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BIOGRAPHY is history in action. 
All should take pride in knowing 
something regarding their forefa- 
thers, where they came from, and what they 
have done. This work gives an outline of 
the Brereton family history in England, 
Ireland, and America, from A. D. 1066 to 
the present, but does not attempt a detailed 
pedigree of the different branches, or as- 
sume to prove "royal descent from Nor- 
man, Saxon, and Celt"; that is left to such 
works as ''Ormerod's History of Cheshire," 
"Memoirs of the Brereton Family," by Sir 
Fortunatus Dwarris, and "The Breretons of 
Cheshire," by Robert Maitland Brereton. 
These scholarly works are mostly occupied 
with English records, touch lightly on Irish 
Breretons, and say little or nothing of Amer- 
ican families, of whom no account has been 
attempted before. 
The causes that led Breretons from Eng- 


land to Ireland and America were historic, 
and are treated here from that view-point. 
The loss of family records, early variations 
in spelling the name, families bearing 
names derived from ours, make a romance 
of interest, and are noted as a part of this 

The sources from which material has 
been gathered are many: several histories of 
Cheshire, extracts from old town and 
church archives, antiquarian and curious 
chronicles, colonial documents, records 
from army and civil life in Europe and 
America, have each yielded their quota. 
Years of correspondence withBreretons and 
other families over the world has made the 
work possible. 

Failure of a few to answer letters, be- 
cause too modest to tell their story, and a 
total lack of records by others, have made it 
difficult to make the history complete. The 
war has broken into many families and de- 
layed the work; but as the first collection of 
American Breretons, it may awaken interest 
and keep laudable family pride from losing 


its inspiring influence, by prompting fathers 
to recite to their sons the worthy deeds of 
their grandsires. Foolish boasting and cheap 
family pride have brought pedigrees into 
disrepute, but it is now known as a scientific 
fact in biology that heredity counts for 
more than environment — that we pass on to 
our descendants only that which we have in- 
herited from our ancestors; therefore, the 
greater need of careful selection in mar- 
riage, and cultivating our best traits to be- 
come full - grown men, and thus control 

Many family pedigrees are made up of 
guesses and assumptions based on hearsay; 
but we are fortunate in having definite rec- 
ords on file, and a landed estate, known as 
"Brereton," near Chester, England, since 
A. D. 1066. 

Few subjects are more interesting than 
the origin of English family names. There 
were not many such until after the Norman 
Conquest. In early times single names were 
common to every nation — the Bible gives no 
others — and many great historic characters 



are so known at the present time. Most fam- 
ily names had their origin in some peculiar- 
ity, trade, or location, which at first was 
added to distinguish each from others of the 
same name. ^^John" was long or short, lived 
on a hill or in a forest, was a smith, tailor, 
or mason. Through the Middle Ages almost 
every name was written with "le," *'de," 
or "atte," indicating that "John" was a 
clerk, or lived in the woods or at the tavern. 
In time these prefixes were dropped, and 
the trade, location, or peculiarity became 
fixed as a family name, as it is today. The 
same name often had many origins, because 
there were many bakers, farmers, shepherds, 
many a wolf, fox, or fisher, each the begin- 
ning of similar family names. 

Brereton had but one origin, beginning 
with the Norman Conquest, preserved in 
"The Roll of Battle Abbey" and "Domes- 
day Book," and perpetuated in the manor 
of "Brereton," in Cheshire, England. This 
was the first Brereton home, and so con- 
tinued since A. D. 1066, when William the 
Conqueror confiscated most of the Saxon 


estates and gave them to his Norman bar- 

Domesday Book describes this estate as 
"Brereton," and all who bear the name are 
doubtless descended from those Norman set- 
tlers of eight hundred and fifty years ago. 

Battle Abbey was built by William to 
commemorate his victory at Hastings, A.D. 
1066, and the historic "Roll" is said to con- 
tain the names of six hundred and twenty- 
nine chiefs of the Norman nobles who fol- 
lowed the King to victory. The original roll 
was destroyed by fire, but of three copies 
taken from it the name "Brereton," in vari- 
ous forms of spelling, is found in each. Spell- 
ing was not an exact science then as now; 
Beardsley, in his work on names, gives an 
instance of one hundred and thirty-seven 
different ways of spelling "Mannering" 
among Cheshire records, often differing 
many times in the same line, written by the 
same hand. 

All doubt about the name is removed by 
Domesday Book, which locates and de- 
scribes the estate known as "Brereton," and 



is SO known, with its "Brereton Hall," to the 
present time. It is there spelled "Bretone," 
while in copies of "The Roll of Battle Ab- 
bey" it is "Bretoun," "Breton," and "Bere- 
ton," variations similar to the curious ways 
strangers attempt to spell it today. 

In 1086, Domesday Book was prepared 
at command of the King, being a census of 
all land, stock, property and people then in 
England. It was done for the purpose of as- 
sessing war-tax for support of the govern- 
ment. The original is one of the most valued 
relics of the treasures of England; copies 
taken from it are held priceless in the great 
libraries of the world. The extract here giv- 
en is in the ancient Latin, many abbrevi- 
ations being filled in to make it intelligible 
to those not familiar with the original form 
in which it was written. 

"Isdem Gislebertus (de Venables) ; 
tenet Bretone; Ulviet tenuit. Ibi ii hi- 
dae geldabiles. Terre est iv carucarum 
in dominio, est una et ii bovarii, et ii 
villani,et iii bordarii. Ibi una acra pra- 


ti. Silva una leuva longa, et dimidia 
lata, et molinum de xii denariis. De hac 
terra ii homines eius unam hidam, et 
habent una carucum, cum ii servis, et 
ii villanis, et iv bordariis. Totum tem- 
pore R. Edwardi valebat xx solidos, 
modo similiter. Wasta invenitur." 

This when freely translated reads: "The 
same Gilbert de Venables holds Brereton. ^,-^~— ;^-— i 
Wulfgeat previously held it^here is l^ndj^^J^J^J^ 
enough for four plows in the demesne. '^ jL--^ 

There are one or two oxmen, and two vil- 
lains, and three bordars. There is one acre ^ 
of meadow, woodland one league long and 
half a league wide, and a mill paying twelve- 
pence tax. Of this land two men, retainers of 
his, hold one hide and have one plow, with 
two serfs, and two villains, and four bordars. 
The whole in the time of King Edward 
(1066) was taxed twenty shillings, now 
(1086) to be taxed the same. Gilbert found 
it waste." 

This record gives a history of the times. 
Wulfgeat, the former owner, lost this estate 



and twelve others of vast extent, as shown 
on the same page in Domesday Book. A 
"hide" was about one hundred and twenty 
acres, a "plow" included six oxen and as 
many oxmen. Serfs, villains, and bordars 
were different grades of bondmen. Cheshire 
was the last to yield to the Normans ; so, in 
punishment, all Saxon owners were driven 
out and Earl Hugh, nephew to the Con- 
queror, was given the county as a palatinate, 
or small kingdom. This Hugh Lupus (the 
Wolf) created nine barons, who, with him, 
ruled Cheshire. Gilbert de Venables was 
one of the barons, also others whose names 
we shall meet later, as the Breretons were 
related and married into the families of 
these barons for hundreds of years after- 

After the Roll of Battle Abbey (1066) 
and DomesdayBook(1086) ,the next record 
was about 1087, in the reign of William Ru- 
fus, when a charter, given Gilbert de Ven- 
ables, was witnessed by Ralph de Brereton. 
These parchments, with their signatures 
and seals, still exist among the town and 


church records of Cheshire. Dates then 
were not as now; the year began at Christ- 
mas, or Easter, or some other church holy- 
day, or with the reign of the King. Much 
labor is involved to make sure of exact time, 
but the variation is not great. 
'^ About 1176, Ralph de Brereton, a grand- 
son of the first Ralph, is witness in a grant 
of Marton to Richard de Davenport. 

About 1194, William de Brereton, son of 
this last Ralph, received a deed at the time 
of his marriage to Margery, daughter of 
Randle de Torhaunt, eight witnesses sign- 
ing the contract. This William was knight- 
ed by Henry III in 1208, the beginning of 
honors held in the Brereton family for over 
five hundred years. 

In 1216, Sir Ralph de Brereton, son of 
William, granted land to "Brereton" 
church, as shown by parish records still in 

About 1232, this Sir Ralph received pay- 
ment of "half a salt works" for some public 
services done in Cheshire. 

During the year 1250,Sir William Brere- 



ton was witness to legal documents in Ches- 
ter. In 1307, another William Brereton was 
witness to four deeds still on file there. The 
same year, William le Brereton, Kt, was 
witness to deeds of sale in Chester. 

Sir William Brereton, Kt., son and heir 
of Ralph, married a daughter of Sir Rich- 
ard de Sandbach, in fulfillment of a con- 
tract made with William de Venables. 

About 1275, Sir William Brereton mar- 
ried Roesia, daughter of Ralph de Vernon. 
This wedding united the Breretons with the 
Vernons of "Haddon Hall," so well de- 
scribed by Majors in the novel "Dorothy 
Vernon." This Sir William later gave one 
hundred marks for the marriage of their 
daughter Margery to Thomas de Daven- 
port in 1301. He was knighted by Edward 
III in 1321. 

In 1342, Sir William and his wife, Roe- 
sia, united in a deed of lands in Brereton 
parish. Roesia must have believed in "wom- 
an's rights" and had her name put in the 
deeds. This Sir William received indulgen- 
ces from the Pope for services rendered in 



the Crusades to the Holy Sepulchre, about 

Now let us inquire about the Brereton 
coat of arms. Why was it adopted, and what 
does it signify? Every knight engaged in 
the Crusades wore armor and had some in- 
signia which distinguished him from others 
in battle. Frequently these indicated his 
name or some important event in the family 

The motto "Opitulante Deo" (With the 
aid of God) needs no explanation; it is a 
beautiful sentiment, in accord with the best 
thought of past and present. But why the 
bear? We attempt only a few guesses: Per- 
haps those old warriors thought the first 
half of the name sounded like bear; or, in 
times when the stars had much to do with 
life, the Ursa Major — great bear, or dip- 
per — with its pointers to the north star, may 
have signified that Breretons were to be 
guides to travelers in the journey of life ; or 
the word "bear," to support, carry, endure, 
bear and forbear. Pope says, "'Tis the bear's 
talent not to kick but to hug" ; this is mod- 


ern in its application, suggesting that Brere- 
tons should never be ^'knockers." 

The coat of arms illustrated is that found 
in Brereton Hall, the recognized Brereton 
standard; but there were many others be- 
longing to different branches, as given in 
Fairbirns' Book of Crests, including bears 
in several attitudes, a unicorn and a fierce- 
looking dragon. The little seal, used in the 
book and stationery, is my design, express- 
ing the essential facts of the family history 
— its English origin, 1066; its emblem, the 
bear; its faith, "Opitulante Deo" (With the 
aid of God) ; and the name Brereton. May 
they never grow less ! 

A reliable authority says: "Many Breton 
lords are known to have followed William 
the Conqueror into England." The estate 
was doubtless named "Bretone," after that 
part of France, and the family occupying it 
took the name, as was then the custom. 

The following items in heraldry should 
be clear, to avoid ridiculous mistakes, into 
which ambitious and recently rich Ameri- 
cans sometimes fall : A coat of arms may in- 



elude the shield, emblems, supporters, hel- 
met, crest, motto, and ornaments. No wom- 
an except a queen may bear a crest; unmar- 
ried women may not bear the family arms 
on a knight's shield, but use the same design 
on a lozenge ( ) instead. 

In confining our genealogy to the one line 
of ''Breretons of Brereton Hall," we give 
but a glimpse of what might be done if we 
were to follow other branches, a score of 
them, each having won renown, and pro- 
duced men of even greater attainments. But 
space forbids; so we refer our readers to 
other works, where they may find lists of 
noted names. Our aim is not to tell all, but 
try to inform those not acquainted with the 
family history, and if possible "stir up the 
gifts that are within" those who have failed 
to measure up to their full stature of man- 

Returning to the records, we find that 
William de Brereton, son of the previous 
Sir William, died before his father, leaving 
a son of the same name. 



In 1354, Sir William Brereton, heir to 
his grandfather, married EUena, daughter 
of David de Egerton, a descendant of the 
Norman barons; by this alliance the Brere- 
ton estates were greatly extended, placing 
their social standing among the best in Eng- 

In 1386, Sir William Brereton, son of the 
above, married Anylla, daughter of Sir 
William Venables, a descendant of Gilbert 
de Venables, first baron of Cheshire, and 
grantee of the first Brereton estate, three 
hundred years before. By a second mar- 
riage, to Elena, daughter of Sir William 
Massey of Tatton Hall, in 1426, the Brere- 
ton holdings were among the great estates 
of England, including the manors of Mal- 
pas and Picton, with lands in WoodhuU, 
Crouton, Charlton, and Norwich. 

William de Brereton, son of the above, 
married Alice, sister and heiress of Sir 
Richard Corbett of Leighton ; this William 
died during the life of his father. About 
this time the '*de" was dropped from Eng- 
lish names, as it was simply a descriptive 



term and never a title, nor represented any 
special honor. 

In 1409, a record says that King Henry 
removed the Mayor of Chester and placed 
Sir William Brereton in charge as military 

William Brereton, on the death of his 
grandfather, in 143S, was found heir to the 
vast estates of Brereton, and also the estates 
of his step-mother, in Tilston and HerthuU, 
as recorded in 1438. He v^as knighted in 
1485. His son, William Brereton, died issue- 
less, breaking the line of descent, the suc- 
cession passing to his nephew, son of Sir An- 
drew Brereton, in 1507. 

On December 7, 1496, a deed was re- 
corded to Ralph Brereton, brother of Sir 
Randle Brereton of Malpas. This Sir Ran- 
dle was Chamberlain and Knight of the 
Bedchamber to Henry VII and Henry 
VIII. His son, John Brereton, about 1534, 
started the Norfolk branch of Breretons, 
from which many noted families have 

In 1507, Sir William Brereton held vast 



estates, and also had control of the appoint- 
ment of clergymen to churches at Brereton, 
Malpas, Tilston, and St. John's. 

As a side-light on court life of the period, 
there is a record of one Sir William Brere- 
ton of Malpas, whom Henry VIII suspect- 
ed of being too familiar with the Queen, 
Anne Boleyn. He was confined in the tower 
of London, and later the King gave orders 
to "muzzle the bear," meaning to take his 
head off; so Sir William died May 17,1536, 
and two days later the Queen, mother of 
Queen Elizabeth, was beheaded. There is a 
legend that ever since that event the bear on 
the Brereton arms has been muzzled, but in 
free America we have left the bear free also. 

In 1537, the wealthy Nunnery of Chester 
was dissolved, and its property confiscated 
by the King, as part of the policy of the 
"reformation." In 1541, these buildings and 
grounds were granted to "Urian Brereton, 
the elder, and his son, free of taxes," for 
favors done the King. For a century this 
place was used as a manorial residence by 
the Breretons, but was destroyed in 1646 by 


Cromweirs army, led by Sir William Brere- 

Sir William Brereton, grandson of the 
Lord High Marshal of Ireland, 1540, was 
married to Jane, daughter of Sir Peter War- 
burton of Arley. 

Sir William Brereton, born in 1550, mar- 
ried Margaret, granddaughter of the Earl 
of Rutland, being the same family, and 
about the time Dorothy Vernon married in- 
to the Rutland family. This Sir William 
built Brereton Hall in 1586, the corner- 
stone of which is said to have been laid by 
Queen Elizabeth. He was created "Lord 
Brereton of Leighlin" in Ireland, May 11, 

John, eldest son of Lord Brereton, died 
in his father's lifetime, leaving a son, Wil- 
liam, the second Lord Brereton, who suc- 
ceeded his grandfather in 1631 ; but having 
sided with the King against Parliament, lost 
most of his estates, suffering great financial 
and social reverses. 

William, the third Lord B rereton, through 
loyalty to the King, lost the barony of Mal- 



pas. He was a scholarly man, being credited 
with founding the Royal Society in 1658. 

John, the fourth Lord Brereton, and 
Francis, his brother, the fifth Lord Brere- 
ton, both dying without issue, title to 
"Brereton Hall" in 1722 passed through the 
female line to the Holts of Aston, Warwick- 
shire, after being in the Brereton family 
continuously for six hundred and fifty-six 
years. It has since passed from the Holts, 
having been sold to satisfy other claims, but 
retains the old name, and is shown to visit- 
ors as '^Brereton Hall." 

Old Chester, the county seat of Cheshire, 
near which Brereton Hall is located, is 
among the most interesting places in all 
England. The ancient wall with its towers 
stands as a relic of the past. The Romans 
held it for four hundred years, and remains 
of their works are found twenty feet beneath 
the present surface. It was a border fort 
held against Welsh invasion for centuries. 
There are many ancient ruins, buildings, 
and castles, the best-known being Hawarden 
Castle, the home of the great Gladstone, 



which is about twenty - five miles from 
Brereton Hall. 

Brereton Hall is situated on a gentle rise 
on the bank of the Croco, two miles north 
of Sandbach, Cheshire, England, located 
on the estate known as "Brereton" since the 
Norman Conquest in 1066, and recorded in 
Domesday Book in 1086. The principal 
front of the hall faces west, having wings 
terminating in gables, and two lofty octag- 
onal towers, enriched with large bay win- 
dows and various ornaments in the mixed 
style of Queen Elizabeth, with the rose and 
portcullis, the royal arms, and those of the 
family. Over the door is the date, 1S86. Sev- 
eral inscriptions set within rich framework 
of stucco are of special interest, a sample of 
which is here given : 

"Though thou be for thy pedigree 
accounted as ancient as Saturn, 

In wisdom as wise as Solomon, in 
power as mightie as Alexander, 

In wealth as rich as Croesus, or for 
thy beauty as Flora; 



Yet if thou be careless of religion, 
and neglect the true service of 
the ever living God : 

Thou art a Caytife most vyle and 

The following is the quaint description 
written long ago by Ormerod: 

"Brereton standeth upon the London 
way, at Blackmere, or Brereton lake, 
and hath a Fair, which is held on 
Brereton green, on Lammasday, be- 
ing the first day of August. Not far 
off is the Parish church of Brereton, 
and near unto the church the goodly 
Manor - place, newly builded, all of 
brick, the like whereof is not in all the 
country. Therefore it is not to be omit- 
ted by visitors, and not so much for its 
buildings, as for the number of ancient 
and valient Knights and gentlemen 
who had and have their origin thence." 

Burke, the great English authority on 
genealogy, says: "The last Lord Brereton 


was a lineal descendant of the nine earls of 
Chester, of whom the first was Hugh Lu- 
pus, nephew of William the Conqueror." 

A social incident in the passing of the es- 
tates is recorded in the family of the second 
Lord Brereton (1611-1664), during the tri- 
umph of Cromwell and losses of all who 
supported the King's cause. Lord William 
Brereton had ten children, of whom but one 
married. There were six daughters, Anne, 
Mary, Frances, Jane, Margaret and Elisa- 
beth. All lived to good old age — Mary, 80; 
Anne, 85. Think of the old manor in its 
dark days, with fortune gone, and these girls 
left in social neglect! 

As a contrast to this, there are many rec- 
ords in old English churches of child-mar- 
riages, especially among the landed gentry, 
who desired the union of their houses with 
others of large fortunes, or, in case of death, 
to save them from confiscation by the King, 
as the law then permitted. Richard, Duke of 
York, at four years, was married to Anne 
Mowbray, daughter of the Duke of Nor- 
folk, she being six years old. James Ballard, 



at ten years, was given two apples by Anne, 
"a big girl," if he would marry her. The 
temptation was effective ; but after the cere- 
mony, he cried to go home, and they never 
met again until November 8, 1S6S, five 
years later, when a divorce was sought, and 
the church dignitaries and learned judges 
set them free. At Brereton church, in 1552, 
John Somerford,aged three years, and Jane, 
daughter of Sir William Brereton, aged two 
and a half years, were held in arms, and 
prompted to respond to the vows of matri- 
mony. The record was made April 15, 1564, 
when the said Jane, being twelve years old, 
refused to ^'ratify" the marriage or have the 
said John for her husband, so the courts 
granted a "divorce." 

Two more items, out of a thousand that 
might be taken from the records of "Merrie 
England, in the good old times," before the 
days of modern wage slavery and present 
corrupt social conditions: In 1322, a tower 
was built on the walls of Chester, the pay- 
roll for labor being preserved. Masons were 
paid threepence per day, carpenters three- 



pence, laborers twopence, women for carry- 
ing rock one penny; this was under munici- 
pal ownership. In 1086, as recorded in 
Domesday Book, a work-ox was valued at 
two shillings, the best being two and a half 
shillings. How the happy farmer of today 
would enjoy selling four- and five-year-old 
steers at fifty and sixty-five cents each! 

Let us now inquire what other Breretons 
have been doing. We have followed the rec- 
ords of the heirs to the fortunes and honors 
of the family estate and Brereton Hall. But 
what were the younger sons and their de- 
scendants doing? 

The line of inheritance having been brok- 
en in 1722, no Brereton has proven title, 
through the eldest son, to be "Brereton of 
Brereton Hall," but younger branches may 
have as good blood and be entitled to as 
high a place in the intellectual and social 
world. If any have lost out in the race, now 
is an opportune time to lay foundations and 
build for the future. 

Shakespeare says, "Some are born great, 
some achieve greatness, and some have 


greatness thrust upon them." We have 
searched many sources, and find Breretons 
known to fame in the fields of war and in 
professional and civil life, in Europe and 
America, from which we select a few 

In 1300, Gilbert de Brereton was rector 
of Astbury, near Brereton. In 1344, Hermo 
Brereton (son of Sir William and Roesia) 
was rector of Brereton church. Thomas 
de Brereton was rector of Brereton church 
in 1433. 

Humphrey Brereton of Malpas was a 
writer and courtier of note during the War 
of the Roses (1455-1485), playing a part in 
diplomacy between Lord Stanley, Henry 
VII, and Richard III. 

John, Thomas, and Peter, sons of Sir 
Randle Brereton, were all clergymen (1530- 
1550). Cuthbert Brereton (1570-1613), 
grandson of the Rev. John Brereton of Nor- 
folk, was a lawyer and statesman of that 

Sir William Brereton of Chester in 1604 
was appointed to arbitrate a dispute be- 



tween two prominent families as to "which 
shall sit highest in the church and foremost 
go in processions." Wise William, and hap- 
py age, when such social problems were so 
easily solved I 

Thomas Brereton of Malpas (1660-1700) 
was a poet and dramatist of note. 

In 1635, John Brereton, Mayor of Ches- 
ter, established an exhibition of fine horses, 
offering a prize of "a silver bell worth eight 
pounds"; this fair has been an annual event 
down to the present. 

Thomas Brereton (1691-1722) studied at 
Oxford, and was author, dramatist, and cus- 
toms officer of the British Government in 

Owen Salsbury Brereton (1715-1798), 
son of Thomas Brereton of Chester, studied 
at Cambridge, and was a noted scholar and 

Captain William Brereton, of the Royal 
Navy, military governor of Manila, 1762- 

Lieutenant - Colonel Thomas Brereton 
(1782-1832) commanded British forces in 



West Indies and Cape Town, South Africa. 

General Sir William Brereton, K. C. B., 
K. H. (1788-1864)— son of Major Robert 
Brereton, who fought at CuUoden — com- 
manded at Waterloo, and Sebastopol, 1812. 
Major William R. Brereton, of Kildare, 
was nephew of above. 

The Rev. Charles Brereton (1814-1895), .^ 
son of John Brereton, LL. D., Bedford, 
studied at Oxford; was Canon of Ely, and 

The Rev. Charles D. Brereton (1820- 
1876) studied at Cambridge; was British 
consular chaplain in Spain. 

Alfred Brereton, executive of British 
railroad service in India. 

The Rev. Joseph Lloyd Brereton, educa- 
tional reformer, founded a school of practi- 
cal methods for sons of country gentlemen. 

William Westropp Brereton (1810- 
1867), was a graduate of Trinity College, 
Dublin; Queen's Counselor, Irish bar, Dub- 

William W. Brereton, M.R.C.S.I., Pro- 
fessor of Surgery, Queen's College, Dublin. 



Colonel Edward Fitzgerald Brereton 
served in British South Africa. 

^^Breretons of Brinton," Norfolk, show a 
record of ten generations. 

William Fitzgerald Brereton, Liverpool, 
leaves a family of noted ability, three sons 
and two daughters, all filling important 
places in their several fields: Austin Brere- 
ton, London, dramatic journalist and critic; 
author "Life of Henry Irving." Bernard J. 
S. Brereton, Tacoma, Washington, expert 
in forestry and lumber; author; has six 
sons — Bernard Duane, Charles Austin, Wil- 
liam Albert, Walter Fitzgerald, Charles 
Stanley, Vernon — a good way to keep the 
family name and brains alive. Stanley Brere- 
ton, Vancouver, B. C, lumber broker. Iso- 
line Brereton Kerez and Mary Layola 
Whiteside, in war service in Europe. 

Colonel Thomas Brereton, 'Rathurlis, 
Tipperary, served in British army. Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel John Brereton, of same family, 
served in British army. Franc Sadlier 
Brereton, D. D. S., San Francisco, Califor- 
nia. Captain Fred Sadlier Brereton, author 



of many books; active in great war. J. Sad- 
lier Brereton, public accountant, Salt Lake 
City, Utah. Cloudsley Brereton, son of Cap- 
tain Shovell H. Brereton, educator and au- 
thor, London and Paris. 

David Brereton, born 1732, at Killurine, 
Kings County, Ireland, had three sons; Dr. 
Joshua Brereton, born 1762, surgeon, TuUa- 
more and Dublin; David Brereton (1768- 
1831) who remained on the estate in Killu- 
rine ; and John B rereton, of Rathdrum, Kings 
County, Ireland. John Brereton (1799- 
1851), of Rathdrum, son of the above, had 
four sons : William, a sea captain, who mar- 
ried a cousin of Sir C. Bridge, and his son is 
Lieutenant-Colonel C. B. Brereton; Samu- 
el, a surgeon in the British army, who died 
in Bagdad, 1880; John Brereton, who went 
to NewZealand in 1880; and George Brere- 
ton, New Haven, Connecticut, U. S. A., 
whose son graduated from Yale, and whose 
daughter studied in Paris. The first David 
above was also great-grandfather of the au- 
thor of this book. 

At present the Breretons in the profes- 



sional and industrial life of Great Britain 
are too numerous to record here, many tak- 
ing part in the great European struggle. 
Directories of London, Dublin, and other 
cities give many addresses. 

Many Breretons in America are of Irish 
origin, and it is fitting that some account be 
given of the causes and time of their going 
there. Terms quoted below are common in 
histories of that period. The Anglo-Nor- 
man invasion of Ireland, during the twelfth 
century, introduced elements that later be- 
came factors in the struggle against Eng- 
land. At first the motive of these settlers was 
to change Ireland into an English colony. 
The "English Pale" included several coun- 
ties around Dublin, where Irish dress and 
customs were forbidden by repressive laws 
which prohibited marriage or any dealings 
with the "mere Irish"; but in spite of laws 
many became "English rebels," adopting 
Irish customs and religion. Doubtless some 
of these "adventurers" were Breretons, who 
settled in Ireland at an early date, account- 
ing for some Breretons being Roman Cath- 


olics; but, regardless of religion, all who 
bear the name are derived from the same 
Norman stock, dating back to A. D. 1066. 

Many great Irish characters are of Eng- 
lish or other than Celtic origin. The Duke 
of Ormond was related to the Kings of Eng- 
land. He was honored by the title "Butler 
of Ireland," and later this official title was 
adopted as the family name — Butler, Ger- 
aldines, or Gerald, noted Norman - Welsh 
leaders, became Fitzgerald (meaning ''son 
of Gerald") , a name that has given glory to 
Ireland over the world. Charles S. Parnell, 
the great Irish leader, was of an American 
mother; his father's people moved from 
Cheshire into Ireland about 1660. Edmund 
Burke came of an English father, was edu- 
cated in England, and was a member of the 
English church. Henry Grattan was of An- 
glo-Norman stock, and a Protestant. Even 
Saint Patrick was of Scotch or French ori- 
gin. The romance of such a record consists 
in those non-Celtic people becoming ardent 
Irish patriots. This is no reflection on any 
race, but corrects the common impression 



that Ireland is altogether Celtic, while in 
fact much of its glory comes from leaders of 
Anglo-Norman-Irish stock. 

A few authentic records of Breretons in 
Ireland are given as evidence of their influ- 

In 1548 John Brereton was military com- 
mander of Wexford, where he suppressed 
roving bands of robbers, and established or- 
der in his district. 

In ISSO, Captain Andrew Brereton held 
the estate of "Lucale" in Ulster, where he 
resisted the O'Neills of Tyrone, and in a 
personal encounter "slew seven assailants, 
including two brothers of the Countess." In 
1563, he is called "the turbulent farmer of 
Lucale," and, to escape the vengeance of the 
natives, sold his estate of thirty-two thou- 
sand acres to the Earl of Kildare and moved 
to other parts. 

In 1534, Sir William Brereton was active 
in suppressing "Fitzgerald's rebellion," and 
was made Lord High Marshal of Ireland 
in 1540, but died soon after, and was buried 
in Kilkenny. His son. Captain Brereton, 



was also engaged with him in this war. An- 
drew Brereton, another son, in 15S0 married 
Catherine, daughter of Sir Andrew Fitz- 
simons, of a noted Anglo-Irish family. 

In 1551, a company of "Anglo-Irish gen- 
tlemen," among whom was a Brereton, 
agreed to settle Kings and Queens counties, 
they to have the lands confiscated from the 
O'Mores and O'Conors, on condition that 
they "keep out the Irish rebels." 

In 1635, Sir William Brereton made a 
tour of Ireland, writing a description of the 
peoples and the conditions there. He was a 
man of unusual ability, as may be seen from 
his journal, preserved among the Clarendon 
manuscripts and printed by the Chetham 
Society. The following are sample prices 
paid by him in Ireland, 1635 : 

"Eggs, seven for one penny; pullets 

Veal and mutton one penny per 

pound : 
Large salmon threepence, large cod 

twopence : 



One hundred fresh herrings three- 

This was Sir William, the Parliamentary 
general, who took sides with Cromwell, and 
defeated Lord Byron of the King's forces at 

Breretons claiming descent from Sir Wil- 
liam, Lord High Marshal of Ireland, 
should study Irish history, and note that 
those in Ireland previous to 16S0 probably 
were Roman Catholics or English royalists, 
and were driven out or crushed by Crom- 
well. Therefore, Breretons who are Catho- 
lics, or came from Ireland to America in 
Colonial day^^have best historic grounds for 
making this claim. Breretons who have been 
influential in Ireland since Cromwell's time 
are more apt to be descended from follow- 
ers of Sir William, the Parliamentary gen- 
eral, as land grants made to Protestants by 
Cromwell show. Prendergast's history of 
Ireland gives the name of Sir William 
Brereton as getting grants of four thousand 
eight hundred and twenty-six acres in Tip- 



perary; also, "Major Brereton, of Colonel 
Sadlier's division, was granted lands in Tip- 
perary, about 1645." 

In a private letter just at hand from W. 
F. Butler, Irish historian of Dublin, he 
gives me names of Breretons who were 
granted lands in Ireland about 1645, as fol- 
lows: "Henry Brereton of Dublin, lands in 
Cavin; Sir Thomas Brereton, lands in Tip- 
perary. Among English officers who were 
paid in Irish land-grants were Robert 
Brereton, Captain Samuel Brereton, and 
William Brereton." These doubtless were 
some of the forefathers of many Breretons 
who trace their ancestors to Ireland. From 
1541, under Henry VIII and Elizabeth, 
through Cromwell's time, to William III, 
1690, practically all Ireland was "trans- 
planted," the most active "Papists" being 
banished to Spain and America, their prop- 
erty being confiscated, leaving Ireland with- 
out leaders, the poorest natives only being 
retained as serfs to cultivate the soil. This 
forced migration accounts for many early 
American families with Irish names, espe- 



cially in the South. The mass of Irish immi- 
grants came to the United States much later. 
These vast estates of the old Irish gentry, 
confiscated from Roman Catholics, were 
sold or given to English Protestants, whose 
descendants have since held large tracts, as 
absentee landlords, in Ireland. 

Owing to poor crops, high taxes, and con- 
stant political agitation, conditions in Ire- 
land grew worse, prompting many enter- 
prising people to move to America. Among 
these were Breretons, some amidst pioneer 
conditions, losing trace of their origin, hav- 
ing no record as to where their fathers came 
from or when they landed in America. But 
the name unites us, and this history aims to 
give a background, in hope of clearing a 
way for each family to find its proper place 
on the genealogical tree. 

Early accounts of Breretons in America 
are important, not alone for those who have 
no records, but to help others find theit 
place and relationship by research.The first 
known was John Brereton of Chester, who 
studied at Cambridge, 1 587- 1589, and went 



on a voyage of discovery to Virginia with 
Captain Gosnold in 1602. The Dictionary 
of National Biography, writing of this, says: 
"On Friday, May 14, 1602, the voyagers 
made the headland which they named Cape 
Cod. Here Gosnold and Brereton went 
ashore on white sand, the first spot in New 
England ever trodden by English feet. 
Doubling the cape and passing Nantucket, 
they touched at Martha's Vineyard, and 
passing round Dover Cliff, entered Buz- 
zards Bay." (All named first by Brereton.) 
Captain John Smith, in his "Adventures 
and Discourses," writes: "Master John 
Brereton and the account of his voyage fair- 
ly turned my brains^ and impelled me to 
cast in my lot with Gosnold and Wingfield, 
and make that subsequent voyage, which re- 
sulted in planting and colonization of Vir- 
ginia in 1607." This Brereton account is re- 
printed in the Massachusetts Historical Col- 
lection, also in Captain John Smith's history 
of Virginia; a copy of the original sold in 
1878 for sixteen hundred dollars. These re- 
prints may be found in every large library, 



and should be read, as it is beautifully writ- 
ten, and all should know that, though no 
Brereton came over in the "Mayflower," 
they were represented on the ground before 
it landed, and this John Brereton may have 
stood on Plymouth Rock before the Pil- 
grims hallowed it by their feet. 

A few quotations from the Brereton ac- 
count may whet the appetite, or satisfy those 
not privileged to read it all: "In May we 
sowed for trial, wheat, barley, oats, pease, 
which in fourteen days sprung up nine 
inches." Captain Gosnold made Brereton 
the leader in trading with the Indians for 
furs and copper. Of them he writes: "These 
people (Indians) are exceeding courteous, 
gentle of disposition, and well conditioned, 
excelling all others that we have seen for 
shape of body and lovely favor, I think they 
excell all the people of America; of stature 
much higher than we, of complexion much 
like a dark olive, their eyebrows and hair 
black, which they wear long, tied up behind 
in knots, whereon they prick feathers of 
fowls, in fashion of a coronet. We saw but 



three of their women; they were low in 
stature, and were fat and well favored, and 
much delighted in our company: the men 
are very dutiful towards them. Though our 
diet and lodging were none of the best, yet 
we had no sickness, and were much fatter 
and in better health than in England. On 
June the 18th, being Friday, we left the fair 
land with many sorrowful eyes. Returning 
we landed at Exmouth, England, on Fri- 
day, July 23rd, being absent in all four 
months." The full account is well worth 
reading, as it gives the first impression of 
the country. Friday seems to have been 
Brereton's lucky day. 

After the settlement of Jamestown col- 
ony, in 1607, great interest was aroused in 
England, and a second charter was granted 
by the King in 1609. It was signed by six 
hundred and fifty-seven names, including 
twenty-one peers, ninety-six knights, fifty- 
three captains, twenty-eight esquires, fifty- 
eight gentlemen, and other "adventurers," 
among whom was Thomas Brereton. 

In 1612, a third charter was secured, by 



petition of three hundred and twenty-five 
gentlemen, including Thomas Brereton and 
"John Brereton, a merchant of London." 
Following these names in brackets is a note, 
thus: [Britain, Britton, Bretton, Braxton], 
indicating different ways of spelling these 
names on the records. Each of the petition- 
ers was to pay thirty-seven pounds ten shil- 
lings to equip the expedition, and were to 
receive in return a "chance" for lands or 
other interest in the new world. 

Captain John Smith in the account of his 
adventures with Powhatan and Pocahontas 
tells of Edward Brereton, who was a "soul- 
dier captured by the Salvages" and "set to 
kill fouel" ; also, he was one of four chosen 
to accompany Smith to the lodge of Pow- 
hatan, after "Captain Newport refused to 
go unless a guard of 120 should accompany 
him." The amusing thing in the record is 
that Brereton's name is spelled "Edward 
Burton," "Brynton," and "Brinton" in dif- 
ferent parts of the same narrative. Even 
John Brereton, of Gosnold's voyage, known 
to have been a scholar, signed his name 



"Brierton," as appears in the original; an 
example of times when gentlemen were 
more familiar with the sword than the pen. 
To spell and pronounce the name has been 
a problem, even in the family, as is evident 
from records of earliest times. In Cheshire 
memorial windows, tablets, and records, 
dating from 1200 to 1600, it was occasional- 
ly written "Breto," "Brert," "Berreton," 
"Breerton," ^'Brerton," "Bretone," "Brier- 
ton," several different spellings appearing 
in the same inscription. Some were doubt- 
less abbreviations, as was the custom in 
those times. How to pronounce the name 
seems easy to most of us, but strangers find 
it difficult, and there is a difference, even 
among ourselves, because we seldom meet 
Breretons outside our own family, to stand- 
ardize our accents. Some give e the long 
sound as "Breerton"; but I much prefer the 
broad sound, making the first part rhyme 
with care, fare, brare. Practice this a min- 
ute and you have it. 

The following records of Breretons who 
settled in America during Colonial days 


have been found; but owing to different 
ways of spelling the name it has been diffi- 
cult to follow up clues at this distance from 
original sources. The Maryland records 
give a hint of what may be done in Virginia 
and adjoining states by those located near 
there, if willing to make the search. 

In 1628, Sir William Brereton held in- 
terests in Massachusetts, being a director in 
a company that promoted the settlement of 
Charlestown, now included in the munici- 
pality of Boston. 

In 1670,John Winthrop, of Boston, wrote 
Lord Brereton relating to the settlement of 
New England. This letter is on file in the 
English archives. 

During the parliamentary agitation in 
England, many gentlemen of both sides lost 
their estates, and others fled the country to 
save their lives. These Cavaliers went to 
Virginia,' Maryland, and adjoining colo- 
nies, to make new homes and lay founda- 
tions for the future United States. Among 
them were ancestors of Washington, Jeffer- 
son, Randolph, Madison, and some Brere- 



tons, as shown by records preserved in the 
archives of the states. 

William Brereton (Bretton, Britton), 
gentleman, settled on the Potomac, Mary- 
land, in 1637. He ^^transported himself, his 
wife, one child, and three able menser- 
vants," for which he was granted seven hun- 
dred and fifty acres in St. Marys County. 
He was a burgess of the assembly in 1649, 
and gave land for a church on St. Clemens 
Bay in 1661. Breton's Bay and Britton, 
Maryland, mark the locality of his estate. 

September 9, 1659, a tract of land called 
"Brereton" was surveyed in Cecil County, 
Maryland, for "William Bretton, gent." 
This may have been the same Brereton as 

June 5, 1675, a tract of three hundred and 
fifty acres, entitled "Brereton's Chance," 
was granted William Brereton, for "trans- 
porting himself, his wife, his son William, 
and four able men." This was evidently a 
different William Brereton, as it was thirty- 
seven years later, and he brought four men, 
while the other brought but three. 


November IS, 1675, ^'Mr. William 
Brereton, one of his Lordship's justices of 
ye county of Somersett," married Nicholas 
Toadvin and Sarah Lowry, foreparents of 
many prominent Maryland families of the 
present time. 

These records are important, because the 
land described as ^^Brereton's Chance" has 
been held by descendants of the Breretons 
for over two hundred years; but the spell- 
ing of the name has been changed to "Brew- 
ington," no one knows just when or why. I 
am indebted to Senator Marion V. Brew- 
ington, Salisbury, Maryland, for photo- 
graphic copies of documents preserved in 
Annapolis, Maryland, showing ten different 
spellings of the name, several on the same 
page, in the same handwriting. The old 
family Bible records show the gradual 
change in spelling, as, "Brereton," "B reun- 
ion," "Brewington." One branch of this in- 
teresting family spells the name "F. W. 
Bruington, Cripple Creek, Colo.," another 
holds to the original spelling — "George W. 
Brereton, Peninsular Junction, Md." Henry 



Scott Brewington, attorney, Baltimore, 
Maryland, stoutly maintains that his name 
is Brereton, but for business reasons spells it 
otherwise. The Rev. Julius A. Brewington, 
Lewisville, Pennsylvania, is another, proud 
to claim his origin from Brereton stock. Old 
tombstones and records in Maryland show 
"Brereton" as the original spelling of 
Brewington. This Colonial family, in all its 
connections, is talented in many ways, hold- 
ing high positions in society and business. It 
is hoped they may all find it convenient to 
return to the standard form of spelling the 
historic name. 

Carter Braxton, a prominent Virginia 
planter, and signer of the Declaration of 
Independence, is credited with deriving 
wealth from his ancestors, but his biogra- 
phers give no hint of whom they were. This 
is unfortunate, as the name and what is 
known of the man show many Brereton 

A few names, correctly spelled, appear, 
as — "Colonel Thomas Brereton, of North- 
umberland county, Virginia," an officer in 



the Colonial army in 1680; Robert Brere- 
ton, a chaplain in the army in 1741 ; "Lieut. 
Edward Brereton," 1755; "Edward Brere- 
ton, ensign," 1756. I have been unable to 
trace the descendants of these Breretons; 
they probably are lost in the female line, or, 
through incorrect spelling, exist under 
other names resembling ours.AmongRhode 
Island records, in 1661, Francis Brayton is 
mentioned four different times as a commis- 
sioner of Portsmouth colony, and in 1774 
Captain David Brayton is recorded as an 
officer of the militia. In 1786, Stephen Bray- 
ton of North Providence was appointed a 
commissioner of roads by William Brenton, 
the Governor of Rhode Island. How sug- 
gestive this sounds! Let someone make a 
study of early Rhode Island records for the 
origin of these names. Their prominence in 
public affairs indicates that they may have 
been Breretons whose names were incorrect- 
ly spelled by the clerk, and in time their 
families fell into the same custom. 

The historical romance, "Janice Mere- 
dith," represents Colonel John Brereton as 



the hero of that story. He was one of Wash- 
ington's aides. All who read the book will 
agree that Brereton acted up to the best 
traditions of the family, as courtier and sol- 

The first census of the United States, tak- 
en in 1790, gives many family names as 
Brewerton, Brenton, Breyton, Brewington, 
Brayton, Braxton, Britton, etc., from New 
York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Dela- 
ware, Maryland, and Virginia. A note in 
the preface says: ''No attempt has been 
made to correct the spelling of these names; 
they are printed as written on the records." 
The given names, William, John, David, 
Thomas, Daniel, Joshua, Stephen, Henry, 
Francis, Samuel, and George, are all there, 
strongly suggesting the family inheritance. 
If the good people of these names in Ameri- 
ca could trace back their pedigree, I am 
persuaded many of them might find their 
origin in Brereton of Cheshire. 

The following pages contain names and 
addresses of American Brereton families 
that deserve a fuller treatment of their his- 



tory, but most of them have been reluctant 
to give any account of themselves and their 
doings. I have been compelled to issue w^hat 
I could gather, hoping to stir up interest in 
family genealogy, later to collect more facts 
to complete the records, and tell of achieve- 
ments along lines of professional and indus- 
trial life. 

Most European genealogies are made up 
of the names of sons v^ho have inherited es- 
tates and honors from notable fathers. Is it 
not greater to be an American, descended 
from noble ancestors, but to have succeeded 
by our own efforts in a new and greater coun- 
try? Modesty may be a desirable trait of 
character, but self-depreciation never helps 
to success. Often while gentlemen courte- 
ously step aside some bull-necked fellow 
rushes ahead and wins the race. Although 
it is never wise to be crude or boastful, it is 
often necessary to be aggressive in our ef- 
forts, and duly appreciative of our endow- 
ments. To inherit a family name that has 
held a high place for eight hundred and fif- 
ty years is no small privilege, and should in- 



spire US to live on higher planes. Every 
Brereton should feel proud of this heritage, 
and in all honorable ways endeavor to add 
fresh laurels to his lineage and make sub- 
stantial additions to the family history. Re- 
member your forefathers were with Wil- 
liam the Conqueror, and fought in the bat- 
tle of Hastings in 1066; and that they were 
leaders in the Crusades, the English Revo- 
lution and Commonwealth, also in the 
American Revolution on both sides, and 
scores of them are in the great war for de- 
mocracy. Surely no one of the name or blood 
should fail to attempt the greatest possible 
things in the life of the present. All should 
struggle for the best training, and by com- 
bined talent and energy, in some worthy 
work or profession, attain to the highest pos- 
sible usefulness in society. Learn to look at 
life seriously, and try to surpass the heroism 
shown in war by mental and moral heroism 
in the arts of peace. In the female line, those 
who lose the name by marriage should re- 
tain it as a middle name, and always give it 
to their children as a first or second name. 



Let all who read this search diligently for 
family records, and send copies of reliable 
data, including their photographs, that I 
may know an enlarging circle and have a 
constantly growing Brereton biography. 

An important matter, having much to do 
with perpetuating the name, is here added 
in all seriousness, because it may transform 
many lives. If there are bachelor Breretons, 
this book will fail in a part of its mission if 
they are not moved to embark on the sea of 
matrimony. Also there may be some splen- 
did Brereton girls that do not care to lose 
the name by such an adventure. Permit me 
to say that I am Brereton from both parents, 
my mother being a Brereton as well as my 
father, though very remotely related. If 
such a fortunate combination could happen 
in Ireland, why not in America? We owe 
something to the human race and to the 
Brereton name, as well as to ourselves. 
Shakespeare puts it: 

"Seeds spring from seeds, and beauty breedeth beauty, 
Thou wast begot, to beget is now thy duty ; 
And so in spite of death, thou shalt survive, 
In that thy likeness shall be left alive." 



I am sure some of the fairies came across 
with me, for they often help in many ways. 
Now I shall commission them to suggest a 
day-dream to every bachelor, in which he 
shall see a home and fortune, not in gold, 
but a splendid helpmeet, and in the distant 
shadows a group of little Breretons playing 
pranks with him on the floor, while an angel 
looks on and smiles. 

Let all bachelor Breretons and marriage- 
able girls know that when they read this the 
fairies are after them, and some day may 
overtake and touch them with their magic 
wands, bewitching and luring them into 
paradise. Talk about the high cost of living 
is nonsense; love finds and provides a way; 
and as to the failures in married life, there 
are more failures outside than inside; there- 
fore, of two paths choose the better. The au- 
thor stands ready to help the good fairies by 
introducing lonesome souls. Who will lead 
the procession to the nuptial altar? The 
long-time theory of "evolution through en- 
vironment" is giving place to the more re- 
cent conclusions of science, that HEREDITY 



has most to do with destiny. The best brawn 
and brain should be perpetuated. The unfit 
are sure to breed; let the superior regard it 
as a sacred duty. 

Here follow authentic records of Ameri- 
can Brereton families, placed in groups of 
close relationship, so far as could be learned, 
by long correspondence. 

The Rev. Andrew Brereton, rector of 
Newtown, near Dublin; M. A. of Dublin 
College; descended from Sir William 
Brereton, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland. 
His son, Thomas Brereton, merchant of 
Dublin, later styled "Gent," had one son. 

Captain Thomas Brereton, in govern- 
ment service, sailed for America, located in 
Baltimore. Dr. John A. Brereton, his son, 
surgeon in United States army, 1821-1839. 

Captain Thomas J. Brereton, graduate 
West Point; U. S. army, 1839-1858. Wil- 
liam D. Brereton, son of the above, of An- 
napolis, Maryland; has two noted sons — 
Lieutenant William D. Brereton, in United 
States navy, and Lieutenant-Colonel Lewis 
H. Brereton, aviation corps, U. S. service. 



The latter has been awarded the American 
Medal of Honor, the French Croix de 
Guerre, and the Cross of the Legion of 
Honor, for heroism and efficiency with 
General Pershing in France. 

Hon. Henry E. H. Brereton, State As- 
sembly, Albany, New York. 

Thomas J. Brereton, B. A., C. E., pub- 
lisher, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; has 
four sons — Thomas L. Brereton, in business 
in Philadelphia, and three younger sons, 
Seaton L., Francis M., O'Hara D., all in 
United States service in France. This fam- 
ily shows almost one hundred years of mili- 
tary service, and six generations in Ameri- 
ca. A good example of how to keep the name 
honored and perpetuated. 

Stephen Brereton (1792-18SS) descended 
from Henry Brereton, of Maryland, prob- 
ably of Colonial stock; moved to Illinois in 
1835; Edward P. Brereton (1826-1897), 
and Charles L. Brereton, merchant, both of 
Pekin, Illinois; Stephen W. Brereton, real 
estate, and Page W. Brereton, attorney, both 
of Denver, Colorado; James T. Brereton, 



United States internal revenue collector, 
Peoria, Illinois. 

Samuel Brereton (1794-1854), located in 
Baltimore, Maryland, in 1818; John Brere- 
ton (1811-1854), Washington, D. C; Wil- 
liam H. Brereton (1826-1894), Omaha, Ne- 
braska; William H. Brereton, Jr., attorney, 
Washington, D. C. ; George T. and Robert 
L. Brereton, Omaha, Nebraska; Charles, 
Edward, and Louise Brereton, Tacoma 
Park, Washington, D. C; James I. Brere- 
ton, music dealer, Bridgeport, Connecticut; 
Charles R. Sharretts, chief clerk War De- 
partment, Catonville, Maryland, a loyal son 
of a Brereton mother. This large family 
connection has been in Government service 
for many years, and is probably descended 
from early Colonial stock of Maryland. 

Henry Brereton (1730-1775), of Coloni- 
al stock, from Maryland; Thomas Brereton 
(1756-1820), son of above, moved to Dela- 
ware at an early date; David Wolf Brereton 
(1796-1846), located at Lewes, Delaware, 
as shown by old record; Daniel W. Brere- 
ton (1831 - 1910), many years postmaster, 



Lewes, Delaware; Miss Ella Brereton, in 
Government service in Philadelphia; J. M. 
Brereton, bandmaster, Richmond, Virginia. 
A closely related branch, descended from 
Henry Brereton — ^James A.Brereton (1813- 
1888), Angola, Delaware; James L. Brere- 
ton (1848-1901), contractor; Arthur M. 
Brereton, auditor, Philadelphia; Frank 
Brereton, Millsboro, Delaware. 

A family now widely scattered in Ameri- 
ca is here recorded so far as known: The 
Rev. John Brereton (1645), fourth son of 
Lord Brereton, rector of Beverly, Yorks, 
England; The Rev. Thomas Brereton 
(1685), son of above, canon of Winchester, 
England; John Brereton, M. D. (1717- 
1784), son of Thomas, Winchester, Eng- 
land; The Rev. John Brereton (1744-1811), 
Wilts, England; The Rev. Henry Brere- 
ton (1783-1867), four children, moved 
to America about 1869; John W. Brere- 
ton, jeweler, Richmond, Virginia; Francis 
Brereton (1848-1901), musician and jewel- 
er, left four children, as follows: Edith B. 
Dfmmitti!^ Azusa, California; Frances R. 


B. Covey, Topeka, Kansas; Mabel Blanch 
B. Bell, Camp Verde, Arizona; Henry H. 
Brereton, Camp Verde, Arizona. Other 
members of this branch: John Brereton, 
Toronto, Canada; Thomas A. Brereton, 
Clive, Alberta, Canada; Francis Brereton, 
in business, Winnipeg, Canada; C. P. 
Brereton, Strathclain, Canada; Thomas 
Brereton, Stonewall, Canada. 

Robert Maitland Brereton (1834-1912), 
of Norfolk branch, had noted career as civil 
engineer in England, India, and Califor- 
nia; author of "The Breretons of Cheshire," 
v^hich shows a family record of twenty-six 
generations of Breretons; has left four chil- 
dren of talent to do honor to the name in 

George Brereton, moved from Kings 
County, Ireland, to Queens County; John 
Brereton, son of above, Mt. Rath, Queens 
County, moved to Paterson, New Jersey, 
leaving two sons of note — Colonel John 
J. Brereton, West Point, U. S. army, 1877- 
1904, and Lieutenant Percy H. Brereton, 
U. S. revenue cutter service; George Brere- 

. SS 


ton, son of George above, Kings County, 
Ireland, left a large family, some engaged 
in the great war; Gilbert Brereton, a son, in 
business, Brantford, Canada. 

Edwin George Brereton, Cheshire, Eng- 
land, the first home of Breretons; Edwin 
George Brereton (1835-1899), son of above, 
came to United States in 18S0, locating in 
Lacon, Illinois, conducting a carriage fac- 
tory many years; Edwin George Brereton 
(1872-1916), a son, moved to Los Angeles, 
California; Miss Hazel Brereton, an only 
child, is the last of this branch. 

John C. Brereton (1811-1882), Tippera- 
ry and Kings County, Ireland, leaves two 
sons — Daniel M. Brereton, in mercantile 
business, San Francisco, California, and 
the Rev. Edward F. Brereton (1844- 
1904), Roman Catholic priest, Sydney, Aus- 

Wm. H. Brereton, President State Bank, 
Provo, Utah, descended from three genera- 
tions named Richard Brereton, moved from 
Cheshire to Utah in 1860. 

Edward Brereton, merchant, Temple- 



more, Tipperary, Ireland; James Brereton, 
his son, in same business, moved to Man- 
chester, England, 184S; William J. Brere- 
ton, son of above, moved to New York City. 

James Brereton (1820-1898), Manches- 
ter, moved to Ohio, U. S., 1865; has two 
sons — Louis Brereton, iron manufacturer, 
Salem, Ohio, and J. P. Brereton, insurance 
business, Ashtabula, Ohio; John Brereton 
(1853-1917), son of James above, has two 
daughters — Annie and May Brereton, To- 
ledo, Ohio. 

The Rev. James E. Brereton, clergyman, 
Emmetsburg, Iowa, son of Peter Brereton, 
who moved from Manchester, England, to 
Illinois in 1857; has two sons — Harold L. 
Brereton, M. D., in United States medical 
service, and Loring D. Brereton, sanitary 
engineer, Emmetsburg, Iowa. 

Sylvester Brereton (1835-1906), cabinet- 
maker, Dublin, Ireland; William J. Brere- 
ton, Dublin, came to America in 1886; died 
in New York in 1904; had three sons — Wil- 
liam J., Thomas P., and Sylvester Brereton, 
New York; Joseph P. Brereton, son of Syl- 



vester, in upholstering business, New York; 
James Brereton, Corona, Long Island; Jo- 
seph Brereton, New York; and others of 
whom I have failed to get any data. 

William Brereton (1851-1914), son of 
John Brereton, London, moved to United 
States in 1869; was in hardware business, 
Brooklyn, New York, now conducted by his 
son-in-law, F. T. Apel, whose son is named 
Brereton Apel, to perpetuate the name. 

William Brereton, Dublin, moved to 
United States in 1885; has three sons — Wil- 
liam, Jr., newspaper man, Buffalo, New 
York; John E. and Charles A., in United 
States army. 

George Brereton, Nantwich, Cheshire, 
head gardener to Lord Tallmach; John 
Brereton (1848-1900), Crewe,England; had 
three sons — Harry, engineer, in England; 
Sydney, killed in France; Earnest, came to 
United States in 1905, East Liverpool, Ohio. 

Patrick B rereton ( 1 826- 1 898 ) , stock deal- 
er, Kildare, Ireland; his son, Edward J. 
Brereton, came to United States in 1895; in 
life insurance, Hartford, Connecticut. 



William E. Brereton, Baker, Montana; 
John A. Brereton and Mrs. Cassie Brereton 
Cothron, Spokane, Washington. 

Arthur Brereton, moved from Ireland to 
Montreal, Canada, in 1846; had two sons, 
Henry and Thomas, who left large families 
in vicinity of Montreal; Henry Brereton 
(1826-1901), Montreal, Canada, nine sons, 
four have families; Thomas Brereton, cab- 
inetmaker, died in 1885 — his sons, Thomas 
and John, in business; John Brereton, son of 
Henry, railroad conductor — five sons, eight 
daughters; Thomas Brereton, in cartage 
business, Montreal — son and daughter; 
William Brereton (1866-1915)— son, Ed- 
ward, in army, and daughter, Ella H., lives 
in Montreal; Benjamin Brereton, farmer — 
two sons and one daughter — also near Mon- 

Benjamin B. Brereton (1806-1877), son 
of William Brereton, attorney, Banagher, 
Ireland, moved to Boonville, Missouri, 
1848; was in mercantile business before 
and during the Civil War. Two daughters 
and a son — ^Jane L. Brereton- Fowler, Seda- 



lia, Missouri (eleven children and fifteen 
grandchildren, one son a doctor, others in 
business and farming) ; Ruth M. Brereton- 
Davis, Boonville, Missouri (seven children 
and eleven grandchildren) ; Frederick B. 
Brereton, Sedalia, Missouri (five children 
and sixteen grandchildren). All this group 
are cousins of the author and are all doing 
well in several lines of business and manu- 
facturing. All w^ere born and raised on Mis- 
souri farms. 

George Brereton, Kings County, Ire- 
land, moved to Wisconsin in 1850; father of 
seven children — John, Hugh, Arthur, 
George, Harriett, Ellen, and Elisabeth, all 
having large families, making a colony, and 
for a time a postofiice (Brereton) in Dane 
County, Wisconsin. All the families are 
v^ell educated, some attending the Univer- 
sity and Normal School ; mostly devoted to 
farming, but some in professions and busi- 

A family widely scattered, and successful 
in business in several states, is as follows: 
Richard Brereton, stock-dealer, near Tulla- 


more, Ireland; Daniel Brereton, son of 
above, also a stock-dealer, had four chil- 
dren come to United States; David Brere- 
ton, contractor, son of Daniel, moved to 
Delaware in 1847, then to Canada; William 
D. Brereton, his son, established the town of 
Brereton, Illinois, and is now in investment 
business in Denver, Colorado; William H. 
Brereton, his son, is a mining engineer in 
Denver, Colorado; Charles Brereton, son 
of David above, of Clinton, Iowa, leaves a 
large family there; a sister, Hannah, mar- 
ried James Hanover, of Alpena, Michigan, 
in banking business; another sister, Kath- 
erine, married Albert Hutton, and this 
family has large interests in North Caro- 
lina; George N. Hutton, of Hickory,North 
Carolina, is a son of Katherine ; another son 
is named A. Brereton Hutton, indicating the 
mother's loyalty to the ancestral heritage. 

Here follows a most interesting group of 
families spelling the name "Brierton," com- 
ing mostly from the region of Kildare, Ire- 
land, their forefathers being stock-raisers in 
that part of Ireland famous for raising fine 


blooded racehorses. James Brierton (1837- 
1893), son of Mathew Brierton, came to 
America in 1856; was superintendent of 
iron works; had seven children, one of 
whom is Mrs. Nettie Brierton-Townsend, 
whose husband is in the banking business at 
Festus, Missouri. James L. Brierton, son of 
James above, is a ship-builder and manager 
of a transporting company in New Orleans. 
All are much interested in their ancestral 

There is a family in Hartford, Connecti- 
cut, whose grandfather, Thomas Brierton 
(1820-1895), lived in Wicklow County, 
Ireland, and was in the cattle business there; 
Philip Brierton came to America in 1870; 
Thomas Brierton and family live in Hart- 
ford, Connecticut. 

Another family, descended from James 
Brierton, of Kildare, Ireland, is that of 
Thomas Brierton, son of James, who had 
two sons that came to America after their 
father's death. Thomas Brierton, located in 
South Orange, New Jersey. John William 
Brierton (1846-1875) came to California 



in 1866. He was a landscape gardener. His 
daughter, Miss Mary Brierton, is now a 
teacher in San Francisco. 

Other members of this branch of the fam- 
ily in Ireland and America have failed to 
report in time. It is interesting to know that 
this is the form in which John Brereton, 
who visited Cape Cod in 1602, signed his 
name to his account of the voyage written 
for Sir Walter Raleigh. 

Names given in this history are but a few 
of the Breretons who have served their 
country in professional and public callings; 
there are many more unrecorded — farmers, 
mechanics, and citizens engaged in produc- 
tive employment, who have enriched the 
world by honest industry, but whose names 
are difficult to secure. 

As an indication of the far-flung energy 
of the family, there are now seven parishes 
or towns in England named Brereton, one 
in South Africa, two in Canada, one in Illi- 
nois, one in Wisconsin, and others in process 
of forming. 

The record of my branch of Breretons 



follows, hoping it may lead others to collect 
data of their family history, beginning with 
the earliest authentic records. Fill in a blank 
page or two of facts as secured, then send a 
copy to me. This will make the book more 
valuable to each family as the years pass, 
and may prompt our children's children to 
render nobler service to the world, and re- 
flect honor on the name in centuries to come. 

The Breretons were closely related to the 
family of Sir Robert Digby, whose mother 
was a daughter of John, Duke of York. Sir 
Robert's son, Essex Digby, rector of Gea- 
shel, Kings County Ireland, married Let- 
tice Brereton about 1640. This relationship 
may have induced my branch of Breretons 
to settle in Ireland, on the Digby estate, 
about two hundred years ago. This was not 
far from Slieve Bloom mountain and for- 
est, where Finn, the great hero of Irish leg- 
ends, was born. 

June 10, 1772, an indenture, with map 
of lands near Tullamore, Kings County, 
Ireland, between Lord Henry Digby and 
David Brereton, was executed on parch- 



ment, with seals in wax, all well preserved, 
and now in my possession. 

The old home, built of stone, with its 
great fireplace in the kitchen, around which 
servants sat long evenings, telling stories of 
fairies they had seen and talked with, and 
blood-curdling cries of banshees they had 
heard in the bogs, foretelling death or other 
evils soon to befall the family, are among 
my early recollections. High - walled en- 
closures and great oak barriers, to protect 
against the O'Mores and O'Conors, were 
still there. Long avenues, bordered with 
whitethorn hedges; meadows with daisy 
rings, where fairies danced, and from which 
skylarks rose to sing; bogs with stacks of 
turf, behind which banshees cried — these 
are all memories of my childhood days on 
the ancestral estate in Erin. The breaking 
up of the old home, forsaking associations 
rooted for generations, broke my parents' 
spirit — but that is a tale too sad for these 
pages, so we close with the family record. 

David Brereton, born 1732, acquired an 
estate in Killurine, Kings County, Ireland, 



some time previous to 1772, the date of the 
parchment record in my possession. There 
were three sons — Dr. Joshua Brereton, sur- 
geon, Tullamore and Dublin; John Brere- 
ton, of Rathdrum, Kings County, record of 
whose family is given on page 28; David 
Brereton (1768-1831), heir to the estate, of 
w^hose family none but John had issue. 

John Brereton (1810-1888), son of Da- 
vid, and heir to the estate, married Cath- 
erine Brereton, daughter of William Brere- 
ton, attorney, Banagher, thus making the 
author a Brereton from both parents. The 
family, with five children, moved to To- 
ronto, Canada, in 1861. 

David Brereton (1850-1881); one son, 
Ira D. Brereton, Buffalo, New York. 

William R. Brereton (1851-1906), pub- 
lisher, Boston, Massachusetts; one son, Ar- 
thur T. Brereton. 

Richard L. Brereton (1853-1910), mer- 
chant, Toronto ; two sons, Fred A. and Her- 

John Brereton, clergyman, San Francis- 
co, California; six children. 

A FAMILY HISTORY •= ' > - ' " 

Louisa A. Brereton, married Joseph A. 
Sansome, St. Paul, Minnesota; five chil- 

John Brereton, clergyman, born at TuUa- 
more, Kings County, Ireland; moved to 
Canada with parents in 1865 ; married Elis- 
abeth M.Emerson, Toronto; came to United 
States in 1880. Six children — Veronica L. 
O. Brereton, married Morley P. Hender- 
son, Palermo, California; Emerson D. 
Brereton, in business, Oroville, California; 
Keturah M. Brereton, in office business, Or- 
oville, California; John Brereton, Jr., pub- 
lic accountant, Oroville, California; Ruth 
Brereton, married Ralph M. Fowler, Lin- 
coln, California; Louise E. Brereton, teach- 
er, San Francisco. 

Preparing these records has enlarged my 
circle of friends — may I not call them 
''cousins"? In early life I thought there 
were no Breretons in America except our 
own family; later I learned of some, then 
met them; now I know hundreds, and am 
proud of them. Some may wonder why the 
book is not larger, for it might have been if 



more letters had been answered and more 
words had been used ; but the facts are giv- 
en as collected, and that is the best I could 
do, owing to the modesty of many families. 

Volumes have been written about Brere- 
tons in England, and some in Ireland, and 
those inclined may read of them there. I am 
mostly interested in America and in the 
present, but hope that the early history of 
each family may be searched out. 

Many letters have been received that 
shall be kept among my most precious treas- 
ures, and I hope to get others from those 
who study these pages. Criticize, revise, 
commend; for some day a few more pages 
may be added to the records. 

In saying farewell, I extend to you my 
hand with my heart in it. Let us be more 
than friends, for we are all related. Let us 
resolve that the name shall be made more 
honorable by our actions. Breretons were 
gentlemen of old; however hard the lot of 
some may be, let us never be less than gen- 
tlemen at heart, in these more modern days 
in America. 


■: .v:^*5:....vr;v GENERAL LIBRARY ^ '^ ' ^ ■^■.^•i^Mmmmmmmg 



This book is due on the last date stamped below, or on the } 
date to which renewed. 
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LD 21-100m-l,'54(1887sie 


A^ereton, « r 


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3rereton. u family history