Broyhill Family History

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James' Childhood
      Throughout the colonial period, Virginia constantly grew. From the precarious foothold at Jamestown in 1607, the population at first expanded slowly. By it had grown to several thousand, but the people were scattered from the headwaters of the James River to the far reaches of the Eastern Shore. In order to establish court jurisdictions, the colony was divided into seven shires, later called counties. As they became more densely settled, they were divided to form more counties. By 1760, there were 47 counties. Although they covered about half the present day state, the great bulk of the colonists still lived near the great rivers to the east.
     Halifax was then Virginia's most western county - it was the frontier. It was formed from Lunenburg County in 1752. Settlers from Pennsylvania and Maryland were migrating south seeking cheap land. They came bringing all they owned. The prosperous drove big wagons, packed with household goods and farming utensils. Women and children rode in the wagon and the men walked or rode on horseback, driving their cattle. The less fortunate simply walked. Some of these families settled in western Halifax, but others continued on into North Carolina.
    In 1767, the western 2,596 square miles of Halifax County became Pittsylvania County. The justices immediately compiled a List of Tithables or tax list, which enumerated 938 whites and 316 slaves. The 938 tithables probably represented about 500 families, or one family per five square miles.

Life in the tidewater counties was safe, secure and comfortable
compared to that of the frontier counties.

   Life in the wilderness was far from easy. The pioneer settler had to clear land, cut logs and build his own cabin. There were crops to plant, cultivate and harvest. Cattle required pens, but pigs were often permitted to run wild. Deer, bear, 'coons and squirrel were plentiful and the evening's meal often depended on dad's marksmanship.

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