James was the progenitor of the modern Broyhill Family. Every natural
born Broyhill descends from him and, to the knowledge of this author, the
name is only found in the United States.
The surname was originally Broughall. "Brough" was
the Roman word for a fortified place and "Hall" referred to an earthworks.
English Parish records contain references to it dating back to the late
1500's. The family has long been associated with the area around the
small village of Broughall, in Shropshire, England, not far from Whitchurch.
Unfortunately early records are so fragmented, that its impossible to
reconstruct the early families for more than one or two generations.
However, James Broyhill was the grandson of
William Broughill, who was christened at Sutton Maddock, Shorpshire,
England, in 1714. William's surname was a variant spelling of
Broughall. Young William immigrated to Virginia and was living in
Caroline County when it began keeping court records in 1732. Most of
the Caroline County records were destroyed during the Civil War. There
are no surviving wills or deeds. Even church parish records have been
lost. Only the Court Order survive. They date from 1732 and William's
name appears in the first volume. He was then 18 years old.
Beginning around 1750, the court records contain references to William
Broyhill Jr. and John Broyhill, who were almost surely the sons of William
William Broughill Jr. married a woman named
Sarah. There is no record of her maiden name, but it may have been
Norman. They seem to have had only one son: James, who served in the
Virginia Militia during the Revolutionary War. He fought Indians in
Kentucky, served at the Battle of Camden and constructed entrenchments at
Yorktown where he witnessed the surrender of the British Army, marking the
end of the American Revolutionary War. In later years he received a
government pension based on that military service. His application for
it contains a wealth of valuable information.
William Jr. moved his family to Lunenburg Country in south central
Virginia by 1772. The county was subdivided and part of it became
Halifax County, then divided again so that part became Pittsylvania County.
James lived in this area for over thirty years.
In 1787, James married Rebecca Bailey in Halifax County. They
had three sons and four daughters. James was illiterate and various
records reflect many variant spellings of his name - Bray, Brayl, Brayhill,
Broy Hill, etc. - but he seems to have settled on "Broyhill," about
the time he migrated to Wilkes County, NC around 1805. Around
1828, he moved to Illinois with his wife and two of his sons. He died
in 1834. In general, the Broyhills of the mid-west descend from his
sons James Jr. and William who moved to Illinois. The Broyhills of
Virginia and North Carolina descend from his son, John Norman.
The purpose of this website is to provide a comprehensive resource for
information on James, his Broughall ancestors and his many descendants.
Contributions are solicited.