Broyhill Family History

Home Page / Contents | Broyhill Family Tree | Tree Index


Mary Broyhill

Life History Compiled by John Garrett. Received Feb. 19, 1940

     When Mary Noble married Felix Broyhill thirteen years ago, she was twenty four and he was thirty. She had been working with the Tubize Silk Company in Hopewell, Virginia and "usually on the weekend when my pay day came", said Mary, "I drew a good check and my father had died. My mother had five small children to care for and I had to quit school in the year high and go to work to help raise the small children. The high school was forty five minutes walk from where we lived and I had hoped to finish, but when daddy left us I saw I couldn't go on. I worked in the plant for several years and Willie, when he was old enough, got a job, then Lily, and when I got married mother had two children working.
     Felix was a contractor and builder and was making out apparently. Any way he was a nice man and I had known the family a good while, as well as him. The week before we were married, Felix had bought a brand new coupe and we had planned to go to the Niagara Falls on our honeymoon. We were married at home on Monday and drove away on our tour. We visited several place of interest on the way. We carried rice which had been thrown at us all the way to the falls and back.
    We spent Sunday in the city of New York and we had heard a lot of Dr. Roach Shaton at the Cavalry Baptist Church. We wanted to visit it and that night we heard the Dr. preach. We parked our car and had to walk four blocks, but it was worth it. He had a wonderful church and the choir was beautiful, and such a friendly atmosphere you'd never think it in so big a church and city the size of New York, but I felt almost as if we been my home church only it was more beautiful.
     We left monday for the falls. They were wonderful I'll never forget them and it seemed most of the people there were like ourselves "honeymooners." We made a lot of pictures and the Mist of the Way I thought was wonderful. We went across the falls to say we'd been in Canada. We spent a day and night there and started back to our new home. We had a wonderful time.
     On the way home we came by the caverns in Virginia, up in the Shenandoah Valley, and we went through them or some of them. There are so many. And as were enjoying ourselves, we had little thought of the letdown that awaited us on our return. Felix's bookkeeper had made a great mistake in his accounts and instead of having a big balance in the bank, was just about even, but then we would have made it alright. He had built us a home and everything, but to make bad matters worse, in just a few days a man who had been a big contractor, and had been a strong competitor in the building business, skipped town leaving a lot of bills for building materials and the supply company got afraid of every contractor and brought a panic in the building trade. Then the depression of twenty nine came and it altogether broke us, but we still had our nice honeymoon to think about and enjoy. Of course, if we had known how things were going to work out, we could have saved that money, but then it all goes in a life time anyway.
     Felix couldn't get a job nowhere. The depression in the building business had hit every contractor alike. Felix put a mortgage on our home and kept going for a while but it was too much of an upgrade business and finally he had to quit and in the struggle we lost our home. We had one little boy then. The cute little fellow; we called him Donald. We lived in the house with his [Felix's] father and mother. That saved us house rent. And Felix bought home cows and chickens and sold milk and eggs for several years. There was no work to be get gotten. The silk company had closed, throwing hundreds out of work and Felix didn't want to go on relief if he could help it, so we pulled along very well. His mother died in nineteen and thirty and then in thirty, his father. Felix was then selling Fuller brushes and we had moved out to ourselves. We had another little boys, James.
     Felix had wanted a girl and this father was in tickled that we had a boy instead and he always petted and kept James around when he was a boy as he hired and James was "crazy about his grandfather who was up in his eighties.
     Felix makes a good salesman and says he likes to work for the Fuller Brush Company between jobs and I decided to take up selling for the Avon Product Company. "We had moved to Bird Street and were making it about as well as the average, said Mary, as her white teeth showing through her smiling lips and her dark brown eyes sparkling. (She is an average height, stout, weighing one hundred and sixty pounds with short black hair, neatly dressed).
      When our little girl came, we were "tickled pink," as they say and Felix was wild with joy. We called her Levine. She is short and fat, fair skin and blue eyes like her daddy. She is two years old now, but there is where we had a bad break. We wanted out little girl, but after had to go the hospital and the doctor said we would better see Doctor Claikman and he said I'll have to give you radium and that cost a lot and I had to take the radium treatments one whole spring and summer. Felix was out of work most of the time, but the doctors were all so nice and considerate and I got better I wanted to do something to keep my mind off myself. I was so nervous and I asked my doctor what he thought of my taking up maternal nursing and he said it would be fine and would help me all he could. So I have completed the course in nursing from the Chicago Nursing School by mail. My average grade was ninety seven and friends giving me something. I make a nice little bit of money all along and it helps out in getting the children clothes and some things for them, beside I enjoy my work. The children are all in school, except our little girl.
     We have been living here in Highland Park for the last three years. We don't like it here as well, but rent is not as high. Our house is one of the old Dupont building owned by the Black estate. It has five rooms, painted on the inside and has tar paper on the outside. We were going to move to Arlington, Virginia. Felix has work up there and he was getting good wages and I though if I were there with him, I could keep boarders and help meet the expenses. Besides we would all be together. Felix had wanted a house and it was just our luck. He got a piece of steel in his eye and had to have an operation. He was in the hospital two or three weeks, but after all that, he lost his eye. I hated it so badly and he worried about it for a while, but he finally became reconciled to his condition. Felix went back to work on his old job, but his operation and hospital bill was so much we won't get to move as soon as we had hoped, but as soon as we possibly can, I want to move up there or else have Felix to come home to work. I get awfully lonely with him one place and me and the children in another. I asked Levine Xmas what she wanted Santa Clause to bring her and she said, "I want old Santa to bring my daddy home," and I did too. Life is too short to be separated so much from each other.










Can you help us expand on this by providing information on you and your Broyhill Family?
If so, email to  Please list the page number that you are referring to.  It appears in the address bar of your browser.