Branch was born in Amelia, Virginia in 1792 to Peter and Mary Martha Scott Branch.
When he grew up, he went west and was in Taos, New Mexico by 1825. He then spent several years trapping beaver in the Southwest and in the Rocky Mountains. In 1829 he was baptized a Catholic and took the name, Jose de Jesus. He married Maria Pauba Bentura Luna on January 14 1829 in Mexico and the couple would have 12 children.
He later became a merchant in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He died in January 1841 in Mora, New Mexico, at the age of 49.
Trappers, Traders & Pathfinders (by Randall Parrish, 1907)