Galbraiths of Donegal

(Variations of spelling: Calbreath, Colbath, Colbreath, Galberth, Galbreath, Galbreth, Gilbraith, Gilbreath, Gilbreth, Gilreath, Kilbreath, Kilbreth, Kulbeth)

According to the Pennsylvania Genealogies: Chiefly Scots-Irish and German by William Henry Egle, MD, MA, the Galbraiths were from a remote part of Stirling, Scotland in the “Parish of Baldunoch.”

“A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland, Volume 1” states that In Frazer’s statistical account of the inhabitants of the Isle of Gigha, the following occurs: “The majority of them are of the names of Galbraith and McNeill, the former reckoned the more ancient. The Galbraiths in the Gaelic language are called Breatannich, that is Britons, or the children of Briton, and were once reckoned a great name in Scotland according to the following lines translated from the Gaelic:

“Galbraiths from the Red Tower, Noblest of Scottish surnames.”

Culcreuch Castle

My Galbraith line starts with Martha, my 3rd great-grandmother, born about 1800. And, according to the Pennsylvania Vital Records, Vol. II and Lineage Book: NSDAR: Volume 164: 1921, married John Stitt on 23 October 1817. According to the same DAR Lineage Book, her father was John Galbraith and her mother was Anne, last name unknown. They married about 1786.

John’s parents were James and Martha McClelland, as the lineage shows. The lineage book also states, “James Galbraith was county lieutenant with the rank of colonel, 1777, and also served as private in the Pennsylvania troops under Colonels Miles, Bull, and Butler. He was born in Cumberland County; died, 1802, in Pennsylvania.”

I have not been able to find anything more about John, but his father was James, born about 1743 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, according to the DAR lineage and the Sons of the American Revolution. He married Martha McCelland about the year 1760. He was a captain in William Peebles company in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania March 1776.

In the Pennsylvania Genealogies: Chiefly Scotch-Irish and German by William Henry Egle, 1886, it states, James Galbraith ,5 (John ,4 Andrew ,3 James ,2 John ,1) born about 1741 ; died prior to 1790 ; was county lieutenant of Cumberland county in 1777 ; a soldier of the Pennsylvania Line in the Revolution; in 1783 , resided in “Washington borough , near Carlisle ;” married Martha McClellan , daughter of John McClellan ,* of Donegal .

Revolutionary War Battalions & Militia Index Cards. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

James’ father was John born about 1717. (notice the names alternating and staying in the family).

John married Jennet McCullough about 1742. Not much is known about this John either.

His father was Andrew born about 1692 and married to Mary Kyle.

Appletons’ Cyclopedia of American Biography; Volume: Vol. II

Andrew Galbraith,3 (James,2 John,1) was born about 1692 in the North of Ireland; came to America with his father, and settled along the run which has its source at Donegal meeting house, now Lancaster County, Pa., in the year 1718. Upon the organization of the county of Lancaster, he was appointed the first coroner, afterward, in 1730, one of the justices of the Court of Common Pleas and Quarter Sessions, a position he held for six years. In 1732, he and his neighbor, John Wright, were candidates for the General Assembly. At that time, none but freeholders were allowed to vote, and the only polling place was the town of Lancaster, where all voters were obliged to go. Mr. Galbraith took no active part in the canvass himself, but his wife mounted her favorite mare, Nelly, and rode out through the Scotch-Irish settlement, and persuaded them to go with her to the county town. She appeared at the courthouse leading a procession of mounted men, whom she halted and addressed. The effect was that her husband was triumphantly elected. After his first election, he seems to have had no opposition. He took out a patent for two hundred and twelve and one-half acres, May 2, 1737; and was one of the first ruling elders of the old Donegal church; appointed a justice of the peace in 1730, a position he held until 1747, when he removed west of the Susquehanna; he served several years in the Provincial Assembly, and was one of the most prominent of the pioneer settlers–a safe and trustworthy officer. After the year 1746, when he disposed of his farm, very little is recorded concerning him. (Pennsylvania Genealogies: Chiefly Scotch-Irish and German. William Henry Egle, 1886.)

Andrew’s father, James, is thought to have been born in Donegal, Ireland about 1666 and emigrated about 1718. He was one of the founders of the Old Derry Church. He was said to be a “man of prominence.” James married Rebecca Chambers about 1689.

Ca. 1880s lithograph: Old Derry Church – – Built A. D. 1720 – –
Repaired A. D. 1760 (Palmyra, PA, Dauphin County)

He died 23 Aug 1744 at age 78.

James’ father was John, wife unknown. He was born about 1646, born in Baldunoch, Stirling County, Scotland. It is thought that he died before the emigration of his sons, James and John.

From William Gilbreath of the Clan Galbraith Facebook group:

We do not know if James of 1666 was born in Ireland but he came from there in 1718. We don’t know that his father was John and we have failed to link James back to the first Galbraith family of Ireland, who arrived there about 1613. Our last Chief from Culcreuch fled to Ireland in about 1625 and left living sons in Scotland who might have lines to the present. We are pretty sure that Group 1 links back to the 1400s at Culcreuch–but we do not know if the Chiefs maintained the DNA into the future (or past to Bretnach of 1150).

From Dana Love same group:
We know the two groups have the same YDNA Haplogroup and most of the same markers which lead us to believe they were related at some point, but they are several generations apart. We haven’t found any source documents to tie them together.

DNA has become an important tool in genealogical research, and as more people take the test, the number of matches increases, making it even more useful. Hopefully, this will be true for these family lines.


Bridewell Boy (reposted)

Thomas Rowlandson, The Passroom at Bridewell, from The Microcosm of London (1808). © London Lives.

I had to repost this blog. Evidently, when you downgrade your package in WordPress, they delete everything from the time you upgraded. Luckily, it was only a few, as I had not posted in some time. And I had copied them to my Google Drive. However, I doubt I’ll upgrade with them at any point in the future because of that policy.


November 2021 has made me yearn to dig back into my family history and writing.  The yard in the fall needs less attention, and I have more time off from work.  I always find stepping away from family history awhile gives me more to work with…. more hints, records that have become available, and it gives me more clarity and motivation.  So, here I am!  I hope you missed me.

Over the weekend, I jumped back into my family tree and stumbled upon my 10th Great-Grandfather, Nicholas Granger.

I exist today because of this brave boy.  He is estimated to have been about 9 years old when he was shipped over.  Not all immigrants are adults, nor do all come with their families.

(All wording is how it was spelled in colonial records.)

In 1618, the Virginia Company formerly presented a petition before the London Common Council asking that one-hundred poor and vagrant children, who “lie in the streets… having no place of abode nor friends to relieve them” be shipped to the fledgling colony of Jamestown at the city’s expense. (See: Theodore K. Rabb, “Sandys, Sir Edwin (1561–1629″).

Seventy-five boys and twenty-five girls were accordingly transported for “running wild in the streets”, for being vagrant, on 27 February 1618; though it should be said that none of those apprehended and sent over were formally convicted in the London court system. (See “Records of Individuals ordered to be sent to Virginia, ca. 1618-37 from Bridewell Royal Hospital”).

“The Prospect of Bridewell” from John Strype’s An Accurate Edition of Stow’s
“A Survey of London” (1720)

Only a small number of these children survived in the harsh realities of early Virginian life, including two “Bridewell boys” called Nathaniel Tatum and Nicholas Granger who appear to have found some success in their new world. (For records of the two boys, See: Accession 26237, Library of Virginia: “Records of Individuals ordered to be sent to Virginia, ca. 1618-37.)

Nicholas married Elizabeth (—–) circa 1627. His wife was probably the Elizabeth Gringer, aged 33 who made a deposition in Mar 1634/5 in N’hamp County..4

On 13 Aug 1638, Alice Robins was reported as saying that if Nicholas Granger had not come to Virginia, he would have been hanged; but 9 year olds were not hanged, even in 1619.2

Side note: Alice was in the courts a lot according to my research.  It seems she and her husband liked to cause trouble.

Virginia Colonial Abstracts Transcript pg. 154

(Original Mutilated. Pg. 204. The fragments show:) “The deposition of R…this deponent aged…that he goeinge to…Nicholas Granger…the said p…Robins…her one…Robins…wise…Upon…Allice…the wife…whore…also at one…and Crabbing…therefore ordered that said woman for her misdemenoes shal be towed over the Creeke tomorrow at ten of the clock”

Goodwiffe Robbins’ wife was brought into court for slandering Richard’s wife Mary.  Goodwife Robins’ wife Alice received twenty lashes for this offense. It appears that Alice Robbins was a disagreeable person evidenced by the fact that she was quite often in court. For her slanderous offense she was “…lashed to the end of a canoe and towed over the creek”.

In another deposition, she is quoted as saying that Mary Hudson “was as badd as anie salte Bitch.”

Nicholas witnessed a will on 1 April 1639 at Northampton Co, VA. It was on this date that John Stringer and Nicholas Granger witnessed the will of Nicholas Harwood, who named a godson Nicholas Granger and gave him 500 lbs tobacco.1

Nicholas was mentioned in a will on 1 April 1639 at Northampton Co, VA. He was shown as Goodman Grainger in the will of Nicholas Harwood and was to be paid for “my dyett and attendance”.1

In his will of 1 Apr 1639, Nicholas Harwood remembered goodman Grainger for taking care of him and left funds to buy a “cowcalfe for Nicholas Grander, my godson”. A certificate for 200 acres, naming his wife Elizabeth as one of the headrights, was given by court to Nicholas Grainger on 3 Aug 1640.

On 1 Oct 1647 in N’hamp Co, Nicholas Granger deeded a heifer to his daughter Christian Granger. This was witnessed by Henry Armitradinge, who was involved in a similar deed the same day. Those deeds were in contemplation of marriage.2  Christian married Henry Armitradinge in 1647.

Nicholas patented land on 20 September 1647 at Northampton Co, VA. It was on this date that Nicholas Grander patented 350 acres in N’hamp Co near the head of Nassawattocks Creek, adjacent to the land of Stephen Horsey, but this land apparently was already included in a patent to Col. Francis Yeardley and was lost. He also had another patent for 350 acres on Pungoteague River and Pocomeck Creek, which he assigned to Nicholas Waddilow, which is mentioned in a new patent to Waddilow on 2 Apr 1655..2

He took the oath of allegiance to hereby engage and promise to be true and faithful to the Commonwealth of England, as it is now established without King or House of Lords on 25 March 1651 at Northampton Co, VA. He was shown as Nicholas Granger.4,5

Nicholas died after 25 March 1651 at Northampton Co, VA.4

What a brave man to have come from the streets of London to Colonial Virginia.

My line stems from Nicholas’ son, Nicholas (abt. 1627).


  1. [S497] James Handley Marshall, Northampton Co, VA, Abstracts of Wills & Administrations, 1632-1802, p. 4 (will of Nicholas Harwood).
  2. [S888] John Frederick Dorman, Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/5, p. 119 (Granger Family).
  3. [S887] John Frederick Dorman, Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/5, p. 68 (Muster of the Eastern Shore).
  4. [S888] John Frederick Dorman, Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/5, p. 120 (Granger Family).
  5. [S497] James Handley Marshall, Northampton Co, VA, Abstracts of Wills & Administrations, 1632-1802, p. 34 (Oath to be faithful to the Commonwealth of England).

The Cofer/Copher Families- Part 2 (Wescott Family)

Minnie’s parents were Robert E. Cofer and Martha Ann Davis, my 3rd great grandparents.  Not much is known about them except from records.  Both were from Virginia and were married in Norfolk when they were both aged 23.

Martha was the third of eleven children and they grew up during the Civil War during 1863 when President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation and when the Battle of Chancellorsville took place.

I have pictures of Martha circa 1918, but nothing of Robert has been found yet.


Robert was the fifth of ten children, but his father remarried and had four other children.  He also grew up and spent his live in Surry County, Virginia and grew up with slaves in the household.

According to Ruby and cousins, Martha went to a finishing girls private school for music and she had her own carriage and two horses.

Martha told her granddaughter, Elizabeth Cofer Reed, that she had not dressed herself until she was grown.  She also told her that the slaves did not want to leave when they were freed.  These are from notes left in Ruby Chapman Wescott’s things.

In 1900, the census shows Martha’s occupation as a “Professional Nurse”, at age 59.  Impressive.  Her previous occupations show her as “Keeping House”.  More about her family in my next blog.

In 1850, Robert is shown at age 16, with two of his brothers, to be an apprentice to a “carriage maker”, he was listed as a “mechanic” in 1860 at age 20 and in future census records, as being a “wheelwright”.   Skilled tradesmen were as valuable to the Confederate army as a musket-toting soldier.  A wheelwright was a highly skilled profession combining both woodworking and metal-working skills.

After 43 years of marriage, Robert passed away at age 67 of Dysentery which he had for three years before he died.  Martha lived until the age of 78 dying of heart disease.  They are both buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery, Norfolk City, Virginia.

Robert’s parents were Isaac Cofer and Mary C. Jones.  Both of whom grew up in Isle of Wight, Virginia.  Isaac owned a plantation and many slaves.  The first record being when he was aged 24 in 1830 and owned three slaves.  He and Mary were married two years prior.  By 1840 he had eleven slaves.  And, by 1860, he owned fifteen.  His Real Estate Value was $3200 and his Personal Estate Value was $8000.

In 1861, papers were filed on property of Isaac lost in the Civil War worth $1400.  It was his slave, John.  There are seven papers in this file with witnesses for Isaac stating John was an actual slave of Isaac, that he died in service, etc.  Government paperwork!


“The Southern Claims Commission was created by Congress on March 3, 1871, to compensate southern Unionists for property appropriated by the Union army during the American Civil War (1861–1865).  Although claims for reimbursement had been made since early in the war, such as the above claim, many in Congress had resisted authorizing their payment.” Source: Southern Claims Commission

By 1870, Isaac’s worth had decreased. His Personal Estate Value was $300 and his Real Estate Value was $3000.  He died about four years later at age 68 although there is no real proof of his death yet found.  I cannot find any record of a certificate or a grave.  Interestingly enough, Isaac’s second wife is a Sarah Jones (any relation to the first wife? I do not know… yet).

Two of Isaac’s daughter’s marriages are shown to have taken place at “Isaac Cofer’s Residence”.  Mary E. married a Confederate Army Captain.

Isaac Cofer’s parents were Reverend Joseph Cofer and Jerusha Lancaster (age 15 at the time of their marriage).  They too, were slave owners.  Jerusha died at age 39 leaving Joseph with ten children ranging from aged five to age twenty-three at the time of her death.   Less than a month later, when Isaac was age 41, his father married a second time, to Martha Wrenn.   They had three children together.  All in all, thirteen children for ‘ole Joseph!  Add to that Joseph’s twenty-five slaves and you have quite the plantation I assume.

In one of the genealogy message boards, a person is trying to find information on her family stating, “Family history talks about an Aunt Mandy and Uncle Charles Jones who were slaves that were free after the war and were residing with Joseph.”.

The below video is of an old grist mill owned by the Wrenn family which stood on Route 677, north of Smithfield.  The video is made from scans of a roll of medium format film taken in the late 1960’s with a Yashica Model “D” camera. The mill was demolished in 1989 after a pickup went off the road and crashed into it.




The below article was in something I found in my research while writing this blog.  I am hoping to get the previous pages as well.  Maybe I can convince my cousin, the history major, to make a trip for me and get me copies.

The book title is In the Neatest Manner: The Making of the Virginia Sampler Tradition
By Kimberly Smith Ivey.

Updated 3/11/18- Someone from my Isle of Wight Facebook page owns the book and supplied the missing page 90!

Southampton, Surry, and Isle of Wight Counties
Unity A. Delk and Elizabeth M. Cofer worked almost identical samplers to honor the deaths of their respective parents, Wiley Jones Delk and Jerusha Lancaster Cofer (figs. 123 and 124). Not shown here is an earlier sampler worked by Unity’s older sister Martha, which also commemorates the death of their father. In 1824, four years after the death of Wiley Delk, his widow, Martha Wren Delk, of Southampton County, married Joseph Cofer, a Baptist minister from Isle of Wight and Surry Counties. One year earlier Joseph’s first wife,

Regarding Jerusha's Youngest

Figure 123 – Sampler by Unity A. Delk, dated Sept. 5, 1834; attributed to Isle of Wight County, Virginia.
Figure 124 – Sampler by Elizabeth M. Cofer, age sixteen, dated 1834; attributed to Isle of Wight County, Virginia.

Samplers Delk and Cofer

On the website,, I found this which has the exact date of Jerusha’s death! How wonderful it would be to have this! How exciting for me to find this!!

Elisabeth Cofer Sampler Cropped

Isaac’s half-brother, Thomas Wrenn Cofer, is another fascinating figure.  Thomas owned and operated the T.W. Cofer & Co. which produced the Cofer revolver during the War Between the States. It was used by the Army of the Confederacy.

You can still purchase these rare guns for as much as $2,500.00 or so.  To read more about his patent and see his application and guns, click on Thomas W. Cofer Legacy  Believe it or not, after 157 years, his patent papers are still intact.

Image result for T. W. Cofer

Joseph’s parents were Thomas Cofer and Elizabeth Moody.  Ruby states that “Thomas and Elizabeth Cofer gave an acre of land to build the Mills Swamp Baptist Church.”  As proven in the 190th Anniversary newspaper article written in Aug 13, 1964 below.

190th Anniversary Article Mill Swamp Baptist 08131964

It is Elizabeth Moody’s father who I have been able to trace to the American Revolution thus far.  His DAR Ancestor # is A079173.

“Phillip is the ancestor who assisted in establishing American Independence, while acting in the capacity of Patriot (supplying Provisions for Virginia militia).

Although he was too old for military service, he served the county of Isle of Wight, VA as Justice, and was a member of Isle of Wight County, Virginia Court 1750 until 1751. 

He came from Gloucester County, VA and bought 477 acres in Isle of Wight on 22 Oct 1724.

This marks his time of settlement in Isle of Wight.”

He was one of the first head’s of families in the First Census of the United States.  Here is a copy of his will which lists not only his wife and children, but also his slaves by name. If you click on the picture below, it should open in a new window for you to view it in a larger format.

Phillip Moody's Will

Phillip is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Section 27, Site 1912.

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