Broyhill Family History

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James - the First Broyhill
      James Broyhill is the progenitor of the Broyhill family. The Broyhill surname is exclusively American and every known natural born Broyhill in the United States descends from him.
     He was born James Broughill on April 29, 1760 or 1761, in Caroline County, Virginia. Over the years he appears in various records under the surnames Bray, Brayhill, Broughill, Braughill and Broyhill. James was illaterte and dependent on county clerks to write his name in various records.  They seem to have used phoentic spellings.  James often went by the name Bray and this is explored at some length.  He adopted the Broyhill spelling between 1800 and 1810, about the time he moved to Wilkes County, North Carolina.
     James was only fifteen years old when the American colonies declared their independence from Great Britain. Virginia was thrust into a war that would last five years. Enlistments were then for very short terms, but James, like many other young men, would sign up several times.  In 1832, fifty-two years after the British surrender at Yorktown, a tight-fisted American Congress finally rewarded its patient veterans with pensions. They were then old men in their seventies and eighties and their applications were narratives describing their military service. James Broyhill was among those who filed application. It is dated Sept. 6, 1837, and is located at the Federal Archives in Washington, D.C.
(# 32360). It provides a great deal of information about his life. 
   To briefly summarize: his parents left Caroline County when he was quite young.  They settled in Lunenberg County located in south-central Virginia, some 200 miles to the southeast.  As the population increased, the county was subdivied and part of it was used to form Halifax County.  It was later split resulting in the formation of Pittsylvania County.  James lived in the Halifax-Pittsylvania area for over thirty years.  Around 1805, he migrated to Wilkes County, North Carolina.  He remained there until he and his wife followed two of their three sons to Illinois.  James gives no reason for the move, but his grandson wrote that his father, James Jr. had moved to Illinois because of his opposition to slavery.
    James died in Tazewell County, Illinois ion January 7, 1842.  He and Rebecca had seven children:    


ID No.

John Norman Broyhill


Polly Davis


Polly (or Mary) Broyhill


Nathaniel Broun


William Broyhill


Nancy Johnson


Sally (or Sarah) Broyhill


Isaiah Hampton


Frances Broyhill


Elijah Hampton


James Broyhill Jr.


Clarissa Johnson


Ann(e) Broyhill

1800??- ?

No further record


     Information provided by Illinois Broyhill's state that when James' estate was settled his son John Norman Broyhill and the four girls were in North Carolina. This author has been unable to locate those estate records. The Broyhills of North Carolina and Virginia descend from John Norman Broyhill.  Those from the mid-west descend from James Jr., except for Roger Broyhill of Illinois, who is the only living male descendant of William.

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