Thursday, July 05, 2007

Did You Know #6

Did You Know #6

This posting could easily be subtitled either "On a Wing and a Prayer" or "A Penney For Your Thoughts." It was in researching the first that I stumbled across the second.

Like most families, the proliferation of the name "Bragg" has grown ferociously with each passing generation from it first appeared, by some accounts, in the very first generation of European Americans. Consequently, incomplete and sometimes inaccurate records make accurate tracing of relations between various segments of the Bragg family. Still, our history is filled with interesting stories of individual members of our family, even if we are unable to precisely trace our specific relation to them. Such is the case of Ken Bragg.

In his case, "Ken" is the shortened from of Kendrick, a name which seems to have first found association with the name "Bragg" in the mid 1800's (at least in my personal, non-professional research up to this point). In February 1840 members converged to form the Log Creek Church in Caldwell County, Missouri (northwestern part of the state). Among those assembled on that occasion were "Armstead Bragg," "Dully Bragg," and "Malinda Kendrick."

My research has turned up two individuals named Armstead Bragg. The first Armstead Bragg was born in 1774 to William and Ruth Asbry Bragg. William was the son of Moore Bragg, and the nephew of John Bragg through whom our family line descends. In fact, that particular John Bragg was also the grandfather of Armstead's wife, Nancy (her brother, Hugh Lewis, is the ancestor through whom our family is descended). Armstead would have been 66 at the time the Log Church was founded. He is thought to have been included in the 1810 Virginia census as a member of his father-in-law's household, and it is clear that a major section of this family would make a westward migration during Armstead's lifetime, taking our ancestors through Ohio, Illinois, and for some, Missouri (although I have yet to find any clear evidence that parts of this family settled in Caldwell County).

The second was born in Virginia on May 17, 1785 to Thomas and Lucy Neville Balkemore Bragg. This Armstead would have been 55 years old at the time the Log Church was founded. Thomas was the grandson of Thomas Bragg, the half-brother of John Bragg through whom our family line descends. His father, also named Thomas, is thought to have died around 1849 in Sullivan Co., TN. Armstead married Susan Morton. Their son, Volney (sometimes listed as Thomas' son), was subsequently born in Kentucky, indicating a westward movement of this family. Could this Volney be the "Dully" of the Log Creek records?

Another spoke of this Bragg family seems to have introduced the Robertson name, as of now first appearing as the maiden name of John Bragg's wife, Mary Ann Robertson, whom he married in 1850. This is the same John Bragg previously mentioned (the half-brother of Thomas Bragg). It is interesting, if not provable, that these unusual given names would suddenly appear in the Bragg family in just the next generation or so. It is not unusual to find maiden names subsequently employed as given, or even middle names. This may be the case here as a possible source for the entrance of the name "Kendrick" into the Bragg family. Whatever its origin, the name would appear with a yet unidentified Kendrick Robertson Bragg who would have been born no later than 1900, the father of a popular WWII pilot, Kendrick Robertson Bragg Jr. [1]

On February 1, 1943 Lt. Kendrick R. Bragg was on duty with his squadron of bombers, the 414th Bomb Squadron, over North Africa. They had emptied their load of bombs and were in the process of returning to base when they came under attack by a German fighter pilot. The enemy plane suddenly spiraled out of control, its pilot presumably killed, crashing into the lead American plane ripping off its wing and sending it crashing into earth. The German plane continued its descent into the B-17 Flying Fortress named All American, piloted by Bragg, tearing into the plane's fuselage, leaving a terrible gash with the tail wobbling, being about two-thirds of it detached from the rest of the plane with only about cutting about it. "Although the tail swayed in the breeze, one elevator cable still worked, and the aircraft still flew-miraculously! The aircraft was brought in for an emergency landing." Once on the ground, the crew emerged unharmed from the damaged plane just before the rear portion collapsed.[2] {Picture to right; [3]} The plane was repaired and continued to fly missions until it was salvaged in March 1945.[4] Later, in relating his experiences to Jimmy McHugh, Lt. Bragg told how "we came in on one engine and a prayer."[5] Not only did his story inspire McHugh's song, but also a film with the same title. [6]

Following the war, Lt. Bragg entered Princeton, from which he graduated in the class of 1949 with a degree in architecture. He spent much of his life working in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, becoming the "director of project design for the public works department in St. Thomas." [7] He died of leukemia on October 13, 1999, in Durham, NC. He was "survived by his wife, Aura Ferrer Bragg, a daughter, Carol Luise Thomas, and a brother, Vernon C. Bragg." [8]

That's the story of "On a Wing and a Prayer," but let's go back to the founding of the Log Creek Church in northeastern Missouri. A listing of the "pastors," in this case preachers, boasts another, more famous name: Penney. In 1847 Eli Penney took charge of the Log Creek Church, a position his son, James C. Penney, would assume in1874, whose son would found the famed retail store chain. The senior J. C. Penney would serve in that capacity until his expulsion in April 1889 by a council from churches of the Fishing River Association for his position in favor of starting a "Sunday School," and for insisting that preachers receive pay for their services. But in 1940, as the church celebrated its 100th year, one of the featured speakers was Mrs. J. C. Penney, who at that time served as the head of the J. C. Penney Stores.


[1] USAF Incident and Accident Personnel List, Accident Reports_com - USAAF Aircrew List.htm; © MTStowe, All Rights Reserved. 1996 - 2007 lists the following:

[2] Kurt Merz, B-17G Navigator;;

[3] Wikipedia, B-17 Flying Fortress.

[4] Frank Booth, Wing Member; Forum Software © ASPPlayground.NET Advanced Edition 2.4.5 ANSI;

[5] Walter Scott, Personality Parade, Parade, Parade Publications, New York, NY, July 1, 2007, 2.

[6] Coastal Empire briefs;; © 2007 SavannahNOW; Savannah, GA,

[7] Death: Princeton Alumni Weekly Memorials, Princeton Alumni Weekly, 1995-2007, May 17th, 2000.

[8] Princeton Alumni Weekly; cf. Simmons, Gary D., Ardmore Army Air Field (Base) Memory Jogger,; Copyright © 2000-2007: Along with Lt. Bragg's obituary, appearing in the Savannah Morning News on October 17, 1999, is the obituary of "Lois Kendrick Bragg, assumed to be his wife."

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Watch "You Win Again" on Google Video

Your friend,, has sent you the following video from Google Video:

You Win Again

3 min 55 sec - Mar 24, 2007
Average rating:   (4 ratings)
Description: Bee Gees, the original version

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Watch "University Chorale Chapel Performance" on Google Video

This is a video of Freed-Hardeman University's Chorale Chapel Performance on May 3, 2007

Our daughter, Kari, has a solo on the song "Key to the Kingdom" (at 9:20 minutes into the video)

University Chorale Chapel Performance

17 min 7 sec - May 3, 2007
Description: Freed Hardeman University Chorale Chapel Performance May 3, 2007

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Did You Know #5

Jamestown, Virginia was a place where one could make a fresh start, a new life. But all too often, especially in the early years, death got in the way. Whether by disease, starvation, or enemy attack, it was a dangerous place to wipe the slate clean, but each year more and more British were willing to run the risk of being among the survivors. It was upon their shoulders that the new world could become, in truth, a land of promise.

Travel options in the seventeenth century were limited for those seeking to become citizens of Jamestown, or other settlements in America. You could gain passage upon a ship or you could stay home. When we traveled to Plymouth, MA, in August of 2003, we arrived in Plymouth, MA in a comfortable, air conditioned van, with three specific goals: Cape Cod fish and chips, a voyage to watch whales, and seeing the Plymouth Rock. The fish and chips were wonderful, but heat and day's activities drained my energy away to the point that I couldn't really enjoy the island's beauty. The whales were amazing, but returning to shore many of the passengers became seasick and it was my misfortune, unable to maneuver my wheelchair, to be down-wind from them. And, with respect to American history, Plymouth Rock is, for lack of a better word, a rock. The great surprise of our overnight visit was to see the Mayflower anchored in the bay [1].

The discomforts of my visit wouldn't have fazed the pilgrims who arrived there on November 21, 1620. The original Mayflower was only about 90 feet long, and the living quarters, where the 102 passengers spent their 66-day voyage, was about the size of a volleyball court. 102 pilgrims finally disembarked on December 21st (the two births en route offset the two deaths). In those first harsh winter months half of the pilgrim population died.

Life in the new world was often dependent upon support supplied by the rather frequent arrival of English vessels, which also ferried new clean-slated settlers. One of the most frequent suppliers was the famed British Naval officer, Adm. Christopher Newport, who made a number of trips across the “big pond” bringing eager pilgrims, supplies, and news from the homeland. Three English ships, the Susan Constant (under Newport’s command and, according to Daughter's of the American Revolution, carrying two Bragg teenagers [2]), the Godspeed, and the Discovery first arrived off the Virginia coast on May 13, 1607 with a load of settlers for the new world. After setting up camp on Jamestown Island, the new settlers eventually realized the grave hardships they faced. During those early days (1607-24) as many as four-fifths of Jamestown's population died. Still the white folk kept coming and Adm. Newport and his crew brought many safely to America's shore. In five years Newport, with the Virginia Company, made five round-trip voyages across the Atlantic Ocean. On his fourth trip the voyagers found themselves caught in a storm and shipwrecked in Bermuda. Perhaps he took this as a wake-up call, since, according to one of his biographers, Newport "grew tired of long voyages. He settled on the James River in VA and opened a store" [3].

It is not clear just when Newport decided to hang up his oars, if in fact he ever did. Following the Bermuda shipwreck Newport made a final voyage for the Virginia Company before signing on with the East India Company in 1612 to escort Sir Robert Sherley to Persia. Later he took Sir Thomas Roe, Ambassador of King James I, to India (1615). On his third trip to India, Newport commanded the crew on the Hope as they sailed from port in early 1617. They anchored on the island of Java on August 15, where the commander and ship hands could enjoy a brief rest from the ocean's rocking waves as the ship took on the cargo for their return to England. When the ship finally pulled into port twelve months later, on September 1, 1618, one of its passengers, Alexander Brown, bore his diary with this notation regarding their stay on Java, and especially the events of August 15, 1617: "there dyed out of the Hope, Captain Newport that worthy Seaman and Commander" [4].

Newport is remembered for his fearless exploration of the distant lands and the oceans separating them. "The admiral of Virginia lived on the ocean; he died on the ocean; the ocean is his tomb, and his admirable monument, and the city of Newport News, whether named for him or not, will be his memorial in America" [5]. Newport's death must have been a great blow to his family, which had grown in recent years as his daughter was married in Jamestown, taking as her groom one of her father's most trusted crew members, Thomas Bragg. The two were joined in matrimony about two years before Newport's death. Born in England around the year 1580, Thomas served a stint in the British Navy prior to being hired by his future father-in-law. Little is known about his life in England, just that he and two brothers, John and William, came to America, settled, and became the ancestors of the vast majority of Bragg families currently living in the United States [6].

Having "obtained land grants from the Crown" for his services in the Navy [7], Thomas and his new bride, Molly Newport, settled down to begin raising their children, the first Braggs born in America, William (1624) and John Bragg. Little is known about John and his family, but the descendants of his brother William have been extensively researched. William and Molly were blessed with the birth of a son in 1647, whom they named John. The child was born at Old Rappahannock, Virginia, the location to which William migrated and about which their family would grow for generations to come.

There are many on-line researchers who strenuously object to the suggestion that the Bragg family's origin in America has any association whatever to the family of Christopher Newport. According to one of these objectors, "the relationship to Christopher Newport [is] sheer fantasy" [8]. Based on the research of this objector (and he is certainly not the only one who objects), is that "Anyone who claims to have proof of John, William, Thomas Bragg, before Joseph [sic] in there lineage are quoting LDS submission files, and these files are NOT TRUE. I’m working in English records and VA records to find true links, trying to alert people that they are seriously endangering their records by pursuing Thomas and Molly, and unless someone has a substantial parish record, passenger listing, or vital record, I seriously recommend scraping this line of search" [9]

For me, the better alternative is to cite the objection and proceed to tell the story until those who object are able to complete their English records study and provide the rest of us with further enlightenment.


[1] The replica we saw, Mayflower II, was built in England and sailed to America in1957.

[2] Stephen Terry, Re: Bragg's of NC, In Reply to: Re: Bragg's of NC by RobertGumfory, Bragg Family Genealogy Forum [].

[3] Janet Tyree, Re: Bragg American Line, Bragg Family Genealogy Forum,

[4] Tyree.

[5] Tyree.

[6] Luke Bragg points out that there were "more than one Bragg immigration toAmerica," although it appears that most of the "Bragg's in America came from one of twoEnglish Emigrants" (Bragg Family Genealogy Forum; Bragg American Line; Much of the currentinformation on the Bragg family was gathered by his uncle, Dr. Louis Alderson Bragg, inthe 1960's, who reported that "Six Bragg brothers in England. Three went North, threewent South." Then in parenthesis, (Thomas, William, and John) being the ones who wentSouth in England; and supposedly Thomas and John joined ships going to America insome context."

[7] Bragg Family Genealogy Forum; Bragg American Line.

[8] Bragg Family Genealogy Forum, Posted by: Mark Bragg, In Reply to: Re: BraggFamily About 1530 by John Shetterly

[9] Bragg Family Genealogy Forum, Posted by: Mark Bragg, In Reply to: Re: BraggFamily About 1530 by John Shetterly

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

New Book

In a previous post I mentioned my new book being published by the Gospel Advocate, Co. in Nashville, TN. I am pleased to report that the book is scheduled to become available this week (March 7, 2007 to be precise). For more information, follow the link at the bottom of this page to my personal website or visit


Monday, March 05, 2007

Cat Antics

Cats are unusual. Some cats, however, may have taken their "unusual" status too far. They may start doing "paw"stands,
climb walls,
or just become a bit rebellious.

[Note: none of these pictures have been "doctored" in any fashion.]

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Did You Know #4

The name "Bragg" actually describes those descended from Chief Brego, who were lively and cheerful [1], a state that can easily lend itself to boasting [2]. The Braggs of England were well established (especially in Devonshire), having "continued in England for over one thousand years ... [having] a long history and were prosperous and thriving" [3]. Cordell H. Bragg believes that theory to be just a few miles off. Admitting that he has no evidence to support his theory, only hope and instinct, he writes, "The name BRAGG also has an origin in IRELAND which has the spelling of BRAUG. In SHANNON IRELAND there is a BRAGG HOUSE, I’ve been told. This HOUSE is dedicated to the family name of BRAGG, BROUG, BRAUG etc. There seems to be several different spelling versions of the name of BRAGG" [4]. The latter is clearly established that during their initial generations in the "new world," a few of the Braggs kept in touch with each other through letters and over the years some branches of the family altered their names with various spellings (Bragge, Brag, Brage, Braggs, Braig, and Brague), adding to the family's overall size and making the research of future generations even more difficult.

From these various records emerge the claims that the Bragg family is related to President Calvin Coolidge, the "Poore" side of the "Standard and Poore's" of Wall Street fame, with two "witches" hung in the infamous Salem Witch trials, and intertwined in the ancestry of Daniel Boone, although the exact relationship is not clearly established [5].

The Bragg family can also be linked to various places, such as:
  • Bragg, TX
  • Braggs, OK
  • Bragg City, MO
  • Even the moon: "Bragg is an ancient lunar crater that is located on the far side of the Moon, just beyond the northwest limb" [6].

The Braggs have produced governors, senators, judges, preachers, an Indianapolis 500 racer, popular writers (i.e. Rick), singers (Billy) and countless honest, hardworking farmers. But we also have stories of abandonment and murder (among other things) lurking in our ancestral closet.
[1] Janet Greer Barnum, Cousins of Lincoln County.
[2] From Surnames and their meanings: "BRAGG (British). "Proud arrogant; brisk,brave" (Celtic);”" cf. surname-meaning-b.htm.
[3] Stephen Parker Hutchens, Descendants of Levi and Sarah Bragg Parker.
[4] Cordell H. Bragg, Re: Origin of Bragg Surname, Bragg Family Genealogy Forum,
[5] Descendants of John Boone.
[6] Wikipedia.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Did You Know #3

Did You Know #3
What Does it Mean to be "Removed"?

Being a confessed novice in the field of genealogical studies demanded some effort in understanding the terms often used in such studies. Perhaps you have heard some refer to a relative, especially one to whom they are more remotely related, as being a second or third cousin twice removed. If you are like me, you also wondered what that phrase meant.

Rhonda R. McClure, a genealogist working with Biography Magazine clarifies the double aspect of what was once a rather ambiguous declaration("All For You," November 2002, 10). The number associated with the "cousin" (i.e. first or second cousins) describes the number of generations two contemporary cousins must count backwards before they can identify common grandparents.

First cousins share the same grandparents.
Second cousins share the same great-grandparents, etc.
For each additional "great" added to the "grandparents" the initial number increases as well.
The "removed" quotient applies to cousins from different generations and is derived by counting the number of generations separating them (one may share a common grandparent while the other shares a common great-great grandparent).

These two concepts can be illustrated by establishing the relationship between our branch of the Bragg family and the celebrated General Braxton T. Bragg (unfortunately, we can't do the same with General Edward S. Bragg only because of incomplete records, despite the fact that his relatives recognized that the two generals were related to each other).

The two charts below demonstrate these concepts. The top chart shows that, from the contemporary cousins (William and Braxton), we must go back two generations to find first cousins (Joseph B. [1690] being the Great-Great-Grandfather of both men, Joseph [1719] and John [1733] where half-brothers [same father, different mothers], Richard [1760] and John [1741] were first cousins) making William and Braxton third cousins.

To illustrate the "removed" principle, the lower chart shows the forward progression of these two families. Since we were born in the twelfth generation and William and Braxton (he had no sons to carry on the family name) were born in the eighth, there are four generations between us. Our great-great-grandfather William and Braxton were third cousins. Therefore Braxton T. Bragg is our third cousin (based on William's relationship to Braxton) four times removed (based on our relationship to William, i.e. the number of generations seperating us from the two contemporary cousins: William and Braxton).

Dave Bragg

Monday, January 15, 2007

Did You Know #2

Happy Birthday, MOM!!!

January 15th has always been a special day for me, but not just me. For thirty years before I was born in Dr. McLaughlin's VW Beetle, parked alongside the highway in Dalton City, IL, someone very special to us all celebrated the day as her special day.

Over the past few months I have devoted some time to tracing out our family history. In that process I discovered that the 15th of January held special significance for many others connected to our family. Consider the following individuals born on January 15:

Marvin Bragg (1946). Tracing his family backwards looks like this: Marvin, son of Alrick, son of Nathan, the first cousin of Frank Bragg, my great-grandfather.

Marcus E. Bragg (1859). He was Frank Bragg's brother.

Thomas Jefferson Bragg (1813). From my generation you have to go backwards seven generations (Don, O.B., Frank, William, Hugh Lewis, Richard, and John). John, who was born in 1733, had a half-brother (his father married twice) named Dozier. Thomas is believed to have been Dozier's grandson.

Homer Jesse Bragg (1899). John, born in 1733, had another half-brother named Joseph (born in 1719). That Joseph had another son named Joseph (1756), who had a son named John, then came John W. (a famous pioneer preacher who raised a very large family), his son Lewis Alderson Bragg was the father of Homer Jesse.

Another individual was Thomas Milton Bragg II, but I'm not sure how his family and our's are connected.

On Mom's side of the family January 15th pops up again as the birthday of her great-great grandfather, Franklin H. Standerfer.

January 15 had special significance for other portions of the Bragg family:

Joseph Bragg (1830) and Catherine R. Comer were married on January 15, 1851.

Glenna Georgia Bragg was also married on January 15th, but in the year 1955.

Lon Hampton Richmond, whose mother was Martha Ellen Bragg, was born in Summers Co, WV on September 7, 1885 and died January 15, 1970 at the age of 84.

James Milton Bragg II, who was born in 1880, died on January 15, 1929. Tracing his family backwards: David G. Bragg, (1808-1863), John Bragg (1786-1854), and Joseph Bragg (1756), and Joseph Bragg (1719; our family is traced back through this Joseph's half-brother, John, who was born in 1733).