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William Henry Brisby

Member From: 1869 - 1871

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  • Birth Date: August, 1836 Birth Place:New Kent County, Virginia
  • Death Date: November 16, 1916
  • Gender: Male Race: African American, Native American
  • Spouse: Ann Rebecca Cumber (m. November 4, 1869, d. August 1, 1894) and Victoria Pearman Holmes (m. February 21, 1901)
  • Children: 6 sons and 2 daughters (survived to adulthood out of 12 total children)
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  • Additional Info Links: Bio from Encyclopedia Virginia
    Bio from Virginia's Martin Luther King Jr. Commission
  • Bio: ​William Henry Brisby was born free in New Kent County in 1836 to Roger Lewis, an African American, and Marinda Brisby, who was of Pamunkey Indian origins. Prior to the Civil War he established himself as a blacksmith. He worked on the construction of the Richmond and York River Railroad. He later testified that the slave regime's withholding of education made him a Unionist, and as late as 1860 he signed with his mark. By 1863, however, he could sign his name and later obtained books related to the law. Mr. Brisby represented New Kent County in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1869 to 1871, serving on the Officers and Offices at the Capitol Committee. A landowner, he later served on the New Kent Board of Supervisors from 1871 to at least 1881 and was a justice of the peace from 1870 until 1910. A fisherman as well, Mr. Brisby helped slaves and escaped Union prisoners of war slip out of Richmond during the American Civil War, stowing them away in his cargo transports. Mr. Brisby died in 1916.​
  • Other Notable Service and/or Elected Offices: New Kent Board of Supervisors - 1871 - 1881
    Justice of the Peace
Session District District Number Party Leadership Committees
1869-1871 New Kent Republican Officers and Offices at the Capitol

*The information within this interactive and searchable application has been researched extensively by the House Clerk’s Office. As with any historical records of this age and breadth, there may be discrepancies and/or inconsistencies within records obtained from a variety of credible sources. Any feedback is encouraged at history@house.virginia.gov.

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