Sunday, March 2, 2014

Passing of Mrs. Lawrence O'B. Branch


The widow of Gen. Lawrence O'B. Branch was descended from distinguished North Carolinians: her father was General William Augustus Blount (1792-1867) of Beaufort County; her mother was Nancy Haywood, granddaughter of Col. Philemon Hawkins of Warren County.  Mrs. Branch organized Raleigh's Ladies Memorial Association immediately after the war.

Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman

North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission

"Unsurpassed Valor, Courage and Devotion to Liberty"

"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"


Passing of Mrs. Lawrence O'B. Branch

"Mrs. L. O'B. Branch, widow of the famous North Carolina brigadier-general who gave his life for the Confederacy at Sharpsburg, passed peacefully away at her home in Raleigh on November 9, 1903. Mrs. Branch had been in declining health for several months and had almost reached the advanced age of eighty-six years.

She was the daughter of General. W.A. Blount, one of North Carolina's distinguished men, and her mother was the daughter of Sherwood Haywood, Esq., of Raleigh.  In 1844 she was married to Gen. Lawrence O'B. Branch, who represented his district in Congress for several terms, and during that time his family lived in Washington City. [Gen. Branch finished his literary education at Princeton, came to Tennessee and studied law with the eminent jurist judge, John Marshall, of Franklin. He resided during the time with the family of his uncle, Dr. Lawrence D. G. O'Bryan.]

At the outbreak of war he went to the front and was made brigadier-general.  He lost his life while leading is brigade in the battle of Sharpsburg, September 17, 1862; and his body was borne from the field by his faithful Negro servant, Wiley.  After forty-one years of patient watching and waiting, his devoted wife is again with him.

Mrs. Branch was a remarkable woman. She was deeply interested in contributing to the needs of Confederate veterans and perpetuating the memory of those who gave their lives for the cause.  It was Mrs. Branch who organized the Ladies Memorial Association at Raleigh and became its first president.  For many years she remained the head of that organization, and accomplished untold good.

The veterans in the Soldiers' Home were frequently cheered by her presence, and loved her dearly. The Confederate Camp in this city is named for her distinguished husband, and upon the last memorial day, when she was unable to attend the exercises, a body of veterans visited her.

Mrs. Branch had four children: Hon. William B. Branch, ex-Congressman, of Washington, N.C.; Mrs. Robert H. Jones of Raleigh; Mrs. Armistead Jones, of Raleigh; and Mrs. Kerr Craige, of Salisbury.

The funeral was attended by a large gathering of veterans, relatives and other friends, and many affecting incidents showed the esteem in which the good woman was held.  Drawn up in lines extending from the gateway . . . were veterans from [the] L.O'B. Branch Camp and Soldiers' Home.  Their heads were bared, not a few with armless sleeves and wooden limbs, bearing eloquent testimony to their valor on bloody battlefields.

The interment was in the city cemetery beside the grave of General Branch.  Among the floral pieces were handsome designs from the L.O'B. Branch Camp of Veterans, the Ladies Memorial  Association, and the Harry Burgwyn Camp.  The draped colors of the Camp were sent to the residence to be placed above the honored remains until after the funeral. The flag at the Soldiers' Home has been half-masted since Mrs. Branch's death.

(The Last Roll, Confederate Veteran, May 1904, pp. 234-235)