Wednesday, April 24, 2019

When Friends Become Family

Although Dr. Ozey Broyles had become friends with his neighbor, the distinguished Samuel Maverick, the elder man was at least twenty years Ozey's senior. Before 1850, the man was a widower, with his children far from old Pendleton. Still, Samuel Maverick was very much a noted man in his community.

For one thing, he was reputed to be "the richest man in South Carolina," and he struck a distinguished pose whenever he went about in the "dignified and aristocratic town" of Pendleton. One of Ozey Broyles' daughters was asked, years after Mr. Maverick's passing, to pen her remembrances of the man. The Ashtabula book shared excerpts of her letter about him. He "always wore a pale colored coat and broad brimmed low crown whitish hat," as she remembered.

Samuel Maverick, despite his age, had business which regularly took him into town, unwittingly providing a punctilious reminder of the time to all he passed. Sarah, Ozey's daughter, recalled
He rode in a buggy, driving a gray horse, and passed our home every day. The cook told the hour by his passing, so methodical was he, passed at seven, and now it is twelve, because Mr. Maverick is passing to dinner.

Mr. Maverick's only son, Samuel Augustus, had long left for the draw of adventure in Texas—of which he had his fill, having been kidnapped by the Mexicans and put to hard labor before his rescue by his own country's government—and his daughter Lydia had married a successful lawyer in New York City, far from the vaunted Upcountry's innocent glories detailed in Dr. Broyles' letter to his own daughter Margaret.

The elder Samuel Maverick was well into his seventies when he suffered a stroke and ensuing paralysis. Lydia Maverick Van Wyck returned from New York to attend to her father's health and apparently, at least judging by the record in the 1850 census, she did not return alone. Not only her husband but their six children returned with her.

Included in the transplanted Van Wyck family, by that point in 1850, was their oldest son, Samuel Maverick Van Wyck. By then fifteen years of age, he was precisely the same age as the Broyles' oldest daughter, Margaret.

Though shortly after that point, Margaret had moved to attend school in Charleston, perhaps that eclipsed vignette in her youth may have turned out to redirect the course of her life. In a matter of days after Margaret had received the letter from her father instructing her to return to Pendleton, the Broyles' neighbor Samuel Maverick passed away. Having died intestate—incredibly—his son-in-law, William Van Wyck, was appointed administrator of the Maverick estate, further delaying the Van Wyck family's return to New York.

In the interim, the Van Wycks' oldest son, Samuel, was sent to further his education at Amherst College. Though he did not graduate from that particular college, he did continue his education, finishing a course in medicine by 1860.

Somewhere in the midst of all that accomplishment, though, there was a pause to attend to some personal business, for Samuel Maverick Van Wyck, grandson of the Broyles family's beloved neighbor in Pendleton, proposed to Dr. Ozey's oldest daughter, Margaret, and the couple was married in 1855—likely making the respective families of two old "devoted friends" very happy, indeed.  


  1. My goodness. I wonder what Lydia's husband's business was in New York that they could so easily uproot a family of 8 and move back home.

    1. He was an attorney in the city, and, judging by his age in 1850--he was forty six at that point--he was likely quite well established in his profession. But yes, Miss Merry, that was quite a drastic change for the entire family.


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