Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Leaving Their Marks Behind
Of all those who once lived in the Pendleton plantation home known as Ashtabula, the Broyles family was no exception. Just as the Gibbes family had filled the house with several children before them, the Broyles family burst on the home scene in 1837, complete with seven of their eventual ten children: Augustus, the oldest, born in 1824, followed by Charles, Zacharias, Richard, William, Margaret—finally! a girl!—and infant Ozey. Within the next decade after settling into their home and farm, Ozey and Sarah Broyles welcomed three more children: Sarah, Thomas (my second great-grandfather), and John.
Though education was important to the Broyles family—long before baby John was even part of the family, his big brother Augustus was already away at college—and school often represented a day-long absence from home, there were inevitably those typical outbreaks of boyish energy which left their mark on the home front during the childhood of those many Broyles boys. The Ashtabula book noted that at least two of those Broyles boys contrived ways to leave their marks on the home for future discovery.
Clear enough to be seen well over one hundred years later, two sets of initials can be spotted, carved in the basement of Ashtabula: ATB and JPB. ATB would be the leader of the pack, Augustus Taliaferro Broyles—to whom we will ever be left wondering whether his parents used the typical admonishment meant for oldest children, "You should have known better"—and JPB represented that spoiled youngest of the family, John Pendleton Broyles.
Whether both transgressions occurred at the same time, we can't tell, but we do know that John couldn't have gotten away with his mischievous act until well after he burst on the scene in 1846—if, of course, it wasn't one of his older brothers framing him with a forgery. And since the family left their beautiful country home in 1851, that possibly could have suggested that young John—by then barely five—might have had some brotherly coaxing to leave his mark behind upon their departure.