Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Getting Back to Tennessee

Even in genealogy, when a person gets lost, it seems the default is to wander around in circles. Here I am, trying to trace a pathway from the Virginia home of three of my ancestral families—the Davis line, the Tilson line, and the Broyles line—to the first county in Tennessee, Washington County. While I don't seem to make much progress, I am picking up clues as I keep ringing the area.

I had traced my way to direct line ancestor Ozey Robert Broyles during my pursuit of D.A.R. membership, but hadn't followed the line much farther, since the D.A.R. connection then jumped to Ozey's wife's line. Now, it's time to work on his father and grandfather.

I've been perusing some books written on the line many years ago—for one, a manuscript drawn up by Arthur Leslie Keith, and a subsequent typewritten volume annotating the Keith work by John Kenneth Broyles. My goal in evaluating the findings in these manuscripts is to see what can be verified by current online resources—as well as, of course, building my tree on the Broyles line.

What arrested my attention, while reading these notes, is that while Ozey and his father, Aaron Broyles, lived in Pendleton District, South Carolina, Aaron had been born in Virginia, as had his father, Adam Broyles.

The interesting little detail hidden in the midst of that timeline connecting the Broyles' Virginia home and their new residence in South Carolina was that it wasn't a direct route that brought them from Virginia to South Carolina. There was an intermediate stop along the way.

That stop just happened to be in Washington County, Tennessee.

If what the Keith and Broyles manuscript asserts about Adam Broyles is correct, I would love to get my hands on some old, old land records in Washington County. While I await the chance to do that, though, one other helpful document will be Adam's will, which can be located among the records in Washington County.

Apparently, though the rest of the family ended up in South Carolina, Ozey's grandfather Adam had been a landholder in Washington County. The years he was there actually predate Tennessee statehood, for his date of death there was likely in 1782.

Of course, I'm hoping to discover just why Adam Broyles left his home in Culpeper, Virginia—and why his family's ultimate route to South Carolina took this detour to northeastern Tennessee. But I also find it interesting to have stumbled upon this detail of the land holdings in Washington County, for years later, his young grandson left his home in South Carolina to take charge of his father's property in Washington County, Tennessee.

I never could understand why the family had land so far from their home in South Carolina. Perhaps now, I'm getting a glimpse at the reason why.


  1. Too bad there are no diaries:) I am all caught up with you again! I hope all is well with you!

    1. Good to see you back, Far Side, and hope you are feeling much better! Yes, agreed, wouldn't it be wonderful to stumble upon some diaries from that place and time?!


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