Brantley Balkcom


Brantley Balkcom was born Apr 1847 in Dale County, Alabama, the sixth of fourteen children of James E. Balkcom and Mary (Polly) Murphy Balkcom.  The United States Census of 1860 lists the family as follows:  

      1860 Federal Census

Dale County, AL

Newton Post Office

23 July 1860

Description Occupation Value of Estate Birth Married within year Attended School within year Cannot read or write Deaf and dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper, or convict
Age Sex Color Real Estate Personal Estate
      James Balkcom 53 M   Farmer $1500 $700 NC        
      Mary Balkcom 44 F         NC     x  
      Colista J. Balkcom 20 F         GA        
      Benjamin Balkcom 17 M   Farm Laborer     GA        
      Ivey Balkcom 14 M         AL   x    
      Brantley Balkcom 12 M         AL   x    
      Albert Balkcom 10 M         AL        
      Delilah Balkcom 8 F         AL   x    
      Priscilla Balkcom 6 F         AL   x    
      Neissa 4 F         AL        
      Joseph D. Balkcom 19 M   Farm Laborer     AL        
      Cinda Balkcom 18 F         AL        
      James A. Balkcom 23 M   School Teacher     GA        

The household of Brantley's brother John W. Balkcom, age 22, and wife Nancy, age 19, (newly married) was nearby.  Also living close to Brantley were Daniel Murphy, age 78, and wife Elizabeth, age 68.  None of the three families were shown to own land but they were counted as different households, so it may be that they had houses on the land of James and Mary (Murphy) Balkcom.  Daniel and Elizabeth Murphy are likely closely related to Mary (Polly) Murphy, Brantley's mother.

Five years after this census, on 24 Dec 1865, Brantley at age 18 married 19 year old Rose Ann Brannon, daughter of Rosier Brannon and Anzilla Galloway, in Henry County, Alabama.  The will of Rosier Brannon, dated January 1867, lists as an heir daughter "Rose Ann, wife of Brantley Balkcom, minor, res. of Dale County."  The Brannon family lived in Henry County, not far from the Balkcom family in Dale County.

In the census of 1870 at Echo, Dale County, Alabama, Brantley was age 24, head of household, occupation "works in farm", living with Rose Ann and child William.  By this time Brantley and Rose Ann had been married for five years, and had personal assets of $100, with no real estate.  It appears that Brantley and Rose Ann were renting a house and Brantley was either working as a farmhand or sharecropping.  The farm of Brantley's parents was nearby, and other adjacent properties were those of L. H. Deal and Moses Riley.  The household of Rose Ann's brother, John Branan, and wife Jane Branan was also nearby.

On the census of 1880 at Beat No. 9, Echo, Dale County, Alabama, Brantley was head of household, age 33, occupation farmer, born in Alabama.  His father was listed as born in "North".  (Many listings for parent birth locations only said "North" or "South").  They lived next to the households of James and Mary Balkcom, brother Ivy Balkcom, and next to James Deal.  Enumerated with Brantley were wife Rose Ann Brannon and children William J. Balkcom, John Ira Balkcom, Noah B. Balkcom, Izetta Balkcom, and Norman G. Balkcom.

Brantley's mother Mary died in February 1886, and his father James died in November 1887.  They were buried in Dale County.  Disposition of the more than 200 acres of land of James and Mary isn't known, but it may have been sold to settle the estate.  Land and probate records may exist in the Dale County Courthouse, although a courthouse fire in 1884 destroyed most records held at the time.  Further complicating research is the absence of 1890 federal census records, almost all of which were destroyed in a fire in January 1921 in the Commerce Building in Washington, D.C.

On the census of 1900 (enumeration district 61, Precinct 4, Newton, Dale County) Brantley was head of household with wife "Rosana" and daughters Elizabeth, age 22, and Leola, age 8.  Brantley is listed as age 52, born April 1847, married to Rosana 34 years, born in Alabama, both parents born in North Carolina, reading and writing.  His occupation was listed for the first time as woodworker, and he was listed as having been unemployed for 4 months out of that year.  Brantley was in fact counted twice in this census, appearing also in the household of son William J Balkcom in Geneva County.  William J was a sawyer, and Brantley was a laborer in a sawmill.   Their son John Ira was now married, to Ida Baldwin, and lived separately with baby daughter Mae in Dale County.  Interestingly, Brantley's and Rose Ann's son George W., age 17, and daughter Lucy Emma, age 15, lived with John Ira and Ida rather than with their parents.  These teen-age children were listed as farm laborers, so may have been working on the same farm as John Ira.  Since Brantley was no longer farming in 1900, and was himself not employed for part of the  year, it may have been necessary for the older children to leave home to find jobs.

Brantley and Rose Ann moved to Geneva County sometime before 1907, and appeared on 1910 and 1920 census there.  In 1910 they owned a home and Brantley was working as a shop man and blacksmith.  In 1920 they both lived in the home of granddaughter Millie Belle Balkcom, daughter of William J. Balkcom, and her husband Claud E. Jordan.  Brantley was age 74 and Rose Ann was 73.  Brantley identified himself as a laborer.  Neither appear in the 1930 census.


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