Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Two Mrs. Braxton

                    Carter Braxton, signer of the Declaration of Independence, was married twice.  He married Judith Robinson when both of them were 19 years old.  She died at the birth of her second child before her 21st birthday.  Four years after her death, Carter married Elizabeth Corbin.

                    Judith Robinson came from one of Virginia's most prominent families.  She was a descendent of Col. Christopher Robinson, who moved to Virginia in 1666.  The colonel's brother was the Rt. Rev. John Robinson, D.D., Lord Bishop of London during the reign of Queen Anne.  Col. Robinson made his home in Middlesex County and called his estate "Hewick."  He was one of the original trustees of William and Mary College as well as a member of the House of Burgesses and a member of the King's Council.  Judith's father, John Robinson, was a grandson of the original Christopher of Hewick, and her mother was the daughter of Hon. John Wormley.

                    Judith and Carter were married in 1755 and made their home on his estate "Elsing Green" in King William County.  There is little known about Judith or her successor except what is written in brief family genealogies and what little is written in Bishop Meade's Old Families of Virginia.  We know that Judith and Carter were parents of two girls:  Mary Braxton (married Robert Page of "Broadnech House," Hanover County, in 1779) and Judith Braxton (married in 1779 to John White of King William County, a son of Rev. Alexander White, rector of St. David's Parish).  The young mother died shortly after the birth of her second daughter in 1757.

                    Four years after Judith's death, Carter married Elizabeth Corbin of "Laneville," King and Queen County.  She was the daughter of Colonel Richard and Elizabeth Tayloe Corbin; this family dated back to 1650 when Hon. Henry Corbin came from England and settled at "Buckingham House" in Middlesex County.  Colonel Richard was the grandson of "Henry, of Buckingham House;" he was educated in England and was a devoted churchman in the Episcopal faith.  According to Bishop Meade, Colonel Richard furnished the bread and wine for the communion as well as boarded the unmarried ministers of the parish without charge.  He was also President of the King's Council and Receiver General of the Colony.

                    Elizabeth and Carter were parents of sixteen children, several of whom died as babies or in early childhood.  The eldest child was Elizabeth (married Colonel Samuel Griffin; he served in the Revolutionary War and later in Congress); other children included Carter (of King William County, married "Miss Sayre, granddaughter of Hon. Philip Ludwell"), and Colonel George Braxton (of "Chericoke," married Mary, daughter of Hon. Charles and Mary Carter Carter of "Shirley" in Charles City County).

                    Facts and quotes are from Wives of the Signers:  The women behind the Declaration of Independence, pp. 256-258.

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