More on the Bruton/Brewton family

Published 1:07 pm Wednesday, January 12, 2005

By By Lydia Grimes Feature Reporter
I want to continue with the Bruton material this week. I ask you again to let me know if you have any information to share. I will be glad to write about your family, too. I just need to have at least something to go with.
ii. Mary Brewton (abt 1757) notes.
Mary Bruton was married around 1770 to Benjamin Fontaine in Dobbs County, N. C. Benjamin was born in 1754 in New Bern, N.C. He was a brother to Francis Fontaine, III. There has been some question as to whether Benjamin's name was in fact Benjamin or Peter. There are a number of records pertaining to "Peter and Mary," rather than Benjamin. The name "Benjamin" is cited by R.A. Brock in his publication, "A Partial List of Descendants of John de la Fontaine," prepared for the Virginia Historical Society. The common assumption is that Benjamin and Peter are the same person, yet this is not definitive.
Mary and her husband eventually settled in Georgia but first stopped over in South Carolina on their way, as did Benjamin/Peter's father, brothers and sister, Mary. The Brutons moved in this same pattern (Dobbs County, N.C., to South Carolina and then to Georgia). It is possible that the two families were associated even before settling in North Carolina.
Peter died in Richmond County, Ga., around August 1789. His widow, Mary, posted a bond of 1,000 pounds with the Register of Probate on Sept. 1,1789, and pledged to make available to the appointed appraisers a true and complete inventory of Peter's personal property. The appraisers of the estate were appointed, an inventory of property taken on Oct. 23, 1789, and Mary was appointed administratrix of the estate.
Peter's widow, Mary, married a second time on April 15, 1797, to John McCoy in Warren County. Mary and Peter are known to have had at least two children.
iii. Clarissa Bruton (abt 1758)
Clarissa Bruton was married in 1772 to Thomas Fontaine, who was born in 1752 in New Bern, N.C. As a young boy, Thomas moved with his father to Dobbs County. Thomas was yet another brother of Francis Fontaine, III. Thomas and Clarissa are believed to have moved to Charleston County, S.C., along with other Fontaine family members, between 1772 and 1778. They lived in what was later Colleton County, which was formed from Charleston County in 1798.
Thomas appears in the First South Carolina Census in 1790, Charleston District, St. Bartholomew's Parish, as "Thomas Founton." His brother, John, is listed in the same census.
The South Carolina State Land Grant Book 66 records a grant to Thomas of 572 acres in Charleston County on Sept. 2, 1795. This property adjoins land granted to Thomas' brother, John. No record of the sale of this property has been located, but it is known that Thomas and Clarissa had moved to Georgia by Dec. 30, 1795, as this was the date of the birth of their son, Benjamin, recorded in Georgia.
Thomas and Clarissa had seven children before Clarissa's death. Thomas was married a second time on Feb. 2, 1797, in Warren County, to Sally Threewits, with whom he had one daughter, Mary. Sally was the daughter of Joel Threewits. Because Thomas and Clarissa's youngest child, Benjamin, was born on Dec. 30, 1795, and Thomas remarried in February, 1797, it appears that Clarissa either died in childbirth at the end of 1795 or sometime in 1796 or early 1797.
The Warren County Will Book contains the will of Thomas Fontaine, which was probated on Nov. 7, 1808. It took some years to settle Thomas's estate; the final return was not made until March 6, 1815, by Thomas's brother, John Fontaine. According to the returns of the estate, the only heirs were his widow, Sally, and his children, Mary, John and Benjamin, although he also left provisions for his sister. It is possible that other children predeceased him, although there has been confusion about the names of Thomas and Clarissa's children. For example, it is often cited that one of their children was Lucy Fontaine, who married a Mr. Thompson. Lucy has been proven to be the daughter of Francis Fontaine, II, making her a sister to Thomas and not a daughter. Records in Jefferson County, Ga., indicate that Sally Fontaine, as Thomas' widow, was eligible to draw in a land lottery. This indicates that Thomas must have served in some capacity in the Revolution.
I will continue with this next week.