Brasfield ~ Brassfield Genealogies

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The material on this page was taken from the Introduction to the classic (and now out of print) book which was published in 1959 by Annabelle Cox McAllister and Edward Nevill McAllister entitled "Brasfield - Brassfield Genealogies". It is probably the most definitive explanation of the history of the various variations of the family names. Remember that it represents what was known to Mr. & Mrs. McAllister nearly a half century ago.


The persistence and general agreement of legends in several branches of the Brasfield and Brassfield families point to kinship for all of the groups in the United States through ancestry in the British Isles, but that kinship has not yet been developed and confirmed through source records.

The spelling of the name as Brasfield or Brassfield has not served as a means of distinguishing branches of the family. Many legal papers have been found in which both modes of spelling were used in the same instrument. This was of concern during the earlier days of this research, but later came to be accepted as a common phenomenon. The spelling of the name as it appeared in particular records, or as it was usually written or accepted by each person, has been used herein. However, "Brasfield" has been occasionally used in referring to the groups as a whole, rather than repetitiously indicating "Brasfield or Brassfield".

There are a number of persons bearing the name Brasefield in the United States. It is claimed that they represent a line with no known connections to the Brasfields. The Brasefield lines have not been included in this compilation. Robert Brassefeld, whose will of 14 August 1477 is translated herein, may be a member of the Brasfield family, or of the Brasefield family.

Brasfields have been among the early settlers in many places in the United States. Towns, townships, post offices, railway and interurban stations, churches and an island have borne the name. Some are no longer recognized by the name, but nevertheless have made their mark in the history of this country. Post offices were established at the following places:

Brassfield, Wake County, NC, established May 14, 1856, with William P. Hayes appointed postmaster.
Brassfield, Durham County, NC, established Aug. 22, 1882, with Alonzo C. Hayes appointed postmaster.
Brassfield, Madison County, KY, established Aug. 31, 1893, with David G. Martin appointed postmaster.
Brasfield, Prairie County, AR, established Oct. 5, 1907, with William L. Aydelott appointed postmaster.
Brasfield Station was near Liberty, Clay County, MO, on the now extinct electric interurban line between Kansas City and Excelsior Springs, MO
Brassfield Township is in Granville County, NC
Brassfield's Island was at one time the designation of an island near Sioux City, IA


Legends and Facts About the Brasfield Family Abroad

One genealogist has proposed that the name Brasfield was Norman-English and that the family came to England with William the Conqueror about 1066. The name was said to have been originally "de Braisfield" and "de Braysfield" it later taking the more English form of "Brassfield". However, a search of records pertaining to the Bayeux Tapestry, the Domesday Book, the Battle Abby Roil, the Falaise Roll and the "Knights of England" (by W. A. Shaw) did not reveal a Brasfield name or any name which might be construed as a variation of it among those who accompanied William the Conqueror, and so no source can be cited here for the purported association with William the Conqueror. The "General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales" (Burke, 1884, p 118) shows no Brass or Brasfield, but does show 'Braysfield - Or three fleurs de lis between nine Cross Crosslets Sa."

Records pertaining to several Brasfields on English soil have been found and can be presented here; there are many more to be found, and it is hoped that the English lineage may be developed at a later date.

Robert Brassefeld made a will in 1477 in Oulton, Norfolk, England. This will was written in Latin and translation has been difficult because of illegibility, obscure contractions and abbreviations. A liberal translation of the will is as follows:

In God's name, Amen, fourteenth day, month of August, Anno Domini 1477, I Robertus Brassefeld, of Oulton, in Com. of Norfolk, of sound and sane mind make my testament and my last will in this manner.

First, I bequeath my soul to God, omnipotent, blessed Virgin Mary and all the Saints, my body to be buried in the cemetery of St. Paule of Oulton, aforesaid.

Item. I bequeath to the Church of Oulton 23 S 4 d

Item. I bequeath to the Church of Branton 23 S 4 d, which gifts are to be received by executors ----- Rudulphi Dickys.

Item. I commit my children to the custody of my executors until they become of legal age.

I desire that my tract of land lying situate in the village of the aforesaid Oulton should be sold by my executors to pay my debts and to support my children from the remaining portion. All of the remaining real goods not bequeathed I leave in the hands of my executors to employ for masse for my soul, God willing.

And I desire and choose as my executors, Thomas Elyott and Katerina his wife. In testament I place my seal, Given at Oulton, the aforesaid day, month and year herein shown.

The above will was proved in the Norwich Consistory Court 12th Sept. 1477 by Thomas Elyott and Katherine his wife, the Executors, and is recorded in the District Registry at Norwich.

Correspondence with W. L. Wilton, Vicar of Oulton in 1949, did not produce information directly pertaining to Robert Brassefeld, but resulted in a most colorful and interesting letter from the Vicar giving history of the Church and town from the 12th century to the present time.

Thomas Brasfield was sworn in as "a gentleman of His Majesty's Chapel Royal" on Jane 16, 1611. (Genealogical Quarterly, Vol. 6 p 436) He was one of probably sixteen men serving as "gentlemen" (singers) in the Chapel Royal, St. James Palace. The "gentlemen" were paid, but enjoyed several privileges. Correspondence with Mr. J. W. Sanders, Chapel Royal, Ambassador's Court, St. James Palace, in London, confirmed that Thomas Brasfield was a "gentleman" and brought forth the statement that no other information on him was available there. It has not been determined whether the above Thomas Brasfield was closely related to the following Brasfield groups which have been found in England.

Mr. P. S. Wright, Clerk of Downton Parish Council, Salisbury, Wilts, England, in 1951 wrote that an examination of the local records disclosed no trace of the Brasfield family there except that the Revd. Purcell Fox, Vicar of Downton, reported "an entry under Births of the year 1654....Elizabeth, the daughter of Richard and Grace Brashfield .... Nov. 13." Another: "1656 .... Richard, the sonne of Richard Brashfield, May 26."

It is probable that this Elizabeth Brashfield was the Elizabeth Brasfield (of Downton) referred to below.

Elizabeth Brasfield, of Downton, married Philip Palmer, Dec. 27, 1687, Wellow Parish, Hants, England. (Wellow Parish Marriage Register) From date of marriage and proximity of Downton and Beaulieu (about 30 miles), it appears probable that Elizabeth was the sister of the following Thomas Brasfield.

Thomas Brasfield married firstly, Elizabeth Chandler, May 28, 1691, Beaulieu, Hants, England, and married secondly, Catherine White, Dec. 22, 1692, Beaulieu, Hants. Elizabeth Brasfield (probably the wife of Thomas Brasfield) was buried June 18, 1692, Beaulieu, Hants. The children of Thomas Brasfield presumably by Catherine White, were:

1. Thomas Brasfield, baptized Feb. 15, 1693, Beaulieu, Hants.
2. Martha Brasfield, baptized May 17, 1696, Beaulieu, Hants.
3. Charles Brasfield, baptized July 3, 1698, Beaulieu, Hants.
4. Heighter Brasefield, baptized March 20, 1699-1700, Beaulieu, Hants.

William Hammersmith Brasfield married Alice Avery, of St. Martin in the Fields, Sept. 23, 1738, Middlesex, England. Alice Avery was a widow.

George Brasfield, on Oct. 19, 1698, came to Virginia from Liverpool, England, in the LOYALTY under Capt. Henry Browne. Thomas Brasfield, the "gentleman", appears to be at least two generations removed from this George Brasfield, but Thomas Brasfield, who married Elizabeth Chandler, appears to be of the same generation as George.

Carried down through generations of the Brasfield family has been the legend of three Brasfield brothers who came to America and were the progenitors of the Brasfield family here.

There is also a legend that the three brothers had a deed to an estate called "Parrot's Nest". In anger they destroyed the deed by fire. It is presumed that the estate was in England.

As a further legend, three Brasfield Brothers came over from England during the Revolution with commissions from the King of England. They returned their commissions and fought alongside the Virginia colonists.

Miss Mattie E. Snail wrote that Judge John S, Brasfield, of Platte Co., Mo., told her that the Brasfields were an English family and that the estate in England included a deer park. Wales and Ireland have also been mentioned as homes of the Brasfields.

It is difficult to believe that several branches of the family would have carried through a number of generations, without some factual basis, legends of three brothers coming to this country. Although some of the accompanying details differ among the legends, they all pertain to three brothers.

If we accept for the moment the legends of the three brothers, then it would appear that these brothers might be George Brasfield, who came to Virginia in 1698; John Edward Brassfield, who in 1717 settled in the territory which became Spotsylvania County, Va., in 1720; and Joseph Leonard Brassfield, who was one of the "Lord Baltimore settlers in the territory of Virginia". In the chapters which follow, the descendants of each of these "brothers" will be presented.

Annabelle Cox McAllister and Edward Nevill McAllister
"Brasfield - Brassfield Genealogies" - 1959

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