Monday, January 19, 2009

Did You Know? #9

As one writer presented, the prominence of the Bragg family, at least in Texas and Oklahoma, and the reputations associated with their name was confirmed in the fact that the "Negro slaves" living among them not only freely took the Bragg name, but they stood side by side with them to brave the same dangers as their former white "masters," accounting for the large Bragg African-American families of today [1]. Many African-Americans proudly wear the Bragg family name, despite its apparent origins in white English and Europeans. One of the most prominent among the black population following the American Civil War was George Freeman Bragg (1863-1940). In addition to his work as the Rector with the St. James Church, in Baltimore, MD, he was the source of one of the earliest dissertations on slavery from the slave's perspective.[2].

Felicia Quintana Bragg wrote of her great-grandmother, Maggie Bragg, who "was a slave who was apparently born in Virginia. My first record of her is an 1870 census in Harris co., Tx" [3]. Maggie's children, Adam, Sally (Sarah) and Sandy, were born in Arkansas with very little additional information being known of them or their family. The depth of which the Bragg family of Virginia had become involved in the institution of slavery is indicated in Kathryn Rogers' reply to Felicia's posting, citing a family reference discovered on her family's tree, someone had made the notation "under the entry for Mary Polly (Bragg) Key (b. 6-11-1861) who was married to Larkin Key," that this couple had a Virginia plantation "with 999 Black Slaves" [4]. One of the most prominent Southern African-American Braggs may have been Andy Bragg, a "Mulatto male" who became "the first settler in Cherokee County, TX, where a settlement for freed slaves had been established [5]. This little town was first named after Bragg, but its name was later changed to Cuney, TX.

Another researcher on the internet, identified simply as " Dena," had examined some documents identified as the “Special Collections Division of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR.” She was especially interested in a 'bill of sale" for slaves. This receipt, dated December 31, 1860, confirmed that Branch V. Bragg, the son of slaveholder James T. Bragg, of Clay Township, Bradley County, AR, sold nine slaves in accordance with his deceased father's estate. The slave sale netted Branch the tidy sum of $10,695.00. Then Dena provides detailed information regarding two of the slaves included in this sale:

Sterling, sold to Robert Bragg for $875.00
Tempess, sold to Mary C. Black for $905.00

Just ten years later, in the 1870 census, two of these slaves, now former slave, show up in the census listing of Sterling Bragg (59), wife Sallie (52), and children: Amanda (20), Tempess (19), Margret (9), and Rufus (5). From this, and other information, she concludes that this family, which had been divided by slavery, was now reunited [6].

Regardless of one’s political views, it is wonderful to see the national and individual healing of slavery’s terrible wounds.



[1] Janet Greer Barnum, Cousins of Lincoln County, [fhcousins.html]; s.v. George A. Bragg--Son of Jesse.

[2] George Freeman Bragg, Church Advocate Press, 1914; URL: According to Bragg's research, "In the record office in London, in 1712, there was a list of "Christian" men and women and children, and also black slaves in Maryland. According to this list there were then, in Maryland, 38,000 whites and 8,000 blacks. In 1790, there were over 208,000 whites and nearly half as many slaves in Maryland. Of the 2,290 blacks imported into Maryland between 1699 and 1707, all but 126 were brought in London vessels"
[3] Felicia Quintana Bragg,, Inc, Re: American Bragg Family Slave Descendants, page 1172.
[4] Kathryn Rogers,, Inc, Re: American Bragg Family Slave Descendants, page 1172., page 1171.
[5] James Smith ,, Inc, Re: American Bragg Family Slave Descendants, page 1842. James Smith, he reported that Andy's son, John, "married into my family, the McClendons" (1842).
[6] Dena, AfriGeneas.