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John Wesley & Sarah Virginia Branscomb

Letter from John to his Wife
Contributed by Frank A. Chappell


"...When I wrote to Sister a few days ago I said that I had not shed a tear since I herd of Lewis being killed.  But when I received you letter stating the distressed condition of the family and then thought how much sorer it must be when the news of Lewis reached you my heart was melted once more and sympataiseing tears flowed in profusion which gave me some relief. ... "

This quote is from a letter written by John Wesley Branscomb on August 5, 1864 to his wife in Union Springs, Alabama. That letter is one of 10 written by John to the family back home. All of his letters are included in a book, "Dear Sister, Civil War Letters to a Sister in Alabama" which was published in 2003 by Branch Springs Publishing. Frank A. Chappell, the great-great grandson of Lucinda Hunter found the letters and published the book. Copies are available from Frank A. Chappell, 800 Watts Drive, Huntsville, AL 35801 or fchap10220@comcast.net.


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John Branscomb Obituaries
Contributed by John Rufus Branscomb


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Sarah Virginia Thornton Branscomb Obituaries
Contributed by Eugenia Hobday


Mrs. Elizabeth Hunter (Mrs. A. A.) Moore preserved a newspaper clipping: "Reminiscences of Union Springs before the War" and signed only "J. E. G." It is featured in Collections and Recollections of Bullock County History by the Bullock County Historical Society, 1977: Union Springs Before the Civil War, pp. 16-18.

[Note from Eugenia Branscomb Hobday: "J. E. G." stands for John Easton Graves. He was the "editor of The Troy Enquirer, prior to June, 1891; then Editor of the East Alabama Times, Phenix City, & one of the best journalists in the State."]

In the article, he wrote:
"Just as far back as we can remember, Mr. James Hunter, a tailor, lived in the old homestead, on what I think is known now as Hunter Street. Everything around there was in the woods, and the very short distance from that old place to the one where the writer was born, instead of being but a stone's throw, as it is now, appeared then almost a mile. Four little children about our own size were the children in the family. They were Willie, Johnnie and Jimmy Hunter and a little sister whose name we do not recall."

These 2 families are listed adjacent to one another on the 1850 District 21, Macon County, Alabama census. This article mentions that "Lucinda Hunter, [wife of James Hunter; born 29 Nov, 1826], was an octogenarian" --- so it must have been written around 1906. However, it may have been prior to 19 Nov., 1903 as it mentions "Virginia Branscomb now Mrs. John Branscomb".

"Near where Capt. Abe Miles lives and just on the edge of "the bluff" a way back in the early days of Union Springs, stood the residence of Mrs. Drury and her daughter, Mrs. Gibson. Mrs. Drury was a sister of Eld. W. B. Nall and the mother of J. A. and Seaborn Jones. They moved from the place on the bluff as far back as 1851 if not earlier. Mr. I. K. Lamb lived at the bluff place for some time. Mr. Lamb's wife was a Thornton and an elder sister of Mrs. John [Wesley] Branscomb. Mr. Lamb at one time kept a store in the house just north of the present engine room. It is the same two story house that stands on the west side of Prairie street and was moved to its present location by N. L. Connell in the winter of 1855-56. He had a son named Alonzo and a daughter named Josephine. Miss Virginia Thornton lived with the Lambs and she is now Mrs. John Branscomb, for it was at the house on "the bluff" that they were married."

19 Nov., 1903 in Union Springs, AL, Sarah Virginia Thornton Branscomb ["Our red-headed grandmother"] died. Her obituary stated that for more than ten months before her death she was "confined to her home and mostly to her bed." She had an infection of the spine. The obituary said also that she was "a consistent member of the Methodist Church" and that "she was loved for her Christian grace and many noble deeds of charity."


Mrs. S. V. Branscomb Dead
From the John Sanford Branscomb personal scrapbook, now in the Branscomb-Pruett-Alston Families, Mid-19th to Late 20th Century Collection, W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

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