Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Rebecca’s Side

We need to explore the convoluted paths the various Broyles and Taliaferro families took, as they crossed each other on their way from Virginia to South Carolina to Georgia and beyond.

Granted, our first task is to determine how my second great grandfather, Thomas Taliaferro Broyles, met up with his Georgia bride, the Mary Rainey of Columbus, Georgia, whose mother was also supposed to be a Taliaferro.

As we trace down the ranks of the Broyles siblings, though, we find that Thomas’ older brother William also married a Taliaferro from Georgia. It may be worth our while to trace up the Taliaferro tree from the vantage point of William’s wife, Rebecca, and see if we can find any connections that way.

Rebecca was born in February, 1836, to Charles Boutwell Taliaferro and his wife, the former Mildred Barnett Merriweather.

Right away, if you knew the Broyles boys’ mother’s heritage, you would realize the resonance in that Boutwell name. Let me take you through the Reader’s Digest version of their mother Sarah Taliaferro Broyles’ heritage. Sarah was daughter of a Virginia man named Zachariah Taliaferro. He, in turn, was son of another Zachariah Taliaferro. That Zachariah married a woman named Mary Boutwell.

Whether she was the one sporting the maiden name that was carried through the next seventy years to be affixed to the given name of Rebecca’s father, we have yet to see. Remember, I, as the genealogical guinea pig, am taking you on a tour of my family lineage, often unfolding it for you as I go. Let’s just say I haven’t even ironed out the wrinkles from this fold, yet.

By the time of the 1850 census, the Charles B. Taliaferro household was located in Coweta County, Georgia. Along with her six siblings, Rebecca grew up in a large family, not unusual for those days. She found herself third in the household, after her brother Valentine and her sister Eliza.

Not long after that census, Rebecca herself was married. For an as yet undiscovered reason, her husband-to-be came down to Georgia to claim his bride from South Carolina, just as my second great grandfather would do, years later.

By the time Rebecca and her husband, William Broyles, were married in 1857, they likely moved right away to Tennessee, as we saw yesterday. Likewise, Rebecca’s parents and siblings moved, as well—only in a different direction. The Taliaferro family resurfaced for the 1860 census in Russell County, Alabama—though the challenge to find them was owing to an enumerator’s phonetic rendition of their surname as Toliver.

With the 1870 census, we can see the Taliaferro couple had returned to Georgia—as those of you astute enough to prefer your own independent research have already seen. While it might seem as if the family had been frenetically moving all over the place, from Georgia to Alabama and back again, that was not exactly so. Having a map close at hand helps us to realize that they merely crossed the county—and, coincidentally, the state—line to return to Georgia.

Minus all of their children—who had either married or died by this point—Charles and Mildred now had others in their household.

It is at this point that I had originally found them: in the 1870 census. Remember, I had told you I stumbled across this entry, coming in through the back door. It was through my desperation in not finding Charles’ and Mildred’s married daughter Rebecca and her husband William Broyles in 1870—not to mention my overarching concern about whatever had happened to the parents of Thomas Broyles’ bride-to-be, Mary Rainey—that had pushed me to perform one of those “what if” searches. I had entered Taliaferro for mother’s name, along with Rainey and all its spelling permutations, into FamilySearch and Ancestry.com until a viable result came up.

That result led me to the very Taliaferro household in Columbus, Georgia, that we've been discussing: the home of Charles and Mildred Taliaferro, Rebecca Taliaferro Broyles' parents. It just so happened that this same home was the one which housed a “domestic servant” named Mary Reiney.

Could that be the Mary Rainey who married Thomas Taliaferro Broyles in Columbus in 1871? We’ll take a closer look at that possibility, beginning tomorrow.


  1. Superb demonstration of how to search through the back door and a perfect object lesson on the importance of following collateral lines ~

    1. Oh, Wendy, what would I have done without the pursuit of collateral lines?! They have been my ticket to pass around many a research brick wall.

  2. Oh my Jacqi! There must have been something in the water--my ancestors were doing a very similar version of the same dance across across county lines and over into the edges of Alabama.

    1. Michelle, I think there was just such an upheaval in the history of that time period and region, that it just made sense to get across the river and get away from it. At least, that's my hunch. It would help to know more about the local history, but I know in general, that post-Civil War era was difficult for many.

  3. My mother's folks were living in the same corner of the world - GA, TN, and AL. The war rolled through their farmlands on several occasions and the post-war decade was brutish and nasty - full of folks "getting even."

    They went to Texas to get away from that in the early 1880s.. so the "horror" latest for at least a decade and a half.


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