In March 1620, Christopher and Mary (Addy) Branch embarked on the "London Merchant" of 300 tons burden dispatched from the Port of London for Virginia. This ship was commissioned by the Virginia Company and carried 200 passengers, mostly single men, and arrived with only the loss of one soul. Christopher and Mary first settled in present Henrico Co., in an area called "ye Colledg Land" (the College Land) circa 1623/24 and in the muster, 1624/25, he, his wife and their 9 months old son, Thomas, were recorded there (Ref: See page 7 source #1 below which is also attached to this memorial). The Virginia Company offered inducements for new colonists to settle on the College Lands at this time to replenish the population decimated by the recent (1622) Indian massacre. The precise location of the Branch home during this period is indeterminate as the College Land was a very extensive tract set aside by the Virginia Company whereon " to erect and build a college in Virginia, for the training and bringing up of infidel's children to the true knowledge of God and the understanding of righteousness".
Shortly afterward, Christopher patented land and lived at or near Arrowhattocks on the North side of the James River and finally settled at "Kingsland" (see map attached for location of "Kingsland", e.g. middle left side of map), their plantation on the South side of the James River almost opposite Arrowhattocks near Proctor's Creek. His son, Thomas, born May 1624 was listed as the only Virginia born child in the county at the time. "Kingsland", just west of "Farrar's Island", was also near "Osborne", home of the Jeffersons (see accompanying historical marker).
Christopher Branch's oldest son, Thomas Branch, Sr., lived on a part of his father's "Kingsland Plantation" on the south side of the James River in the area of Henrico County which later became Chesterfield County in 1749.
Thomas married Elizabeth (Gough?) probably in Henrico County, VA. Marriage records give conflicting dates
Thomas and Elizabeth had issue:
1) Thomas Branch, Jr. of Henrico County.
2) Matthew Branch of Henrico County.
3) James Branch of Henrico County.
4) Elizabeth Branch who married Melchizedeck Richardson.
5) Martha Branch married Richard Ward.
The will of Thomas Branch, Sr., of Henrico County, dated 25 8br (October) 1688 was proved in Henrico County, 01 February 1694. He alludes to himself as "being in a sickly Crazy Condition but of sound and perfect memory" [evidently his "Crazy Condition" was physical not mental). "To my three sons, Thomas, Matthew and James 5 shillings each; residue of goods and chattles (sic) to my wife Elizabeth, but should she die before testator then said goods and chattles to be equally divided between testator's aforesaid 3 sons; only I give to my two daughters, Elizabeth Richardson and Martha Ward, 5 shillings each to buy a ring. Wife, Elizabeth, whole and sole executrix." Witnesses: William Glover, Christopher Branch, Ann Branch.
Thomas Branch, Sr. died on 01 Feb 1694 at Henrico Co., VA and was buried at "Kingsland" plantation, in a now unidentifiable grave site, in the Branch Family Cemetery.
The will of his widow, Elizabeth Branch, Senior, of Varina Parish, Henrico County, dated 02 Aug 1697, was proved 20 Aug 1697. To son, Thomas Branch, bed that standeth with the head to the partition on the left hand the door as one cometh in, with all furniture belonging thereto, also 5 pair sheets (one pair being Holland), my long table and form, a great copper kettle, an iron pot known by the name of the long pot, and one belmettle skillet (bell metal. It is the same metal formula used for making bells, one part tin to four parts copper); son Matthew Branch, 1 pair "new curtains and vallens to the bed he hath already," five pair sheets (one being Holland), chest of drawers, drawing table and small forme, biggest brass kettle, second great pot, one pot called the new pot being made of iron,chafing dish, pair fire dogs: son James Branch, feather bed that standeth on the right hand as one cometh from the door to the chimney with the curtains and vallens and all other furniture belonging to said bed; 5 pair sheets (one being Holland) half the present crop of wheat, one great iron pot, one small iron pot, small brass kettle, negro man Mingo: daughter Elizabeth Richardson, suit of wearing clothes, my riding gown, and twelve pense in money: son-in-law Melchizedeck Richardson, half crown to buy him a pair of gloves: son-in-law Richard Ward, half crown to buy him a pair of gloves: granddaughter Martha Branch, all my wearing clothes in general, linnen and wollen, shoes and hose: three sons Thomas, Matthew and James, before mentioned, residue of estate to be equally divided between them except that half the wheat, after James hath his, is to be divided between Thomas and Matthew, and cows called Nancy and Cherry and one calfe and half an ox which I gave my son James and other half of said ox to son Thomas: residue of goods and chattles to be equally divided between sons Thomas and Matthew: sons Thomas and James executors. Witnesses: Joseph Tanner, John X Cocke
1) "Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/5" by John Frederick Dorman, Vol. I, 4th Ed., 2004, pp7, 367.
2) "Genealogies of Virginia Families" from the William and Mary College Quarterly, Vol. I. Adams-Clopton pp410-416.
3) "Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers, 1607-1635" by Martha W. McCartney, 2007, p154.
Bio by Gresham Farrar.