Wednesday, January 11, 2017

General Braxton Bragg and Ocracoke

Late last year a reader asked if there was any connection between Confederate General Braxton Bragg and the Braggs of Ocracoke.

General Braxton Bragg

After several hours of research I learned that General Bragg (1817-1876) was the great-great-great-great-great-great grandson of Thomas Bragg (who was born in England in 1579 and immigrated to Virginia) and Mary (Molly) Newport. I also learned that General Braxton Bragg was the grandson of John Bragg (1741-1799) and Hannah Tolson Bragg of Ocracoke and Portsmouth Islands. His father was Thomas Bragg, Sr. (1778-1851).

General Braxton Bragg came from a distinguished family. His brother John (1806-1876) was an editor, lawyer, judge, and a member of Congress. Brother William (1819-1863) was a captain in the Confederate service, and was killed at Chattanooga. Thomas (1810-1872) became the 34th Governor of North Carolina, and served as the Confederate Attorney General.

For some time I have known that the forefather of all the Ocracoke Braggs was Jesse Bragg (b. ca. 1765/1770).* Oral history identifies Jesse’s father as John Bragg who married Hannah Tolson.

There is a legend on Ocracoke about "Old Quawk" (see Oral history has it that Old Quawk offered a bag of gold to any man who would marry his daughter. Older islanders remembered people referring to Jesse Bragg's wife as "Sally Quawk."

Jesse and Sally Bragg had a number of children. One of their sons, Thomas Bragg (1797-1863), is buried on Howard Street.

In Memory of Thomas Bragg
Died Dec. 31, 1863
Aged 66 years & 11 months
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints

Although I have not been able to find any reference to Jesse Bragg in various on-line genealogical web sites, the connection with John and Hannah Tolson Bragg seems secure. Thus, Thomas Bragg, Sr. (1778-1851), General Braxton Bragg’s father, would be Jesse's brother, making Thomas Bragg (1797-1863) of Ocracoke and General Bragg 1st cousins. [Update, April, 2024: I no longer believe that Jesse Bragg is the son of John Bragg and Hannah Tolson Bragg. As a result, I do not think Thomas Bragg of Ocracoke and General Braxton Bragg are 1st cousins. They may not be related at all.]

*Jesse Bragg is listed in the 1790 Federal Census of Ocracoke as Head of Household. In 1800 he is listed as being between 16 and 45 years old. In 1810 he is 45 or more years old. Thus, a good guess is that he was born ca. 1765-1770.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is Capt. Rob Temple's poem, "A Pirate's Christmas." You can read it hear:

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:10 AM

    Thanks for the research report. Very interesting. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of interesting anecdotes and history that originate on Ocracoke. Ocracoke has got to be one of the most interesting places on earth.