Returning to the practice of law in Dalton, Georgia, after the turmoil and upheaval of war must have been a difficult change for Charles E. Broyles. True, he spent the next several, transitional years involved in the public arena, concerned over the practical implications of Reconstruction in the South. His efforts were rewarded—as best they could be under the circumstances—by a modest political appointment, leaving him close to home. There was, after all, some reconstruction of a more domestic sort that needed attention, as well.
A small insertion in the Macon, Georgia, Weekly Telegraph, under the heading, “Confirmed by the Senate,” listed several such appointments occurring just before the publication date of Friday, August 21, 1868. Among the names:
…Charles E. Broyles to be Solicitor General of the Superior Court in the Cherokee Circuit, for the term of four years.
So, it was just as Charles had said in his journal. He served from 1868 through 1872.
By the time of the 1870 census, midway through his term as Solicitor General, Charles and his wife Lucy were parents of eight children, including two—Price and John—born after the war. Their oldest, named after his father, was now twenty years of age. Daughter Laura was now seventeen, followed by Sarah at fifteen, Joe Frank at twelve, and Robert, who was then ten. With the exception of Charles junior, who now was employed as a railroad conductor, all the others were either attending school or remaining at home with their mother.
In his journal, the elder Charles had made some mentions indicating the possibility of money problems. It is hard, looking solely at the 1870 census, to determine if that were so. Just eyeing the two pages the Broyles family spanned in the census record, for those families including information on value of real estate, Charles’ $6,300 far and away exceeded that of the other reports. Yet, for value of personal estate, his paltry $300 entry seemed scant in comparison to neighbor (and dry goods merchant) Charles B. Lyle’s $2,800, or neighboring hardware merchant Edward D. Wood’s $4,500. Even Charles’ own son reported more: $550. It is hard to think of a father being in the position of needing to borrow from his own son. Perhaps the senior Broyles was cash poor but property rich.
The trouble with returning to town and re-starting a client-based business was that it could take time to develop a practice that actually would support a lifestyle—no matter how austere. Perhaps that is when Charles’ wife felt the need to step in and offer some helpful advice. Sometimes, though, that can be the most disastrous time to attempt desperate moves.
My term ended in 1872. And I assumed my profession. But was induced by my wife to buy a stock of goods and put the boys to merchantizeing as rail roading was more trying and hazardous. I did so. They neglected the business and went back to railroading. So I gave my attention to this until in March 1875 I sold out, and on the 22nd day of March 1875, I left Georgia for the Territory of Colorado.
I wonder if he was REALLY struggling or if it just felt like struggling compared to his aspirations and expectations.ReplyDelete
Good insight, Wendy. The man--at least in his younger years--seemed quite driven, as well as capable. Of course, a lot can change a man over the years. The war experience certainly must have taken its toll on him as well.Delete
A couple things of note to me: The man tried to please his wife - no doubt. Railroading is and was a very hazardous job. Sounds like the sons weren't much of "goods salesmen".ReplyDelete
I wonder what a dollar in 1870 would be "worth" today? From what I see online it would be about $18 today (which seems really low).
Well, according to my favorite inflation calculator, Charles' property would be worth $114,545.45. That $300 of his personal property? Now cashes out at $5454.55. And yes, that one dollar would be worth $18.18, just as you thought, Iggy.Delete
Rotten kids anyway ...they probably like the roudyness of the railroad:)ReplyDelete
Who knows what was up with that. One thing I did notice, though: the only one who made it out West to visit Charles in his newly adopted state was one of those sons who went into "railroading."Delete