Broyhill Family History

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The Broughalls of Colonial Virginia

     Caroline County lies almost midway between Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia. It was formed in 1727 from the northern parts of Essex, King William and King and Queen Counties. During the first five years of its existence, court was conducted in the homes of various magistrates and no records were maintained.  Only after the House of Burgesses found that "Except for buying beer for its comfort and enjoyment, the Magistrates of Caroline [were] derelict in their duties".  Instead of building a courthouse and jail they met in their respective homes and charged the sheriff with keeping the prisoners at his manor.  After a prisoner escaped, the legislature passed a law requiring the construction of a court house and demanded that records be properly maintained.  This was accomplished by May of 1732 when the first formal court convened and permanent court records were established.
     In 1861, Virginia joined the other states that had previously succeeded from the Union and Richmond was designated capitol of the newly formed Confederate States of America. Caroline officials immediately recognized that their county's strategic position would bring the Civil War to their doorstep and sent many of their county records to Richmond for safe keeping, as did King William, King and Queen and many other counties. But the Confederacy was defeated, much of Richmond was burned, and countless early records were destroyed. Caroline County lost its Wills, Deeds, Land Records, Guardian Bonds, and many other records. Only its Court Orders survive, which apparently the clerk did not feel were important enough to send to Richmond. They contain a wealth of information, but the books are old, the ink is faded, the handwriting is often difficult to read and the books are not indexed.
    Because of their genealogical and historic importance, Fred Dorman, publisher of the Virginia Genealogist abstracted and published those from 1732 through 1765. Sam and Ruth Sparacio of McLean, Virginia, have picked up where he left off and have so far published three works, carrying these records through 1768. During colonial times, the Anglican Church was charged with maintaining marriage, birth and death records; they were not kept by the county. Caroline County contained three parishes - St. Mary's ran along the southern bank of the Rappahannock River; St. Margaret Parish was on the west side of the Mattaponi River and Drysdale on the east side. The records for all three parishes have disappeared.
     Because of such losses, researching families in Virginia's burned record counties is extremely difficult. Until more court orders are published, there is little information on the Broughills of Caroline after 1768.
 The 1790 and 1800 Censuses of Virginia have been lost, believed destroyed when the British burned Washington during the War of 1812.  The 1790 Census has been somewhat recreated by State Tax Lists.  The Caroline Tax List for 1783 lists William Broughill in Caroline County with one tithable white and five slaves. "Tithes" were essentially a tax based on head count made on males between the ages of 16 and 65. Since William was too old to have been tithable (he was then 71), the tithable white must have been John Broughill. The five slaves indicate a small plantation.
     A spot check of later Caroline Court Orders revealed reference to a 1791 suit "Nunn vs. Broughills." The plural use of the name establishes that William was survived by more than one family member.
19th & 20th Century Virginia
No Broughall, Broughill, etc. appears in the Virginia Census Indexes of 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, or 1860. Apparently the Broughill name died with John and William Jr.
     During World War I, Thomas Jefferson Broyhill, the great grandson of James, moved with his children to Hopewell, Virginia. They left many descendants. Most live in northern Virginia, not far from Caroline County.