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Marie Branson-King ASSAYER EDGAR BRANSON RETIRES FROM IDARADO
The Telluride Times, Thursday, June 1977

Edgar Branson, civic leader in Telluride and assayer at the ldarado Mining Company's Pandora Mill east of Telluride, will retire this Friday, July 1, after twelve and a half years with ldarado and nearly 40 years in mining.

Born in Bayfield on July 1, 1912. Branson began his mining career in Rico (Colorado) in the fall of 1937, after studying at the University of Colorado. The Rico Argentine Mine had started extracting metal ores the previous June and Branson was hired as a "chuck tender".

"Most of the younger people at ldarado never heard of a chuck tender"; he says. "At that time, mining was done with a layner drill, which required a miner and a helper, or chuck tender, to operate." Layners are cumbersome drills compared to the lighter, more mobile jack legs used in mining today. The old layner had to be braced in the mine tunnel on steel beams wedged into tunnel walls, and realigned each time a new hole was drilled.

When Branson first arrived in Rico, it was a lively town of about 500 people and an active rail center for the Rio Grande Southern. Branson worked for nearly 20 years at the Argentine, and married Mavis Gaddis of Kansas City, Kansas. He served on the Rico Town Board and the Dolores County high school board and was master of Rico Masonic Lodge #77.

A new job, at the assay office in Durango's Vandium Corporation of America mill, lured the Branson family from Rico in the fall of 1956. "At that time I was a surface foreman for a maintenance construction crew, but the new job was appealing and Durango offered better schools and good churches". By that time the Branson family had added three daughters, Marie, Phyllis and Joanne.

The Branson s remained in Durango until 1963, when the vanadium mill shut down, and they returned to Rico. "We could have moved with Vanadium Corporation, but we all wanted to stay in the San Jan Mountain area," says Edgar. The second residency in Rico was short, lasting less than two years until the Branson s moved to Telluride where Edgar was hired as an assayer at Idarado.

Asked what he will do now, Branson smiles and says, "Mavis and I will travel some, and between trips, we have a house in the warmer community of Mancos". Branson leaves Telluride as a past president of the Rotary Club, past patron of Telluride Eastern Star #20, and past exalted ruler of Telluride Elks Lodge #692. "If you're going to be in the community, you should take part in a little activity", he advises.
Dec 10, 2004 · Reply
Marie Branson-King *(L.C. Branson is Cass Branson, son of Charles Perry ) Branson and 1st wife, Elizabeth Green)

Moab, Utah
Jan. 29, 1915

To L.C. Branson
Topeka, Kansas

Dear Nephew,

Since writing you two days ago, I thought I would write again and give you a kind of sketch of the family. As I understand it, the name is Swedish, if you have read history you will see where it comes in.

Several hundred years ago, the Sweeds or Norsemen overran the Scots in Scotland and settled that country-- that is how so many people from there, have "son" as part of their name.

Our people came from Southern Scotland to Virginia. There were four first cousins who came with a colony down to Middle Tennessee in Marion County, from Virginia, and there was a branch colony that came to Gasconade County, Missouri. Some came as early as 1813 before Missouri was a state. One cousin came to Missouri in 1830. This was my grandfather. He died that year. One other cousin came at the same time and died at about the same time as my grandfather. My father *(Andrew Jackson Branson) and one other brother went to Gentty Co., Missouri and stayed 3 years, then moved on to St. Joe, Missouri and then came on to Colorado and died at Pagosa Springs, about 60 miles east of where you were born. Father was in his 85rh year when he died-- Mother lacked one month of being 84 when she died. Uncle John, who came to St. Joe with father, died at Memphis, Tenn., in 1863. He was in the U.S. Army in the U.S. Rebellion. Father was also in the U.S. Army during the Rebellion. Father was a life long Democrat, but Uncle John was a Republican. There was another branch of cousins (4 cousins) who went to Bethany, in Worth County and some of the other cousins' families now live in California-- they went there in '48 (1848). They are now located about 60 miles east of San Francisco.

Another Branson family lived in St. Joe but we did not know where they came from-- then I was told by another Branson that the second group of Bransons were of the same family; that there was one county in Indiana where almost all were of the same name or related; but all I know anything about came from the same place in Scotland. Now you have it as good as I can give it to you.

In regard to the Greens', I don't know much. Your grandfather could not spell his own name in Box Car letters, but he was considered to be a good man. He was married to his 2nd wife when I knew him and she was a very ignorant person. She practically raised the first family and I was told that it was a regular knock down and drag out affair. I was told this, but I don't know the facts-- the Greens' were short people-- weighed about 140-150 lbs. The Branson men were not very tall. My father was 5 ft. 8 inches and I am 5 ft. 8 inches, common weight was about 160 to 180 lbs., sometimes as light as 130. Your father was about 130 and one other brother. My sister (Ruth), the oldest is about 73 now-- two brothers between her and me are dead. I am now past 69, the one next to me is dead, then John who is or was in Springfield, Colorado is 64 years old. Jack is a .... & gambler in the gold fields of Nevada & is 62; Ben in Grass Valley, Colorado is past 60; then Charles, in Kendall, Kansas is nearly 60; Jess in Taos, New Mexico about 58 years old; then there was a girl born dead; then Dave about 54 years, the last was born some time after the war, his name was Henry-- yes there were plenty of them.

Of course I may be a little off on their ages, as I have no record only trust to memory. Now I believe that I have said about all that I can to bother you with, and will ring off. From what I can see from your letter, you had plenty of hardships and now you don't let anybody bully rag you into a fight, as there is nothing to it. Always make friends instead of enemies and you will win out.

Try while you are young to put one dollar on top of another, as it takes money to make the mare go. We had just as hard times while Pap was in the army, I worked for 25 to 35 cents a day and took it home to Mother to help her. All I had to wear was on hickory shirt, one underwear, jean pants and a coat and half the time the seat was out of the pants. There was 3 years of this in my time. I have gathered corn for 35 cents a day, bare handed. When an ear of corn left my hand the blood followed it some mornings the frost would be an inch long on the corn and then is when it sent little streams down your leg about the size of a cambric needle.

Many a meal, oh for months during the war we didn't have anything to eat but corn bread and to get that every fellow had to grate his ear of corn and some for those who were to small, and we had one cow for milk; we had chickens but didn't eat one as we had to save the eggs to sell to buy clothing after carrying them in a basket 4 miles, on my shoulder, we got 5 cents a dozen, sometimes as much as 10 cents, but most of the time it was 5 cents.

If we made any butter we sold that for the same purpose at 10 cents per pound.

Some people want to see this country go to war, I say no. I will set back in the harness until the breeching breaks and still say NO.

I would like very much to see you at some time as I could tell plenty of stories that are all truths to make a pretty good size book. Of course voluntary advice is not worth much but you have had enough sad experiences to profit by it.

Keep putting one dollar on top of another and unless some unforeseen calamity overtakes you, you will be all right.

Swing in the circle with the best people; keep pace with them. I always tried to run with the best people all the time; cultivate your best qualities all the time and fight your bad ones if you have any. You have seen enough of the world to look out for no. 1.

On July 7, 1863 I left home to cross the plains to the Rocky Mountains. I was then in my 18th year. I had $2.00 in my pocket paid one dollar of that for railroad fare to Atchison, Kansas and 10 cents to cross the river.

There was a neighbor boy with me and when we got across the river he was broke. I had 90 cents, he was broke and 12.

No dinner and both hungry as an owl. We went to a lunch counter got a dinner, paid 35 cents of his dinner and 35 cents for mine which left me with 20 cents and no job.

While eating dinner the other fellow began to talk about going back home but I said no and we or rather I should say I got a job to drive 5 yoke of oxen to Denver for $20.00 per month and board. When I got to Denver I had $29.35 coming to me. I sent $10.00 of that back to Mother and later on sent her $7.00 more. I then drove a team back to Ft. Kearny and from Kearny to Ft. Laramie. That was one of the most eventful trips I ever had. 25 yoke teams of cattle loaded with flour for the Government. There is where I thought our time had come. We didn't get into Laramie until Jan. 2, 1864 and the most bitter cold you ever saw. When we got to Scotts Bluff 65 miles out from Laramie snow was one foot deep. We ran out of everything to eat but flour no meat, sugar, salt or anything else. I want to tell you just straight flour is pretty thin living. We were 15 days going that 65 miles. The cattle died off, so when we got into Laramie we had only 3 & 4 yoke to the wagon.

The last 200 miles we traveled there wasn't a house then is when you think of Mother.

I expect this will tire you out but it is all true.

As ever from your Uncle
s/ T.W. Branson

P.S. Utah is a good country they feed all the poor and destitute. I belong to the Independent Order of Oddfellows. Do you? Why not.

T.W. Branson
(T.W. Branson is Thomas Wilson Branson, son of Andrew Jackson and Nancy (Margrave) Branson.)

From the Collection of Mable McClellan (Marie Branson King)
Aug 30, 2005 · Reply
Marie Branson-King 1197 Saxony Road
Ecinitas, California
June 29, 1950

Dear Mable

So happy to have your letter, as it always makes me feel good to hear from any of the Branson Clan.

I'm sorry to have to tell you that I can't give you much information at this time. However, I can tell you that my Father was Jesse Allen Branson, and we did operate a hotel at Taos, New Mexico in 1905 & 1906. I have a sister Mary Alice and a brother Charles Alva (Branson). Mother is living but Papa passed on in 1915 in October. I can get Andrew Jackson Branson's father's name, but it will take 3 or 4 days, as I will have to write to Mother. She lives at Glendale, California with Alva. I have old family Bible with names, dates and events, but it does not go back to Great-grandfathers day, but mother can tell me. I will let you know as soon as I hear.

I was named for Aunt Ruth Jane (Branson McKown) and I have a daughter Ruth (she is married and lives near me.) I will appreciate any and all information you care to send me, Mable and I thank you a lot for your trouble. I have been hoping to write a story of our entire family some time, but can't seem to get started - maybe this is my inspiration & I can do something on it now.


A Miss Branson teaches school here in Encinitas and I shall contact her and find out if she is of our clan. Then I'll let you know. I would like to obtain a Branson history; is it very expensive, and how does one go about buying it?

So sorry we did not know of Aunt Ruth's daughter being here, I would love to have seen her. I am 58 years old; have one child; am blonde, 5ft. 3 in. tall and look "very Branson". Thanks for the invitation to stay with you overnight. Come see me.

Love,
s/ Ruth Lee Derby
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1197 Saxony Road
Encinitas, California

August 9, 1950

Dear Mable,

I am so sorry for this delay in answering your very interesting letter. I thank you for all the data you sent, I shall treasure it all, and will look forward to any & all you can send me.

I am so sorry, though, to have to tell you that so far I have not been able to get Great-grandpa's name, that is the name of the father of Andrew Jackson Branson. I thought surely that Mama would know this. It was only this last week that I was able to see her, and she tells me that she never knew the name of Grandpa's father or mother. I was a very small child the last time I saw them, Grandma and
Grandpa Branson. They are buried in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, and when they went there they took up a homestead. Do you supose that in the records of that transaction you might trace Grandfather's parents? Perhaps the names are on the application made in regard to this government land. Anyhow, its a thought and I hope it will be worth something to you.

I am on the track of a Branson family, (they are on vacation now) but as soon as they return I will visit them and get all the information about the family. I do know that Mrs. McLean (who was a Branson) and her brother, Col. Branson are from somewhere around St. Joseph, Missouri. I'll send you everything as soon as I get it. This lady plays violin in the same orchestra where I play violin. This is a symphony orchestra, made up of citizens of the community around here. We have given some nice concerts. I have been playing with them for four years now. I would love to be able to hear a concert by your Albuquerque Community Orchestra; their conductor is very famous.


As you suggested, I will make a running narrative and will send it real soon. I have been ill after the oeration on my shoulder. It has given me a great deal of pain and still does, but I am hoping soon to be able to go to the library in San Diego (about 25 miles south of here) and to see if I can find the article about Lord Branson, of which you spoke.

There are no Bransons listed in our phone book, and it seems that the name has never invaded Southern California, at least this far south. But there are five or six Branson names in the San Diego phone book. I will send a card to each of them, and ask if they are part of our clan. Hope I can find something for you.

Mable, you and I are about the same size; I weigh 118 lbs, have Branson blue eyes, am 5' 3" tall, blond hair, now darker (but not much gray); I belong to a Federated Women's Club (am Recording Secretary at the moment); was brought up in and still am a member of the Presbyterian Church; play violin in an orchestra, take a great joy in working in my garden & yard; I sew, scrub, cook and can a lot of fruit and vegetables each summer and also freeze fruit and vegetables. I swim, play bridge (but not well), enjoy football & baseball and take a lot of pleasure in working with our high school P.T.A. although I have no child of my own or even a grandchild of high school age, as my grandson is entering his second year of college this fall. He will go to Redlands. He was at Cincinnati University last year but decided that was located entirely too far from home.

I would love to have a snapshot of you, Mable and I will try to find one around here that looks something like me for you.

I will be waiting very anxiously for a letter from you telling me of all you have found out about the family history.

Hope we can have a good visit some day. We go to Taos some times and hope we can make it by next summer, anyway.

Good night, Mable, and good luck.

s/ Ruth Branson Derby

From the Collection of Mable McKown McClellan (Marie Branson King)
Aug 30, 2005 · Reply
Marie Branson-King July 11, 1950

Dear Mable,

I was quite surprised but pleased to hear from you and although I'm later than I should be, I am answering to the best of my ability your questions regarding our Great Grandfather Andrew Jackson Branson. As you know I am a nephew of Ruth (Branson) McKown,* my father being Jess A. Branson who lived for years at Taos, New Mexico, where he is buried. As a boy I remember my Grandfather
Andrew Jackson Branson with whom I stayed at intervals, but of his father whose name was Andrew I do not remember ever hearing his middle name. However, my oldest son, Frank A. Branson, who is with the Mendoceno Savings Bank as cashier, and just past President of the Chamber of Commerce, had a strange coincidence just short time ago-- the inter city Chamber of Commerce and business men's group get together here in Ukiah, and among them was a man by the name of Branson. Naturally they talked of their families, and this Mr. Branson sent Frank quite a lengthy family history which had an Andrew Jackson Branson, from Tennessee, as one main branch of the family. Frank has written to him, and if and when we have anything further, we will be most happy to forward it on to you. Or if you wish you can reach him at the above bank or by writing to Frank A. Branson at 700 Walnut Ave., Ukiah, California.

We have three very fine children; our oldest, Thelma, is Mrs. Verne A. Boulware, has been married 23 years and has a daughter, Betty, age 17 1/2 and who is to be married very soon; then our oldest son, Frank A. Branson, is married 7 years this fall and has a daughter Mary Margaret Branson, 11 months old; our youngest son, Harley Branson has been married 11 years and has three lively boys, the middle one, who is almost 6, is struggling with the effects of polio, the attach of which was slight in a way, but which affected his spine, heart and both legs from the hips down, but these wonderful therapy treatments are snapping him out of it, but of course he can't use his little legs, particularly the right leg and ankle which are worse that the left. But the specialist assures us that in time he will have a complete recovery for both legs, and his heart and spine condition is clearing up fine; the other two boys are Kenneth Branson just 8 years old, and Richard Branson who is 20 months old-- neither of whom were in anyway affected with the polio bug or whatever polio starts from, which the Doctors still say is a mystery to medical man. We think we have the best son-in-law and the sweetest daughter-in-law ever and we love them dearly. So we are very happy in our whole family.

We have been married 44 years. Jeff is 66 on the last day of this month (July 31, 1950, while I was 62 on June 1--we aren't young any more and have had a lot of ups and downs in our married life, but we are still one family and all live and enjoy each other so much. Verne, our son-in-law, is with the State Highway Dept., and has been for 22 years. Frank is the cashier at the bank where he as been for 15 years, except for 5 years in the service as a 1st Lieut. in the Engineers. Harley has been a salesman for the Holtz farm implement company until this June when he was made general manager of the whole wholesale and retail company. Jeff has been with the City Street Dept. for 12 years. So I suppose we won't be having any changes for a while at least as to the family being separated because of work transfers.

I personally have been on the shelf for nearly two years with a very severe heart attack, a coronary thrombosis, which has left me quite helpless, excess furniture, I think. I can't do any work but can take care of myself now and can go on rides or visit at the family get togethers.

If I didn't have the best family in the world, I could never have made it to the present stage, which we are told will never be normal again, but I can with care be able to enjoy my family a little longer. I try very hard to be good, but it does seem so foolish for me not to do anything; but I do pay for it in quick time if I overstep my allotted activities.

Write us again. I know I'm the world's worse writer but Jeff positively won't write anyone. I get so angry at him for I know his sisters and folks want to hear from him once in a while, but he still says, "you write and maybe I'll do better by next time". So please don't be offended at me for starting this letter as if I were Jeff. To tell the truth, he was dictating it and I thought he would at least sign it, but he ran out of anything to say, and finally told me to tell you of our family, and that's that.

Hoping to get more information relating to the family tree, and if we do, will surely forward it to you at once.

Love and best wishes,
s/ Jeff & Ina Branson

Jeff is the son of Jesse Allen Branson and his first wife Julia Acord

From the Collection of Mable McClellan (Marie Branson King)
Aug 30, 2005 · Reply
Marie Branson-King 5114 N. Maple Ave.
Spokane 12, Washington

May 20, 1950

Mable McKown McClellan
205 South Girard
Albuquerque, New Mexico

My very dear Mable,

I am indeed thrilled to receive your very lovely letter, and to learn of the work which you are undertaking for the good of the Branson Family's Genealogy. I am deeply interested in this, and if I can, in my small way, add anything to help you at any time, don't hesitate to ask me.

As of today, I have gone back into a few records, which I am able to reach, as my books, keepsakes & such are stored, and have written out some of the items that may help you.

I have many pictures filed in the old family album that was bought by Nancy Margrave in Alamosa, Colorado in 1885. There is one in particular which I am thinking may be of you when you were a wee one, which I enclose for your inspection, but would like it back, as it has a place in the album.

I do not recall the name of Grandfather Branson's father, but it might be traced thru the records of his enlistment in the Civil War, on the Union side, in 1861 to 1864, in Missouri. This information was taken from Grandpa's obituary.

I remember very well hearing of some relationship between Abe Lincoln and grandfather Branson on his mother's side through Nancy Hanks, but I have never been set right on it.

I also remember your corresponding with mother Branson, my mother Irene, and if this idea had struck us before she passed away, we could have learned a lot of very valuable information from her for the Branson family record.

In my traveling in California I run onto Cousin Ruth Branson Derby, Uncle Jesse Branson's oldest girl, who is also interested in writing a family history which she is going to dedicate to the memory of her father, and I am sure she will be able to add to the data we have. Her address is indicated on the enclosed paper. Her mother and sister and brother Alva were living in Los Angeles, California. You are so near them, so Ruth may be able to help out.

I and my sister Maggie Alexander, would like to read the book "The Bransons in Europe and America with Connections," if it could be arranged, and we promise to take the best of care of it and to insure its return to you. Also we would both be deeply interested in any other works you might run into.

I know a great deal of the cousins named on the list; George B., of Mountain Home, Idaho, and I are Pal's. Of all my father's brothers I have known personally or have seen in my life time only John, Ben, Jess & Jack (Branson), and, as far as I know, have never seen any of Aunt Ruth (Branson McKown) children.

Mr. Raymond Macht, of Pagosa Springs, Colorado is the most reliable person to contact for further information; however, I know many people there and have some relatives there also. I dare say you have my wedding picture of my first husband, George W. Cummings, of Creed, Colorado. He passed away in Idaho in 1932. I had one daughter by him, Mrs. Ozell Irene Newell, of Otis Orchard, Washington. I have three grandsons, of whom I am very proud, as my second husband's family were all grown before I entered the family, and he passed away last May 25, and therefore I returned to Washington as my daughter lives here.

Jeff and Ina Branson, of 744 Hazel Ave., Ukiah, California are two very fine people. I have visited them twice, and maybe they could give you some help, as he and his brother George, now deceased, were raised by Grandma and Grandpa Branson, after their mother died. The enclosed record shows their connection.

I am very happy that you wrote me, and I hope to hear much more from you, as I think you are very brave indeed to undertake this work, but am sure there is much to be gained by your efforts and will do anything I can to help out.

I have many family pictures. If you should like to see them some time, we may get together. Who knows?

I trust this finds you well, and I am looking forward to hearing from you at an early date. However, if you should write me after the first of June, my address will be 1411 East Providence St., Spokane, as I have sold this home and have bought the one at that address.

Yours very sincerely,
s/ Adah Kimball

P.S. The town of Alamosa, Colorado, stands on the land that was homesteaded by Andrew Jackson Branson when he came from Missouri. The land, 150 acres, that Grandpa sold to a man for $150.00 was in turn sold by him to the town for a sizeable sum.

I have a tin type photo of Nancy Margrave, mother of Nancy Branson, my father's mother, and one of William Margrave, brother of Nancy Margrave, the famous judge, for 50 years lacking 3 months of Fort Scott, Kansas.

Adah Kimball is the daughter of Jefferson Davis "Dave" Branson.

From the Collection of Mable McKown McClellan (Marie Branson King)
Aug 30, 2005 · Reply