The Brigances Arrive

            The definitive record of the Brigances in America was written by Albert H. Brigance and published in 1982, and 1995 in a 2 volume set, called simply, Brigance Genealogy. This documentation, while quite thorough in locating and documenting the descendants, includes little about their travels and accomplishments. We have liberally copied from this book the records of the Brigance Genealogy, and greatly appreciate the work of Albert H. Brigance.

            Research findings lead the author, Albert H. Brigance, to conclude that the Brigance Clan, or at least part of the clan, were living in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania from the mid 1700's until the time of the Revolutionary War (1776). That part migrated to North Carolina (Gilford or Orange Counties) by 1777 and then into the Cumberland Settlement (Sumner County, Tennessee) area by the mid 1780's.

            Our earliest know ancestor William BRIGANCE, who apparently served in the Revolutionary War was given a number of Military Land Grants in the area, and he was one of what has been referred to as the "Seven Old Timers". These seven Brigances appeared at about the same time in Sumner County, and most, in later censuses, referred to their birthplace as Pennsylvania.

            Eight of the nine children of William and Elizabeth (nee unknown) were born in Sumner County, with his son William Carroll BRIGANCE being the eighth of the nine. The author of the Brigances book believes that William C. Brigance, along with his brother and guardian John, moved to Henderson County. Before that, William C. had met and married Sarah A. SPARKS, in Illinois, where her parents William Jefferson SPARKS and Margaret (Traylor) Sparks had moved from originally North Carolina, then Georgia.

            The Goodspeeds History of Tennessee - Henderson County indicates that John and William built a mill for grinding corn and wheat on Mud Creek in Henderson County in 1821.

            It would appear that by the mid 1820's John and William ceased operating the mill and moved from Henderson County, John to Independence County, Arkansas, and William C. to Carroll County, Tennessee, where he and his family lived for about 10 years. Land records, tax records, and Census records suggest that William C. began selling his property in Carroll County, Tennessee (mostly to his nephew - William Melvin Brigance) in 1835 and that he and his family, consisting of wife and nine children, migrated to Pope County, Arkansas, arriving by 1837. That was the same year that the Hamiltons arrived.

            In 1840 William and Sarah's third born child, Melissa A. BRIGANCE married Alfred G. HAMILTON, which was 2 years after her younger sisters Fanny married Thomas Hamilton, and Elvira married Albert Caroll Brigance.

            William C. Brigance must have died fairly suddenly, as his eldest son Alexander J. Brigance applied for "Letters of Administration on January 26th, 1843, where the Clerk, John R. H. Scott wrote that:

            “...personally appeared before me ... Alexander J. Brigance and made application for Letters of Administration on the Estate of William C. Brigance, who after being duly sworn deposed and sayeth that there is property to the amount or value of about or near seven hundred dollars and there being ten heirs namely, A. J. Brigance, A. C. Brigance, Melissa A. Hamilton, Fanny D. Brigance, Margaret Ann Brigance, Elizabeth Jane Brigance, Melvin L. Brigance, Jasper N. Brigance, Susan Minerva Brigance all of Pope County, Ark. and John S. Brigance of Johnson County, Arkansas and that I will Administer and make a true and perfect Inventory of all and singular the goods, and chattles, right and credits, of the deceased, and pay his Debts as far as the assets which may come...”

            From this document we learn that Sarah A. Brigance probably died between 1838 and 1843 as Susan Minerva was born in 1838 and Sarah is not mentioned in the settlement of William C. Brigance’s estate.

Hamilton Index