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Brittain, Joseph

Shirley (Brittain) Cawyer, P.O. Box 164, Stephenville, TX 76401
Although Joseph Brittain was dead long before Buncombe County was formed, we submit this sketch as Joseph Brittain was the progenitor of all the Brittain descendants in western North Carolina. According to NSDAR #523976, this Joseph Brittain was born in 1723. We do not have proof of this, but it seems logical, since Joseph was still fathering children in the 1760’s. We do not know the parents of Joseph Brittain. Much has been written on a James Brittain, born between 1699-1710 (various records give different dates), in Wales, married Mary Witty. If Mary Witty was near the age of her husband, then she would not be the mother of children born in the mid-1750’s. This compiler has many genealogies of the “James from Wales,” and each record has a different version, or list for his children. We do accept Joseph Brittain as our ancestor, for his Will names all of his children, and we have traced all of these up to ca 1849, by deeds, court minutes and other records.

Joseph Brittain, living in Orange Co, NC, in 1764 when he sold land in Hampshire Co, Virginia; Joseph also appears in the Court Minutes of Orange Co. His Will mentions land in Orange Co, NC. His widow, Jemima Brittain, is listed in the court minutes of Orange Co, and some of his sons are there early.

The children as listed in the Will, probated August 1774, Rowan Co, NC, Will Blk., A., page #183:

1. Mary Elrod. (We find many mentions of Elrods in early Burke Co, NC, records connected to the Brittains.)2. “My Eldest Son, James Brittain, one improvement joining the place I now live on.”

3. Phoebe Brittain. (We find a Phoebe Poteet, wife of John Poteet, Sr., who is on the 1850 census of Burke Co, born in NC ca 1772. There was also a Brittain Poteet born soon after 1800 in Burke Co, NC.) Jemima Brittain, the widow.
She is on the 1790 census of Burke County with young males in her household.) “I give and bequeath unto my six youngest sons” (Indicating that they are minors, as they shall get their part when they come of age and have their ducation.)

4. Phillip Brittain, born ca 1760. (He was in Burke Co, NC 60 1816 [sic] when he sold his land to John Smith. Phillip Brittain was a musician in the Revolutionary War. He was living in Bedford Co, Tenn. in 1818 when he applied for a Rev. Pension. It is believed that his first wife was Mary Walker, daughter of George Walker of Burke Co. There are many deeds in Burke Co. between Phillip and Mary Brittain and the Walker family.)

5. William Brittain, born 1762 in Orange Co, NC; died 12 March 1846 in Buncombe Co, NC; married Rachel Brank, a daughter of Peter Brank. William Brittain was a Sgt. in the Revolutionary War. He was living in Burke Co. in 1790, then his land was located in what was Buncombe Co. in 1792.

6. Joseph Brittain Jr., born ca 1756 in NC, died 1823 in Bedford, now Marshall Co,NC. Married in Orange Co, NC, 1786 to Dorothy Herner. Joseph Jr. appears on Court Minutes of Burke Co. early.

7. Benjamin Brittain. We do not know when he was born, and he is gone from the Burke Co, NC Court Records after 1820. One source gives Benjamin Brittain’s age as born ca 1759/60 in Orange Co, NC, married there 30 July 1785 to ComfortDunnigan, dau of William and Sarah Dunnigan.

8. Aaron Brittain, born between 1765/67, according to the 1800 through 1840 census for Burke Co, NC. He is not on the 1850 census of Burke Co, and the last mention of him on the Burke Co. Court Minutes is 1849.9. Samuel Brittain was under age 16 on the 1790 census of Burke Co, living with hismother. Samuel is on the Court Minutes of Burke Co, beginning in 1793 when he was on road work, up to Jan. 1813. In Oct. 1801, Zachariah Downs deeded 51 acres to Samuel Brittain. This is probably when Samuel married.

Sources: Will Bk of Rowan Co, NC & Court Minutes of Rowan Co.
Burke Co, NC Court Minutes and Deeds.
Burke Co, NC census from 1790 through 1900.
Orange Co, NC records
NSDAR records.
Correspondence with descendants of the Burke Co. Brittains.

–ALOB, May 1984, Vol. V, #5, p. 84-41 thru 45

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