Markham of Chesterfield
      Ancestors and Descendants of John Markham

Bio: Catherine Markham

Catherine Markham was one of the older daughters of George Markham and his first wife Sarah Hill. She was probably born about 1780 in Chesterfield county Virginia. Sometime before September 1799, she was married to Henry Branch, son of William Branch and Judith Scott. A marriage record has not been located. The young couple set up housekeeping in Chesterfield county Virginia.

Henry Branch has a very well-researched and distinguished ancestry, going back to Christopher Branch I who immigrated to the Americas from London in 1620, and appears in the muster of "ye Colledg Land" (later Henrico county Virginia) by 1624. His established lineage:
Christopher Branch I (1601-1682), wife Mary Addy (Addie), their son -
Christopher Branch, jr (1628-1665), wife Sarah Almond, their son -
Christopher Branch III (d. 1727), wife Anne Sherman, their son -
Henry Branch (d.1748), wife Amy Branch (a cousin), their son -
William Branch (1740-1796), wife Judith Scott, their son -
Henry Branch III (b abt 1775)), wife Catherine Markham.

When William Branch died in Chesterfield county Virginia 1796 he left his son Henry Branch "my land in Georgia on Upton Creek, purchased of John Talbott, esq of said state, 700 acres." Three years later, Henry Branch and his wife Catherine sold seven hundred acres in Wilkes county Georgia to Frances and Obediah Flournoy.

In the year 1800, George Markham, father of Catherine Markham Branch died. His Will in Chesterfield county Virginia states, "I give to my son in law Henry Branch what he has already received and one negro woman named Peg and two small black steers." The Order Book of Chesterfield county Virginia suggests that in 1801 Henry Branch took up guardianship of his wife's younger sister, Rebecca Markham. By 1806, Henry Branch appears as executor of the estate of his father-in-law, George Markham, and in he administered the estate of his brother-in-law, Bernard Markham.

Catherine Markham Branch and her husband were the parents of two or three identified children - George Markham Branch, Catherine Branch and, probably Judith Branch.

An 1810 Census record, and two documents in 1811 and 1812 help frame this family.

1810 Census of Chesterfield county Virginia; pg 65; Henry Branch; 1m 0-10; 1m 16-26; 1f 0-10; 6 slaves.

A bequest in the 1812 Will of Thomas Branch, brother of Henry Branch states, ". . . one third to my brother Henry Branch and his son George Branch, by first wife; one third to daughters of Henry Branch by his first wife, Catherine and Judith, minors . ."

These suggest to me that Catherine Markham Branch has died prior to 1810, leaving three children. Perhaps the youngest daughter lives in a household different from her father's, as there seems to be only one daughter in the 1810 census. I do not know why Catherine Markham Branch is referred to as Henry Branch's "first wife".

In the following year, 1812, Henry Branch prepared to set off to War. It appears that one of his daughters, Judith, has died. Some researchers indicate that Henry Branch had only one daughter named Catherine Judith Branch, and this may be correct.

1812, July; Henry Branch is entering military and wished to make provision for his family. Names two infant children--George Branch and Catherine J Branch. Provides slaves, horses. Also turns over estate, now in possession of his mother, Judith, which was the property of his father William Branch, dec'd. Lists several pages of debts. Appoints William Elam to handle, in trust, for the maintenance and education of his children.
[source] Note from Deeds of Chesterfield County Virginia; Book 19, page 312; July 1812.

It is not certain whether Henry Branch returned from the war. A scribbled note in my files claims, "Chesterfield County Virginia Mixed Probate, Book 9, page 227, appointing administrator for Henry Branch, dec'd, died intestate." Somehow I failed to record a date, and have not had an opportunity to search further. Though my note is not clear, I recall that Henry Branch died sometime around 1814-1815. William Elam administers the estate.

The orphan children of Henry Branch and Catherine Markham Branch were probably in the care of their grandmother, Judith Scott Branch. After her death in 1820 there are several records related to the sale of Branch family property. They mention "William Elam administrator of the estate of Henry Branch, deceased and trustee for the benefit of George Branch and Catherine Branch, children of Henry Branch . . "

Daughter Catherine Branch was married in 1818 to her cousin, Jacob W Branch. They appear together in the 1820 census of Chesterfield county Virginia, with one young son in their household. Branch researchers name the son George Edmond Lafayette Branch, but nothing further is found on this family. George Markham Branch, son of Henry Branch and Catherine Markham, appears in several deeds in Chesterfield county Virginia, but he has been very difficult to follow in census records. I have not been able to uncover descendants for Henry Branch and Catherine Markham, beyond their two children.

In the years 1999-2000 I corresponded with researcher Donna D Clark. She has done significant research on the Branch family, and was very helpful to me in defining the family of Henry Branch. Thanks Donna.

Do you want to know more?
Link to Catherine Markham
Sketch: Marching Off to War - Henry Branch and the War of 1812

Bio for Catherine Markham; written by Pamela Hutchison Garrett for John Markham of Chesterfield website; 2014.