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POLITICIANS AND STATESMEN:

THE BRISTOWS IN AMERICAN GOVERNMENT

BY JOHN WALTON

Baltimore, Maryland

I. INTRODUCTION

The name Bristow occupies a distinctive position in the history of American politics. Although by no means one of this country's distinguished families - and certainly not one of the largest - at least four of its members, who began their careers as local politicians, left a legacy of statesmanship. Here we shall attempt to trace their family origins, to portray them as individuals, and to interpret their careers as a distinct genre of American political behavior. They were, in order of their eminence:
BENJAMIN HELM Bristow
first Solicitor General of the United States, Secretary of the Treasury under President Grant, and a prominent candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination in 1876.
JOSEPH LITTLE Bristow
fourth Assistant Postmaster General, and United States Senator from Kansas. Author of the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution.
FRANCIS MARION Bristow
(father of Benjamin Helm Bristow), member of Congress from Kentucky, and a strong advocate of Unionism.
WILLIAM WILTSHIRE Bristow
member of the first Constitutional Convention in Oregon and subsequently a member of the State Senate. Aspirant for the United States Senate when be died.

II. GENEALOGY

All of these men were born in Kentucky during the nineteenth century. Their families came from Virginia; and from both family tradition and the available evidence it appears that they are descendants of a John Bristow, who, as a youth, was found wandering in the Colony in 1663. Because he could offer no good reason for his being there he was indentured for a period of seven years.

This undistinguished appearance of their first American ancestor may have been the principal reason for efforts of some of John Bristow's descendants to trace his origin to a distinguished family of the name in England. And there are plausible and tantalizing possibilities for extending and enhancing the family history. Robert Bristow, a contemporary and a neighbor of John Bristow in Virginia, after acquiring extensive lands and serving in the House of Burgesses, returned to England about 1680. He continued to amass great wealth. In 1698 he was elected to Parliament for Winchelsea, and about the same time was appointed a Director of the Bank of England. Many of his descendants made brilliant marriages.

The ancestry of Robert Bristow has been well established. His father was John Bristow, a yeoman of Binsted, Hampshire, who died in 1645 leaving sons Nicholas, John, Robert, Henry, and Richard, and daughters Jane Blanchard and Alice Stephens. He was descended from a family seated anciently at Burstow in Surrey, whence by a corruption of the name came Bristow. A member of this family, Nicholas Bristowe of Little Bibbesworth and Ayot St. Lawrence, Hertfordshire, held an appointment as Clerk of the Jewels to Henry VIII, Edward VI, Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth. A portrait by Holbein is supposed to have been extant until recently. His brother, Robert Bristowe, was Purse Bearer to Queen Elizabeth. An excellent portrait of him by Zucchero is now in possession of Sir Arundell Neave, a descendant of Robert Bristow of Virginia.

Robert and John Bristow were contemporaries on the Rappahannock and the name Nicholas appears in both families. It is possible, even probable. that they were related, but we have no proof.

Since there were other families of Bristows in England unrelated to the Bristows of Surrey, there are other possibilities for the ancestry of John Bristow of Virginia. One of these is known as the west country Bristows. This family took its name from the city of Bristol, once called Bristow. Many of them were associated with the Church, particularly with Mahnesbury Abbey in Wiltshire; and it is likely that eminent Catholic divine, Richard Bristow, born, 1538, in Worcester, was one of them. He with William Cardinal Allen revised the "Douay Bible," and was considered one of the two most learned men at Oxford during the time of Queen Elizabeth. There is a fairly consistent tradition among the Bristows of Virginia that the family came from Bristol; and the Bristol registers show that a John Britow sailed for Virginia during the period 1654-1663. However, since Bristol at that time had a virtual monopoly of the Virginia trade most people who left any part of England for Virginia, during that period, sailed from Bristol.

In any event, John Bristow, after completing his service, lived the rest of his life as a respected and public spirited citizen of Middlesex County, Virginia. He married, first, Michal, daughter of John Nicholls, by whom he had:

  1. Joanna, baptized May 9, 1680
  2. William, baptized October 29, 1682
  3. Michal, baptized February 15, 1684/85
  4. Thomas, baptized June 12, 1687
  5. Elizabeth, baptized July 6, 1690
  6. Sarah, baptized March 13, 1691/92
  7. Nicholas, baptized June 17, 1699
  8. James

By his second wife, Mary Carter, whom he married January 8, 1711, John Bristow had:

  1. Jedidiah, born August 10, 1713; baptized September 6, 1713
  2. Mary, born August 15, 1715
  3. Anne

When he died in 1716 John Bristow left a substantial estate in land and slaves, and a reputation for service to his community and to his church. He had served as juror, appraiser, militia man, clerk of the Vestry, and, for many years a lay reader at the Upper Chapel of Convenience of Christ Church.

In tracing the lineage of the four Bristows who are the subject of this article, we are denied proof by the lack of direct documentary evidence, but we do have, in addition to family traditions, a substantial body of circumstantial evidence from the records. Although we have four different Bristows, we have only two lines to connect with Middlesex -- Francis Marion Bristow was the father of Benjamin Helm Bristow and Joseph Little Bristow's great-great-grandfather was the same person as William Wiltshire Bristow's great-grandfather. We shall begin with the ancestry of the latter two first.

In a letter to a family historian, Senator Bristow wrote:

I found in my safety deposit box at Salina (Kansas) the other day a memorandum left by father that had escaped my notice. It said that a John Bristow ran away from home in Middlesex County about 1737 and settled in Stafford County. He married two times. By his first wife he had two sons, James and Isaac; and by his second, one son, John, who migrated to Kentucky in 1786. He (the son) John married two times. By his first wife he had two sons, Francis and Barney (Barnabas) who enlisted In the War of 1812 and never returned to Kentucky. By his second wife he had three sons: Thomas, Andrew, and Joseph.

M. E. Bristow quoted the Senator as saying that John Bristow ran away from home in Middlesex when he was sixteen years of age. This would place his birth in 1721. A great deal of the information in the papers in Senator Bristow's family has been verified in the public records. Some of it has been made more plausible by supporting circumstantial evidence. And none of it has been contradicted. Therefore, it must be viewed with a strong presumption of essential accuracy.

One John Bristow claimed through Virginia Land Office Treasury and Pre-emption warrants some sixteen hundred acres of land in Washington County, Virginia, after 1782. It lay along Maiden Spring Fork of Clinch River. He died at "Pleasant Hill," Tazewell County (Tazewell was formed from Russell in 1799, Russell from Washington in 1787), in 1801, leaving a widow, Elizabeth --probably a second wife -- and sons, James, Isaac, and John.

James Bristow, son of John Bristow of "Pleasant Hill," Tazewell County, Virginia, was born in 1752 (place of birth unspecified) and died in June, 1818, in Overton County, Tennessee. He married, first, Delilah Elkins circa 1780. She died in 1795. In 1805 he moved from Tazewell County, Virginia, to Cumberland County, Kentucky, and, in 1812, to Overton County, Tennessee, where he married his second wife, Elizabeth Clevenger. After James Bristow's death in 1818, Elizabeth moved back to Cumberland County, Kentucky, and from there to Macoupin County, Illinois, where she died in 1834. James Bristow apparently served as a private in Captain James Mitchell's Company during the War of the Revolution.

Isaac Bristow, second son of John of Tazewell, married Margaret Hanna, on June 22, 1783, Simon Cockerill, minister. There are several references to him as a landowner, miller, and survevor in the county records. He moved to Logan County, Kentucky, where, in 1814, he was executor of the estate of Barnabas Bristow, who died in the War of 1812. In 1830 he was living in Vigo County, Indiana, with Isaac, John, and James Bristow, probably his sons.

John Bristow, Jr., youngest son of John of Tazewell, was born January 31, 1770. The name of his first wife is unknown. He married, secondly, Margaret Smithers (Smathers), daughter of Andrew Smithers (Smathers) of Washington County, Virginia, and Bath County, Kentucky. John Bristow, Jr. died March 11, 1840, in Bath County, Kentucky.

This John Bristow of Tazewell was the ancestor of William Wiltshire Bristow and Joseph Little Bristow. While there is no documentary evidence that he came from Middlesex County, there is none to contradict it. There was a John Bristow, born in 1721, in Middlesex County, son of Nicholas and Mary Gardner Bristow, and grandson of John and Michal Nicholls Bristow, who is otherwise unaccounted for. According to the family traditions, as has been mentioned, John Bristow, the great-great-grandfather of Senator Bristow, ran away from home in Middlesex County, Virginia, in 1737, at the age of sixteen, which would place his birth 1721. Moreover, John, son of Nicholas of Middlesex, had a brother William, who is not accounted for, and John of Tazewell was associated with a William Bristow There is, however, no indication in any known records that John of Tazewell tarried in Stafford County. But it is possible that he left Middlesex for Stafford -- where he left no record -- before veering off Southwest. Presumably, John Bristow, Jr., son of John of Tazewell, corresponded with the Bristows in Middlesex until 1840, the year of his death.

Continuing the lines of descent of William Wiltshire Bristow (whose family records contain no references to the family back of John Bristow of Tazewell) and Joseph Little Bristow, we find that the eldest son of James and Delilah Elkins Bristow, Elijah Bristow, was born in Tazewell County, April 28, 1788, eight years after the marriage of his parents. On November 2, 1812, he married Susanna Gabbert, born August 23, 1791, in Overton County, Tennessee. She apparently was a daughter of Michael Gabbert, son of Mathias and Christina Gabbert, who married Rachel Reed. Elijah Bristow moved to Macoupin County, Illinois, probably with his stepmother and other members of his family. In 1845 he went west along the Oregon Trail. First settling in California, he soon went north to Oregon where he became the first white settler in Lane County. He named his home "Pleasant Hill." Altogether a remarkable man, he deserves at least a brief biographical note.

During the Creek War Elijah Bristow distinguished himself as a sharpshooter and gained the admiration of Andrew Jackson. When the latter offered him a military commission he refused. Later he became a notable figure on the Oregon Trail. From his letters written to his wife from the North Fork of La Platto {sic}, 556 miles west of Independence, Missouri, one gets a somewhat more than modest self-appraisal:

I have made myself somewhat conspicuous here, he says, sometimes by argument, sometimes by integrity, and sometimes by the gun.

Wesley Shannon, one of his companions on the Trail, wrote a eulogy that closed with:

He (Elijah Bristow) was a natural leader of men and had his ascendant {sic} over all who approached him from natural qualities, cordial and graceful manners, elevated mind, fearless spirit, generosity, and unassailable integrity.

The children of Elijah Bristow were: Dr. John Kennedy Bristow, Abel King Bristow, Elijah Lafayette Bristow, Henry Gabbert Bristow, Delilah Bristow, Elizabeth Bristow, Catherine Bristow, Zilphia Bristow, and William Wiltshire Bristow, one of the subjects of this study who was born July 18, 1826, in Cumberland County, Kentucky, and died in Lane County, Oregon, December 8, 1874.

John Bristow, Jr., half-brother of James Bristow and a great uncle of William Wiltshire Bristow, was born January 31, 1770. If he went from Tazewell County, Virginia, to Kentucky in 1786 as one family tradition has it, then he must have returned to southwestern Virginia before settling in Kentucky permanently. On February 23, 1808, John Bristow, Jr. and Margaret, his wife, of Tazewell County, deeded to David Robinson a tract of land granted to John Bristow, Sr. in 1783.

By his first wife (name unknown) John Bristow, Jr. is supposed to have had two sons, Francis (Marion?) Bristow and Barnabas Bristow. According to family tradition both of these sons served in the War of 1812 and were not heard of thereafter. The only information we have about Francis Bristow is that he failed to appear at a Militia Muster in Tazewell County in 1807-08 required of all males 18 to 50, but we do know that a Barnabas Bristow of Logan County, Kentucky, served as a private in Barbour's Kentucky Militia, Captain Latham's Company, from September 1 to December 23, 1812. He died at Vincennes, Indiana, on December 24, 1812.

By his second wife, Margaret Smithers (Smathers), John Bristow, Jr. had Thomas Bristow, Andrew Bristow, Joseph Hamilton Bristow, Sarah Bristow, Elizabeth Bristow, Martha Bristow, Anne Bristow, and Linnie Anne Bristow.

Joseph Hamilton Bristow was born March 31, 1813, in Bath County, Kentucky, and he died March 23, 1896, in Baldwin, Kansas. His first wife was Anne Smith of Montgomery County, Kentucky. Their children were: The Reverend William Bristow, Andrew Bristow, Thomas Bristow, and Margaret Bristow. He married, secondly, Caroline Jordan, daughter of John and Malinda Pickerill Jordan and aunt of America Hinton Bristow, wife of Andrew Bristow.

The Reverend William Bristow, Methodist minister, was born in Bath County, Kentucky, September 28, 1837, and died in Kansas, March 17, 1921. His first wife was Savannah Little, daughter of Philip Little of Wolfe County, Kentucky. Their children were: Sarah Anne Bristow and Joseph Little Bristow, one of the statesmen whose biographies follow.

Evidence for the ancestry of Francis Marion Bristow and Benjamin Helm Bristow is complicated and indirect. One of the problems is the contradictory traditions among various members of the family. However, an analysis of the documentary evidence, together with the circumstantial evidence, and with one clear family tradition leads us to Middlesex County.

One of the first and most widely published traditions is wrong in some important details. It has a James Bristow, born in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, December 21, 1751, son of a James Bristow and Patience Grayson, and a grandson of Robert Bristow and Averilla Curtis, as the first Kentucky ancestor of Francis Marion Bristow. The family is said to have come from Wales.

Now it is a well documented fact that Robert Bristow left no heirs in this country. There is no documentary evidence that James Bristow's father was a James, also; or that he was born in Dinwiddie County. And as for the family's being Welsh, this claim is made erroneously so often of early Virginia families that it must be viewed initially with skepticism. Donald Lines Jacobus, one of America's great genealogists wrote "Traditions of Welsh origins of early colonial families are seldom verified."

It is true that Francis Marion Bristow's first Kentucky ancestor was a James Bristow, who probably was born in 1751 in Virginia. He was in Bourbon County, Kentucky, as early as 1789 ; and in 1791 he bought one hundred acres of land from Nathaniel Gist of Buckingham County, Virginia. His will is dated March 12, 1804, and probated in 1807 in Clark County, Kentucky. In this will he mentioned his wife, Margaret, and sons: John, Gideon, James, and Archibald. On March 5, 1807, Sarah Bristow, widow of James Bristow, released her dowry (and took slaves in lieu thereof) to the following heirs and "representatives of James Bristow: John Bristow, Gideon Bristow, James Bristow, and Archibald Bristow." Since family traditions disagree about the name of James Bristow's wife -- one claiming that she was the widow Margaret Paisley, nee Clopton, and another that she was Sarah Newman -- it looks very much as though both are correct. Apparently, between the time he signed his will and the time of his death, James Bristow married a second time.

Continued careful analysis of the family traditions in the light of available documentary evidence leads to a most likely conclusion that James Bristow who came to Kentucky in 1789 was a son of Jedediah Bristow, youngest son of John Bristow of Middlesex by his second wife, Mary Carter. One of the most earnest family historians states that James Bristow, his great- grandfather, came to Kentucky about 1789, and that he had four sons, Archibald, John, Gideon, and James. He also states that his great-great- grandfather was born in Middlesex County and moved from there to Buckingham County. Benjamin Bristow, a brother of the James Bristow who came to Kentucky, served in the War of the Revolution and was killed at the Battle of Brandywine. We shall see how the documentary evidence substantiates these statements, but, first we should point out, and explain, a few unsubstantiated claims that are contrary to both the facts we have and our assumptions.

First, the statement is made that the James Bristow who came to Kentucky from Buckingham County, Virginia, was a Revolutionary soldier in Captain Ashe's Company of North Carolina. This is apparently not so, as the James Bristow who served in Captain Ashe's company of North Carolina was the son of a George Bristow, grandson of a James Bristow, and a great-grandson of John Bristow of Middlesex. Moreover, this account has James Bristow, who came to Kentucky in 1789, a son of a James Bristow, Sr. This confusion could well have arisen from a mistaken identity in the Revolutionary War record. Since James Bristow, who came to Bourbon County in 1789, is sometimes referred to as James Bristow, Sr. and sometimes not, it could well have been assumed that there was a James there who was father of the James who came in 1789.

The documentary evidence, however, provides substantial support for the Buckingham County tradition. James Bristow did come to Kentucky in 1789 and he bought land owned by Nathaniel Gist of Buckingham County, Virginia. The tax records of Buckingham County reveal that a James Bristow was taxed there in 1782 for fourteen slaves, seven tithes, fives horses, and eighteen cattle. Along with him were Jedediah Bristow and Thompson Bristow. All Bristows disappear from the tax lists after 1787. Thompson Bristow probably went to Greenville, South Carolina, where the Census of 1790 shows him a resident.

Jedediah Bristow, youngest son of John and Mary Carter of Middlesex County, was born August 10, 1713, and baptized September 6, 1713, in Christ Church Parish, Middlesex County, Virginia. He married, first, Catherine Thompson and had issue, Thompson Bristow, born December 14, 1741. He married, secondly, Eleanor -------------? and, according to one family historian, had issue: James Bristow, born September 28, 1751; Benjamin Bristow, born May 19, 1755; and William Bristow, born March 1, 1758. From the parish records it is clear that Jedediah Bristow moved from Middlesex to New Kent County, thence to Buckingham. From there be either moved to and/or owned land in Albemarle County, where a Charles Bristow, possibly another son, witnessed a deed to four hundred acres which Jedediah Bristow had acquired from a John Thompson.

Finally, we have the tradition among the descendants of James Bristow of a brother, Benjamin, who was killed at Brandywine. William Benjamin Bristow, son of Benjamin Helm Bristow, and a prominent lawyer in New York City stated "a great-great-uncle (brother of James Bristow), for whom my father was named, served in the War of the Revolution and lost his life in the Battle of Brandywine." Now it is clear that Jedediah Bristow had a son, Benjamin, and that he, Jedediah, was associated with a James Bristow in Buckingham County, Virginia. The question now is, can we find any evidence of Benjamin Bristow, who was a son of Jedediah, losing his life at Brandywine? If so, this will strengthen the claim that James was a son of Jedediah.

The answer is yes; but the evidence, while consistent, is tenuous. A Benjamin Bristow did serve as a private in the Sixth Virginia Regiment of Continental Forces under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel James Hendricks and in the companies of Captains Billy Avery, Thomas Patterson, and Samuel Jordan Cabell. His last appearance on a payroll was July, 1777. Since the Battle of Brandywine was fought on September 11, 1777, he might have been killed before he received his August pay. As a matter of fact, this latter possibility is all but verified by the fact that on August 1, 1792, a sum of eleven pounds, eight shillings, and eleven pence was paid in the name of Benjamin Bristow, a soldier in the infantry, as the balance of full pay to C. Lipscomb. It is also known that the officers under whom Benjamin Bristow served lived after the Revolution in the adjoining counties of Amherst and Buckingham.

There are some other records worth noting. John Bristow, son of the James Bristow who moved to Bourbon County, Kentucky, in 1789, is said by all family genealogists to have married Sarah Glover. Also, the tombstones for John Bristow and his wife read:

John Bristow, died February 27, 1847
Sara Bristow, died July 16, 1831, age 53 years.

In Buckingham County, Virginia, a plat drawn October 15, 1813, shows that a John Bristow, sometime between 1762 and 1814, was allotted three hundred and sixteen acres of land as a legatee of one Edmond Glover. Also, in view of the alleged connection with the Paisleys, it is worth noting that when Thomas Pa(i)sley married Winnie Adcock in Buckingham County on November 17, 1787, a James Bristow was surety.

The amount and consistency of the circumstantial and indirect evidence justify a presumption of truth not to be exceeded by any isolated document or other direct evidence that has to be forced into a different context. Therefore, in the absence of any contradictory evidence, we can at least tentatively assume that James Bristow, ancestor of Francis Marion Bristow and Benjamin Helm Bristow, was a descendant of John Bristow of Middlesex. The same can be said for John Bristow of Tazewell, although the evidence in this case, although more direct, is not sustained by nearly so much circumstantial evidence.

The Reverend Archibald Bristow, son of James and Margaret (Clopton? Paisley?) Bristow, was born February 17, 1772, and died in August, 1846. He married Philadelphia Bourne, who was born January 10, 1778, and died July 8, 1829. Their children were America Bristow, Agnes Bristow, John Bristow, Sarah Glover Bristow, Virginia Bristow, Caroline Bristow, James Henry Bristow, Benjamin Franklin Bristow, Jerome Zaccheus Bristow, Anne Bristow, Philadelphia Bristow, and Francis Marion Bristow, born August 11, 1804, in Clark County, Kentucky. On May 3, 1831, Francis Marion Bristow married Emily Helm, daughter of Benjamin and Mary Edwards Helm. She was born January 25, 1808, and died April 4, 1882. Francis Marion Bristow died June 10, 1864. Their children were:

Benjamin Helm Bristow, born June 30, 1832
Mary Margaret Bristow, born September 15, 1834
Martha Marie Bristow, born March 18, 1838
Francis Henry Bristow, born July 26, 1840.

Thus it appears that Francis Marion Bristow and his son, Benjamin Helm Bristow, are, like William Wiltshire Bristow and Joseph Little Bristow, descendants of John Bristow of Middlesex County, Virginia. And so ends the genealogy.


References:

JOHN WALTON, PH.D., Professor of Education at Johns Hopkins University, is the author of the definitive biography, John Filson of Kentucky, as well as a number of major works on education, and many articles and papers in the fields of education, history, and literature.

Elsdon C. Smith in American Surnames, (Philadelphia. Chilton Book Company, 1969), pp. 303- 320. lists two thousand surnames that occur most frequently in the United States. The lowest incidence reported is fourteen thousand, and the name Bristow is not included.

Order Book, Lancaster County, Virginia, 1663, p.264.

See Mildred Campbell, "Social Origins of Some Early Americans" in Seventeenth Century Anerica: Essays on Colonial History, edited by James Morton Smith (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press) pp 63-89.

See Burke's Landed Gentry for 1850; also, Edward Jenkins, "The Bristows of South East England," Ms., Society of Genealogists, 37 Harrington Gardens, London, S.W. 7, pp. 228-245. This remarkable genealogy of the Bristows of Southeast England traces the family back to Stephen Fitz-Hamon of Burstow, Surrey who was born 1125.

Jenkins, op. cit.; and Mrs. Russel Hastings, "Calvert and Darnall Gleanings from English Wills," Maryland Historical Magazine, Vol. XXII, No. 3 (September, 1923), pp. 211-235.

For an interesting account of Nicholas Bristowe and his association with Henry VIII, see Peggy Hickman, "When Henry Threw His Hat in the Air," Country Life (July 19, 1969), pp.94-96. Henry VIII granted the Manor of Ayot-St. Lawrence to Bristowe in 1543. An account of this manor and the early Bristowes associated with it is given in Allan Chappelow's Shaw, the Villager and Human Being (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1962), Appendix, pp. 338-344 (Shaw lived for many years at Ayot-St. Lawrence. The genealogy of this branch of the family is well documented in Jenkins, Op. cit., pp.338-344).

See Jenkins, op. cit., pp.33-34.

Ibid. Probably the family of Bristows in Northern Ireland in which there were many distinguished clergy (Church of Ireland) belong to this family. Public Record Office, Northern Ireland. T 07S/22, pp.27.29.

See Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. II, pp. 1264-1266.

Bristol and America: A Record of the First Settlers in the Colonies of North America, 1654-1685 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1967), p.95. (P. 105 in the Bristol registers. Corporation Mss. in the archives of the Council House in Bristol.)

Middlesex County was formed from Lancaster County in 1673. For biographical information on John Bristow see M. E. Bristow, "Notes on the Bristow Family," Tyler's Quarterly Historical Magazine, Vol. XXII, No.4 (July. 1940), pp.43-SO. Subsequent issues of this magazine through Vol. XXIV, No.4 (April. 1942) bring the history of the family down to the present century. See, also, Gordon Byron Wrolley. John Bristow of Middlesex, and His Descendants Through Ten Generations (New York: Vantage Press, 1969).

Will Book, Middlesex County, 1698- 1718, pp. 171-172. John Bristow is mentioned as a son-in-law and one of the executors of the estate of John Nicholls.

The Parish Register of Christ Church, Middlesex County, is the source of this information about the children of John Bristow. There are no birth or baptismal dates for James Bristow, but the date of his marriage and the dates of birth of his children are recorded. Also, he is mentioned in his father's will as is Anne Bristow.

With the dates now available we can make an approximate estimate of the date of John Bristow's birth. He was apprenticed In 1663 for seven years, a term that usually indicated that the servant was a criminal or that he was seven years under majority. (See Campbell, op. cit., pp.76-77.) Since there is no evidence of the former, we may tentatively assume that he was born circa 1649-50. If that is so he was about thirty years old when his first child was born, and he was about sixty-seven years old when his last child was born. He died soon after.

Will Book B., p. 51, Middlesex County. John Bristow's career is documented in Woolley, op. cit., pp. 13-16.

To M. E. Bristow. It was written from Topeka, Kansas, and dated November 8, 1926.

Op. cit., vol. XXIII, No. 1 (July, 1941), p. 64.

Land Survey Book, No. 1, Washington County, Virginia, pp.120, 127, 132, 134, 136, 159, 160.

One researcher (Genevieve Peters in a letter dated May 25, 1961) read the date 1807.

Will Book, No. 1, p. 2, Tazewell, Virginia.

This information has been taken from well-kept family records published by M. E. Bristow, op. cit., Vol. XXIII, No. 1 (July, 1941), pp.64-65.

Lineage No. 438517, Daughters of the American Revolution.

Washington County, Virginia, Marriages.

See Tazewell County Deed Book, No. 1, p. 70, and Deed Book, No. 2, p.83.

Envelope with name of Barnabas Bristow, War of 1812, No. 3, contains a record of the Logan County, Kentucky Court, May Term, 1814.

United States Census of 1830.

This information has been taken from family traditions, and the family Bible. Also, see Will Book D, p. 66, Bath County, Kentucky.

M. E. Bristow, Op. cit., Vol. XXIII No. 1 (July, 1941), pp.64-65.

Woolley, op. cit., p. 26, Has John Bristow son of Nicholas and Mary Gardner Bristow serving in the War of the Revolution from Gloucester County before going on to Tasewell.

In a letter to M. E. Bristow, then of Gloucester Point, Virginia dated at Topeka Kansas, October 20, 1916, Senator Bristow stated that his great grandfather John Bristow Jr., of Bath County, Kentucky, corresponded with the grandfather of M. E. Bristow until 1840. Senator Bristow repeated this information in a letter to Francis M Bristow of Kansas City, Missouri, dated October 9, 1940. M. E. Bristow's grandfather was Larkin Stubblefield Bristow, born December 26, 1806, and died August 8, 1862. M. E. Bristow, op. cit, Vol. XXII, No. 3 (January, 1941), p. 176. There was a Larkin Bristow in Butler County, Kentucky (adjoining Logan County where Issac Bristow lived for a while) in 1830.

Family records in M. E. Bristow, op cit, Vol XXII, No. 1 (July, 1941), pp. 64-65.

This information is taken from Oren F. Morton, A History of Rockbridge County, Virginia, Staunton, Virginia, 1920, p. 486. Family notes say that Susanna's mother was a Brown. It is possible that Michael Gabbert married twice.

See excerpts from accounts of his activities in Woolley, op. cit, pp. 353-54.

His letters, together with those of his son, Elijah Lafayette Bristow, have been reproduced and published by the Lane County Pioneer Historical Society, Eugene, Oregon, 1961.

From James Gauguess, "Elijah Bristow" in Eugene (Oregon) Register. October 10, 1965.

This in formation comes from family records published by both M. E. Brisrow and Gordon Byron Woolley, op. cit.

Deed Book 1, p. 353, Tazewell County, Virginia. The date of the death of John Bristow, Sr. comes into question here. If the date 1807, rather than 1801, is correct, then it is obvious that John Bristow, Jr., sold his inheritance soon thereafter. Other deeds in 1808 indicate that 1807 may be the correct date.

Archives of the Pioneers of Tazewell County, Virginia, p. 162. Netti Schreiner-Yarstis, Springfield, Virginia, 1973.

War of 1812 Service Record; also Clarence Stewart Peterson, Known Military Dead During the War of 1812 (Baltimore, Maryland, 1955), p. 9.

Andrew Bristow's eldest son, born circa 1830. was named Francis Marion Bristow. Francis Marion Bristow of Todd County, Kentucky, did not have a statewide political reputation by this time, so we can assume that Andrew Bristow named his eldest son for his half-brother about whom we have only the vaguest knowledge, or that he named him for the "Swamp Fox."

From family records. The Reverend William Bristow married, secondly, Ellen Longwell of Kansas by whom he had John Benjamin Bristow, William McHendry Bristow, Bertha Bristow, and Harriet Bristow.

In addition to the list of descendants in Burke's Landed Gentry, none of whom were associated with Virginia. We know Mary Bristow, widow of Robert Bristow's great grandson, Robert, filed on behalf of her son, a great-great-grandson of the Robert of Virginia, for the lands of the latter, some four thousand acres, and a seven thousand acre tract escheated to the Commonwealth. This would not have occurred had there been descendants in Virginia. Legislative Petition, Lancaster County, Virginia. Request C7902, B1273, November 11, 1791.

In Genealogical Research: Methods and Sources, Milton Rubincam, editor, Washington, D.C., 1960 p. 15.

In that year he bought a horse. See Deed Book, E1, p.675.

Deed Book, B, p. 241. This deed does not mention a prior residence for James Bristow but refers to him as James Bristow, Sr.

Will Book, No. 2, p 261, Clark County.

Judge Louis L. Bristow of Georgetown, Kentucky, in a letter written in 1919 to Mrs. Emma Dunn Martin of Owensboro, Kentucky. Judge Bristow was born February 28, 1854, son of Reuben Louis Bristow, born January 13, 1811, and grandson of the Reverend James Bristow, and great grandson of the James Bristow who came to Kentucky in 1789.

Woolley, op. cit., pp. 37-38.

Buckingham, Virginia, Tax Lists.

Woolley, op. cit., p. 24. The author does not document this information. However, the Vestry Book and Parish Register of St. Peter's Parish, New Kent County, pp. 560-561, records the births of Benjamin and William Bristow, sons of Jedediah and ELeanor Bristow. This volume also contains a great deal of information about the Cloptons, a large, prosperous, and influential family in New Kent County.

Patent Book 25, pp. 58-59, and Albemarle County Wills and Deeds, No. 1, pp. 241-42. Charles Bristow received a grant of four hundred acres of land in Lincoln County (now in Kentucky) on the west side of Green River on Decemher 14, 1786. Grants, 6, p. 672.

In a letter to the author dated September 22, 1936, Judge Louis L. Bristow had similar information, although he promoted Benjamin Bristow to the rank of Major.

Register, Vol. 176, p. 390, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Tax List of Amherst County, 1783-85.

See M. E. Bristow, Op. cit. Vol. XXIII, No. 2 (october, 1941), p. 119, and Woolley, Op. cit., p. 39.

Cemetery on the Winchester-Paris Kentucky road that is on the land once owned by James Bristow, part of a six thousand acre tract belonging to Christopher Gist, father of Nathaniel Gist.

Surveyor's Plat Book, 1762-1814, p. 197.

"Buckingham County Marriage Bonds," The Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly Bulletin, Vol. I (1963), p. 14.

Perhaps a thorough search of all records in Patrick and Henry counties, Virginia, where there were Bristows not yet connected with John Bristow of Middlesex would yield further evidence. It should be pointed out here that there are other Bristow families some in Virginia, that have not as yet been connected with John Bristow of Middlesex; for example, a Margaret Bristow, widow, born 1751 wife of William? daughter of Valentine and Francis Harrison Powell of Prince William County heads a large family many of whom went to Kentucky. (See Julia J. Bristow, "Bristow Douglass and Allied Families," circa 1960.) Also, a John Bristow came from Bristol to Chester County Pennsylvania circa 1684. He was a Justice of the Court, a member of the Provincial Council and a Representative to the Provincial Assembly. He died in 1694. (See biographical sketch in George Smith, History of Delaware County Pennsylvania [Philadelphia I862] pp. 449-450.) His descendants are untraced beyond the fact that his children were John, William, and Hester.

The Helm and Edwards families were among the distinguished families of early Kentucky. (See Georgie Hortense Edward, "Historic Sketches of the Edwards and Todd Families and Their Descendants: 1523-1195," [Springfield, Illinois, 1894], University of Kentucky Library, Kentucky Reprints, III, 1964.)

From family records.


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