Finding Your Folks: A little more Brandenburg

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

I was a little disappointed in myself last week when I couldn't find any more information on Lewis Brandenburg to share with you, although there was quite a bit of Brandenburg family history.

This week I went to Meriwether County to see if I could find more on him and at least uncover land and probate records. I sort of hated to leave the house because I have a visitor this week. My grandson, Daniel, is spending some time with me and I didn't want to leave him behind for a day. However, he's a typical teenager (18) and I shouldn't have worried. I left him with a computer, a cordless phone and a TV and he was in hog heaven.

I headed first for the Brandenburg deeds in the basement of the courthouse and was disappointed to find no deeds for Lewis Brandenburg. In fact, there were only 15 Brandenburg deeds (10 grantees and five grantors) through 1900. Most of the early deeds were for Alexander Brandenburg (I believe him to be Lewis's brother), with two for Rufus K., and one each for Regina W. and Lydia J.W. Brandenburg. These were both Kempson girls who married Brandenburgs, as you may remember from last week.

After copying info from the deed index and a few details from the deeds themselves, I headed upstairs to the probate office. It was there my stupidity hit me. Lewis Brandenburg's estate was there … but he was "Blandenburg" not "Brandenburg" and his estate information showed that he owned land. After getting the probate information I went back downstairs and there were the deeds for Lewis "Blandenburg," plain as day. (Kick, kick.)

Lewis arrived in Meriwether much earlier than I thought. We know he was in Orangeburg Dist., S.C. and was christened at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church there in 1808, along with his siblings. I found him in the 1840 Meriwether County census but land records show he purchased Land Lot 192 (202.5 acres) in the 8th District of Meriwether County for $600 on 27 Dec. 1834 from one Leverett Buckner. Witnesses were Abraham B. Ragan and W.B. Ector, J.I.C. So, Lewis was in Meriwether at least six years earlier than I thought.

Lewis's first land was about four miles north of Greenville, just a few hundred yards off the road that today goes from Luthersville to Greenville (highways 27 and 41) and, although he stayed there for some time, he apparently wasn't happy there. In 1851, he purchased 257.5 acres of land in Land Lots 139 (202.5 acres) and 140 (55 acres) in the 10th District for $1,200 from William Park. Witnesses were George A. Hall and Tyre Reeves, J.I.C. This land was where he would remain and was near Rocky Mount. He turned a profit on his first land in the 8th District by selling it to Benajah Fletcher in 1851 for $1,630.

In 1856, he added 40 more acres to his original purchase in Land Lot 140 and 50 acres in adjoining Land Lot 149 which he purchased from William Gill. Witnesses were Isaac C. Bell and Wilkins Stone.

During all this moving, Lewis was married to his first wife, Ann Hatton, who died tragically in April of 1854, leaving him with four children: Mary, Rufus, Lavinia and Olin. Lewis remarried quickly the following October to Mary D. Banks and had four more children. On 12 Jan. 1864, Lewis himself passed away intestate and Mary applied for letters of administration on his estate on 7 Nov. 1864. Administration was granted with the posting of $20,000 bond and Jacob Miller and William T. Loftin as securities.

According to censuses, Lewis and Mary Blandenburg's children were John Lewis, Martin Luther, Sarah L. and Lewis R. Brandenburg. However, according to probate records, they were Martin L., Martha L., John L. and Sarah L. Blandenburg." Uh-oh. No Martha in the census.

But the probate record has to be right. In December of 1868, Mary applied for guardianship of her children … "John L., Martin Luther, Sarah L. and Martha L. Blandenburg, minors of Lewis Blandenburg, Dec'd." and it was specifically noted that she was the mother of these children. Guardianship was granted with a bond of $1,000, with John L. Banks, Albert Fuller and J.W. Fuller as securities.

At the same time, C.C. Brittain (husband of Lewis's oldest daughter, Mary E., child of his first wife) applied for guardianship of Alexander Olin and Lavinia Ann Blandenburg, orphans of Lewis Blandenburg. It was noted that both were over the age of 14 and had chosen C.C. as their guardian.

Lewis's estate was appraised at $32,259 on 16 Nov. 1864, and included nine Negroes valued at $19,000 and various household items, farm gear, livestock and cotton. On 5 Jan. 1865, the appraisers assessed many of the items for the support and maintenance of Mary and seven children, including the family Bible and a hymnbook.

Although she moved in with her mother, Sarah Banks, in Pike County by 1870, Mary continued to administer the estate until her death sometime before 1876. At that time, C.C. Brittain applied to be administrator de bonis non (substitute in her place) to finish administering Lewis's estate. Administration was granted with a bond of $1,000 and James M. Herndon and Rufus K. Brandenburg as securities. The remainder of the estate was appraised and included only 135 acres of land which was sold to James Herndon on the first Tuesday in October, 1876, for $810.

I have only touched the high spots here. There is much more interesting information on Lewis's estate in the Meriwether Probate office. I hope what I found is helpful and I encourage descendants to check out the entire estate.

Stories about your families who lived on Atlanta's south side are always welcome. Send stories to or Mail to The Citizen, P.O. Drawer 1719, Fayetteville, GA 30214. All letters and e-mails I receive are subject to being used in the column.

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