Saturday, January 10, 2015

Rabbit Trail Warning #1

I get too caught up in these stories of family members from so long ago. Sometimes, I have to yank myself back to the present and remind myself to be more focused on my mission.

Yes, I remember, my goal in seeking Broyles family members in Georgia—instead of South Carolina where they grew up—was to find the nexus that led to my second great grandfather’s marriage to the nearly-unheard-of Mary Rainey of Columbus, Georgia. Who was she? More appropriately, who were her parents? And what happened to them during the Civil War? Is there any trace of a record that can clue me in to the possibility that Mary’s mother was herself a Taliaferro, as was the household of the family with whom she resided at the time of the 1870 census? Besides all that, how did a man who grew up in South Carolina and lived in Tennessee manage to find himself a bride at the western border of the state of Georgia?

So, there are my marching orders. But I can’t continue that long march just yet. I’ve run into some roadblocks that are simply too fascinating to bypass.

Actually, there are two of them. Yes, two excuses to engage in some reconnaissance down those unprofitable rabbit trails. But I warn you: if you follow me there, you are going in, eyes wide open.

I’ll discuss the first of these two detours today, as a follow up to reader Intense Guy’s comment providing a link to a newspaper article about the 1889 death of Charles Broyles’ son, Price. Tomorrow, I’ll follow up with the second tidbit as I begin going down the checklist of potential matchmakers among Thomas’ Broyles siblings.

Since I am not a subscriber to the service where Iggy found the Atlanta, Georgia, news report, I went looking for that 1905 citation at, where I do have a subscription. I discovered that, just as allows non-subscribers two free views per day from their collection, evidently allows free access to the OCR rendering of the newspaper page in question. Thankfully, as the copy is very faded—to the extent that my search at didn’t bring up this result—and I had to call up the newspaper edition itself, following the OCR readout obtained through Iggy’s lead, to locate the article. At any rate, if you are a subscriber of either, you can find the version of The Constitution's report here, and that of the version here.

Oh, what a miserable sixteen years it must have been for Price Broyles’ former friend—and murderer—from the point at which he “made his escape” after firing those fatal five shots in Chattanooga.
Elmore Johnson Acquitted
With His Wife He Leaves Chattanooga for Atlanta

Chattanooga, Tenn. May 10—Elmore Johnson, charged with the murder of Price Broyles which occurred sixteen years ago was found not guilty here today. Johnson pleaded self defense. Immediately after the killing, Johnson left the city, and was not heard from again until last November when he gave himself up to the police in Jonesboro, Ark. A week later he tried to commit suicide, but was unsuccessful. Johnson and his wife left tonight for Atlanta, where they will reside in the future. Johnson’s family is well connected.


  1. "Well connected" -- and what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? Is the reporter expressing a bit of cynicism over that acquittal?

    1. I was thinking that too... A trial 15 years after the "incident" and "self defense"... I wonder if there were any witnesses (at the trial!)

    2. Cynicism? As it was likely a reporter in the city in which Elmore was headed, not leaving, I wonder whether it was a connection in Atlanta that he was referring to.

      On the other hand, if you'll remember, there was an attorney in Dalton (which happens to not be far from Chattanooga, where the case was tried) who went by the name of J. A. W. Johnson. Since that was a household near the home of Lucy Johnson Broyles (though doesn't appear to be related to Lucy), I wondered if Elmore could have been a son, but I was unable to locate any connection. Makes one wonder, though...

  2. Here is another for your collection! The "Reward Poster"


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...