Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Switching Lines

While I am reluctant to switch from my pursuit of fifth great grandfather William Tilson in colonial Virginia, finding no documentation of his 1763 arrival in the southwest wilderness means the necessity of setting aside that pursuit for now.

That, however, doesn't mean the forsaking of the entire project. There were two other family surnames which came through other colonies to settle, eventually, in the new state of Tennessee: the Broyles family and the Davis family.

Because the commonness of a surname like Davis sometimes makes the search even harder, I'll opt to tackle my Broyles surname next. Even so, that Broyles surname can be a tricky one to follow. For one thing, its origin was someplace in Germany, though I'm not yet sure exactly where—or when the family arrived in the New World. But for another, the surname had its collection of misspelling griefs, with the name sometimes spelled phonetically, and sometimes rendered thus with the touch of a German phonetic system. I have to keep my eyes open for Broils as well as Breuls—as well as many more fanciful renderings of either variation.

The last person in the Broyles family I had researched was my third great grandfather, Ozey R. Broyles, back when I was applying for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution. Ozey Broyles was husband to Sarah Ann Taliaferro, whose father's line led straight to a previously-documented patriot. Ozey Broyles was, to put it bluntly, an afterthought to that application process, though I did turn around and document as much as I could of each of his children's lines.

What I did know about Ozey Broyles was that he was a "planter" in what was then called the Pendleton District in South Carolina. He was born in that state in 1798 and died there in Anderson County in 1875. What had puzzled me about his family was that one of his sons—my second great grandfather, Thomas Taliaferro Broyles—left home as a young bachelor to care for one of the family's properties in Washington County, Tennessee, not exactly a next-door proposition.

My theory about the Broyles family—since I discovered their roots were actually from Culpeper, Virginia—was that perhaps the Broyles family had passed through the Virginia colony to northeast Tennessee much as had my Tilson forebears. However, as we saw through the series on trying to trace William Tilson's family this past month, there wasn't any sign of neighbors named Broyles—or Davis—anywhere near the Tilsons at Saint Clair's Bottom. So where did this Tennessee property connection come from for the Broyles family?

It took some digging to discover the link, something which will take a couple days—and just as many old, nearly illegible documents—to review.


  1. Sometimes you just have to set one line aside for a time. You can revisit those folks in the future from a different viewpoint. Or a new resource may become available.

    1. This is so true, Colleen--and encouraging: that new resources do become available over time. You can almost set your clock to that--or at least remember to calendar in an appointment to revisit the research project every year or so.

      Hopefully, though, before that time gets here, I'll have a chance to go visit the location in person and peruse their land records for myself.

  2. Your Ozzy Broyles is listed in this database -


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