Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas

It is hard to believe that 2012 is nearly history. Thank you for all those who have visited these pages and for the discussions they have generated.

To all my family and friends, I wish a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Years!!! Have a safe and joyous holiday season.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Did You Know #44

I have recently completed Lisa Alther's book entitled Blood Feud: The Hatfields and the McCoys: The Epic Story of Murder and Vengeance. While the feud may have arisen from lingering animosity from the Civil War, or allegations by Randolph McCoy of a Hatfield relative, Floyd Hatfield, having stolen one of his pigs, there is no denial that the violence that stretched across these two families from 1865 to 1891 has made this the ultimate family feud.

The first official casualty of the Hatfield/McCoy feud was Harmon McCoy on January 7, 1865, recently returned from Union's service in the Civil War. Harmon's brother, Randolph (Ranel) and later Harmon's children would seek vengeance from the Hatfields since it was widely held that Jim Vance, and uncle to the Hatfield clan, was responsible for this murder. Eventually three of Ranel's sons, Bud, Tolbert, and Pharmer McCoy would murder Ellison Hatfield, younger brother of Devil Anse Hatfield (who orchestrated the Hatfield side of the feud). The three McCoy boys were captured by the Hatfields and, following Ellison's death, would be tied to trees and executed by the Hatfields on August 9, 1882.

William Anderson (Devil Anse) Hatfield
Randolph (Ranel) McCoy

A 1888 New Year's Day raid by the West Virginia Hatfields against Ranel McCoy's Kentucky cabin would result in the death of two more of Ranel's children, Alifair and Calvin. Ellison Hatfield's illegitimate son, Ellison Mounts, would hang for the murders of Alifair McCoy on February 18, 1890 with the feud drawing to a close in 1891.

This is just a general outline of a very interesting story. But it did leave me wondering if, and how, these tragic events may have impacted our distant family relatives. After doing some digging I wanted to introduce you to the family of David and Mary Bragg. David was born about 1834 in Virginia, the son of David and Susannah Martin Bragg. Mary Meadows is thought to have been born in Virginia (also around 1834). The couple married on April 28, 1852 and this union would bring about at least five children. Sometime prior August 1882 the family seems to have moved into the feud area because on the 9th of that month (the day that the three McCoy brothers were murdered) their daughter, Sara Bragg, was married to Sanford Hatfield, a first cousin of Devil Anse. Sanford and Sara would produce nine children.

Another of David and Mary's children, however, was Francis G. Bragg (born in Virginia in 1853). Frank would marry his first wife about 1870, and would be blessed with seven children. He would also have seven additional children with his second wife (whom he married on June 15, 1889). Her name was Mary Polly McCoy, you guessed it, she was the first cousin of Ranel McCoy.

One of Frank and Mary Polly's children, Elzie Bragg, would also marry a Guy McCoy (he was born in 1900, almost a decade after the feud officially came to an end). Guy McCoy was also a first cousin (2 times removed) of Ranel McCoy.

A third child of David and Mary Polly Bragg, Mary Susan Bragg, also had three children (apparently out of wedlock as each child bears the Bragg name but Mary Susan had no known husband). Her oldest son, Julius O. Bragg, was born in April 1879. He would grow up to marry, on November 4, 1897, Mary E. Hatfield. Mary was the granddaughter of "Preacher" Anse Hatfield (a local Justice of the Peace widely respected for his honesty and clear sense of justice), the first cousin of "Devil" Anse, making her the second cousin of the latter of the two Devil Anse Hatfield (late in his life Devil Anse was baptized into Christ and became a member of the Church of Christ).

The following table illustrates the intermarriage of David and Mary Bragg's family with both primary agitators of the Hatfield and the McCoy families:

David and Mary Bragg's Children Their Spouses
Sara Bragg Sanford Hatfield, first cousin of Devil Anse Hatfield
Francis G. Bragg Mary Polly McCoy, first cousin of Ranel McCoy
David and Mary Bragg's Grandchildren Their Spouses
Elzie Bragg Guy McCoy, first cousin (2 times removed) of Ranel McCoy
Julius O. Bragg Mary E. Hatfield, first cousin of Devil Anse Hatfield

So, how is David Bragg, the father of Frank, Sara and Mary Susan, and the grandfather of Elzie and Julius Bragg, related to our Bragg family? David and our Dad are third cousins three times removed. The following chart illustrates the connection.

Joseph B. Bragg
Joseph B. Bragg (b.1719) John Bragg Sr.(b.1733)
Joseph B. Bragg (b.1756) Richard Bragg (b.1762)
David Bragg ( b.1803) Hugh Lewis Bragg (b.1795)
David Bragg ( b.1833) William Bragg (b.1834)

Frank Martin Bragg (b.1867)

Orval Bishop Bragg (b.1895)

Don Cicero Bragg (b.1920)

Altered Dimensions
Blueridge Country

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Did You Know #43

Wyatt Earp
When it comes to names synonymous with the "wild west," few are more familiar than Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp. He is best known for his participation in the gunfight at the O. K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona Territory on October 26, 1881. Wyatt and two of his brothers, Virgil and Morgan, along with Wyatt's friend, Doc Holliday, confronted the Clanton brothers (Ike and Billy) and the McLaury brothers (Tom and Frank). The Earps and Doc Holliday won that gunfight, but as a result of that conflict Virgil would be severely wounded in a nighttime ambush and Morgan would be assassinated. This was then followed by a manhunt that would conclude with Earp's running down those who he felt were responsible for the attacks on Virgil and Morgan.

Wyatt wore many "hats" in his life: buffalo hunter, law man, gambler, boxing referee, etc. However, his image and life story has been the subject of many books, movies and television shows. But did you know that Wyatt and his brothers were Dad's great-great grandfather's 15th cousins?  Here is how the connection is made:

Richard Fitzalan and Elizabeth Bohn
Elizabeth Fitzalan (Duchess Of Norfolk) b.1366 Joan D'Arundel Fitzalan b.1374
Elizabeth Goushill b.1402 Joan De Beauchamp b.1400
Henry Wingfield b.1434 James Butler (Earl of Ormond) b.1420
Robert Wingfield b.1490 Peter (Piers) Butler (Earl of Ormond) b.1475
Robert Wingfield b.1523 Thomas Butler b.1500
Dorothy Wingfield b.1565 Agnes Butler b.1520
John Claypoole b.1595 Edmund Sherman  b.1548
John Claypoole Edmund Sherman b.1572
Ann Claypoole b.1652 Esther (or Hester) Sherman b.1606
William Budd b.1679 Esther Ward b.1623
Mary Budd Daniel Burr b.1660
William H. Earp b.1729 Elizabeth Burr b.1696
Phillip Earp b.1755 Nathaniel Hull b.1726
Walter Earp b.1787 Ezekiel Hull b.1765
Nicholas Porter Earp b.1813 Platt Hull b.1787
Wyatt Earp Ezekiel Hull b.1813

Rebecca L. Hull b.1841

Frank Martin Bragg b.1867

Orval Bishop Bragg b.1895

DAD b.1920

Monday, May 07, 2012

Master's Degree in Music

Congratulations to Kari Bragg upon receiving her Master's Degree in Music from the University of Central Missouri on May 4, 2012. In August she will return to the classroom teaching music and choral directing at the middle school, and as assistant band director at the high school in the Knob Noster, MO School District.

In addition to receiving her degree, Kari was also selected to sing the school's alma mater at the graduation ceremony.

Kari will be married to Jonathan Adams, originally from Iowa but currently serving in the U.S. Air Force reserve at Whiteman Air Force Base near Warrensburg, MO, is also a student at the University of Central Missouri pursuing a bachelor's degree as a professional pilot. The couple will be married at Smart Road Church of Christ in Lee's Summit, MO on July 21st.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Did You Know #42

He was the last U. S. President to be born in a log cabin. He was assassinated. He was a professor, a Civil War general, a congressman from Ohio (for 18 years), and he was a preacher. And, he is Dad's 14th cousin (3 times removed).

James A. Garfield was born in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, on November 19, 1831. He was elected the 20th U. S. President in 1880, but he would never complete his first term. Garfield's life would be cut short by an assassin's bullets. "On July 2, 1881, in a Washington railroad station, an embittered attorney who had sought a consular post shot the President." [1]

Over the coming weeks President Garfield languished in the White House as frustrated doctors searched and searched for the bullet lodged in his body. Famous inventor Alexander Graham Bell put together a metal detector in a fruitless attempt to locate that bullet. [2] However, the probing of unwashed fingers and instruments caused Garfield to develop infections and ultimately his death on September 19, 1881. [3]

So how exactly is the relationship of our Bragg family and President Garfield? The table below illustrates that connection:

Edward Tyrrell and Anne Pashley [4]
Philippa , Heir Tyrrell b.1425 Anne Tyrrell b.1432
Sir William Cornwallis b.1460 Jacquet St. Leger b.1466
Sir John Cornwallis b.1485 Elizabeth Fortescue b.1503
Margaret (Mary) Cornwallis b.1506 John Hare b.1526
John , of Nayland Warren b.1525 Elizabeth Hare b.1555
John Warren b.1552 Richard Ward b.1575
John Warren b.1585 Gov. Andrew Ward 4 b.1597
Mary Warren b.1624 Esther Ward b.1623
Samuel Bigelow b.1653 Daniel Burr b.1660
Martha Mercy Bigelow b.1686 Elizabeth Burr b.1696
Thomas Garfield, Jr. b.1713 Nathaniel Hull b.1726
Solomon Garfield b.1743 Ezekiel Hull b.1765
Thomas Garfield2 b.1773 Platt Hull b.1787
Abraham Garfield b.1799 Ezekiel Hull b.1813
James Abram Garfield b.1831 Rebecca L. Hull b.1841

Frank Martin Bragg b.1867

Orval Bishop Bragg b.1895

Don Cicero Bragg b.1920


[1]  The White House []

[2] Rick Beyer, The Greatest Presidential Stories Never Told, Collins, New York, 2007, 100.

[3]  Rick Beyer, The Greatest Presidential Stories Never Told, Collins, New York, 2007, 101, in fact, assassin Charles "Guiteau used their incompetence as the centerpiece of his defense, saying he didn’t kill Garfield; “The doctors did that.  I simply shot at him.”"

[4]  The PEDIGREE of Anne PASHLEY [] suggests that Anne Pashley was possibly direct ancestor of Prince Charles (15th Great-grandmother), his late ex-wife, Lady Diana (15th Great-grandmother), and Winston Churchill (14th Great-grandmother).

Friday, March 09, 2012

Welcome to the World!!!

Congratulations to Nathan and Carissa Bragg on the birth of their son, Aaron David, on Friday, July 15, 2011. Aaron was born at 11:24 PM (EST) at Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC. He arrived just 36 minutes before his mother's birthday. But what a wonderful birthday present he was when his mother first held him in her arms just one minute after midnight.

Aaron weighed in at 7 pounds, 12 ounces and was 20 3/4 inches long. Baby, Mother, and Father are all doing well.

Aaron is the grandson of Dave and Ann Bragg (of Cape Girardeau, MO), nephew of Kari Bragg (of Warrensbrug, MO), and great-grandson of Don and Mary Bragg (of Sullivan, IL).

Monday, February 20, 2012

Did you Know #41

Today there are many actual figures in the long, colorful history of the American West whose legacy continues to flourish. Many of them owe their popularity to Hollywood, but all have been a bit distorted by our entertainment industry.

Many more well-known figures have been virtually forgotten today. But in their day they roamed the west with a reputation that engendered fear and respect. Such was the case with "Little Bill" Standifer, born J. William "Bill" Standifer (in Lampasas County, Texas, 1853), "a dark-haired, brown-eyed man of small stature but large reputation."
1 Bill made his living first as a gunfighter and then as a lawman. But he was "best remembered for having been killed."2

At the early age fourteen Bill found employment as a cowboy at a Texas ranch. While he was out on the range one day he happened to cross paths with a quartet of cattle thieves. The four rustlers beat young Standifer and left him for dead. But Standifer not only survived, he tracked the four down and killed them. Although charged with murder, he was acquitted by the court.

In 1879 he took another job at the Ike Mullins Ranch, also in Texas. Once again turmoil developed between Bill and a fellow cowboy, John McMahon. Again Standifer was beaten, this time with a bullwhip, survived, and  then tracked down his nemesis and killed him.

His next run in was with three soldiers in a Texas saloon, two of whom he shot and wounded. He was then hunted down by the Texas Rangers. Again he was found not guilty in a court of law. With his growing reputation as a gunman, Standifer easily found employment as a Range Detective (whose primary job was hunting down cattle rustlers). One writer wrote of this profession that they "carried his only authority in his holsters."
3 Eventually he was elected County Sheriff of Crosby County, Texas (1888-1892). After this stint Standifer returned to his former work as a Range Detective for the Spur Ranch in Spur, Texas.

Standifer's reputation was enhanced because of incidents such as the one described by Bill Meader, a former Texas Ranger. According to Meader, a drunken cowhand was raising a ruckus in a Snyder, Texas saloon. His celebration was carried to the streets as he began shooting randomly under the hooves of the horses tied in front of the saloon and at nearby houses. This is when Standifer stepped in to confront the troublemaker.  He approached the drunk and demanded that he stop his random shooting, "reminding him that there were respectable women living in the houses nearby."
4 Now the anger of the drunk was focused solely on Standifer as bystanders tensed, anticipating the violent showdown.

Meader wrote:

"Standifer stood calmly as the drunken cowboy approached."
"Felix," he said, "don't you have a mother and sisters?"
"Yes," Franklin admitted.
"Then," said Standifer, "you don't respect them if you don't respect the women in that house over there."5

Time seemed to crawl as the drunk, Felix Franklin, pondered Standifer's words. "Then he turned without a word and went to his wagon to sleep off his binge."6 This whole scene did not just impact Franklin, but it seemed that it sobered up the other cowhands in town that night. Standifer's speech turned the thoughts of the tough cowboys to their own home, their mothers and sisters.

Over these years trouble began growing between Standifer and a co-worker on the Spur, a better known gunfighter, John "Pink" Higgins. It has never been clearly established why the two despised each other, but both were fired from the Spur and Standifer was eventually elected Sheriff of Hartley County, Texas. The bad blood continued to grow between the two, and finally the inevitable showdown came on October 4, 1903 at Higgins' ranch. "Standifer fired first, hitting Higgins horse, which then jerked, causing Higgins first shot to go wild. In the shooting exchange that followed, Standifer was shot and killed. Higgins horse also died."

Higgins, who personally buried Standifer, was cleared of all wrong-doing in Standifer's death.8

Bill Standifer's grave has been called the "Loneliest Grave in West Texas."

Sheriff, gunman, Range Detective "Little Bill" Standifer and Mom's Greatgrandfather William Standerfer were both the fourth great grandson of John and Margaret Skelton Standiford, making them fifth cousins, as the chart below demonstrates.

John Standiford and Margaret Skelton
Israel Standiford b.1720 James J Standiford b.1715
Benjamin Standiford b.1764 Israel Standifer b.1740
Anderson Standifer b.1784 Skelton Daniel Standifer b.1752
James Williamson Standifer b.1810 Archibald Standerfer Sr.-273 b.1775
William Johnson Standifer b.1833 Franklin H. Standerfer b.1820
J. William Standifer b.1853 William Standerfer b.1841

Zacharious I. Standerfer b.1871

Mercedes Ruth Standerfer b.1872

Mary Jean Ethington b.1928

R. K. DeArment, THE PROTECTION MAN: J. William "Bill" Standifer, Old West, Spring 1991; p. 20.
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, "Bill Standifer."
Pink Higgins: Bringing Peace To The Frontier by Sheriff Jim Wilson, Handgun Editor, September 23, 2010
Standifer's Thicket.

Monday, February 13, 2012

2012 Wedding Plans

This year will witness the exchange of marriage vows between two members of our Bragg family.

Among the recently engaged are Mark and Rebecca Goodwin, who are to be married on Saturday, March 24th, in a private ceremony at Mahomet, IL. They will hold a reception for family and friends (no food, except cake) at 7pm at the American Legion in Mahomet, IL. They will be making their new home in Mahomet.

Mark and Becky have been together for over seven years, and Becky has won a place in our hearts through the hardships of last fall. I know that Mom will be happy to know that Becky and her son Kerry are officially part of our Bragg family. And Becky couldn't have worded it better when she recently wrote, "The love I have witnessed between Mary and Don has truly given me hope that Mark and I will have that too."

Later in the year, on July 21st, Kari, daughter of David and Ann, will be married to Jonathan Adams at the Smart Road church of Christ in Lees Summit, MO. Kari will have completed her Masters Degree in Music at the University of Central Missouri in May, and Jonathan, the son of John and Pamela Adams of Cedar Rapids, IA, will continue in his studies toward a degree of Professional Pilot at UCM. We are proud to welcome Jonathan to our family.

Congratulations to both of these young couples, and we wish for them great happiness and a long life together as husband and wife.