The Brake Family – A Tradition, a Contribution and a Legacy
Clarifying Letter from Author David Edwards
By Perry “Buzz” Brake
Some years ago, David Edwards, an enthusiastic and productive BRAKE descendant and researcher, wrote the book, The Brake Family – A Tradition, a Contribution and a Legacy. Based on information David received from a researcher he commissioned in Europe, the book claimed that the Brake family originally settling in Virginia in the early 1700s descended from royalty in northern Germany and Scotland. That claim supported the long-held belief that Johann Jacob Brake who settled on the South Fork of the Potomac River in what is now Hardy County, West Virginia, was a baron.
At some point after publishing the book, David learned that he had been duped by the commissioned researcher and that there was no validity to the royalty claims in his book. As humiliating as that revelation must have been, David bravely did the honorable thing and published a clarifying letter in The Brake Bugle, a newsletter for Brake descendants and researchers which is no longer published. A copy of his letter is follows.
David’s letter does not disprove the thought that Johann Jacob Brake was a baron, but rather that he did not descend from royalty as claimed in his book. Johann was known to be wealthy, and might very well have descended from German aristocracy...but it could also be that he assumed the title “baron” in recognition of his status in his new home, America.
David Edwards died in May 2005. It is much to his credit and a testament to his integrity that he set the record straight before leaving us.