Am I Related to a Confederate General?

Tracing Your Roots: A black reader wonders if she is related to Braxton Bragg through enslaved kin.

Braxton Bragg (Fotosearch/Getty Images)

We checked the North Carolina Marriage Collection, 1741-2004, database, available at, for the marriage of John Eades to determine if the maiden name of his wife, Susan, was “Bragg.” We located a listing for the marriage of John Eades and Susannah Wilson in Warren County on Oct. 10, 1852. It is possible that the Eades or Wilson family had a connection to the Bragg family, so we recommend that you take a closer look at the family of John and Susannah (Wilson) Eades.

When you’re reviewing deed and probate records for members of the Bragg family in Warren County, take note of other names listed on these records, including witnesses, to determine if any transactions took place with individuals named Eades or Wilson. Doing so may help you trace Sallie Bragg’s location before she lived with John Eades.

We also recommend that you search the 1850 and 1860 U.S. Federal Census Slave Schedules to see if an individual named Eades or Wilson of Warren County owned a female slave born circa 1795, which could be a match to Sallie Bragg. If you locate a match, we recommend that you search for probate records pertaining to that individual in order to determine if a slave named Sallie is mentioned in the document as part of his or her estate.

You note that you would also like to obtain more information about Dr. Frederick William Harrison. You write that he was a graduate of the University of North Carolina around 1824-1825, but you have very little information about him from that time period until his 1863 will in Brunswick County.

We performed a quick search and located several sources that may be of interest to you. One collection, housed at the University of North Carolina’s Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library, is the Thomas Williamson Jones Letters, 1808-1836 (collection No. 03684-z). Jones graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1810 and practiced medicine in Brunswick County. The letters in this collection were mainly written by Jones’ family members, but some of the letters were from students at UNC, including two letters from Frederick William Harrison, dated March 3, 1823, and April 10, 1824. A digitized version of Harrison’s April 10, 1824, letter is available online.

In Kemp B. Battle’s History of the University of North Carolina, From its Beginning to the Death of President Swain, 1789-1868, we located an alumni listing for Frederick William Harrison of the Class of 1825. His residence is listed as Eastville, Va., which is located in Northampton County. We also located a reference to Dr. Frederick William Harrison in an article by Henry W. Lewis titled “The Dugger-Dromgoole Duel,” which was published in the July 1957 issue of the North Carolina Historical Review.

A duel took place in Virginia in November 1837 between Daniel Dugger and George C. Drumgoole. According to this article, on the night before the duel took place, Dr. Frederick W. Harrison sent Dr. W.W. Wilkins a note to meet with him. Harrison was to accompany George Drumgoole to the duel, but he learned that Dugger did not bring a physician with him. Harrison knew that Wilkins was acquainted with Dugger, and asked that he speak with Dugger about the matter. Wilkins tried to dissuade them from dueling but was unsuccessful. Doctors Harrison and Wilkins attended the duel and provided medical care to Dugger after he was shot, but he died a few weeks later from his wounds. It is noted in this article that Harrison resided in Eastville.

With this new information regarding Harrison’s residence, there are several sources you can check for additional documentation. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Family History Library has a number of records available on microfilm, including land records and tax lists for Northampton County, Va. These microfilm reels are available for rental through your local Family History Center or library.

If you have not done so in previous research, we suggest that you check the 1830-through-1860 U.S. federal censuses for Frederick W. Harrison. With this new information, you will be able to narrow your search to Northampton and Brunswick counties. In addition to the census records, we suggest also checking the U.S. Census Slave Schedules for listings related to Frederick William Harrison. As a doctor, he may have had the means to own slaves. Since you are now able to place him in Northampton County prior to his residing in Brunswick County, we suggest that you check local newspapers, as well as town and county histories, for additional information about Harrison.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University. He is also editor-in-chief of The Root. Follow him on Twitter.

Send your questions about tracing your own roots to

This answer was provided in consultation Kyle Hurst, a researcher from New England Historic Genealogical Society. Founded in 1845, NEHGS is the country’s leading nonprofit resource for family history research. Its website,, contains more than 300 million searchable records for research in New England, New York and beyond. With the leading experts in the field, NEHGS staff can provide assistance and guidance for questions in most research areas. They can also be hired to conduct research on your family. Learn more today.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.