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Joseph Brittain
(August 27, 1814 - Unknown)

The following excerpts were taken from:
Phifer, Edward William, Jr. "Burke: The History of a North Carolina County" privately published by Edward William Phifer, Jr. 1977.

Walton, Col. Thomas George. "Sketches of the Pioneer in Burke County History." 1894


Joseph Brittain seemed destined from birth to become a Burke County Sheriff, being that both his maternal grandfather (Peter Mull), and his father, served as Burke's eight and nineteenth sheriff's, respectively.  


Joseph was born on August 27, 1814, the son of Barbara Mull Brittain (b. 1/16/1779; d. 8/4/1862) and Burke County's 19th Sheriff, Mark Brittain. He had seven other siblings: Susannah, Jemima, Henry, Barbara, Molly, James, and Sarah. Col. Thomas George Walton writes in his book, "Sketches of Pioneers in Burke County History," that Joseph Brittain "…in many ways - popularity, fidelity, manner and honesty in all his dealings whatever with men or in discharge of the duties of his office as sheriff - was like his ancestor." (He is speaking here of his father, Mark Brittain, please see his biography for further information).


Joseph was married to Catherine Brittain, and was the father of three children: Delia, Julius and Clark. Beyond his duties as sheriff, he also owned and operated one of only six stores in Morganton following the cessation of the Civil War. The Civil War and Reconstruction had wreaked havoc on Morganton's retail business, families could not afford to purchase merchandise and owners could not afford to stock the shelves. Only two stores survived the war, and two years later only six stores were operating, all within the county seat.


Sheriff Joseph Brittain also served as a justice of the Burke County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions in 1866.



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