Broyhill Family History

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     James served three tours with the Virginia Militia. The first was in 1778. In his pension request, he wrote "In the early part of February, 1778, a short time after Daniel Boone was taken prisoner by the Indians at the Salt Licks in Kentucky, I volunteered under Capt.Thomas Dillard of Pittsylvania County, Lt. Thomas Hutchins and Ensign Charles Hutchins to go to Kentucky to fight the Indians." 
     Boone's biography on Wikipedia states, "On 7 February 1778, when Boone was hunting meat for the expedition, he was surprised and captured by warriors led by Blackfish. Because Boone's party was greatly outnumbered, he convinced his men to surrender rather than put up a fight.
    The Virginia State Archives has no record of this expedition, but militia units were quickly formed bands of farmers-turned-soldier, usually assembled for a single task and disbanded when it was completed. For all practical purposes, they kept no records, making it difficult for historians to even establish a unit's existence, much less its history.
   Maud Clement in her History of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, wrote, "In January 1778, Pittsylvania sent several companies of militia again to the frontier. Captain Thomas Dillard and Lieutenant Charles Hutchings commanded a company that marched direct from Pittsylvania to Issac Riddle's house, twelve miles above the Long Island on the Holstein. thence to Boonesboro, Kentucky, where they were stationed three months."  Interestingly, she has the militia leaving for Boonesboro before Boone was captured by the Indians..    
       Revolutionary War Pension Requests provide such a wealth of historic and genealogical information that in 1958 genealogist and historian Fred Dorman began abstracting and publishing those based on Virginia service. Now, 35 years later, he has completed them through the pension of Elijah Green (Vol. 45). In hopes of obtaining more detail about the Boonesboro expedition, the indexes of all forty five volumes were searched for people, places and events mentioned by James in his pension application. It resulted in a wealth of detail, not found in history books. Many of the old soldiers were illiterate, so they narrated their accounts to others who wrote them down.  That information was used to compile this account.
     The brightly dressed professional army of English "redcoats" faced rag tag bands of green recruits that made up the newly formed Continental Army. The two armies fought more or less conventional battles, but along the western frontier, the English conspired with Indian tribes to attack remote American settlements. The strategy was simple: make the colonies commit troops to settlement defense so that they could not be used against the regular British army. Virginia then extended from the Atlantic Ocean to as far west as present day Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. She was particularity vulnerable. One British target was the small settlement of Boonesboro in Virginia's western county of Kentucky.
     It was not Dillard's first command. John Collyer had enlisted under him on March 10, 1775; Barret Franks simply wrote that it was in the spring. The company rendezvoused at Murdock's Store and marched to Williamsburg where they met 1,200 regulars under Taylor.
      In April 1777, Capt. Henry Paulding of Botetourt County raised about a hundred militia for the defense of Boonesboro. Three months later, Capt. Charles Watkins provided another fifty men from Bedford County; his volunteers included James and Micajah Calloway. When their terms expired, they volunteered to remain in Kentucky under the command of Col. Daniel Boone. Captain Watkins' volunteers included Ansel Goodman, who described Boonesboro as a fort or station on the Kentucky River. Goodman reported:
Some considerable time after being so employed upon constant duty and very short allowance, me and about thirty others under Col. Boone were ordered out upon an expedition to make salt for the use of those in the fort. We marched to a place about seventy or eighty miles from the fort, then and now called the Blue Licks. After being there about three weeks engaged in making salt, Col. Boone was absent from the company hunting and trapping when a party of the Shawnees, of about one hundred Indians commanded by their chief, Black Fish, fired several guns at him, as Boone told me later. They ran him some distance and Boone discovered he would be taken, so he stopped, put his gun behind a tree, stepped out and gave up. The Indians then marched with Col. Boone to where the balance of us were and we were ordered by Col. Boone to stack our guns and surrender. We did so.
     Achilles Eubank was one of Captain Watkins' volunteers. When news that Boone and twenty seven other men were captured reached the fort, he "was immediately dispatched to Virginia as an express in company with Squire Boone."

Daniel Boone

      After a few days, they marched to Gwynn's Island where they guarded against Negroes joining Dunsmore under his proclamation that offered them freedom from slavery if they would fight with the British.  Collier wrote that after Dunsmore was defeated, Dillard's company marched back to Pittsylvania county where he was discharged in late August, 1775. Franks never mentioned the return to Pittsylvania, but stated that they then went to the western borders of Virginia "to repel the hostile incursions of the Cherokee Indians who had assembled in great bodies in the borders and at the Long Island, now Tennessee."
     Two of James Broyhill's fellow Pittsylvania County militiamen were Elisha Collins and Thomas Faris. Collins also entered service in February 1778, and described the unit as "the Illinois Expedition." Faris enlisted "early in the year," to guard the fort and inhabitants of Boonesboro. Collins declared that they arrived in Boonesboro about the middle of March. James Broyhill wrote, "We were employed in scouting and skirmishing with the Indians until June." He then marched home and arrived back in Pittsylvania County about the first of July. James stated that he received no discharge, and was probably carried on the Company Muster Rolls under the name James Bray, instead of James Broyhill his proper name, as he was frequently called by the name of Bray.  Collins and Faris remained in Boonesboro until June 5th., when they marched to the Falls of the Ohio River, where they were attached to Capt. John Montgomery's company, under the command of Col. George Rogers Clark. "The captain [Dillard], being sick, turned back and it was his wish to have returned home but Col. Clark, by persuasion and promises, succeeded in persuading him to go with him to chastise the Illinois Indians and a governor who was the great cause of the massacres on our frontiers."
     Apparently the unit had been initially formed in January as an Illinois Expedition to serve under Clark, but when news of Boone's surrender reached Virginia, it was diverted to Boonesboro. Collins was the only one of the three men who had originally volunteered to go to Illinois. Both James Broyhill and Thomas Faris volunteered after news of Boone's capture.

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