Friday, September 29, 2017

Stopping By Tennessee

Tromping backwards in time in the footsteps of my third great grandfather Ozey Broyles' father Aaron takes us from the family's home in South Carolina. Here is where we can finally see any tokens of just where they stopped, on their way from Virginia, in the northeastern corner of Tennessee.

Aaron Broyles, himself, had been born in Culpeper County at the close of the colonial period in Virginia. Of course, that is at the beginning of the story, and we are working our way backwards from the end of his timeline. Still, it was clear from several documents that Aaron Broyles was not always a member of the first settlers' community at the old Pendleton District in South Carolina.

According to the John K. Broyles annotation of the Arthur Leslie Keith manuscript (on page 59), Aaron Broyles probably arrived in South Carolina sometime before the middle of November, 1791. The reason that date was targeted is because Aaron was named as party to land transactions in Washington County, Tennessee. Aaron was, at the time, listed as a resident of South Carolina.

This was not just a hop across the border into the next town. A distance of one hundred fifty miles, it was a trip through neighboring state North Carolina and a winding path over a mountain range. It is unclear just why a family originating in Virginia and settling in South Carolina would make a stop in Tennessee—especially a stop long enough to select and purchase, then turn around and sell, two different plots of more than one hundred acres apiece.

Stepping back yet one more generation provides part of the answer: the part that explains just how Aaron came to own any land at all in Washington County, Tennessee. Apparently, it was on account of his father, Adam Broyles.

Adam, in turn, was also a man born in Virginia. Born in 1729, the place of his birth has been listed as  either Spotsylvania County or what is now Madison County (later created in 1792 from Culpeper County). Adam was one of several sons of German immigrants Jacob Broyles and Mary Catharine Fleishman.

According to the Broyles manuscript (on page 29), Adam Broyles was eventually a landholder of several plots of land in Culpeper County, for his name appeared in a number of transactions in the county's records. The last of the transactions in Virginia was dated in 1780, and Arthur Keith takes that to be a reasonable estimate for Adam Broyles' departure from Virginia.

It is only through mention of property in his will that we discover where Adam Broyles settled next: Washington County, Tennessee. His will, drawn up on April 19, 1782, was filed in Washington County and, according to Keith, probated that following May.

Among other arrangements, Adam gave a portion of that land to his son Aaron—the one who eventually moved to the Pendleton District of South Carolina. A stipulation in Adam's will was that his children should live on his Tennessee property until the point at which the executors would divide the estate in 1790, perhaps the explanation providing us with the reason why we found Aaron returning to Washington County, Tennessee, as a resident of South Carolina in that November 1791 sale of the land mentioned earlier. Perhaps Aaron had received his portion of his father's Tennessee land in 1790, used it to finance his move to South Carolina, then turned around and disposed of it in that 1791 sale.

Still, that only explains why Aaron had to return to Tennessee from his new home in South Carolina. It doesn't explain how his father, a former Virginia resident, decided to obtain land in Tennessee in the first place. For every research answer, there is always another question.   

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