Edmund Brace




Edmund Brace (1797-1884)

Edmund Brace was born in 1797 in Connecticut. Where? When? To Whom? Those questions have yet to be answered. There are various Brace families with deep roots in the Connecticut, but thus far, no proven connection to any of those families has been found. Nothing is known about his youth, but by the time he was a young adult, he had moved from Connecticut to New York.

When he was 29, he married Jerusha Bennett, daughter of John Bennett and Sally Rockwell, on 15 Feb 1826 in Big Flats, Tioga, New York. Big Flats was still a new town at the time, having been organized four years earlier from the town of Elmira. Before it was called Big Flats, the place was known as Great Plains.

An account of the marriage of Jerusha Bennett and Edmund Brace was given years later when Edmund was applying for a Civil War pension.

Edmund Brace and Jerusha Bennett had the following children:

  1. John Brace was born in 1829 in New York. While serving in the Civil War, he died on 24 Jan 1863 in Covington, Kenton, Kentucky at about 34-years of age. His cause of death reported by the military was “apoplexy,” unconsciousness or incapacity resulting from a cerebral hemorrhage or stroke. He was mustered in at Aurora, Kane, Illinois on 20 Aug 1861 and had signed up for a three-year term of service. He was a private in Company E of the 36th Illinois US Infantry. His service records show that he was 5′ 9 1/2″ tall, with brown hair, blue eyes, and a dark complexion. Before his service, he was a farmer. Some records show that he died in Ohio. This seemed confusing, but Cincinnati, Ohio is near the border with Kentucky. He was buried at Covington, Kentucky and later moved to Camp Nelson National Cemetery, Nicholasville, Jessamine, Kentucky.¹
  2. Deborah Rose Brace was born on 08 Feb 1834 in Chemung, New York. She married Morris Albert Cummings. She died on 17 Apr 1896 in Newstead, Erie, New York, at age 62.
  3. Comfort Brace was born about 1835 in Big Flats, Chemung, New York. Like his older brother, he left farming to enter the service on 20 Aug 1861. He too was a private in Company E of the 36th Illinois Infantry. He was described as 5′ 6″ with brown hair, blue eyes, and a light complexion. He outlived his brother by a few months. He died on 20 Sep 1863, when he was killed on the second day of battle at Chickamauga, Walker, Georgia. He was about 28-years old. The Battle of Chickamauga was a Confederate Victory, ending a Union offensive in southeastern Tennessee and northwestern Georgia. It was a sad loss for Company E. Besides Comfort, the company lost their lieutenant, their sergeant, and two other men to death. Their captain was wounded and captured, as were five others. Many other men were wounded.³
  4. Thomas Brace was born on 09 Oct 1837 in Pennsylvania (or New York). He married Mary Carpenter on 01 Dec 1862 in Kendall, Illinois. He died on 12 Mar 1894 in Avoca, Murray, Minnesota, at age 56.
  5. Nancy E. Brace was born on 02 May 1840 in New York. She married Lewis Henry Congdon on 07 Apr 1858 in Aurora, Kane, Illinois. She died on 21 Mar 1915 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois, at age 74.
  6. Amelia A. Brace was born on 22 Mar 1844 in Akron, Erie, New York.  She married Albert Aveldo Phillips in 1866. She died on 21 Sep 1926 in Aurora, Kane, Illinois, at age 82.
  7. Joseph Brace was born about 1848 in Illinois, USA. It is assumed that he died before 1860. He was with his father in the 1850 Federal Census, but not in 1860 and no other trace of him has been found.
  8. Eliza H. Brace was born on 07 Nov 1849 in Kendall, Illinois. She married Alfred R. Vaughn on 31 Dec 1868 in Kendall, Illinois. She died on 13 Dec 1935 in Aurora, Kane, Illinois, at age 86.

On 16 May 1829, Edmund bought a little more than 22-acres of land in Tioga County, New York, from his in-laws, John and Sarah “Sally” Bennett. The purchase price was $250.

Land transaction: Edmund Brace, grantee; John and Sarah Bennett, grantors.
Land transaction: Edmund Brace, grantee; John and Sarah Bennett, grantors, continued.

In 1830, Edmund was recorded in the US Federal Census living at Big Flats, Tioga, New York. There were no other Brace families living in Big Flats, but there were two Brace entries, namely John and Nathaniel, in nearby Candor, Tioga, New York. Since families often lived near each other, it is possible that these men were somehow related. That might give a clue to someday finding Edmund’s parents.

1830 Federal Census, Edmund Brace, Big Flats, Tioga, New York.

On 11 Feb 1832, about three years after purchasing land from his her parents, Edmund and Jerusha sold the land back to John Bennett for $300. Having purchased the land for $250, they came out ahead by $50. When Jerusha’s father died in 1837, he left a gift of money to Jerusha. It is not clear whether or not Edmund and Jerusha owned any land in Tioga county after the 1832 land sale.

Land transaction, Edmund and Jerusha Brace, grantors; John Bennett, grantee.

In 1836, Chemung County was formed and Big Flats, where the Braces lived, became part of the new county. So, the family lived in Tioga County in 1830, but by 1840, Big Flats was in Chemung County.

1840 Federal Census, Edmund Brace, Big Flats, Chemung, New York.

The Brace family left New York and moved to Illinois. Edmund Brace acquired 80-acres of land in DuPage County, Illinois from the government. The land was in Township 38N, Range 009E, Section 19. It was the SW 1/4, Lot Tract #1. Today, the land can be described as between Oakhurst Forest Preserve and Madison Park in Naperville, Illinois.

Government land purchase, Edmund Brace.

We don’t know if the Brace family ever lived on the land in DuPage County. By the 1850 Federal Census, the family was living in Bristol, Kendall, Illinois. Sadly, Edmund Brace was a widower by the time of that census. Jerusha Bennett Brace died 10 Nov 1849, a few days after the birth of their last child. That last child, Eliza, isn’t listed with Edmund on the census though. Perhaps she was being cared for by another relative since it was not expected, in those days, that a man could take care of a baby by himself.

1850 Federal Census, Edmund Brace.
1850 Federal Census, Edmund Brace, continued.

When he was 54-years old, on 14 Dec 1851, Edmund Brace remarried to a widow named Elizabeth Williams. Elizabeth helped Edmund raise his children. They lived at Bristol, Kendall, Illinois through the 1850s and 1860s, and into the 1870s.

The Civil War took Edmund’s two oldest sons. The death of the oldest son, John Brace, left Edmund without any means of support. So, he filed a pension request asking for help. Edmund filed the application claiming that he had been dependent upon John running the farm for his own livelihood.  Edmund had to go through some hoops to prove that he was John’s dad and that he had been married to Jerusha, but he eventually was granted a pension of $8/month.

Edmund Brace, Civil War Pension Application.
Edmund Brace, Civil War Pension Application, continued.

Edmund Brace died on 07 Jan 1884 in Montgomery, Kane, Illinois. He was 87-years old.

Edmund Brace, Civil War Pension file.

Where is he in the tree?

Notes and Selected Sources:

¹ “Brace, John,” Illinois Civil War Detail Report, Office of the Illinois Secretary of State, Web, 23 Oct 2017, http://www.ilsos.gov/isaveterans/civilMusterSearch.do?key=25943; and “John Brace,” Find A Grave, Web, 23 Oct 2017, https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=398146.

³ Lyman G. Bennett and William M. Haigh, History of the Thirty-sixth regiment Illinois volunteers, during the war of the rebellion (Aurora, Illinois: Knickerbocker & Hodder: 1876) p. 482, Archive Org edition, (https://archive.org/details/historyofthirtys00benn : accessed 23 Oct 2017)

“Big Flats, New York,” Wikipedia ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Flats,_New_York : accessed 24 May 2018)

“New York Land Records, 1630-1975,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WN-54MK?cc=2078654&wc=M7C4-KTB%3A358135001%2C359700501 : 22 May 2014), Chemung > Deed index (Tioga county) 1791-1836 > image 28 of 269; county courthouses, New York; “New York Land Records, 1630-1975,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9WN-PHDB?cc=2078654&wc=M7CM-MNL%3A358135001%2C358919801 : 22 May 2014) Chemung > Deeds (Tioga county) 1828-1831 vol 7-8 > image 393 of 612; county courthouses, New York; and “New York Land Records, 1630-1975,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WN-PH3H?cc=2078654&wc=M7CM-MNL%3A358135001%2C358919801 : 22 May 2014)

“New York Land Records, 1630-1975,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9WN-PH3H?cc=2078654&wc=M7CM-MNL%3A358135001%2C358919801 : 22 May 2014), Chemung > Deeds (Tioga county) 1828-1831 vol 7-8 > image 394 of 612; county courthouses, New York. Deed records, 1791-1903; index, 1791-1942; Deed records transcribed from Tioga County v. 7- 8 1828-1831., Family Search – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, discussion list (familysearch.org).

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