Broyhill Family History

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William Broughill, the immigrant

    William Broughill first appears in the first Caroline Court Orders of 1732, when he registered a slave with the court. No connection has been found between Aaron Broughill of Essex County and William Broughill of Caroline County, but circumstances suggest they were somehow related. The northern part of Essex county became part of Caroline County when it was formed in 1728; and William Broughill appears in Caroline's first Court Orders of 1732. On the other hand, Aaron lived in the Southern part of Essex, not the part incorporated into Caroline, and his name never appears in Caroline Court Orders.
     A spot check of post-1768 Caroline Court Orders revealed that in April of 1789, John Homes, Gent, having taking oath and entered into bond, was granted a certificate for obtaining Letters of Administration with the will annex of William Broughill, deceased. This seems to be contradictory as an administrator is appointed to settle an estate when a person dies intestate. If there was a will it was among the destroyed Caroline records, so names of any heirs have been lost. 
     The period from 1732 to 1789 spans 57 years, so William must surely have been a young man in 1732. If he was then 18 years old, then he would have been born around 1714. Aaron would then have been 48 years old, making it doubtful that he was Williams' father. He was the right age to have been his grandfather. Interestingly, English parish records show that William Broughill and Ann Hackley were married at Sutton Maddock, Shropshire, England on Sept. 23, 1712. On May 1, 1714, they christened a son named William at Sutton Maddock. Could he be the William Broughill who settled in Caroline County? William, husband of Ann Hackley, may be the William Brohall, who was christened July 27, 1690 at Cound, Shropshire. Possibly, Aaron was an uncle. Perhaps he stopped in to visit the Broughills of Sutton Maddock and spun tales about the wealth of Virginia that inspired young William to seek his fortune in the colonies.
     The 1732 slave registration may reflect that the younger William had just reached his age of majority and then registered his property. Between 1732 and 1734, there were a total of 405 young Negroes, under the age sixteen, so registered.  His slave could have been the young girl Sarah, who was judged by the Court to be fourteen years old in 1739.
     In 1733, William Watford and William Skelton brought suit against William Broughill and were awarded 381 pounds of tobacco, which was a rather sizable amount.  The Court Orders do not state the cause of action nor any details.

The Maryland Club portrays colonists of William's time. The scene is not unlike those which would have taken place in Rennold's Tavern. Note the clothing so indicative of close cultural ties with mother England.

    Then there was the incident with tavern keeper Benjamin Rennolds (Reynolds). Robert Willis was awarded the first license to run an ordinary (tavern) in Caroline and soon contracted with the court to furnish the magistrates with small beer. The contract carried a fat stipend of 1,000 pounds of tobacco, so Rennolds and his buddies descended on Willis' Tavern and quickly reduced it to shambles. Apparently he obtained the contract because on one occasion he passed around so much beer that some of the jury "became drunk and were not in their good senses." Rennolds was later indicted by the court for this wanton destruction of the Willis Tavern, but a jury composed mostly of his friends refused to convict him. In 1734, Rennolds brought suit against William Broughill and two other people.  Unfortunately the Court Orders do not state the charge, only that the case was dismissed.
     During the 1735 election, Rennolds attempted to have one of his friends, one Robert Fleming, elected to the post of magistrate, probably to help him obtain the coveted beer contract, but this attempt was met by bitter opposition by those who supported his opponent, Jonathan Gibson. A full record of what happened can be pieced together from the Journal of the House of Burgesses, which found:

(1) The greater number of votes were cast for Gibson,
(2) the manner of the election was disorderly; people drank too much liquor on election day, before and during the taking of the polls,
(3) Thomas Roy, a tobacco inspector, threatened scores of voters that if they did not vote for Gibson he was going to grade their tobacco as of inferior quality, and if he heard of them electioneering for Martin that he was going to burn the tobacco they had stored in his warehouse,
(4) William Burdette, a deputy sheriff and tax collector threatened to foreclose on all taxpayers in arrears in the payment of taxes if he heard they had voted for Martin,
(5) that during the election Roy and Burdette stood in the polls yelling threats as each person was called upon to verbally signify his choice of candidate,
(6) that Gibson's supporters kept jugs of liquors at the polls and treated voters who supported their candidate both before and after they cast their ballot, and
(7) that Thomas Harrison and John Davis entered the polls and announced that they were going to vote for Martin, but before they could do so, hoodlums snatched them outside, got them so drunk that they were "not in their good sense", and then brought them back inside to vote for Gibson.
After his initial involvement with Watford, Skelton and Turner, William seems to have become a rather respected member of the community.  Englishmen in Virginia were guaranteed the right to trial by jury, but in practice the local magistrates "stacked the juries" in favor of the Crown. William served on jury duty four times during the 1730's suggesting that his verdicts reflected the wishes of the King's Magistrates. Virginians were required by law to attend Church and if they missed more than two consecutive Sundays then they faced legal prosecution, conviction, and heavy fine and even imprisonment. Court Orders show that William served on a jury which convicted several people for refusing to attend the Anglican Church.
     These incidents suggest that William evolved into the model English settler. Not only did his jury decisions reflect the wishes of the Crown, but on September 9, 1743, he petitioned the Court to add his name to the Tithing (Tax) Lists.  Asking to pay taxes is an unusual act and it suggests that William may have felt some extraordinary need to prove his loyalty to the English Crown.

Rolling a hogshead of tobacco
 to a tobacco warehouse.



    During the 1730's and 1740's, Caroline had no towns, nor town-associated occupations.  The entire economy was based on tobacco. Those who grew it were known as planters and their farms were called plantations. William was probably a small planter. After harvesting and curing, he prized (packed) his tobacco into hogsheads, which he rolled down to the Mattaponi River, loaded upon a flat boat, and floated downstream to a tobacco warehouse for shipment to England.
     There is no record of William receiving a land grant or patent from the Commonwealth of Virginia. Caroline's Deed Books have been lost, but occasionally buyers recorded the deed in the Court Orders. Caroline's Court Orders do not reflect William recording any such deed. If he owned land, it may have been purchased prior to the beginning of the records in 1732. If so, then at some later date, it would probably have been transferred, but no such transfer appears in the Court Orders. The Court Orders do show that William Broughill leased land from Benjamin and Elizabeth Powell in 1742 and from John Baylor in 1752.  Baylor was one of the county's leading land owners and his farm was located about three miles south of Caroline's present day court house at Bowling Green. 
     A clue as to the location of William's home is that on Oct. 13, 1757, he was appointed overseer of the road from Grymes' Quarter to the Douge Towne Bridge and was ordered to keep the same in good repair. Almost without exception, a road overseer was a person who lived very near the road he was to oversee. Douge Towne Bridge was located at approximately where modern day route 301 crosses the Mattaponi River.
     William Broughill Jr. and John Broughill first appear in Caroline's Court Orders in 1758. Both were then over age 21, so were born prior to 1737, and thus were almost certainly the sons of William, who probably married around 1732 or 1733. There may have been other children, but no mention of them appears in the Court Orders so far published. It's quite likely they included one or more daughters. If so, then if they had occasion to appear in court orders, they would have carried their husband's surname.
     William Broughill was executor of the estate of a Robert Lyon.  In 1758, Robert's daughters, Sarah and Ann Lyon, "being admitted to choose a guardian made choice of William Broughill".  It was then customary for orphans over the age of sixteen to be given that choice.  No doubt Sarah had known him for many years as William served on juries with Robert Lyon in the 1730's.
Although Virginia became famous for the gracious lifestyle of its plantations, very few were as prosperous as Westover. Most planters lived in small frame houses.
 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.
Betty Branghile
 As Caroline's Church Parish Records have long disappeared, no record has been found of William's marriage. However, the Will of Edward Goode of Caroline County was made 28 March 1763, and probated in Williamsburg and thus escaped destruction. One of the witnesses was Betty Branghile. Caroline County Records list only one surname even close in appearance to Branghile and it, of course, is Broughill. Betty may have been William's wife, his daughter, or daughter-in-law. No further reference has been found to her.
William Broughill Jr.
William Broughill Jr. was dragged into the Court Orders on Aug. 11, 1758, when Charles Story brought suit against him for back debts. His father agreed to be responsible for the debt in the event that William Jr. lost the case. Interestingly, that same day, Edmond Taylor brought a suit against Benjamin Lankford in debt and William Sr. also guaranteed his performance.
     William Jr. was living in Caroline County when his son James was born in April of 1761.  He was still in Caroline on Oct. 12, 1765, when he acknowledged a debt to Colin and William Dunlop and Company, Plaintiff, as did his brother John. He does not appear in the Caroline County Court Orders for 1766 and 1767.
     By 1771, he was living on the south branch of Bruck Creek, New Plantation, Pittsylvania County, Virginia, because on November 9th of that year, he sold 100 acres on Bruck Creek to John East.  The deed was recorded and names his wife as Sarah. No record has been found as to how this property was obtained. According to Steve White, a Virginia attorney who often performs title searches, early settlers often conveyed land through hand written deeds, which often were not recorded. On March 27, 1772, John East filed suit against William Broyhill in Halifax County.  This case has not been researched, but may have involved the land that William sold him the previous year.  The resulting court record is the first documented use of the "Broyhill" spelling.
     William Jr. was apparently the father of James Broughill, but it is not known how many other children he may have fathered. The only clue lies in the Halifax Tax Lists. The one for 1783 lists James Braughill as head of a household containing 5 whites and 0 blacks. Yet the one for 1785 lists William Broy with 7 whites and 0 blacks. Apparently in 1783, William Jr. was not at the homestead when the Tax List was taken, so James, being the eldest son, was listed as the head of household, which probably consisted of James, his mother, and James' three siblings. William Jr. had returned home to be listed as head of household in 1785. James married that year, so the household probably consisted of William Jr., his wife, James, James' wife Rebecca and James' three siblings. Who were the siblings? This is discussed in Chapter 5, The Bray Connection.
James and William were certainly not wealthy. The 1787 State Census shows that James had two horses and three cattle; William had one horse and five cattle. The 1785 Tax Lists shows that they had one dwelling and two other buildings. William Jr. may have returned to Caroline after his father's death in 1789, perhaps to help settle his estate.  The 1791 "Nunn versus Broughills" case denotes more than one Broyhill. Could they have been John and William Jr. and possibly their sisters, if any. If William did visit Caroline, he returned to Halifax in 1802, because he acknowledged a deed before the Court that year.  In 1806, William transferred his land on Childrey Creek to his son James.
     Assuming he was born around 1738, William Jr., was 68 years old in 1806.  He does not appear in the indexes to later Halifax and Pittsylvania estate records. His son James moved to Wilkes County, North Carolina around 1807. Although it is possible that William went with him, no record of him has been found in Wilkes County, nor does he appear in Mitchell's Index to North Carolina Wills. Caroline Court Orders show that a William Broughill was exempted from the county and Poor Tax Levy in 1802, which was 13 years after the 1789 death of William Sr. This could be William Broughill Jr., who returned home to Caroline. He is not listed on the 1810 Virginia Tax Lists, published to replace the missing 1810 Census, so he probably died between 1806 and 1810.
John Broughill
John's name first appears in the Caroline Court Orders in Aug. 12, 1758 when Charles Story brought suit against him.  Judgment was granted to the Plaintiff for 4.9.2 current money, with interest from July 1st of that year.  He would then have been at least 21 years old, establishing his birth date as prior to 1737.
     In early 1772, John Murray, the Earl of Dunmore, became Virginia's new Governor. Appointed by King George III, he had little patience for the democratic process. He ruled the English Colony with an iron fist, quickly felt by the people of Caroline: He denied the Caroline Baptists the right to freely practice their religion in accordance with the Toleration Act; he stacked its court with loyalists, who would vigorously enforce the wishes of King George; and he strictly enforced the collection of taxes levied on the Virginia colonists by the English Parliament.
     Favoritism in the enforcement of the tax laws remained a favorite device for the magistrates to reward their friends and punish their enemies. In 1772 when John Armistead, William Micou, Thomas Royston and John Roy failed to report their wheeled vehicles for taxation, the court excused Armistead, who was a magistrate and Micou, who was the son of a magistrate, but fined Royston and Roy 500 pounds of tobacco each.
     The grip of this iron fist was keenly felt by John Broughill. The following year, 1773, he, Joseph Willis, John Nun, Francis Fleming, Elizabeth Fortune, William Smithers Sr. and Andrew Ross, were each fined 500 pounds of tobacco for concealing one or more tithes. No doubt, his Celt blood boiled over at being selectively tried and convicted of violating an unfair tax law created by an English Parliament and enforced by a court stacked in favor of the English King.
     No further record has been found of John. If he married, he most certainly did not have any sons to carry on the family name.
New Yorker's pulling down the mounted figure of King George III on July 9, 1776. John did not have his father's close ties to England and probably welcomed Independence.
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.