It looks like John's dealings in VA land go back to 1730: see ODB 3 p 186 for Yost Hite to John Branson and John Branson to Paul Froman, the latter transaction being 300 ac 24 Jun 1730. John must have spent time on the Virginia frontier at the end of the 1730's, then returned to Jersey, probably before Aug 1742; perhaps Isabella was ill; she died in the 1740's, he remarried in Jersey, and moved down to VA in 1761.
source: VA Patent Book 15, p 336. On 3 Oct 1734, John Branson had a grant of 1000 ac on "Sherrando Lake" to be Orange Co, on the west side of Sherrando River across Cedar Run or Creek, by the Gap through the mountains. [This land is quite a bit south of the settlements around Frederick, and calls for further research, especially if the sale to Koontz was not for the entire parcel.] This was a grant from the Governor and Council of Virginia. It was followed by another grant from the Council on 24 Jun 1739. On that date, John Branson sold that land to John Koontz - or at least part of that land - need to check the deeds. FDB SC3 p 324. source: Orange Co VA Deed Bk , pp 278-81, 28-9 Jun 1739. John Branson of Orange Co to John Dyer of same. Lease & release; (consideration blank). 115 ac, part of a patent of 1000 ac ... at Mulberry Run ... in Wm Crisp's line ... down the several courses of Cedar Creek. wit: Lewis Stephens, John Read, Edw Bush. 28 Jun 1739 acknowledged by John Branson. source: Orange Co VA Deed Bk , pp 364-7, 19-20 Nov 1739. Thos Branson Jr of Orange Co to John Branson of same. L&R; for L25 current money. 290 ac, part of a patent for 1370 ac ... hill on the NW side of Crooked Run ... wit: Thos Chester, Robt McKay Jr, Lewis Stephens. 22 Nov 1739. proved by TC, RMcK, LS. Also on 19-20 Nov 1739 John Branson was witness to Robt McKay Jr's sale to Thos Chester of 100 ac, AND to Thos Chester's sale to John Funk of 500 ac. source: Orange Co VA Deed Bk 5, pp 63-67, 23-24 Aug 1742. John Branson of Orange Co, farmer, and Isabella his wife, to Chas Baker of same. Lease and release; for L26 current money. 100 ac in that part of Orange now nominated Frederick Co and on Crooked Run adjoining to Robt McKay Jr, formerly in possession of Wm Serjeant. wit: Abraham Hollingsworth, Jost Hite, George Robinson. 26 Aug 1742 proved by JH and GR and by affirmation of Abr Hollingsworth. Why proved by them? Were John and Isabella back in Jersey? source: Hinshaw's Encyclopedia of Quaker History. Records of Hopewell Monthly Meeting (sometimes called Opeckan), Frederick Co, Virginia: 3 Feb 1749 John and wife Martha (Osmond) granted certificate to Hopewell Monthly Meeting, VA by Burlington MM, NJ. Marriage reported same day. source: Hopewell Friends History, p 61-2. 1755, 12 mo 1st day, John Branson, wife Martha, and children, certif signed at Hopewell; 1 mo 17th day 1756, rec'd at Warrington; 7 mo 17th day 1756, certificate signed at Warrington to Burlington. So they moved to Warrington PA in Feb-Mar 1756, and back to Hopewell in September. That gave them a planting season in PA: did they have land to work, or have family there as yet unknown? Note that in the Hopewell records transcribed by Hinshaw, this certificate is to THOMAS and wife Martha - ? error? source: Frederick Co rent rolls show John in 1759. Since the Quaker records don't show him, he must have gone down without the family, preparing/deciding upon the later move? Likely enough he traveled back and forth quite a bit for 20-25 years. source: Hinshaw We can see that in May 1760, John and his wife Martha planned to move to Hopewell with her two daughters and their two daughters, but something prevented their going. They realized by July 5 that they wouldn't be able to go that year. However, they did make the move in May 1761 - while the French and Indian War was still going on. And in May 1761 John and wife and daughters Martha and Ann were received by Hopewell Monthly Meeting on certificate from Burlington MM, West Jersey. Others from Burlington MM to Hopewell in this period: Elizabeth, Thomas Jr. source: Hopewell MM records in Hinshaw, p369. "BRANSON ... 1761, 10, 5. John co for Crooked Run Mtg" source: Frederick Co VA rent rolls show John in 1764. source: 4 Jun 1765 deed (grant) (M-384) John Branson of Frederick Co 109 ac on Crooked Run in sd Co surveyed by Robt Rutherford, adj sd Branson's land. His neighbors included James Remey and John Painter - seen in other deeds from 1754 & 1762.
Will of John Branson Nov 1770 Frederick Co, VA Be it known to all Persons whom it may concern that I John Branson of the county of Frederick & Colony of Virginia being under a sence of the mortality of my body do take this opportunity in weakness of body but of sound and perfect mind and memory to make and commit unto writing this my Last Will & Testament, Utterly Disannuling all others by me heretofore made do constitute publish and appoint this to be my Last Will & Testament. First it is my Will and I do order that all my just debts & funeral charges be paid our of my moveable estate also it is my will and I do order that my Beloved Wife Martha Branson shall have and keep easible Possession of the Plantation I now live on and all the moveable estate, paying the legacys hereunder mentioned Viz I Will and Bequeath to my beloved son Thomas Branson five pounds also my wearing apparel I have bestowed Thomas portion befours -- I Will & Bequeath to my beloved daughter Anna Shinn the sum of fifty pounds I give to Mary Duckworth the wife of John Duckworth the sum of five shillings sterling. I Give and Bequeath to my beloved Daughter Elizabeth Corder forty one acres of land I purchased of Joseph Baker and fifty nine acres of land adjoining the same it being part of a survey of land I obtained from the Proprietors Office to have the said lands their heirs or assigns forever.
Item I Will and Bequeath to my Beloved Daughter Martha Fawcett one half of the Plantation I now live on after the decease of my Beloved Wife adjoining my Daughter Elizabeth's land, also fifty acres of the remainder of the survey Elizabeth had fifty-nine acres from equally to be divided in quantity and to her and her heirs & assigns forever. Item I Will & Bequeath to my grandson John Branson the other half of the above Plantation I now live on after the decease of my beloved Wife to his Heirs and assigns forever it is my Will that if my executors sees it too difficult for them to divide the said land between my daughter Martha and my grandson John Branson I request and desire Hopwell Monthly Meeting to appoint three or more persons to assist my exers. whose judgment is to be final. By agreement with John Branson Sr. about a survey of land that did join to both he is to have one half by paying one half of cost of survey and the other half I give to my grandson John Branson and I do make ordain and constitute my Well Beloved Wife Martha Branson and my son in law Thomas Fawcett and John Lupton Executors of this my Last Will & Testament and I do hereby Disallow Revoke and Disannul all and and every Testament Will Executors by me before this time in any ways willed requested ratifying & confirming this and no other to by my Last Will and Testament In Witness whereof I have set my hand and Seal the first day of the ninth month 1769
Signed Sealed Published & Declared by the said John Branson as his Last Will and Testament in presence of Mary Ellis, Andrew McKay, John Branson
At a Court Held for Frederick County November 6th 1770 this Last Will & Testament of John Branson deceased was proved by the oaths of Mary Ellis and Andrew McKay Witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded. John Lupton one of the Executors therein named having refused to take upon himself the burthen of the Execution Martha Branson and Thomas Faucett the other Executors made oath thereto & upon their motion Certificate is Granted them for obtaining a Probate thereof in due form they giving security whereupon they together with Andrew McKay and Richard Ridway their securities entered into & acknowledged a bond in the penalty of five hundred pounds conditioned for their due & faithful Administration of the said Estate. By the Court, Jas Keith