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Phebe BRANCH ( 1710) & Joseph TANNER (c1708; alive 1777), of Amelia Co., VA
Posted by: Charles Ward (ID *****4477) Date: November 02, 2010 at 19:22:48
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Joseph Tanner was born about 1708, the son of Thomas and Judith Tanner, grandson of Joseph Tanner and Ann Floyd, and great-grandson of Joseph Tanner and his wife, Mary. He was frequently referred to as "Joseph Tanner, Jr." in order to differentiate him from his uncle of the same name. Joseph Tanner resided in Henrico and Chesterfield Counties before establishing himself in Amelia County, purchasing 134 acres from his brother, Joel Tanner, in 1753. Joseph Tanner sold this 134 acres to Archelaus Tanner on 28 Dec 1769 (Amelia Co.,A Deed Book 11, p. 82). Joseph Tanner appears to be residing in Prince Edward Co., VA as late as 1777 and has not been traced further.

Joseph Tanner was one of three sons identified in the will of Thomas Tanner ( 1685; d.1765), of Amelia County, Virginia (Amelia Co., VA Will Book 2, p.101, dated 26 Mar 1763, probated 2 Sep 1765). He has been somewhat difficult to trace with fewer references in county records compared to those found for his brothers, Joel and Nathaniel.

Joseph Tanner's wife has been incorrectly identified, by some, as being "Lucy Creed." This appears to stem from confusion with a son sometimes assigned to him, Matthew Tanner (d.1809), of Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Matthew Tanner is known to have had a wife, Lucy, but her premarital identity has not been confirmed. As the given name, "Creed," was used in this family, it was apparently theorized she was a Creed. Current thinking speculates she may instead have been a Haskins, a family related to the Tanners, who utilized the given name Creed within their family.

A Bible that once belonged to Sarah (Morton) Tanner, the wife of Archelaus Tanner, identifies the wife of Joseph Tanner ( 1708; alive 1777). It records the marriage of Joseph Tanner to Phebe Branch, 27 Jun 1729. The presence of this marriage entry within the Bible belonging to Sarah (Morton) Tanner, wife of Archelaus Tanner, helps to confirm that the Joseph Tanner recorded as marrying Phebe Branch is indeed the same Joseph Tanner, son of Thomas and Judith Tanner, of Amelia County, Virginia. Archelaus Tanner is identified as a grandson of Thomas Tanner, in his will. The Bible entries have been transcribed and may be found online ><.

Phebe Branch, probably born about the year 1710, appears to be the daughter of Matthew Branch ( 1661; d. 1726), of Henrico Co., VA whose Henrico County will (Henrico Co., VA Wills & Deeds 1725-1737, pp. 31-32) identifies daughters Phebe and Elizabeth, both unmarried. This Matthew Branch was a son of Thomas and Elizabeth Branch and a grandson of Christopher Branch and his wife, Mary Addy (for a sketch of this family, see ADVENTURERS OF PURSE AND PERSON, 4th Edition, Volume 1, pp. 366-369).

The other daughter of Matthew Branch, Elizabeth Branch, married Stephen Woodson, 2 Nov 1730 (Stephen Woodson Family Bible). The record of their marriage identifies Elizabeth Branch as being the "....daughter of Matthew Branch, of Warwick," apparently the name of a family estate. It is significant to point out Matthew Branch died in the year 1726, as indicated by the probate of his will that year. His daughters, Phebe and Elizabeth, were left relatively minor bequests, both being left bay mares. They both married within a few years of their father's death.

We therefore can identify Phebe Branch ( 1710) as the wife of Joseph Tanner ( 1708; alive 1777) and can reconstruct their family group utilizing surviving records, identifying three children with varying degrees of certainty.

1. Susannah Tanner, born about 1733, married John STEWART, 12 May 1753 in Dale Parish, Chesterfield Co., VA. John Stewart was the son of John and Mary (Bowman) Stewart. The record of their marriage identifies Susannah as the "eldest daughter of Joseph Tanner." John and Susannah (Tanner) Stewart were living in Pittsylvania Co., VA by 6 May 1774. For additional information regarding this couple, please see my earlier posting, ><.

2. Archelaus Tanner, born about 1745, married Sarah MORTON, 21 Apr 1770. For a discussion of his identification as a son of Joseph Tanner, please see my earlier posting, ><.

3. Matthew Tanner ( 1730; d. 1809), of Pittsylvania Co., VA. He married Lucy, who is named in his will, but whose premarital identity has not been confidently ascertained. Matthew Tanner has been theorized as a son of Joseph Tanner in the past, but other candidates have also been proposed for his father. The identification of Joseph Tanner's wife, Phebe Branch, increases the probability he was the son of Joseph Tanner. It is significant that he would have likely been Joseph and Phebe (Branch) Tanner's eldest child and bore the given name of Mathew Branch, who would have been his maternal grandfather. Other interesting factors to consider are Matthew Tanner's settlement in Pittsylvania Co., VA where Susannah (Tanner) Stewart, a known child of Joseph Tanner, settled with her husband, John Stewart, and the fact that a member of the Ellington family was apprenticed to Matthew Tanner in Pittsylvania County, the family of Joseph Tanner having some association with this family, as his brother, Joel Tanner, married Lucy Ellington

Another possible daughter may be the wife of John Kelly, her given name, as of yet, unknown. A letter, dated 6 May 1774, between John Stewart, Jr. (husband of Susannah Tanner) and his father, John Stewart, Sr. makes mention of "brother John Kelly." The term "brother" cannot be accounted for within the family of John Stewart, so we are left with the family of Susannah Tanner and one possibility may be that John Kelly married a daughter of Joseph Tanner and Phebe Branch. It is important to remember Susannah Tanner was identified as Joseph Tanner's "eldest daughter," clearly indicating there was at least one other daughter. Some have suggested the use of the term "brother," may have been religious in nature, but this seems less likely. Nevertheless, the linkage between John Kelly and the Joseph Tanner family is rather indistinct and more evidence is needed, especially as we don't even have a given name for John Kelly's wife at this point.

It is entirely possible, perhaps likely, there were other children, as yet unidentified. I would welcome a further discussion of this family.

Charles Ward

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