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Nathan Branch and Lee Branch, brothers, reunited after 66 years

CHICAGOTRIB_18990714_BRANCH_NATHAN.jpg

CHICAGOTRIB_18990714_BRANCH_NATHAN.jpg

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FORMER SLAVE BROTHERS MEET

Nathan Branch of Evanston Finds by Chance Lee, from Whom He Was Parted 66 Years Ago.

After a separation of sixty-six years Nathan Branch, the oldest colored man in Evanston, will meet his brother Lee of Macon, Ga. The last sight they had of each other was in an auctioneer’s room on a plantation in Chesterfield County, Va., when they were offered for sale. It is by the merest chance that they will meet again. C. H. Callum, a real estate man at 528 Davis street, Evanston. spent last winter in the South, and at Macon saw a man whom he supposed was Nathan Branch. The man was bent with age. Callum was surprised to find that he was a brother of Nathan.

The Evanston man told Lee Branch of Nathan, of another brother, Jordan, and what he knew of the family history, and Lee recognized many of the facts as tallying with dim memories of his boyhood days. When Callum arrived in Evanston a few days ago he told Nathan of the incident, and letters were immediately sent to Macon and replies are expected next week.

There were four boys in the Branch family, and all were born in Chesterfield County. Lee, born in 1815, was the oldest. Robert, the next. died in Tennessee last fall. Nathan and Jordan. who live in Evanston, are over 70. In 1833 their master died and they were auctioned off. The mother, Esther, with Robert, Nathan, and Jordan, were sold into Kentucky, while all trace of the father and Lee was lost. When Nathan was 17 he was sold again, and, with his brother Robert, was carried to Tennessee. Later he was taken back to Kentucky. The war gave Branch a chance to escape, and he fled to Columbus, Ky., where he became a roustabout with Company D of the One Hundred and Thirty-fourth Illinois until it was mustered out in Chicago. when he went to work at the Sherman House. Three years later he moved to Evanston. He is the messenger of the postoffice and lives at 1705 Lake street. Ten years ago he induced his bother Jordan to come to Evanston. Branch is a member of the Colored Baptist Church.

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