Thursday, March 5, 2009

More on the Branscomb / School Connection.

Spyrock asked me if I knew the connection between the school in Spy Rock Called "The Branscomb School" And the Branscomb family. I went into a bunch of genealogy about the Branscomb family. I mostly to make you familiar with who Benjamin Franklin Branscomb was. He was born in Knox County Illinois, and raised on a farm on the Spoon River. He received his formal education in the Illinois public schools. He moved with his family to Iowa, and then on to De Kalb County Missouri. Where his father Joseph Branscomb served as sheriff.

Benjamin put great importance on education, he was proud of his education and tried to help others in becoming educated. Benjamin moved to California in the spring of 1857, he worked as a ferry operator for a year, then moved to Laguna and Guerneville, where worked as a farmer and a dairyman for about twenty years, during which time he married the daughter of the wagon train master that he came to California with. He moved, along with his family, to Jackson Valley California in the spring of 1880 in a wagon with all of their belongings. They Homesteaded 160 acres. They built a house out of one redwood tree, most of the lumber was hand split and finished. All of the timbers and shingles were hand made. The house was a large two story house and it was later used as the Branscomb Hotel. The old house still stands today. Just south of the Branscomb Store. It has been refurbished several times, but most of the main framework is original.

Benjamin helped to establish the Jackson Valley School District, were he also served on the Board of Trustees. Benjamin also established a post office were he was appointed the Postmaster. One of the privileges of being a Postmaster was that the Postmaster got to suggest a name for the Township. Along with many others at that time, he named the town after himself, Branscomb. The town of Laytonville was named after their Postmaster Frank Layton in 1874. Garberville was named after Jacob Garber. Leggett was named after Leggett, and Piercy was also named after their postmaster.

Charles Branscomb, son of Benjamin, was educated in the school in Branscomb, and he also put great value on Education. At this point I’m not sure of the connection to the Branscomb school in Spy Rock, but I think that the trail that I made will lead you to the same conclusion that I have come to, that it must have had something to do with Charles, and the daughters of Charles, who lived in Covelo. Spy Rock is in the North West corner of the Covelo area.


Robin Shelley said...

The (long) story (short) I've always heard is that Frank Layton was a blacksmith (who got ticked off?) at the town of Cahto & moved his shop east to Long Valley. I've never heard he was the post master there. Do you have a source for that info, Ernie? That's really interesting.

Kym said...

Ernie I sent you a few clippings (using the branscomb center email) about the Branscombs. One Branscomb wife (Arthur's if I remember right) was a schoolteacher and might be the school was named after her.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Laytonville was named after Frank Layton, but you are right I can find no connection to him having anything to do with the post office, other than it was named after him. Now I’m suspect of Piercy and Leggett, but both of those people existed too. Jacob Garber was the Postmaster of Garberville, and the postmasters did name the towns.

More on Frank B. Layton.
Frank B. Layton, Youngest child of Ezra and Mary Ann Ryan Layton, was born in Colchester county, Nova Scotia, October 8, 1844, and received a common school education in his native county, and at the age of eighteen began an apprenticeship to the blacksmith trade, which he followed until he came to California in 1867, coming via the Isthmus. He immediately went to Santa Cruz, where he worked at his trade for one year. He then went to Nevada, where he was employed for one year by the Central Pacific Railroad Company. In 1869 he settled in Cloverdale, Sonoma county, where he opened a shop of his own, which he carried on till 1873. He then settled in Cahto, Mendocino county, where he followed the same business till 1875. In that year he settled in Laytonville and opened his shop in an old log house, where he worked till 1878, when he built his present shop. The town was named after him. He was married, June 4, 1870, to Adelia Simpson, widow of J. P. Smith. She was born in Stevenson county, Illinois, October 15, 1849. Laura J., born September 20, 1871; Cora E., born June 22, 1873, Ezra E., born March 31, 1875; Archie, born July 31, 1877; Maud, born May 1, 1880, are the names and births of their children. Mrs. Layton has one child by her former marriage, Edgar H., born July 6, 1865.
SOURCE: History of Mendocino County, California - San Francisco, Cal. Alley, Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1880 Pp. 583, 584 Transcribed by Pat Howard

Also, Benjamin Franklin, the man that my 3G Grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Branscomb was named after was the first postmaster General of the U.S.A. back in 1776. My cousin Penny (Branscomb) Comer has the declaration of postmastership (or whatever) of my 3G Ben’s becoming the postmaster of Branscomb.

Ernie Branscomb said...


Thank-you. I have not been able to open the link yet because of computer problems, but I'll get back to you.

Robin Shelley said...

Thanks for the info, Ernie.

Anonymous said...

Correct. I do have GGG Benjamin Branscomb's postal document as well as his son John Branscombs. These documents were purchased at an auction in England. The person who purchased them sent a hand written letter to the Mayor of Branscomb asking if any of the Branscombs were still there. I contacted the person and purchased the documents/certificates. How cool is that.
By the way, I love the history. I was not aware of a Branscomb school teacher, but Charles Branscomb's grandson, Dennis Yows lives in Upper Lake.

Anonymous said...

The Layton chapter in Through the Eyes of the Elders Vol. II, tells us the town was named after a coin toss between Jonathan Wilson and Frank Layton.