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Dr. Branson Van Leer

Male 1739 - 1798  (59 years)


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  • Name Branson Van Leer  [1, 2, 3
    Prefix Dr. 
    Born 1739  Marple Twp, Chester Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    AFN VT21-VF 
    Occupation 1790  East Nantmeal, Chester Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Doctor 
    Will 3 Jan 1798  Philadelphia, Philadelphia Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Will written 
    Died Oct 1798  Philadelphia, Philadelphia Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Cause: Yellow Fever 
    Person ID I1628  default
    Last Modified 20 Jun 2007 

    Father Dr. Bernardhus Van Leer, Sr.,   b. Abt 1686, Isenburg, Prussia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Jan 1790, Middletown Twp, Delaware Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 104 years) 
    Mother Mary Branson,   b. 1710, Sonning, Berkshire Co, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1749, Middletown, Chester Co, Pennsylvania Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 39 years) 
    Married 25 Feb 1735  Christ Church, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Family ID F712  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Rebecca Mather 
    Married Abt 1760 
    Last Modified 13 Apr 2007 
    Family ID F809  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Documents
    1790 U.S. Census
    1790 U.S. Census
    1790 U.S. Census: Dr. Branson Vanleer family

  • Notes  Will:
    • VANLEER, BRANSON. Philadelphia.
      June 20, 1798. January 3, 1798.
      To my brother Samuel Vanleer both my plantations in East Nantmeal, now in hands of Henry Core and Jacob Moses, also all personal estate, and executor. Wit: Samuel Allardice, Joseph Louck.
      Letters of administration were granted September 1, 1798 to Isaac W. Vanleer.
      (typescript online at http://archiver.rootsweb.com/th/read/PACHESTE/2000-08/0966121962)

  • Sources 
    1. [S756] Nichols Online Library, Digital Documents Researched and Scanned by Chad Nichols & Relatives, Nichols, Chad G., (Catalogue of over 40,000 relatives with more than 5,000 of them having documentation to support their place in the family tree. Some recent generation surnames include Anderson, Broman, Campbell, Cloward, Conder, Dutson, Ericksen, Farmer, Holyoak, Kump, Kylen, Mendenhall, Nichols, Nielson, O'Donnell, Richardson, Roberts, Shelley, Stone, and Walker. Most ancestors are from England, Denmark, Sweden, and Germany. [online] www.nicholslibrary.org 7783 S 4950 W West Jordan, UT 84081 USA) (Reliability: 3).
      Middletown Presbyterian Church - 003377; 1790 U.S. Census - 002460

    2. [S707] Vanleer (Van Leer) Family History, Burge, Peggy, ([online] www.vanleerplus.org) (Reliability: 3).
      Branson Van Leer owned property in Philadelphia and on the Reading Furnace farmland. During the time the British occupied Philadelphia, he was living on the Reading Furnace property. Apparently the British occupied his Philadelphia home as he submits an "estimate of damages done by the British Troops" of 200 pounds on Nov. 19, 1782. (Ref. 'e' below.)

      This is the only Van Leer documented to be a slave-holder in Pennsylvania. A tax assessment in 1775 (Ref. 'b' below) shows ownership of 2 Negroes, 2 horses, 5 cattle, and 4 sheet.

      A legal document dated March 16, 1784, has also been preserved (Ref. "d" below) in which Dr. Branson Van Leer signified his intention to free a 'Negro Boy named Cesar when he shall arrive to the age of Twenty one years which will be on the Thirty-first day of the third month in the year of our Lord one thousand and seven hundred and ninety-eight.'

      Under Pennsylvania law, any slaves born after 1780 must be freed upon reaching the age of 28. Branson is, therefore, more generous than required by law. His legal document also will preclude his heirs from transporting Cesar to a slave-owning state should Branson die before 1798.

      Dr. Branson Van Leer was one of the original members of the Committee of Observation for Chester County, established in December 1774 with Anthony Wayne as chairman. Other members included William Branson's sons-in-law Thomas Hockley and Richard Flowers. During the Revolution, he was a surgeon in the 4th Battalion of the Chester County Militia under Col. John Ralston. (Ref. 'c' below)

      Branson Van Leer married Rebecca Mather, the daughter of James and Margaret Mather. Margaret died between 1784 when he was mentioned in her father's will (Ref. 'a' below) and 1798 when her husband died (Ref. 'f' below). They had no children.

      Dr. Branson Van Leer died in Philadelphia during a Yellow Fever epidemic in 1798. A will was dictated on his deathbed, leaving all his property to his brother Samuel. There were two witnesses, both of whom also died during the epidemic. George Van Leer formally contested this will in 1801, charging that Branson was 'deranged' at the time. The will was upheld in court. (Ref. 'g' below)

      Source References:
      --"Vanleer Papers," at Chester County Historical Society, West Chester, PA. These notes references the following original sources:
      --Chester County Wills, Book 6.
      --Chester County Tax Assessment, 1775.
      --Pennsylvania Archives, 5th Series, Vol 5, page 451.
      --Cope College Historical Society of Pennsylvania
      --Depredations by the British Army, Chester County Historical Society of PA.
      --Chester County Wills, Book X, p. 66.
      --Yeats Manuscript, 3rd Floor, Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

    3. [S865] 1790 United States Federal Census [database online], United States. Bureau of the Census. 1st Census, 1790, (Washington [District of Columbia] : National Archives and Records Administration Microfilm of original records in the National Archives, Washington, D.C.), P 66 (Reliability: 3).
      East Nantmill, Chester Co, Pennsylvania: Doct. Branson Vanleer, 1 male 16+yrs, 1 female, 4 other free persons

    4. [S472] Marriages Recorded by the Registrar General, ([online] http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/pa/philadelphia/church/pass8-1.txt Original in Pennsylvania Archives, Second Series, vol 8; Made available online by Donna Bluemink & Joe Patterson. Contents include transcriptions of marriages for Christ Church (Philadelphia), Swedes' Church (Philadelphia), First Presbyterian Church (Carlisle), St. Paul's Episcopal Church (Chester), Reformed Church (Falkner Swamp), Lutheran Church (New Hanover), German Reformed Church (Philadelphia), & Paxtang & Derry Churches) (Reliability: 3).
      1734, Feb. 25, Bransten, Mary, and Bernhard Sanlear
      1734, Feb. 25, Vanlear, Bernhard, and Mary Bransten
      (Research by Chad G. Nichols)