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April 28, 2013 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County: Runaway Wife

19th Century WomanMany of us are aware of 19th century advertisements for runaway slaves.  Sometimes, planters advertised for runaway wives as was the case with Robert Bransford who placed this advertisement in  the Virginia Argus in 1813:


This is to inform the public generally, that my wife JANE BRANSFORD, has lately left my bed and board without any just cause whatsoever – I therefore forewarn all persons from harboring or maintaining her, – also from trading or dealing with her on my account, as I am determined to prosecute such as are above mentioned, and as  to dealings, &c.  I will not be responsible for any debt of her contracting.


Buckingham, May 18th

Being a Buckingham Bransford myself, I would very much like to know what happened to Jane and, for that matter, to Robert.  If you have any information, please let me know.


Leave a Comment
  1. Gary Bell / Jun 14 2017 2:24 am

    Has anyone ever seen any written discription of any of William Walker Ward or know anything about the black members of his family?

  2. Gary Bell / May 14 2017 1:24 pm

    Can anyone tell me more about Jane Gardiner? Did she have children with Robert Bransford and if so when and who? I believe she is my ggggrand mother thru her son John Gardner Bransford born 1825 in Tnn. who married a Martha Marion Ward. thanks for any help Gary

    • Joanne Yeck / May 14 2017 4:21 pm

      Gary, I don’t know any more about Jane Gardiner. Perhaps some one who does will see your comment. Joanne.

  3. claibachmann41 / Apr 30 2013 8:33 pm

    Does anyone know who Jane Hill Bransford’s parents were?

    • Joanne Yeck / Apr 30 2013 8:38 pm

      Thanks, again. What an interesting story rose from a simple advertisement placed by a distressed husband and father.

  4. claibachmann41 / Apr 29 2013 1:31 pm

    I was very excited to see the picture and little story about Jane Hill Bransford, the wife that left home. I know a little about the three daughters (Sara Ann was my great, great grandmohter ) and more about Robert and a little more of the story, but I don’t know who Jane Hill’s parents were. Would like to gain information on her genealogy. I had also heard that she was the sister to Congressman Hill. Any information on this would be appreciated.

    • Joanne Yeck / Apr 29 2013 1:43 pm

      Could you share the birth dates of Sara Ann and her sisters? Harry Holman provided us with their married names: Claiborne (yours), Ford, and Sallee. Do you know who raised the girls and where? Thanks!

      • claibachmann41 / Apr 30 2013 3:36 pm

        Joanne, I sent you an e-mail through this communication channel, but it apparently did not accept it. I do know the birthdays of the Bransford girls and othe information. I think that I put in the wrong user name and passwork or something.

      • claibachmann41 / Apr 30 2013 3:45 pm

        This seems to be working so I provide the information. Sarah Ann Bransford was born Dec. 23, 1809. Jane Eliza Bransford was born August 4, 1811 and Martha Susan Bransford was born April 28, 1813.

        Sarah Ann Bransford was raised by Col. Garland Brown and his wife Martha (Patty) Bransford Brown in Buckingham. Jane Eliza was raised by Samuel Bransford and his wife (?) in Lynchburg, VA. Martha Susan was raised by Capt. and Mrs. Jacob Bransford in Cumberland, County, VA.

        Col. Brown ran an early school called at his home, Physic Spring. I suspect that John Tanner Claiborne was either a student or teacher there where he could have met Sarah Ann Bransford.

      • Joanne Yeck / Apr 30 2013 7:25 pm

        Now we know that Jane (Hill) Bransford left a new-born infant. Many thanks for the information about the girls. Do we know what happened to Jane?

        Coming soon, there will be posts about Col. Brown’s school and the Claiborne School known as Oak Grove.

      • claibachmann41 / Apr 30 2013 8:31 pm

        I don’t know what happened to Jane, but I do know a little of what happened to Robert Bransford, her husband. He took the three girls and went to Madison County, Alabama in 1817 where he went into some sort of business. He also married again, a lady from Augusta County named Jane Gardiner. He moved from Madison County, Alabama to Moulton, Lawrence County, where he died in 1829. This information comes from a letter (now in the VA State Library) from CW Bransford who took in Robert’s younger son, Robert Creighton Bransford, to raise. This Robert had a successful career in the railroad business becoming Treasurer of the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway. He died in 1886.

  5. Joanne Yeck / Apr 29 2013 9:18 am

    Thank you, Harry, for this comment.

    Can you tell us when John and Judith Bransford arrived in Buckingham? Also, was their son, Robert, born in Buckingham?

    My records show that John Bransford III was born in 1728 (London, England ) and died in 1809 in Buckingham. He married first, Sally (Sarah) Easter abt. 1754 and later married Judith Amonette abt. 1765. I do not have Robert as one of their children. I do have a Thomas, a Benjamin, and Elizabeth who married Rev. John Aryes.

  6. Harry Stuart Holman / Apr 28 2013 8:45 pm

    Dear Reader:

    These very unfortunate events are linked to some prominent Buckingham families. The children of this couple included three girls: Mrs. John T. Claiborne, Mrs. Addison J. Ford, and Mrs. (Dr.) Sallee of Marshall County, Mississippi. Mrs. Ford was the sister-in-law of Ambrose Ford, Esq.–a notable merchant of Buckingham and husband of Elizabeth Hale Holman of “Humanity Hall.”

    Robert Bransford was the son of John Bransford and his second wife Judith. His sister was Elizabeth Ayres, wife of Rev. John Ayres of “Edgehill,” Buckingham County. Their descendants include Prof. Thomas Eldridge Ayres of Baltimore. Robert had a half-brother and a half sister to marry Moseleys: William Bransford married Patsy Moseley (descendants include John T. L. Woodson and Dr. Chambers Woodson) and Mary Bransford married Robert Moseley. These Moseleys were the children of Arthur Moseley (d. 1808) of Buckingham and were siblings to William Moseley who was the father of Spotsford Lewis Moseley.

    It is said that Jane Hill–Robert Bransford’s wife– was the sister to Congressman Hill.

    Harry Stuart Holman

    • Gary Bell / Jun 13 2017 3:39 pm

      To any of you who might be interested in a little more about the Robert Bransford and Jane Gardiner. I have a great family bible. It reads “Presented to Martha M. Bransford by her brother on the 22nd of August 1851” signed Willie I descend from Martha Marion Ward and John Gardner Bransford. The bible sounds like it was given to her by her brother William Walker Ward. Has anyone else found Information about Robert Bransford having a son by one of his black slaves? There were a live of Black Bransford that were for many years guides at the Mammoth Caves. Some of that line are still alive. It would sure be great if we can find out where and who the Jane’s of Robert Bransford family is. Does anyone know for sure about Jane Hill being the sister of Congressman Hill?

      • Joanne Yeck / Jun 13 2017 3:49 pm

        Gary, Thanks for your new comment. Perhaps another Slate River Ramblings reader will know more about these Bransfords and comment. Be sure to read all the comments here, especially the one from Harry Stuart Holman. Joanne

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