Monday, March 7, 2011

George Washington Brandon

  • Name: George Washington Brandon
  • Born: 1809 Spartanburg, South Carolina 
  • Died: 1849 Council Bluffs, Iowa
  • Related through: Erin's grandmother Margaret Udy Hanni

His short autobiography:

The son of John Brandon who was born in the State of Virginia, Albemarle Co. immigrated from thence to North Carolina, married a wife named Carter, immigrated from thence to East Tennessee, Knox County. After burying his first wife he married my mother whose name was Dinah Scott, the daughter of a Mr. Scott whose wife’s name was Evans. Grandfather came from Ireland, emigrated from there to North Carolina, Spartansburg County from there to Greenville County where I, George Washington Brandon, was born in 1809.

My mother died in 1813 and my father being stricken in years I went to East Tennessee, Jefferson County to my uncle Patrick Scott a year or two after my mother’s death. From there I was taken to Blount County, Tennessee where I lived about nine months with my half-brother Lewis Brandon, from there to Rowan County where I lived with another half-brother, Pleasant Brandon. After this I went to live with my youngest half-brother George Brandon until I moved to Albino, Jackson County and then to Rowan County, Tennessee. Then I made my home at John M. for five years before moving to Henry Co. Tenn. in the spring of 1826 where I married Keziah Fowler in 1830, she was the daughter of of George H. Fowler.

I was baptized by Elder Wilford Woodruff on March 25, 1835. My wife was baptized by Wilford Woodfruff in September of 1835. I was ordained a teacher August 18 by Samuel M. Clantha, ordained an Elder by E. Wilson January 13, 1838, moved to Nauvoo, Illinois in 1842 and ordained a Seventy by Joseph Young April 12, 1843.

On July 6, 1842, George wrote the following letter in Nauvoo.

Dear Brother:
In as much as I have lately arrived at the place from Tennessee, I feel it a duty that I owe to God and myself and also my brethren to give you a short account of the state and condition of the Church and brethren in the counties of Henry, Stewart and Mongomery, Tennessee, as far as I have knowledge of their standing.

I will give a short account of the Charity Branch which branch was raised up by myself in 1839, and was organized with seven members, some of whom lived in Henry County and some in Benton County. Our most usual place of holding meetings was in a few hundred yards of the county line between the aforesaid counties and near to where they cornered.

My labors since I was ordained an Elder have been extended from Joseph Chunness on Blood River, Henry County, through the northeast corner of Benton County, thence across the Tennessee River in a southeasterly direction to Wills Creek, thence north across the Cumberland River at the Cumberland Iron Works. Thence a little east at north nine miles to Nathaniel Abners, in Montgomery County . . . My labors were extended, as before stated from Blood River, Henry County, to Montgomery County, Tennessee. Although Benton and Stewart Counties, making a circuit of 80 miles in length. Throughout this circuit I have preached all I could. My circumstances being very limited I suppose I have preached about 500 sermons in the last three years and baptized some 26 persons. My circumstances have been such that compelled me to labor all the while for the support of my family and not only this, I was near $200 in debt, which I had no way of paying only by my labors, which I have paid, excepting a few dollars that was given to me this last spring by my sister, Abigail Brandon. I suppose she gave me as much as $15 in money. A good many of the poor sisters and brothers have helped me to a little provision as they could spare. I have suffered some loss by the mobs of Brenton and Henry Counties, Tennessee. But out of all these troubles the Lord has delivered me, for which I thank and adore His name. . .

A short time before the martyrdom of Joseph Smith and Hyrum, George and his brother, Thomas Jefferson Brandon, were appointed to go to Alabama to preach the gospel and to teach the prophet’s viewpoint on politics. This mission was cut short and he returned home to Nauvoo.

Seven children were born in Tennessee and two more children were born in Nauvoo. He received his endowments on October 31, 1846 and on December 13, 1847 he got a patriarchal blessing.

When the exodus from Nauvoo began they were not prepared to make the long trip to Utah. They took up residence for a few years at Kanesville (Council Bluffs), Iowa, were two more children were born.

George Washington Brandon apparently died in 1849. While working in the timber on Cow Creek in 1849, George was stricken with cholera and died. Keziah was not allowed to see him or to bring his body home for burial. So the exact date of his death isn’t known by any of the family.

After George’s death, Keziah came to Utah in 1851 or 52 with seven or eight (available sources do not agree) of their eleven children.

This history was put together based on various books and notes I found in the Family History Library archives and the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.


  1. Thank you for sharing your research. I learned a bit more than what I knew about George and Keziah Brandon from reading this. I do have one question for you...What is the source of information for how George died? Also, where did you find that he died working timber at Cow Creek? Any info would be greatly appreciated. I'm related through their daughter Martha Frances Brandon Hiatt Rees and have quite a bit of information on that branch if you are interested. My email is

    Thank you again.


  2. Thanks for the comment. I got the information for this article from one I found at the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers museum. So I am not sure of the accuracy because I did not do the research myself.

  3. I am collecting stories about missionaries and coverts in Tennessee as part a bigger project on Tennessee Mormon history. G. W. Brandon fits on both accounts. I'd like to add his story to my list if that is alright with you.

  4. Hi Erin,

    This is the same Joe that commented on this post awhile back. Thank you for your reply. I'm very interested to know where the short autobiography came from. You mentioned that you got the information for this article from one that you obtained from the Daughter's of the Utah Pioneers museum. Which museum was that? The only one I've ever been to is in that the one or did it come from another? I would really like to know the source for the autobiography to confirm its authenticity. If it is authentic, then it contains some genealogical information that can't really be substantiated anywhere else. Any chance you still have the article? Would you be willing to scan it and send it to me? At very least, could I know which museum you obtained it from? Replying on here works fine, but if you are willing to send me the article, then my email is Thank you again for posting this information.


  5. I got the articles from the DUP museum in Salt Lake from their history department. It is next to the capitol building. There was more than one article so I tried to combine them the best I could. The DUP should be able to tell you who submitted the original articles.

  6. Thank you Erin. The letter he wrote from Nauvoo is in the Journal History of the Church as is he and his brother's mission call to Alabama. The original of the letter is on file at the Church Historian's office. The rest of it, with the exception of the short autobiography, appears to come from a hodge podge of several sources that I've come across while researching this family. The only part that is new to me is the short autobiography. If I had to guess, I would say it probably came from something related to the seventies of that time period. Anyhow, thank you for letting me know. My wife and I are headed that direction for other things in a couple of weeks, so I'll stop in at the DUP museum while there. For anyone else who comes across your article, I'll post the sources in a comment when I find them. Thank you again for posting this information.