Thursday, April 25, 2019
Not All Stories Have Happy Endings
The Ashtabula book certainly has served to provide me with delightful stories of my family's history, especially concerning my third great-grandfather, Ozey R. Broyles. Samuel Maverick Van Wyck, grandson of Dr. Ozey Broyles' close friend and neighbor Samuel Maverick, may have made both the Maverick and Broyles families happy when his proposal to Margaret Broyles resulted in uniting the two old friends as family, but that joyous event in 1855 came on the eve of an ominous period of life in the south.
After his wedding, the young Samuel had continued his college education, graduating from the medical department of the University of the City of New York in 1860. By that time, he and Margaret were proud parents of three sons of their own. The family moved to Huntsville, Alabama, where Samuel set up his medical practice.
That arrangement didn't last for long. With the outbreak of war, he served as surgeon for a cavalry unit under the command of Nathan Bedford Forrest. Late in 1861, after enduring his first battle, the young doctor wrote (as reported in Steven M. Stowe's Doctoring the South), "shot and shell fell thick and fast around me, and strange to say I was more collected and calm than when I used to pray in church."
His service as surgeon in the Confederate Army was not to last for long. On the last day of November in that same year, Samuel Maverick Van Wyck was shot and killed. Regardless of which report was the more accurate—one story held that he was killed in action along the Ohio River, while another mentioned that he was murdered by a local Kentucky citizen while riding through Crittenden County alongside Nathan Bedford Forrest—Samuel's bride of six years was now a widow.