Saturday, May 14, 2016

My 64 ~ Researching My 4th Great Grandparents : William Brackley and Anna Clayton

William Brackley, my 4th great grandfather, was probably born January 7, 1788, probably in Dedham, Massachusetts, since his parents, William Brackley and Sarah Everett, were married there six months later. His father had been born in England and allegedly had fought with Burgoyne in the Revolutionary War.

"Surrender of General Burgoyne" painted by John Trumbull

In April of 1809, William married Anna Clayton in Farmington, Maine. She was the daughter of John Clayton, a British-born former soldier in the 20th Regiment of Foot and 17th Light Dragoons, who became a prison of war following Burgoyne's surrender at Saratoga.

There is evidence that William may have fought in the War of 1812, although no information outside this index card is available.

William and Anna lived all their married life in Freeman, in Franklin County, Maine, where they raised six children:

Abel Everett, b. 1811
Betsey, b. 1813
John Clayton, b. 1817
Elias and Eli, twins b. 1822
Howard Winslow, b. 1829*

*My 3rd great grandfather

When the U.S. Census Mortality Schedule was published for Freeman, Maine, for the year ending June 1, 1870, both William and Anna were listed with their respective "Profession, Occupation, or Trade" as "Gentleman" and "Lady."

William and Anna are buried side by side in North Freeman Cemetery.

William and Anna Brackley Graves, North Freeman Cemetery

Footstones at the Graves of William and Anna Brackley, North Freeman Cemetery


1850 US Census; Census Place: Freeman, Franklin, Maine; Roll: M432_253; Page: 229A; Image: 443

1860 US Census; Census Place: Freeman, Franklin, Maine; Roll: M653_435; Page: 852; Image: 267; Family History Library Film: 803435. U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.

Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 (Online Database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2016).

Thompson, George A. and F. Janet Thompson. A Genealogical history of Freeman, Maine, 1796-1938, in three volumes. 3 vols. (Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 1996).

Vital Records of Farmington, Maine, 1784-1890 (Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2016).

“War of 1812 Service Record Index,” database and images, Fold3 ( : accessed 24 April 2016); service of William Brackley, Jr. (3rd Regiment (Fairbanks’) Massachusetts Militia, War of 1812); citing Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the War of 1812, Record Group 94, National Archives, Washington, D.C.


  1. Pam, William Brackley Sr. has been a subject of much study and research in our family. We still live just a few miles from the foundation of his old homestead. The rumor he had fought with Burgoyne is not true. He actually fought in the 17th regiment of foot in the british army until the war had ended. Though he was held prisoner for a time after the battle of Stony Point July 16, 1779. But returned to fight the end of the war (perhaps he escaped like John Clayton) Was sent to Halifax Nova Scotia on a guard detail, and eventually deserted. John Clayton seemed to follow a similar trail to Halifax and back again. Both men settled next to one another in freeman. Our family branch may be responsible for the Burgoyne rumor, so I thought I would clear this up :)

    1. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! I LOVE CORRECTIONS AND CLARIFICATIONS!! And now I have you as a resource for my further Brackley research! I am so glad you found this blogpost, and steered me straight. Warm Regards, Pam