Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Longer Detour

In order to unravel the tangle of surnames I mentioned yesterday, we’ll need to step back a generation from that of Charles, Thomas and their Broyles siblings. Specifically, we’ll need to examine the family of their mother.

Do the names Broyles, Taliaferro and Simpson connect? The short answer to our puzzle—as you’ve undoubtedly suspected—is: yes, the three surnames I mentioned yesterday are indeed related. You’ll see part of the connection immediately with the full name of Charles and Thomas’ mother: Sarah Ann Taliaferro Broyles. It is one of Sarah’s siblings who will lead us to the other connection—with the Simpson family and, specifically, why Sarah’s parents were buried in the Simpson family plot.

As we’ve already noticed, Virginians Zachariah and Margaret Chew Carter Taliaferro—along with the two Broyles grandsons that initiated this whole inquiry—were laid to rest there in the small South Carolina burial ground. In fact, Zacharias the grandfather joined his grandson within a week after the child’s death on April 8, 1831.

Among Zacharias’ and Margaret’s children was another daughter, Sarah’s younger sister Margaret. Born in 1808, the younger Margaret eventually married a South Carolina attorney by the name of Richard Franklin Simpson. Together, they raised a family of four sons and one lone daughter. One of those sons was Richard Wright Simpson—the same R. W. Simpson, if you remember, who was the business associate of Augustus T. Broyles, Charles’ and Thomas’ oldest brother.

Richard F. Simpson—the father—was a notable resident of Anderson County. A respected attorney, besides his military service, he also took up politics, serving both in the South Carolina state senate from 1835-1841, and as a representative to the United States Congress for three terms.

His son, Richard W. Simpson, seemed to follow in his footsteps. An attorney, he was also elected to the South Carolina legislature. As had the father, the son also served in the military—only in the younger Simpson’s case, it was as a Colonel in the Confederate Army. That was why, in Augustus T. Broyles’ obituary, it mentioned his business partner as “Col. R. W. Simpson.”

Of course, you now realize that Augustus T. Broyles’ business partner was also his first cousin. Their mothers were sisters. Likewise for Augustus' brother Charles, the renegade who fled to Colorado. Though we haven’t properly been introduced to him yet, also my second great grandfather, Thomas. And, of course, the two young Broyles boys—Zacharias and Richard—whose memorials still stand in that Simpson family graveyard.

All sorts of families have children buried in the family plots of their aunts and uncles, though. That is not unusual enough to warrant a blog post of its own. If you are thinking there is more to this story, you are right. Not in a direct way, though. That’s what will qualify tomorrow’s post as yet another rabbit trail. But I promise you: you won’t mind this detour.


  1. May I just say I am loving the sound of these southern surnames. I can hear the Spanish moss dripping right off as "Mahgret Chew Cahtah Tahlivah" was introduced.

    1. Oh, I can just imagine it! That's pretty much how my grandmother would say it.

  2. Replies
    1. It's amazing how these connections grow. It certainly gives the impression that, the farther back in this country's history one goes, the more likely to find such connections.

  3. Of course, if your relative(s) came over to settle Jamestown (or wit the Mayflower crowd), there are lots and lots of "connections" that could be had (especially with 10-12 children families!) Given my Mother's Jamestown connection - I've no doubt we have a connection (or three) somewhere...


    1. Now, there's a thought, Iggy: how long would it take for all of us to find mutual distant cousins among us? Who knows? Perhaps you and I are ninth cousins, and we didn't even know it!


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