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
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
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
Charles Bright, Sr. - B. probably in VA, D. 1760 in Pasquotank
Charles Brite, Jr. - B. c 1734; D. 1810 in Camden Co., NC
Charles III - B. ? in Lower Norfolk Co., VA; D. 1810 in Camden
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.,
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
- 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
- Robert Bright, arrived in 1652 brought by Captain Robert
- 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
- 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
- called by the name of the Northward Neck Thicket, bounding on
- 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,
- Jno. Bright,---Messhall, Jno, Crosse, Wm Cooke, Will.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- C., Trans. of three persons: James Jackson, Elizabeth his
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 9 Sep 1720. Wife: Elizabeth, loan of plantation. Son: Henry,
- adjoining Mr. William Cording, mouth of Matchapungo Creek.
- 250 acres whereon he now dwells, on Slade's Creek, E. side of
- River. Son: Simon, 1/4 plantation I now dwell on Matchapungo
- James, 1/4 plantation, laid off adjoining Simon. Son: William,
- plantation laid off adjoining James. Son: John 1/4 plantation.
- Mary, wife of William Wynn, cow and calf. Daughter Lydia, cow
- Executor: Wife Elizabeth. Signed by mark. Witnesses: William
- 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,
- Precinct, Mar Ct 1731/2) Son, James. Land I now live upon and
- Daughter, Christia (?), cows. Daughter Elizah (torn), cow and
- Mother-in-law (torn) cow and calf. Son: Simon, Buckaneer gun,
- 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
- 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.
- Caswell, John Cooke, (friends) and James Bright,
- 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
- Creek. Daughters Susannah, Elenar, Mary, Sarah Bright, and Ann
- Grandson Harmon Gaskins. Gradndaughters Mary and Sarah Bright.
- executrix: Ann. W/ James Arther, Sarah Arther, W. Carruthers,
- 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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