Bray family came to Fairfield community after 1880

Published 10:05 pm Sunday, March 20, 2016

A sizable Bray family migrated to Covington County before the beginning of the Twentieth Century, but they had come only a short distance from Bullock in Crenshaw County where they were enumerated in 1880.

Ten years before that, in 1870, the young family was living in the Girard community of Russell County, Ala.

They had come there probably after the War for Southern Independence from Georgia since the head of the family rendered service in a Georgia Cavalry Regiment.

John Henry C. Bray was born in 1843 in Marion County, Ga., where his family resided in the Buena Vista community. In 1860, he was married in Chattahoochee County, Ga., to Nancy Caroline Morgan, daughter of Green Berry Morgan and Dorcas Tabitha Taylor.

Nancy Caroline was born in 1846 in Georgia and died in 1925 in Crenshaw County, Ala.

Her father was born in 1818 in Greene County, Ga., and her mother, in 1820 in New Hanover County, N.C.

Her parents later migrated to Crenshaw County, Ala., where they died and were buried in the Weed Cemetery near Brantley.

John and Nancy Bray were also buried there at their deaths.

Family tree records on report that John Henry C. Bray was the son of James Kenyon Bray (1812-1880) and Frances Horn who was the daughter of James Horn and Frances Bray.

James Kenyon was born in North Carolina and died in Georgia. Frances Horn Bray was born in 1812 in Buena Vista, Marion County, Ga., but the year of her death is unknown.

In the 1850 Federal Census of Marion County, Ga., the James Kenyon Bray family was recorded as follows: James, 38; Frances, 38; James, 12; Mary, 10; Elizabeth, 9: Henry C., 7; John, 5; W.H.H., 4; Martha, 3; Victoria, 1; and Frances Bray, 70, who was most likely James Kenyon’s mother. records also show James Kenyon Bray to be the son of John W. (1774-1850) and Frances (1780-1860) Bray, but Frances’s surname is not given.

Both the parents were born in Chatham, N.C., and John died in Crawford, Ga., and Frances, in Marion County, Ga. John W. was the son of Joseph Bray and Mary Arnold. Joseph was born in 1762 in Duplin, N.C., and Mary was born in 1763. Joseph was listed as the son of earlier Joseph Bray who was born in 1740 in North Carolina and died in 1800 in Duplin, N.C. This Joseph Bray Sr. was married to a lady named Hannah, but her maiden name is not listed. She was born in 1745 in Kickburton, Yorkshire, England, which accounts for some English ancestry. These are the earliest Bray ancestors this writer has been able to find for this family.

At this point the writer returns to John Henry C. Bray, the ancestor who brought the family to Covington County. As indicated earlier, John Henry or Henry C. enlisted for service in the Confederate Army as a private on June 15, 1862, at Buena Vista, Ga. He was assigned to Company D, 7th Confederate Georgia. Records show his unit was later named Company D, 10th Georgia Cavalry, C.S.A. He served throughout the war and was discharged in 1865 at which time he returned to his home in Georgia.

Records show he had married Nancy Caroline Morgan in 1860 in Chattahoochee County, Ga., and that they had a son, Tomas James who was born in 1861.

There was another record that indicated he married circa 1867, but the 1860 dates appears more likely.

By 1870, Henry C. had moved his family to Girard, Russell County, Ala., where he was a farmer.

The 1870 Federal Census lists the young family with a son named John at the age of seven months.

This is not understood since another record showed them with the Tomas James son being born in 1861.

By 1880, the family had moved on to the Bullock community in Crenshaw County where they were enumerated in that census.

Some years later they moved to the Fairfield community of Covington County, where they settled permanently.

Considering various records with differences in the number and names of children, the following is the best this writer could determine based on census and family records; therefore, it is advisable to realize there may be mistakes.

It is believed that James Henry C. Bray and Nancy Caroline (Morgan) reared the following children: Tomas James, b. 1861 or 1867, d. 1954; G.L. (female), b. ca 1869; Ellen V. or W., b. 1871, m. (1) Willie Prescott (2) ? Suggs; Mary A. or T. or F., b. 1874, d. 1963, m. Robert T. “Bob” Coleman; Henry Green, b. ca 1876, d. 1964, m. (1) Bama A. Marler (1880-1943) (2) Sadie ?; Sophia Della, b. ca 1881, d. 1970, m. William Henry “Bill” Palmer Sr.; Betty Elizabeth, b. 1882, d. 1955, m. William Columbus Goodman (1878-1937); T.L., b. ca 1882; John D. Hudson, b. 1884, d. 1960; m. Mary Clairrie Carter; Lula Caroline, b. 1888, d. 1968, m. John Hubert Palmer or Palmore (1886-1962); and Adder “Sis,” b. ?, m. Willie Prescott.

This large family was reared mostly in the western part of Covington County in the Fairfield community. A few members of the family were buried in the historic Jordan-Kelley Family Cemetery west of Padgett Road in the general area.

A considerable amount of genealogical data has been gathered on the various children and grandchildren, so additional stories will be printed in future columns.

Any one related to this family whom this writer has not contacted that has additional information on any of these relatives is requested to contact him.

Anyone who finds an error in the above or who might be able to provide more data is asked to contact Curtis Thomasson at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, Ala. 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email:

Sources for today’s writing include census records, family records of Hazel (Goodman) McClain, granddaughter of Betty Elizabeth (Bray) Goodman, and, especially for the early generations and history.



The Covington Historical Society will be meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 28, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. The program, which will be related to the collection of antiques, will be presented by George and Brenda Gantt. Guests are invited and appreciated.

The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will be meeting on a different date in April from the usual one.

The meeting is rescheduled for Mon., April 4, at 6:30 p.m., in the Dixon Memorial Room at the Andalusia Public Library. Hank Roberts, 1st Lt. Commander of the camp, will present a program on Blakely State Park, which was the site of one of the last battles in the war.

Anyone interested in Confederate history and heritage is encouraged to attend.