immediate family, and the naming of their last child as “Elizabeth Cantey.”

[38]Andrea Bible. The Brunson Bible could not be read for her date of death, only “51 years 4 mo. 5 days.”

[39]Bureau of the Census, Heads of Families, South Carolina—First Census of the United States 1790, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office), p. 18

[40]“Brunson Bible” (Devonshire, England: T. Wright and W. Gill, 1772). Ray and Jean Brunson comment, “Andrea Bible states William was born 12-29-1756. However, the earlier Brunson Bible states that at his death in 1803, William was 49 yrs. 4 mo. 12 days old which agrees with the virth entry of 1754. It is more likely that the error is in the Andrea Bible copy.”

[41]Ray and Jean Brunson comment, “Of the five Cantey males of this period who were married and of an age to be the father of Elizabeth, only two are possibilities: the brothers Josiah and William Cantey. Josiah’s Will named a daughter Elizabeth Brunson, but she was married to James Brunson, the son of James and Rebecca Brunson. William Cantey, who is thought to have married Elizabeth Neilson, is of the age, place and time to fit completely. As David’s mother is thought to be Mary Neilson, the burial of David and Elizabeth’s little son at Nelson’s old place seems natural.”

[42]S.C. Land Records, Charleston Conveyance Book YY, pp. 162-166, MM, pp. 132-133; S.C. Archives.

[43]Plat Book 9, p. 340; S.C. archives per the late Wilhelm Von Hacke, genealogist of Sumter, S.C.

[44]Plat Book 13, p. 395; S.C. Archives per Von Hacke.

[45]Will of Isaac Brunson, op. cit.

[46]Plat Book 19, p. 481; S.C. Archives per Von Hacke.

[47]Plat Book 13, p. 395; S.C. Archives per Von Hacke.

[48]S.C. Land Records, Charleston Conv. Book R-4, pp. 54-7; S.C. Archives.

[49]Hendrix, GeLee Corley and Lindsay, Morn McKoy, The Jury Lists of South Carolina 1778-1779 (1975).

[50]Warren, Mary B., South Carolina Jury Lists 1718 Through 1783 (1977): as grand juror.

[51]Audited Accounts 844, pp 1bb-9bb, S.C. Archives.

[52]Judgment Rolls, Box 124B, pkg 16A; S.C. Archives.

[53]Plat Book 1, p. 340; S.C. Archives, per Von Hacke.

[54]Andrea, op. cit. Brunson file.

[55]Xerox copies of original papers complete with original signatures from Camden courthouse.  Note: This was a large personal estate. It did not include any of David’s land.

[56]Ray and Jean Brunson, Four Generations, VII-pp. 1-4 (my pp.37-40).

[57]For this birth date Ray and Jean Brunson cite the “Brunson Bible” (Devonshire, England: T. Wright and W. Gill, 1772). They state that this bible was owned in 1960 by David Brunson, 804 Brantford Ave., Silver Spring, MD, now deceased. It was copied in 1960 by Mrs. Jean Tooley Boyd.

[58]For the marriage of Margaret and Isaac David, Ray and Jean Brunson cite Sumter Wills (Sumter Courthouse), III, p. 289, per the late Wilhelm Von Hacke, genealogist of Sumter, S.C..

[59]For this land transaction, Ray and Jean Brunson cite Sumter Conveyances, Book BB, 2, per Von Hacke.

[60]Ibid., Book AA, 57.

[61]Ibid., Book C, 158.

[62]Ibid., Book C, 84.

[63]Ibid., Book EE, 137.

[64]Ibid., Book GG, 88.

[65]Sumter Wills (Sumter Courthouse), III, p. 289.

[66]Brunson, Four Generations, VII, pp. 7-8 (my pp. 43-44), citing Sumter Equity Roll (Sumter Courthouse), 96.