Bright Family Descendants  

Conributed by Madelyn Larkin

I am descended from Henry Bright's line, which stretches back to Camden, Pasquotank and Currituck counties. My judgment from the research that I have done and that of others, that John Bright was probably the eldest of three brothers--John, Richard and Henry--in Lower Norfolk County, VA. Because he was the eldest brother, he probably inherited all of his father's land. Thanks to very recent research conducted by Larry Cates, of High Point, NC, we now believe that an earlier John Bright was the father of these three brothers. A John Bright appears on a ship's passenger list in 1658. Then, a bit later, several early Virginia deeds tell us that John acquired land in lower VA, Norfolk County. (See my list of information from ships' lists and deeds at the end of this message.)
We know that his son, John, was the brother who came down to Bath about 1700 to 1704. (The records seem to vary as to the exact year.) We know that this John also was the brother of Richard because in a deed in 1688 he deeded 60 acres of land to "my dear brother, Richard Bright."
Until fairly recently, I thought that possibly Henry Bright in Currituck was the son of John in Bath. My rationale was that the Henry who was the son of John seemed to disappear from Beaufort/Hyde counties, and apparently left no heirs there. A Henry Bright began buying land in Pasquotank, according to
deeds there, in 1719 or so. Now we believe that this Henry Bright, who formerly also lived in Lower Norfolk Co., in the same area as Richard and John, was a third brother of theirs. In an
early deed in Pasquotank this Henry deeds his land to his son, Charles, who had a son named Charles etc.

This, I believe, is my ancestral line:

Henry Bright B. ? Lower Norfolk Co., VA, D. 1734, Currituck Co., NC
Charles Bright, Sr. - B. probably in VA, D. 1760 in Pasquotank Co., NC
Charles Brite, Jr. - B. c 1734; D. 1810 in Camden Co., NC
Charles III - B. ? in Lower Norfolk Co., VA; D. 1810 in Camden Co., NC.
John Brite - B. c 1780 in VA, D. 1845 in Camden Co., NC
Anson Brite - B. 1818 in Camden Co.; D. 1892 in Pamlico Co., NC
Hugh Clifton Brite - B. 1903 in Pamlico Co., NC; D. in New Bern, Craven Co., in 1991.
I should note that the spelling of our name from Bright to Brite appears to have taken place in
Pasquotank County, back in the 1700s. However, I don't know that this change was intentional or the reason for it!
Members of the Bright Families on Ships' Passenger Lists
This history of the Brights and Brites begins in Virginia. (There also were some Brights who came
to Massachusetts early on, and later to Philadelphia.) Ships' passenger lists in the 1600s include several people of this surname. These are some of the people who came from England:
  • Captain Daniel Gookin received a patent for 1400 acres on the north side of the Rappahanock River on November 4, 1642. He brought 28 persons from England. One of these was John Bright.
  • Francis Bright arrived in 1651 with his wife.
  • Colonel Richard Lee, Esq. arrived in Gloucester Co. VA in 1651. He was the ancestor of Robert E. Lee. He started two plantations in VA. I think he brought a David Bright and other people.
  • Robert Bright, arrived in 1652 brought by Captain Robert Abrall.
  • James Brite arrived in November, 1652, brought by David Fox, who had 800 acres of land in Lancaster Co., VA.
  • Robert Bright arrived in 1655 to Gloucester Co, VA, brought by Thomas Teatherberry.
  • John Bright arrived in March, 1658, brought by Anthony Stephens. Presumably this is the same John Bright as the one who received a grant in 1665 in Norfolk Co. We think that there is strong circumstantial evidence that this John Bright is the father of the three original brothers is supported by these deeds in Lower Norfolk County:

DEEDS  abstracted by Larry Cates  

Nov. 6, 1665 , Thomas Everidge enters 430 acres in Lower Norfolk, Patent Book
5, p. 531, at the head of the South Branch of Elizabeth River being formerly
called by the name of the Northward Neck Thicket, bounding on his former
grant called the poynt corner, thence SW by S on John Bright's grant and c.
Transportation of 9 persons.
Nov. 1671 , will of Thomas Etheredge in Lower Norfolk, gives land in adj. to
John Bright's line to eldest son William Etheredge.
March 15, 1675 , Edward Hastell, enters 367 acres Lower Norfolk W. side of S
branch of Elizabeth River at Joseph Mulder's land up Deepe Creek to Francis
Fleetwood & Co., Transportation of 7 persons00Jno. Stone, Ben Bramberry,
Jno. Bright,---Messhall, Jno, Crosse, Wm Cooke, Will. Payne.
Nov. 22, 1682 , John Bright enters 140 acres Lower Norfolk, on East side of
S. Branch of Elizabeth River, 6 Nov 1671, will of Thomas Etheredge in Lower
Norfolk, gives land in will
adj. to John Bright's line to eldest son William Etheredge.
15 Mar 1675, Edward Hastell, enters 367 acres Lower Norfolk W side of S
branch of Elizabeth River at Joseph Mulder's land up Deepe Creek to Francis
Fleetwood & C., Transportation of 7 persons--Jno. Stone, Ben Bramberry, Jno.
Bright, ----- Messhall, Jno. Crosse, Wm Cooke, Will. Payne.
22 Nov 1682 , John Bright enters 140 acres Lower Norfolk, on East side of S.
Branch of Elizabeth River, beg. by the little Creek adj. Wm. Etheredge And
C., Trans. of three persons: James Jackson, Elizabeth his wife, Joseph
25 Oct 1695 , John Bright and Owen Dougherty, enter 300 acres in Norfolk,
Escheated from Thomas Hall dec'd by inquiry under John Lear Esq., Esch'r, 21
Oct 1689 and now granted.
12 Nov 1712 will of James Wilson of Lower Norfolk mentions land purchased
of Henry Bright to his son Solomon Wilson.
Larry Cates has done a very careful job of researching these foregoing deeds. Larry said in a message to me that "My instinct is that the John Bright who was transported by Edward Hastell? maybe Haslett? (he only claimed the headright in 1675, but John was clearly there in Norfolk and free of indenture before 1665), is the father of John, Henry and Richard. He must have been born c. 1645 or
earlier. John (d. 1720) was probably the eldest and inherited his father's land. The other two sons had to buy their own property, as we have seen--Richard buying his tract from John, Jr. The older John Bright's grant is referred to by Thomas Everedge (Etheredge?) in his 1665 patent, but I have not yet found a record
of it. It certainly predated 1665.
John probably was the oldest of the three brothers. In 1688 he deeded 60 acres of land "to my dear brother
Richard. Richard also later refers to this land, purchased from his brother, John Bright. Deed of sale, January 3, 1690, bounded by plantation John Bright lived upon on Elizabeth River, S. Branch. Called Little Ridge. January 24, 21703/4. Richard (RB) Bright, Ann (A) Bright.
Richard and Henry Bright appear on the Currituck Co. taxables list and the Jurymen's list of 1715.
Richard got a land grant in Currituck Co., NC in 1696, at Moyock. His descendants are mostly in Currituck and Pasquotank counties. Henry settled in Pasquotank and Currituck Co.
John, the oldest brother, left Lower Norfolk Co. about 1704 and went down to Bath, the oldest town in NC. He started a plantation there. He was married to Elizabeth Hill, of Virginia, daughter of Hiram and Sarah Hill. Her parentage I think is mentioned in a patent book for Virginia, and in Beaufort Count, NC on March 30, 1723, Harmon Hill left his will. In an abstract I have seen of this will (Abstracts of Wills, 1690-1760 of North Carolina) He mentions sons: Harman (land on Callums Creek), James and William. Daughters: Eliz. Hancock, Sarah Rice, Ann Slade (land on Pamplico River), Mar Smith, Rachel Hill. Executors: Sara Hill (wife), Joseph Slade, John Barrow. The Eliz Hancock was the widow of John
Bright, who died in 1720. There is other documentation about the Hills as well, but I don't have that right now.
The abstract of John's Will in Hyde Precinct is as follows:
9 Sep 1720. Wife: Elizabeth, loan of plantation. Son: Henry, 342 acres
adjoining Mr. William Cording, mouth of Matchapungo Creek. Son: Richard,
250 acres whereon he now dwells, on Slade's Creek, E. side of Matchapungo
River. Son: Simon, 1/4 plantation I now dwell on Matchapungo River. Son:
James, 1/4 plantation, laid off adjoining Simon. Son: William, 1/4
plantation laid off adjoining James. Son: John 1/4 plantation. Daughter:
Mary, wife of William Wynn, cow and calf. Daughter Lydia, cow and calf.
Executor: Wife Elizabeth. Signed by mark. Witnesses: William Webster,
Edward Stafford,? White. Wax seal was attached.
Here is the information we have about John's sons:
Henry Bright (of Hyde). His eldest son was likely named John. No other information has been found on him by me, to date. Except that he does appear as a juryman for Hyde in the 1723 list.
Hyde Co., DB A/236. Jarves Smith and wife to Rotheas Latham, carpenter of Hyde, for £24, 343 acres, 1/2 tract SS of Matchapungo River, patented by John Bright, sold to his son Henry Bright who gave to his son John, 2 Nov 1750.
Richard Bright (of Hyde) Will dated, 28 November 1731, probated Hyde
Precinct, Mar Ct 1731/2) Son, James. Land I now live upon and my violin.
Daughter, Christia (?), cows. Daughter Elizah (torn), cow and calf.
Mother-in-law (torn) cow and calf. Son: Simon, Buckaneer gun, cow and
calf. S/ Ricd. Bright. w/ John Mattocke, Abraham Adam Junr, and Mary Paul,
(Cone?). Will badly mutilated.
James Bright
Simon Bright It seems possible that this Simon could be the one who appears in Bladen County, leaving a will there. Christia(n?) Bright Elizah Bright
Simon Bright (of Hyde) This fellow is thought to have moved out to Dobbs County North Carolina where he had a son Simon who was prominent in the Revolution and in Colonial/Revolutionary Government. He does appear as a juryman for Hyde in the 1723 list.
James Bright of Dobbs
Simon Bright of Dobbs (will dated 23 Nov 1775/ probated 18 Jan 1777). To
sons: Simon, "the plantation whereon I now live," together with two hundred
acres on Briary Branch; Graves, the Haskins lands; to James, 500 acre tract;
to daughters Mary, Nancy, Sally, Elizabeth. Wife: Mary. Executors: Richard
Caswell, John Cooke, (friends) and James Bright, (brother.)
James Bright of Hyde . He appears as a juryman for Hyde in the 1723 list. Apparently had no issue. His will was written, 29 Mar 1735. His executrix and sole devisee was his wife Ann. w/ Giles Williams, Hannah Adams, Rich'd Wm Silvester.
William Bright of Hyde and Craven County . Will was written in Craven
County, 12 Jan 1754. Probated 6 Nov 1754. To son: Stocwell, all my land
down the River, one plantation on Orchard Creek and one on lower Broad
Creek. Daughters Susannah, Elenar, Mary, Sarah Bright, and Ann Nelson.
Grandson Harmon Gaskins. Gradndaughters Mary and Sarah Bright. Wife and
executrix: Ann. W/ James Arther, Sarah Arther, W. Carruthers, Jr.
Stocwell Bright
Susanah Bright
Elenar Bright
Mary Bright
Sarah Bright
Ann Bright m. -------- Nelson
dau Bright m. ------- Gaskins
Harmon Gaskins
John Bright (of Hyde)
Mary Bright m. William Wynn
Lydia Bright
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