Monday, January 12, 2015

A Shorter List

One fascinating aspect of genealogical research is how, over the generations, it uncovers the links between long-established families. Whether this is among immigrants who have traveled en masse to their new homeland, or among those whose roots reach far back within an insular community’s history, the exercise can reveal surnames weaving in and out of each other’s heritages.

In the case of Charles Edward Broyles’ family history, his roots in the Pendleton District of South Carolina lead us to find ourselves intertwined with some significant surnames of the area. This we find only as we return to our current mission: finding which (if any) of the Broyles siblings may have been the one leading Charles’ younger brother Thomas to meet his future bride in Georgia.

In approaching that mission, my original intent was to run down the list of Broyles siblings in chronological order. Yesterday, as we’ve already seen, we ruled out the oldest of the Broyles brothers, a man who lived and died in his home county—and, even more germane to the quest than that, was not in the least interested in pursuing the opposite gender, as he was an avowed bachelor.

Moving down the list to the next youngest of the brothers (after Charles), I realize the first difficulty with my strategy: not all of the brothers survived to adulthood. This not only leaves us with a shorter list of matchmaker candidates, but explains the apparent discrepancy you may have noticed in yesterday’s post, when Augustus T. Broyles’ obituary read,
            Capt. Broyles leaves four brothers and two sisters.

All told (and as I had mentioned yesterday), the Broyles boys would have each had seven brothers, if it had not been for the ravages of childhood diseases. While each of the next two brothers didn’t live long enough to have led their younger brother Thomas to his bride, today we’ll examine the brief life of each of these Broyles siblings.

The next youngest in the line of descent would have been Zacharias Taliaferro Broyles. Named after his maternal grandfather—and great-grandfather, as well—the youngest Zacharias was born on January 18, 1828, and passed away at the age of fifteen on January 30, 1843.

His younger brother fared even worse. The fourth-born son of Ozey Robert and Sarah Ann Taliaferro Broyles, named Richard Taliaferro Broyles, was born April 26 of 1830 and lived barely more than a year, dying on August 8, 1831.

What is interesting about these two Broyles children is the place where they are buried. Undoubtedly born at home in what eventually became Anderson County, South Carolina, it is of course no surprise to find them buried in a cemetery in that same county. It’s just that the cemetery is neither a Broyles family graveyard, nor a cemetery associated with either a church or their hometown. Furthermore, it is not the same cemetery where the rest of the locally-remaining Broyles family members were buried—they were laid to rest at Silver Brook Cemetery in Anderson.

The two Broyles boys are buried in a small family cemetery known as Simpson Cemetery. In Pendleton, the cemetery is clearly marked as the burial place of “Col. R. W. Simpson”—a name you may recall had surfaced in our exploration of the life of eldest Broyles brother, Augustus.

Why would Ozey Robert Broyles’ two young boys be buried in someone else’s family burial ground?  Even if it was the property of oldest son Augustus’ business associate, that fact was far from reality at the point of death of fourth son Richard, whose passing occurred when his brother Augustus was not yet ten years of age—hardly the season of life to be known as a high-powered attorney and business partner.

Yet there is no mistaking it: these two boys buried in the Simpson family's cemetery were Broyles children. The memorial marking the place where the first of the two sons was buried clearly announced,
Erected By his Parents To the Memory of Richard T. Broyles, Son of O. R. Broyles and Sarah Ann, his wife…  

In fact, in pulling back from the details of each of the boy’s headstones to get the bigger picture of the entire cemetery, it was helpful to take in a list of all the names of those buried at this Simpson family cemetery. Note how not all of those buried in this place were Simpsons. Besides the plots for the two Broyles boys were the final resting places for their maternal grandparents—Zacharias and Margaret Chew Carter Taliaferro.

While pursuing the connection between these three surnames—Broyles, Taliaferro and Simpson—may not lead us closer to our goal of discovering Thomas and Mary Broyles’ matchmaker, it does reveal a host of intertwining associations. And with this mother lode of all rabbit trails, we’ll need to set aside at least one additional day to explore the possibilities.

See what I mean about fascinating connections?


  1. There's something comforting about finding grandparents and grandchildren in the same cemetery, even if the parents are not. It's a glimpse into what the parents were thinking at the time.

    I too like noticing family connections. Two of my lines have MANY intermarriages, so I wonder what the attraction was.

    1. Oh, Wendy, I saw what you mean about those intermarriages in your family lines. I took a look at your blog today. That's enough to make one's head spin!

      The one thing I appreciate about finding grandchildren with their grandparents is when the discovery reveals a previously-unknown mother's maiden name. That's always a bonus discovery.

  2. I wonder if Margaret Chew Carter Taliaferro was related to Benjamen Chew of Germantown/Philadelphia Revolutionary War fame?

    1. Thanks for including that link, Iggy. I wasn't aware of Benjamin Chew and found his history an interesting read.

      While I am just starting to delve into this line, I was able to do a quick and dirty sketch of the possible relationship between Benjamin Chew and my fourth great grandmother, Margaret Chew Carter Taliaferro. I noticed the Wikipedia article indicated that John Chew was Benjamin's second great grandfather. Margaret also descended from that same John Chew. Of course, I haven't verified all the connections, myself, but it appears that Margaret and Benjamin would have been third cousins, once removed.

  3. Grandparents probably had a plot there, sometime in grief different decisions are made:)

    1. Since this was a family cemetery--not just a family plot at a public cemetery--the decisions were likely different. I noticed that the Broyles boys and their grandparents were among the earliest burials there. Although the Simpson family also lost a number of children in that same period of time, apparently the grandmother was the first (or at least among the first) to be buried there. Her death might have been the event instigating the selection of the burial location for the rest of the Simpsons and--the Broyles family not yet having had to deal with such considerations--for their extended family, as well.


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