My direct descendants are in bold type. This is a work in progress. Much of my direct line is documented, but some may not be. If there is a question, I usually include words like "seems likely" or "possibly" in hopes that it may help someone else or eventually get me closer to documentation. Also, I do make errors when transferring info to my files or to the site. If you find errors that you can correct, please e-mail me and I'll gladly make the changes or if you have more information on anyone mentioned here and can share it, I would be really appreciative.

If you’re interested in the Brantley Family, check out the Brantley Association.

Edward Brantley
My 5th Great-grandfather, around 1760-1837

Edward Brantley was born around 1760 in Bertie County, North Carolina and was likely from a family from Isle of Wight County who were early settlers in Virginia. He was married before 1790 and his first wife gave birth to his son Augustus.

Edward Brantley is listed in the muster rolls of the soldiers of the War of 1812 who were detached from the Militia of North Carolina.

After his wife died, he married Clarissa Cole (possibly Cale) on May 10, 1832 in Bertie County. Five years later, in 1837, Edward died in Bertie County. The legatees of the will were his son Augustus, his daughter Margaret Sorrell, his friend Charlton Rogers and his step daughter, Mary Cale. Josiah Holley, Edward Hardy and William N. Pierce were witnesses.

Will of Edward Brantley

I, Edward Brantley of the County of Bertie and state of North Carolina, do make and ordain this my last will and Testament in manner and form as follows to wit:

Item I give and Bequeath unto my beloved Wife Clarissa, three hundred pounds of pork six barrels of corn, one sorol and pigs, ten pound coffee, ten pound sugar, six gallons molasses and all the property she possessed before I married her, seventy five pounds flower;

Item I give to my beloved son Augustus Brantley all my Currituck tract of land where I now live and one negroe man Stephen. I also wish all my stock, one grey mare, all my cattle, hogs, sheep, house hold and kitchen furniture, farming utensils all to be sold and the money divided between my wife Clarissa and son Augustus Brantley, after my just debts is paid one third to my wife and two thirds to my son Augustus Brantley. Item I lend to my daughter Margaret Sorrell, my Winton tract of land during her life and at her death to be equally divided between her children. — second page lost

The children of Edward Brantley and Clarrisa Cole/Cale:

Last First Born Location Born Died Location Died Spouse
Brantley Augustus 1811 Bertie Co., NC 14 Sept 1876 Haywood Co., TN Martha White
b. 1812
Zilpha King
Brantley Margaret Bertie Co., NC Sorrell

Augustus Brantley
My 4th Great-grandfather, 1811-1876

Edward’s son, Augustus Brantley moved from Bertie to Haywood County between 1834 and 1837. His oldest son, Daniel was born in 1833 in North Carolina and his second son, Robert, was born in 1837 in Tennessee according to the 1850 census. His first wife Martha White was the mother of six of his children. Martha was the daughter of Solomon H. and Martha Ann Outlaw White. Solomon was born in 1770 in Hertford County, North Carolina and Martha Ann Outlaw was the daughter of Thomas Outlaw.

In the census of 1840, Augustus was 28. Living in his home were six people. Five “free white persons” and one slave who was a female between the ages of 10-23. Other heads of families who were living around the Brantley family were Robert W. Duckworth, who was the grandfather of Confederate Civil war captain Alexander Duckworth, Bemberry White who was Martha Outlaw White’s brother, William Watridge, Edward Steele, George Thomas who was the minister at Zion Baptist Church, Dempsy Nowell, and John Dawson Castellaw who led many of the wagon trains from Bertie County.

A decade later, in the census of 1850, Augustus and Martha were farming land next to the Booth family. A few years later Louisa Booth married Augustus’s oldest son, Daniel. In 1850, the value of the Brantley’s land was $700. Living in the home was Augustus and Martha who were 38 and 39, Daniel who was 17, Robert who was 13, Mary who was 10, Julius who was 7, Henry who was 5 and Solomon Norman, the youngest who was 3. Just a year later, on January 2, 1851, Martha died at age 40 in Haywood County.

Augustus’ second marriage was to Zilpha King. Together,  Zilpha and Augustus had a daughter. Zilpha had been born in North Carolina in 1823 so she was a decade younger than her husband.

In the 1860 Slave Schedule, Augustus had three slaves: a 37-year-old black female and two males ages 15 and 8, likely the sons of the female slave.

In the 1860 census, his oldest son Daniel had married Louisa Booth, whose family farmed the land next to the Brantleys, and moved to Ripley, Tennessee. Robert is not listed as living in Augustus’ home and was 23 so had likely moved out. Augustus was 48 and his second wife, Zilpha was 37. His son Julius was 18 and living with he and Zilpha, as was 15-year-old Henry and 13-year-old Solomon Norman. Zilpha and Augustus’ daughter, Margaret, was 18 months old. Also living with the family was Jenette McDaniel a 17-year-old from Arkansas.

According to tax records, in 1962, Augustus was farming 117 acres.

The Civil War greatly affected this family. A questionnaire filled out by Augustus and Martha’s son, Solomon offers an interesting look at the family and their life in Haywood County. Solomon wrote that the family lived in a frame house that included four rooms with a front and back porch. He remembered that, at the start of the Civil War, they farmed 320 acres and his father owned five slaves. His father ran the farm and his mother was “was boss over the negro women who done the cooking, spinning and weaving.” When asked about the kind of work he did, Solomon wrote, “General farm work. I was an expert with a hoe. We cut wheat with a cradle. Tramped it out with horses and cleaned same with a fan by hand.”

Oldest son Daniel enlisted in the Union Army on January 3, 1963 and fought in the Company G Indiana 52nd Infantry.

During The Battle at Pleasant Hill, he was captured and taken to Camp Ford in Tyler, Texas where he died on Aug. 23, 1864, most likely from dysentery.

He was buried in Alexandria National Cemetery in Pineville, Rapides Parish, Louisiana on September 7, 1864 (section b, site 1027). Source

You can find out more about Daniel and Louisa Booth Brantley on my blog.

Augustus’ son Julius enlisted in the Confederate Army on July 10, 1863 and was a member of the 12th Tennessee Calvary, C.S.A. He died after just five months later on Dec 18, 1863 in Ft. Pillow, Tennessee. Source: Coming Like Hell! By Waldon Loving

Augustus’ son Solomon Normon Brantley enlisted in the Confederate Army on October 1, 1963 and was a member of the 7th Tennessee Calvary, Company L. which he referred to as, “Forrest’s Command.” Solomon was discharged in Gainesville, Alabama in May 1865. Solomon’s Tennessee Civil War Veterans Questionnaire that he filled out in 1922 when he was 75, offers a very interesting look at his memories of the war.

Augustus and both wives were members of Zion Baptist Church.

Augustus died September 10, 1876 and Zilpha died March 17, 1893

Obituary of Zilpha Brantley

Sister Zilpha Brantley died at her home near Jones Station, West Tennessee on March 17th, 1893 after a lingering illness. Sister Brantley was born in Pitt County, NC in 1823. When a small child, she moved with her parents to Tennessee. When about twenty-five years old, she professed faith in Christ and was baptized into the fellowship of the *Johnson Grove Baptist Church by Rev. George E. Thomas. In after years, she married Brother Augustus Brantley and moved her membership to Zion Church. We tender our deep sympathy to her only daughter. Zilpha’s obituary was written by D.A. Stewart, N.J. Stewart and Mattie Jones who were commissioned by Zion Baptist Church.
Source: Nicolas Cobb Descendants, page 319
*note: this is the church built on land donated by Charles Randall Johnson, the father of Nancy Marianna Johnson Castellaw.

The children of Augustus and Martha White Brantley were:

Last First Born Location Born Died Location Died Spouse
Brantley Daniel 1833 Bertie Co., NC  7 Sept 1864  Tyler, Texas Sara Louisa Booth
b. 1836
m. 2 Nov 1882
d. 23 July 1915
By 1850, Daniel had moved with his family to Haywood County, TN. Children of Daniel and Sara were: Martha, Emma and Elizabeth.
When enlisting in the army, Daniel stated he was from Ripley, TN. Daniel enlisted in the Civil War as a Union soldier. His brothers Solomon and Julius and many of his friends and neighbors, of course, fought for the Confederacy. Daniel enlisted on Jan. 3, 1863 at the age of 30 in Company G Indiana 52nd Infantry. He died September 7, 1864 in Camp Ford in Tyler, Texas and is buried in Alexandria National Cemetery in Louisiana.
Brantley Robert 1837 Haywood Co.
Brantley Mary 1840 Haywood Co.
Brantley Julius 1842 Haywood Co. 18 Dec 1863 Ft. Pillow, TN
Brantley Henry Day 1845 Haywood Co. Nov 1918 Haywood Co., TN Margaret Rebecca Steele
m. 27 Mar 1866
Brantley Solomon Norman 1848 Haywood Co. Nancy A. Abernathy
Children of Solomon and Nancy were: Augustus, Emmett A., Alsia, Infant, William L., Emma Clay, and Raynmond. In the 1910 census, Solomon is 62, Nancy is 53 and 18 year old Emma Clay Brantley is the only one living at home. They are living in district 7, Laudedale, TN
In 1923, Solomon was still alive and age 75 when he filled out the Civil War Questionnaire.


Henry Day Brantley
My 3rd Great-grandfather, 1845-1918

Henry Day Brantley

Henry Day Brantley was born in 1845 in Haywood County, Tennessee. He joined Zion Baptist Church at the age of 14 and was baptized by Reverend George E. Thomas. He was married to Margaret Rebecca Steele on March 27, 1866 when Margaret was just 14 and Henry was 20. Margaret’s father was Andrew Patterson Steele and her mother was Sarah Elizabeth Butterton.

Her father Andrew died on June 16, 1861 when Margaret was just 11 so it was probably a matter of survival that she marry quickly.

Henry built a cabin off what is now called Brantley Road. Part of the cabin still stands and his initials are carved on one of the beams by the front door.

In the census of 1870, Henry was 25 and Margaret was 19 and they had two children, Julia who was two and Martha who was not yet one. They were farming 600 acres. Ten years later, in 1880, Julia was 12, Martha was 10, Henry Preston was six, Walter was four, Edward was two and a baby who was not yet named was two months old.

Henry Day and Margaret Brantley

Edward who they called, “Eddie” died soon after the census was taken in 1880 and was buried in the Brantley Family Cemetery a short distance from their house.

Julia Anna died a few years later in 1884 when she was just 14 and was also buried in the family cemetery.

Obituary of Julia A. Brantley
Sister Julia A. Brantley daughter of Henry D. Brantley and M.B. Brantley was borned the 24 of January, 1868 and was baptized in the fellowship of Zion Church the 24 of August 1882 and lived a consistent member until death which was the 19th of December 1884.
Written by Committee: J.C.W. Cobb, D.H. Watridge and W.D. Joyner

According to the book Nicholas Cobb Descendents,in Sim Cobb’s diary he mentions that on March 15, 1890, he went to church on a Saturday and then stopped at H.D. Brantley’s for dinner.

In 1900, Henry was 55 and Margaret was 48. Living at home was Archie who was 20, Vivian who was 18, Reginald who was 14, Maggie who was 11 and Wayland who was 8. Also living in the home at the time was Archie’s 20-year-old wife, Mary Castellaw Brantley who was the daughter of Thomas Jefferson Castellaw Sr.

The homestead settled by Henry Day Brantley and Margaret Rebecca Steele. His initials are carved on a beam by the front door. Later, Rabbit (Clyde) and Ludie Mae Lovelace and their eight children lived in a big white house that was built around the original Brantley log house. They never had any grass in the yard because they had so many children. After Rabbit and Ludie Mae died, the house—with the exception of the chimney—was torn down and Henry Day Brantley’s cabin was partially restored. Since this photo was taken, the house and chimney has been removed.

Eventually, three daughters of John Dawson Castellaw married three sons of Henry Day Brantley. In addition to Mary Castellaw marrying Archie Brantley, Emily Castellaw married Walter Brantley and Josephine Castellaw married Vivian E. Brantley. All the wives were nieces of my 2nd great-grandfather Thomas Jefferson “T. J.” Castellaw Jr. (John Dawson and T. J. were brothers) and all the husbands were brothers of my 2nd great-grandfather Preston Brantley.

By 1910, Henry and Margaret had only one child still at home, Wayland who was 19. The others had either died or moved to farms of their own.

Henry and Margaret had ten children and twenty-four grandchildren. Henry Brantley was afflicted for several years with an unknown illness. He died on November 5, 1918. His son Reginald died just 11 months later.

Obituary of Henry Day Brantley
Brother Henry D. Brantley was born in the year 1845. He was the son of Augustus and Martha Brantley. He joined Zion Church at the age of fourteen years and was baptized by Rev. George E. Thomas. He was married to Margaret Steele in 1866 to whom ten children were born. Two have passed over the river. There are 24 grandchildren. He departed this life in November, 1918.

Obituary of Reginald A. Brantley
Whereas it has pleased the Lord in his infinite wisdom to take from our midst our brother Reginald A. Brantley. Bro Brantley was born Oct 26th 1885 and he died Feb. 16th 1919. He joined Holly Grove Baptist Church at the age of 16, after being a member of this church three years he moved his membership to Zion, where he was a member when death claimed him. Therefore be it resolved that the community in which he lived has lost a good citizen, his wife a loving dutiful husband, and be it further resolved that we extend our sympathy to his bereaved companion, widowed mother and two little fatherless girls commend them to Him.

Henry Day and Margaret Rebecca Steele Brantley likely with Maggie, Reginald and Wayland. The photo was likely taken around 1900.

When Henry died in 1918, Margaret moved in with her son and daughter-in-law, Archie and Mary Brantley and lived with them for 12 years.

She lived until 1930 when she died at 80.

She was buried next to Henry in the family cemetery and, at some point, a conch shell was placed on her headstone where it still sits today. Perhaps this was an item she brought with her to Haywood Co. from Bertie Co., NC.

Margaret Rebecca Steele Brantley late in her life and the headstone of she and her husband, Henry Day Brantley.


Conch shell on the headstone of Henry Day and Margaret Brantley


Headstones in The Brantley Family Cemetery of Reginald Brantley, Jessie Thomas, Julia Anna Brantley and Eddie Brantley.


The Children of Henry Day and Margaret Rebecca Steele Brantley were:

Last First Born Location Born Died Location Died Spouse
Brantley Julia Anna 24 Jan 1868 Haywood Co., TN 24 Aug 1884
Age: 14
Haywood Co., TN
Buried: Brantley Family Cemetery
Haywood Co., TN
Brantley Martha Elizabeth 1870 Haywood Co., TN 1948
Age: 78
Haywood Co., TN James T. Cobb
b. 1871
m. 25 Dec 1893
The children of Martha and James were Jesse Thomas (died before age 1), Anna May (married O.T. White), Muriel Carolyn and Jim D. (died at age 25).
Brantley Henry Preston 11 Oct 1872 Haywood Co., TN 15 May 1956
Age: 84
Haywood Co., TN
Buried: Cobb Family Cemetery
Haywood Co., TN
Mary Etta Cobb
b. 15 May 1871
m. 11 Jul 1894
d. 5 Jan 1935
Age: 64
Buried: Cobb Family Cemetery
Brantley Walter 12 Jul 1876 Haywood Co., TN 1933
Age: 57
Haywood Co., TN
Buried: Holly Grove Baptist Church Cemetery
Haywood Co., TN
Emily Castellaw
b. 1880
m. 5 Dec 1897
d. 1926
Age: 46
Buried: Holly Grove Baptist Church Cemetery
Emily was a daughter of Joseph Dawson Castellaw who was half brother of Thomas Jefferson Castellaw Jr. Their father was Thomas Jefferson “T.J.” Castellaw Sr.
The children of Walter and Emily Castellaw were Henry E. and Alton R.
Brantley Edward “Eddie” Cuzan 1878 Haywood Co., TN 1880
age: 2
Haywood Co., TN
Buried: Brantley Family Cemetery
Haywood Co., TN
Brantley Archie Erbert 21 March 1880 Haywood Co., TN 25 Oct 1953
age: 73
Haywood Co., TN Mary Castellaw
b. 1878
d. 1962
age: 84
Mary was the daughter of Joseph Dawson Castellaw who was the half brother of Thomas Jefferson Castellaw Jr. Their father was Thomas Jefferson “T.J.” Castellaw Sr.
Archie and Mary Frances had no children. Both are buried in Holly Grove Baptist Church Cemetery. Margaret Brantley lived with Archie and Mary Brantley from the time her time her husband died until her death sometime after 1930.
Brantley Vivian E. “Viv” 1882 Haywood Co., TN 1964
age: 82
Haywood Co., TN Joseph Lyda Castellaw
b. 1882
m. 29 Oct 1900
d. 1923
age: 41Anna Josephine Proctor
b. 1908
m. 22 Aug 1927
d. 1981
age: 73
On Oct 29, 1900, Viv married Joseph Lyda Castellaw who was a granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson Castellaw, my third great grandfather on my father’s side, and his first wife Mary Elisar Castellaw.

Two of Viv’s brothers, Archie Brantley and Walter Brantley married sisters of Joseph Lyda Castallaw, Mary Castellaw and Emily Castellaw. So three sons of Henry Day Brantley married three daughters of Thomas Jefferson Castellaw Sr.

Lyda Castellaw Brantley’s uncle (the brother of her mother, Emily Thomas Castellaw) was Revered George Thomas who moved to Haywood Co., TN around 1840 to be the pastor of Zion Baptist Church.

Lyda died of liver cancer on August 12, 1923 at age 41, leaving behind three children: Joseph, age 22, Robert “Bob,” age 11, and Margaret, age seven. Their last child, Larry Archie, had died as an infant the previous year at seven months old. Both Lyda and Larry Archie are buried at Holly Grove Baptist Church Cemetery in Haywood Co.

Margaret Brantley, daughter of Viv and Lyda Brantley

Four years later, on Aug. 22, 1927, Viv married Anna Josephine Proctor. He was 45 and she was 19.

They had three children: Jerry Proctor, Barbara Josephine and Larry Day, whose middle name came from his grandfather, Henry Day Brantley.

Viv died on July 12, 1964 at age 84 in Haywood Co. and Josephine died in Feb. 1981 at age 72.


Photo courtesy Julie Brantley English
Viv and Josephine Brantley and their son, Larry Day Brantley

Brantley Reginald A. 26 Oct 1885 Haywood Co., TN 16 Feb 1919
age: 34
Haywood Co., TN
Burried: Brantley Family Cemetery
Haywood Co., TN
Crodie Ethel Williams
b. 1890
The children of Reginald and Crodie were Elven and likely Alma since they appear together in this photo and written on the back is, “Elven and Alma Brantley.”

Photo Courtesy Julie Brantley English


Henry Preston Brantley
My 2nd Great-grandfather, 1894-1956

Henry Preston Brantley around 1890

Henry Day and Margaret Rebecca Steel Brantley’s son, Henry Preston married Mary Etta Cobb on July 11, 1894 when he was 22 and she was 23.

She was the daughter of Elizabeth Temperance Outlaw and Thomas Cobb. Mary Etta’s paternal grandfather was John Hardy Cobb who had arrived in Haywood County from Bertie County, North Carolina on April 22, 1834. Two of his sisters, Mourning Outlaw and Frances Steele had already moved there some time before.

Mary Etta’s maternal grandfather was George W. Outlaw. In 1832, George, his wife Ludie Perry and his family began the trip from Bertie County along with his widowed father. Unfortunately, his father, Jacob Outlaw died in Knoxville before completing the journey. Ludie died in 1842 when her daughter Elizabeth was just 6 years old. George did not marry again until 1860 when, at 57, he married 20-year-old Rowena Linley. His daughter, Elizabeth Temperance Outlaw Brantley, and her siblings did not approve of the marriage, so in 1860 he moved with his new wife to Earle, Arkansas where died just a year later.

Photo courtesy Elsie Watkins Haynes / Preston and Mary around the time of their wedding in 1894.
Photo courtesy Elsie Watkins Haynes / Mary Etta Cobb Brantley around 1900.

Preston and Mary Etta had their first child 11 months after their marriage when Gladys was born, followed two years later by a son they named William Day. He was my great-grandfather.

Photo courtesy Elsie Watkins Haynes / Preston and Mary Etta Cobb Brantley with; back row, Clara and Gladys, standing William “Willie,” Mary in Mary Etta’s lap and Guy in Preston’s lap. Photo taken around 1910.

In the census of 1900, the Brantleys lived next door to Mary Etta’s parents, Thomas and Elizabeth Cobb on one side, while Henry’s parents Henry Day and Margaret lived one farm over with their five children who were still young enough to still be living with their parents. Their son Julius A. was born in 1907 but died before the 1910 census and was buried in the Cobb family cemetery across the road from their farm. There is also an infant Brantley buried next to Julius who is likely a daughter who died at birth or shortly after. There is no headstone for either child’s grave.

In 1910, Preston and Mary Etta had five living children. Gladys was 14, William Day was 12, Clara was 7, Guy was 5 and Mary was 1. They still lived next door to Thomas and Elizabeth Cobb but now, the next farm over belonged to Charles and Nancy Jane Lovelace and their family. They were my 2nd great-grandparents.

In 1916, Preston and Mary Etta’s son William Day married Allie Marbury and they moved to a farm of their own. In the census of 1930, Gladys was 34, Guy was 24 and Mary was 21 and all continued to live at home with Preston and Mary Etta.

Photo courtesy Elsie Watkins Haynes / Mary Etta Cobb around 1900 Gladys Brantley around 1896 and Willie Brantley around 1898.


Preston was called “Gran’ Daddy Preston” and Mary Etta was called “Maw” by their grandchildren.

Mary Etta died in 1935 at age 63 and, that same year, Mary married Herbert Marbury and left home.

Photos courtesy Elsie Watkins Haynes / Henry Preston Brantley in the late 1950s. Photographed in 1965 at a family gathering is (l to r) Guy Brantley and his sisters Gladys and Clara.

Preston and his other two children, Gladys and Guy, neither of whom would ever marry, continued living together in the family home. They lived very simple lives as farmers. My mother remembers them hanging their clothes on nails on the wall because they had no closets.

Guy served in WWII as a PFC, serial number 34374949. He enlisted on October 2, 1942 at Ft. Oglethorpe, GA.

Headstone of Henry Day and Mary Etta Cobb Brantley in the Cobb Family Cemetery.

Henry Preston died in 1956 and was buried next to Mary Etta in the Cobb Family Cemetery.

Mary and Herbert lived in Memphis for a while, then moved back to Haywood County. Mary worked in the dry cleaning business most of her life.

In addition to farming, Guy began loaning money and collecting interest and, although he began to have significant financial resources, they still did not buy many material possessions.

After Gladys died in 1984, Guy became more active at Zion Baptist Church and remained very involved until his death in 1994 at age 91.

The children of Henry Preston and Mary Etta Cobb Brantley were:

Last First Born Location Born Died Location Died Spouse
Brantley Gladys 28 June 1895 Haywood Co., TN July 1984
Age: 89
Haywood Co., TN
Buried: Memorial Gardens Cemetery
Haywood Co., TN
Never married
Brantley William Day “Willie” 5 Aug 1897 Haywood Co., TN 8 May 1969
Age: 72
Haywood Co., TN
Buried: Zion Baptist Church Cemetery
Haywood Co., TN
Allie Urn Marbury
b. 16 Mar 1898
m. 21 Dec 1916
d. 30 Nov 1995
Age: 97
Buried: Zion Baptist Church Cemetery
Brantley Clara O. 1902 Haywood Co., TN 23 Mar 1994
Age: 92
Haywood Co., TN Henry Thelbert Watkins
b. 1902
m. 19 Dec 1923
d. 1969
Age: 67
The children of Clara and Thelbert Watkins were James Ralph, Elsie Odice Haynes and Henrietta.
Brantley Preston Guy 1904 Haywood Co., TN 23 Oct 1994
Age: 90
Haywood Co., TN
Buried: Memorial Gardens Cemetery
Haywood Co., TN
Never married
Brantley Julius 1907 Haywood Co., TN Before 1910
Age: >3
Haywood Co., TN
Buried: Cobb Family Cemetery
Haywood Co., TN
Brantley Mary Elizabeth 1909 Haywood Co., TN 7 May 2003
Age: 94
Haywood Co., TN
Buried: Holly Grove Cemetery
Herbert Lee Marbury
b. 1902
m. 21 Sept 1935
d. 1969
Age: 67
The children of Mary and Herbert Lee Marbury were Jimmy and Dorothy Gwendolain.


William “Willie” Brantley
My Great-grandfather, 1897-1969

Photo courtesy Shirley Lovelace Williams / Willie and Allie Brantley, likely in 1935.

William “Willie” Day Brantley was born in Haywood County on Aug. 5, 1897. He married Allie Urn Marbury on Dec. 21, 1916 when he was 19 and she was 18.

She was the daughter of Hardy Joyner Marbury and Evelena Booth. Her paternal grandparents were Ben F. Marbury and Maggie Yelverton.

In the census of 1920, their oldest daughter (my grandmother) Virginia was 2 and Cordelia was 6 months old. The family lived next door to Archie and Mary Castellaw Brantley and the family matriarch, Margaret Rebecca Steele Brantley. In April 1926, the Willie Brantley Family welcomed their youngest daughter with the birth of Betty Jean Brantley. The Brantleys lived on a farm on what is now called Brantley Road in Haywood County.

Thanks to an article written by Betty Brantley Sullivan later in her life we know a little about their life during this time:


“My folks raised most of our food stuff. They killed and cured our pork and canned or dried the fruit from the orchard. Vegetables from the garden and truck patches were also canned. We raised chickens and the cows were milked twice a day to provide fresh milk and butter. There was not a lot bought from the store; only floor, meal, etc…I had biscuits ‘patted out.’
They weren’t rolled and cut with the biscuit cutter, and moma used plain flour. On the biscuits, I had fried country ham and sometimes fresh sausage when in season, homemade butter and preserves or jelly…my playmate Sunshine Cobb used to say, ‘I’d rather have Aunt Allie’s biscuits than cake.’ The daily newspaper was one expense that was a necessity at our house. My father loved to read most anything, as I do today. My sisters and I walked 2 ½ miles to Centerville School on the Poplar Corner Road, winter and summer. Centerville School was a three-teacher country school when I attended. Earlier, and in another building, they had taught through the tenth grade. Daddy and his brothers and sisters graduated there. After graduation, some of them rode horses to the County High School in Brownsville – some boarded during the week. The old school actually had a dormitory at that time.”


Photo courtesy Shirley Lovelace Williams / Virginia Brantley and Guy Lovelace.

Oldest daughter Virginia Brantley eloped with Guy Lovelace on December 18, 1935 when Virginia was a senior in high school. They knew each other from both school and Zion Baptist Church and the Lovelace and Brantley families had lived only a few miles from each other in Haywood County. Looking through a scrapbook she kept during that time, she was interested in cowboy singers and entertainers of the day and kept an assortment of newspaper ads, glossy photos and other promotional items for a variety of acts. Many years later, as a grandmother and great grandmother, she would entertain her family by dancing The Charleston. When she needed something from the top of a kitchen cabinet, she thought nothing of jumping up on the counter to reach it.


Cordelia, the middle daughter, married Jesse Theodore “J.T.” Jacocks on June 9, 1939 and wrote her sister Virginia the following letter:

Bells Tenn June 15, 1939

Dearest Virginia,

How are you all getting along? I haven’t heard from you in all in so long I thought I would write to you. I had to write a letter because no one in this county had a postal card.

I guess you know by now that I’m an old married lady now. I don’t feel so much older though. Maybe I just haven’t had time yet.

How is Bobby? Tell him I said Hello and that he has a new uncle. I guess he thought that J.T. was already a member of the family though.

Are you all through chopping cotton? Daddy is going to try to get through by Sat. J.T. and Mr. Arthur have been chopping for hire while it was too wet in theirs. I haven’t chopped any since I married. I am celebrating. They are ? here this ? but they won’t let me help.

I mean they really are nice to me here. They treat me just exactly like they treat J.T. and Solan. Aunt Clara said to tell you she thought about you every day and would surely like to see you but that was a little too far to walk.

When have you seen Aunt Gladys? I haven’t seen anyone in a long time.

Tell Bobby J.T. said tell him “hey.”

How is Guy? I’m so sorry he isn’t doing well. Daddy said he looked mighty bad last Sun. aft. when they went by there. They said Aunt Mabel was sick too. I guess our family has a curse over it. Something is always happening to us.

I aimed for us to go up to mothers Sunday but we messed around and didn’t even get up until nearly eleven o’ clock. Aren’t we lazy?

Didn’t it rain hard Sat night? J.T. and ? and I got wet all over. We went to Bells and were coming back when it started raining so hard.

That lightening scared me. I never saw it lightening so hard in all my life. I better get up from here. I’ve got to wash out some things and finish cleaning up the house. I clean up the house and ? the kitchen every morning.

Well I’ll see you when I can.

Lots of Love,


Guy Lovelace and J.T. Jacocks around 1939.

In addition to farming, J.T. would work with Virginia’s husband Guy Lovelace in construction.

Willie and Allie were very active members of Zion Baptist Church as were many members of their extended family. 167 members were listed on the church roll in 1941. Included were many Brantleys, Lovelaces and Marburys:

Willie Brantley

Allie Brantley Marbury

W.P. Brantley

Guy Brantley

Gladys Brantley

Mary Etta Brantley (dead)

C.E. Brantley

H.P. Brantley

A.E. Brantley

R. Brantley

Betty Jean Brantley

Jim Lovelace

Ruby Lovelace

Homer Lovelace

Guy Lovelace

James Lovelace

Pearl Lovelace Patterson

Otha Lovelace

Staley Lovelace

Mildred Lovelace

Will Lovelace (dead)

Vernon Lovelace


Zola Bell Lovelace

Mrs Louise Lovelace

Marie Lovelace

Francis Marbury

Mrs Francis Marbury

Mary Ethel Marbury

Frozell Marbury

Mrs. Clay Marbury

Mrs. Ernsest Marbury

Mrs Earl Marbury

Photo from Zion Baptist Church Membership Directory in the 1950s.

According to “A History of Zion Baptist Church,” In December 1943, Willie and R.E. Stewart delivered Christmas packages. Also that year, Willie was on the finance committee. In February of the following year, his son-in-law, Guy Lovelace joined him on that committee.

On Dec. 21, 1944, youngest daughter Betty married Jimmy Sullivan who would serve as both a policeman and sheriff of Haywood Co., TN. They were accompanied to the courthouse by Hobert Lovelace, who was Guy Lovelace’s youngest brother and his girlfriend Carolyn Warf. Hobert and Carolyn would later also marry.

In 1952, Willie was the president of the church’s training union program while daughter Cordelia was on the nominating committee and daughter Virginia was the president of the WMS. Throughout the ‘50s, Willie and his extended family were very involved in positions of leadership at Zion.

Willie and Allie continued living on the family farm after all their daughters had moved to homes of their own.


Photos courtesy Shirley Williams

  1. The Willie Brantley family
  2. Daughters of Willie and Allie Brantley: Cordelia Jacocks, Virginia Lovelace and Betty Sullivan / photo from Susan Jacocks Miller
  3. My grandmother, Virginia Lovelace


In the fall of 1966, Willie Brantley was coming from Bells, turning left off Allen Station Road on to Highway 70 in front of Allen Baptist Church in the Allen community near Brownsville when his car was hit by another car headed east down the highway. His back and neck were broken and he spent the next four months in the hospital.

After returning home, he spent nearly four years as a paraplegic, being cared for first by family and then caregivers were hired to stay with he and Allie during the week.

Willie died in May 1969 from complications from his accident.

Obituary of William D. Brantley

Brownsville – William Day Brantley, 71, died at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday at Haywood County Memorial Hospital after a long illness. He was a retired farmer of the Jones Community. Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Zion Baptist Church with the Rev. R. E. Wylie officiating. Burial will be in the church cemetery with Brownsville Funeral Home in charge. Mr. Brantley was a lifelong resident of Haywood County and a deacon in the Zion Baptist Church. Surviving are his widow, Mrs. Allie Marbury Brantley; three daughters, Mrs. Guy Lovelace, Mrs. J.T. Jacocks and Mrs. James A. Sullivan, all of Brownsville; a brother Guy Brantley of Brownsville; and three sisters, Miss Gladys Brantley and Mrs. Clara Booth, both of Brownsville, and Mrs. Mary Marbury of Jackson. The body will be at the funeral home until services.

A letter to Betty Brantley Sullivan from Henry E. Brantley, a son of Henry Preston Brantley’s brother Walter, on Jan. 4, 1971 gives a nice snapshot of the Brantley family at the time.

“I was told about Willie being in an auto wreck and the condition that he was in and how he suffered by it…How is Glaydys & Guy & Etc? Oh yes; I think about every ONE.

My BIBLE says that when we get older that we dream DREAMS & our hair gets white. I’m not bald yet. Grand dad Henry died at 78. He wasn’t bald then.

The last time I was in Tennessee, was at Aunt Mary’s funeral & that’s been several years…I didn’t think that I’d write so much stuff. I’m like Uncle Preston, When I get started, I don’t know when to stop. That was one of his great sayings…You speak of Uncle Jim & Aunt Martha (James T. and Martha Elizabeth Brantley Cobb).

I sure did love them very much…I hope I didn’t BORE you too much. I didn’t tell you everything either. I still LOVE the BRANTLEY’S for what they did for me. Most of them. The latter generation didn’t do too much.
Love to you all. Henry E. Brantley.
Mason Tex. 76856


Photo courtesy Shirley Williams / Virginia, Cordelia and Betty with their mother Allie Brantley.

In 1988, Virginia’s husband Guy Lovelace was at J.T. and Cordilia’s home when a storm begun. Guy, who had a lifelong fear of storms, returned home. A tornado struck the Jacock’s home and J.T. was killed. At his funeral, Guy told everyone he had lost his best friend.

Obituary of Dorothy Cordelia Jacocks

Funeral services for Dorothy Cordelia Jacocks, 85, will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, June 18, 2005 at Allen Baptist Church. Burial will follow in Allen Baptist Church Cemetery.
Mrs. Jacocks, a homemaker, died Thursday, June 16, 2005 at Jackson Madison County General Hospital. She is survived by her daughters, Mary Lee Witherspoon of Millington, TN, Susan Miller of Brownsville, TN, Jean Wills of Jackson, TN and Anne Bridgewater of Ankeny, IA; son, Jesse T. Jacocks of Brownsville, TN; sister, Virginia Lovelace of Brownsville, TN and five grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, J. T. Jacocks. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Allen Baptist Church.

Virginia, the Brantley’s oldest daughter, died in 2007. Virginia and Guy Lovelace are buried at Zion Baptist Church Cemetery.

The children of Guy and Virginia Brantley Lovelace were:

Last First Born Location Born Died Location Died Spouse
Brantley Lettie Virginia 10 Oct 1917 Haywood Co., TN 08 Dec 2007
Age: 90
Haywood Co., TN
Buried: Zion Baptist Church Cemetery
Haywood Co., TN
Guy Lovelace
b. 31 Aug 1916
m. 1935
d. 22 Oct 1997
Age: 81
Buried: Zion Baptist Church Cemetery
The children of Guy and Virginia Brantley Lovelace were Bobby, Shirley Williams, Billy, Darlene Bell, Dawn Chastain and a baby who died in infancy.
Brantley Dorothy Cordelia 6 Oct 1919 Haywood Co., TN 16 June 2005
Age: 86
Haywood Co., TN
Buried: Allen Baptist Church Cemetery
Haywood Co., TN
Jesse Theodore “J.T.” Jacocks
b. 6 Oct 1919
m. 9 Jun 1939
d. 19 Jan 1988
Age: 69
Buried: Allen Baptist Church Cemetery
The children of Cordelia and J.T. Jacocks were Ann, Dorothy Jean, Jesse Theodore III, Linda Susan, and Mary Lee.
Brantley Betty Jean 7 Apr 1926 Haywood Co., TN 12 April 1996
Age: 70
Haywood Co., TN James Alvis Sullivan
The children of Betty and James Sullivan were Jimmy, Cynthia and Betsy.

For more about Guy and Virginia Brantley Lovelace, visit the Lovelace family page.

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