Brafferton School Student List

I’ve been trying to find some way to obtain a copy of the thesis, So Good a Work: The Brafferton School, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, 1988, Department of History, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia by Karen Stuart.  This document says it’s unpublished but available through Proquest Dissertations and Thesis to universities.

I mean, I’ve got the bloodhounds on this.  Hat tip to Baylus for trying to interlibrary loan it for me into another institution in NC, and to my local librarian for trying to do the same here.  Know what?  Interlibary loan, well “it ain’t what it used to be,” much like that old grey mare.  The University of William and Mary has two copies, won’t copy them, won’t scan them, won’t loan then, won’t do anything with them except let you look at them if you visit there….and maybe that’s assuming too much.  Can you hear my level of frustration?

Why is this so important?  One of the first, if not the first, Indian Schools was at Fort Christanna in Virginia beginning about 1714.  It served all of the Virginia and NC Piedmont remnant tribes who were lumped under the group name Saponi.  Charles Griffin was the schoolmaster there.  In 1718, when Fort Christanna was closed, Charles was transferred to Brafferton, and he apparently took some of the students with him.  A list of students does not exist from Fort Christanna, but this thesis supposedly holds the names of the students that are still in existance from Brafferton.

Googleing my heart out, I did find a reference to one other person, a lady named Sonia, who went to the College to view the thesis about 10 years ago.  She posted the results on the Saponitown forum.  It’s a very old post (I’m not even sure the forum is still active), and I’m not a subscriber, so I have no way to ask her if this was all that was in the thesis about the students or if she was selective in what she extracted.  Her post is here:

I have reposted below what she noted:

These notes are from Karen Stewart “So Good Work: The Brafferton School”, William and Mary College.

June 1715. Griffin’s students numbered 70 boys and girls. (Fort Christianna)

Brafferton School

Year Number Other Info

1711 10 1 Chickahominy, 2 Meherrin, 2 Nansemond, 2 Nottoway, 3 Pamunkey (Spottswood)

1712 20 plus 4 brought years ago

1713 17 Spotswood; in the past as many as 7 or 8 at a time; now can get very few (Hugh Grove)

1736-1742 3 Will[iam Jeffries]; Thomson; Jno. Ward (Wharton)

1743 4 Scarborough; Stephen; Tomkins; Jno. Ward; two boys

1754-1755 8 William Cooke; Gideon Langston;

John Langston; John Montour; Charles Murphy;

John Sampson; Thomas Sampson;

William Squirrel

1769 2 Robert Mush; George Sampson

1770 5 [W&M Bursar]

1771 5 John Nettles

1772 5

1773 5

1774 5

1775 6 Mons.Baubee; George Sampson; Reuben Sampson

1776 5 James Gunn; Edmund Sampson

Thomas Wharton – treated students for their various illnesses 1736 thru 1743.

Jno. Ward







(School) Masters Of Brafferton

Christopher Jackson – 1716

Christopher Smith -1716-1718

Rev. Charles Griffin – 1718-1720

Richard Cocke – 1728-1729

Rev. John Fox – 1729-1737

Rev. Robert Barret – 1737-1738

Rev. Thomas Dawson – 1738 – 1755

Emmanuel Jones – 1755-1777

Rev. John Bracken – 1777 – 1779

Well Sonia, wherever you are, thank you for this much. 

As a followup note to this posting, Karen Stuart was kind enough to send me Appendix B of her disseration which lists the students.  All of the students on her list are in this posting, so it is complete.  Thank you Karen!

About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
This entry was posted in Chickahominy, Meherrin, Nansemond, Nottoway, Pamunkey, Saponi. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Brafferton School Student List

  1. Yvonne says:

    Roberta, my neighbor responded with this when I asked on Facebook: “Yvonne – I have a former co-worker whose wife was with William & Mary in Williamsburg. They live there now – what do you need and I will message him………….Let me know!!!” I’ve told her what you need, and I’ll let you know as soon as she gets a response from them.

  2. Hollis says:

    Good day! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after checking through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
    Nonetheless, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back often!

  3. Regina Lynch says:

    Hi I am Native American my family line is traced back to fort christanna I am trying to connect the tribes that were educated there I am hoping to find out how they received there english names and if possible what there tribal names were of family line Evans, Bass ,Richardson , Lynch thank you for your help currently I am a member of the Haliwa-Saponi indian tribe but I am researching how many tribes are within my own blood line.

    • lori says:

      I have traced my family back to fort christianna too……to john collins and cpt tom….and moses riddle…….and it would appear a bunch of the gibsons settled in macon co nc that was posted in the 1991 southeastern indian studies from unc. they even mention my collins. and it is so sad that none of the nc tribes of saponi want to enroll the collins. or the gibsons from macon co nc either………my question is this……why not?????

    • Santee says:

      I am a bass by blood as well as a canty ( catawba ) here is my gedmatch kit number SQ5896892

  4. Paul Campbell says:

    May I suggest reading “The Indians New World” by James Merrell, 1989. If researching the “Evans Family” (mine) this is a great source to start.

    • paul campbell says:

      Robert Mush aka “The Mush”, Marsh and Mursh, a Pamunkey Indian was enrolled at the Brafferton School, in 1769 as shown. John Nettles, a Catawba Indian was also enrolled in 1771. Its probable they knew each other as some Catawbas later sought safety in the Pamunkey Nation, Va. during the Rev. War. Robert married Elizabeth Evans/Harris (a Catawba) in 1782 as stated in his Rev War Pension Appl. (Robert Marsh Rev War W8416)
      Thanks to you, Roberta, and all who contribute who make this web site so informative. Your Brafferton School info was very helpful. Keep up the Good Work!

  5. lori says:

    Collins line of Saponis……went from ft christianna va to orange co nc to the new river area…of nc, va, ky…….and they are still there to this day…….i was made in the Appalachians, stayed in the Appalachians , and still in the Appalachians……we are saponi and we are still here……and no recognition.

    • lori says:

      I just want to let you know if anyone wants a copy of the treaties John Collins the saponi signed I can supply copies . just email me at……and to quote D. Richard Allen Clarkson, PHD ….A dissertation on Melungeons, a people of Saponi Descent…..the Collins are the most documented line of Saponi Indians in history and why they are not recognized as such is beyond him………He also said that calling a person a Melungeon is the equivalent to calling a black person the N word…..Melungeon is a racial slur that came from the word Melange meaning mixed…….and since our Native Ancestry is and has always been established………we are and have always been Saponi.

    • Santee says:

      Here is my gedmatch kit number SQ5896892

  6. Laura Cummings says:

    Great research! I was looking for info on Brafferton’s Native student names and you did all the hard work. Thank you!

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