As I moved along in my quest to uncover new information about the Broadway families of North & South Carolina, it was quite disheartening to learn that Anson County, North Carolina, on which I had pinned my hopes, is a burned county.
Granted, probate and land records are extant, but early marriage records literally went up in flames.
Before we set off for North Carolina, though, I meandered around Tennessee hoping upon hope that there were some other Broadway people to be found there at the start of the 1800s.
What did I find in Tennessee records?
Be aware that I did not do any deep research on any of this. I just scoured online websites for possible clues to follow!
- John Broadway, born c1760, South Carolina, married Nancy Davidson and died c1841 in Wayne County, Tennessee
- Sally Broadway married F. Foster, 7 September 1813, Wilson County, Tennessee
- Eby Broadway married John Prim, 17 January 1816, Williamson County, Tennessee
- Jesse Broadway, 26-44 years old, 1820, Lincoln County, Tennessee
- Joseph Broadway, 26-44 years old, 1820, Lincoln County, Tennessee
- John Broadway, 45+, 1820, Stewart County, Tennessee
- J. Broadway, 45+, 1820, Stewart County, Tennessee
These Tennessee counties are all in the middle or western portion of the state, while Knox County is in eastern Tennessee. There was nothing found to tie any of these people to eastern Tennessee before they settled further west.
This was a very cursory look, but it appears that widow Mary Broadway either didn’t make the westward trek with other Broadways – perhaps she migrated with her own family – or if there were in-laws on the journey, they didn’t remain in the area and left no records in Knox, Hawkins or Greene Counties, Tennessee.
What did I find in North Carolina?
As already mentioned, Anson County was a big disappointment. Marriage records might really have helped, given the dearth of other Broadway records.
There is but one surviving tax list dated 1763, which includes Nicholas Broadway. More about him in a minute.
Like many of my husband’s other ancestors, the Broadways were not of a mind to leave wills or other probate files. Robert Broadway is the first of the surname to appear in probate files and his will wasn’t proved until 1864.
Court records are mostly lost. The one book I was able to read mentioned Nicholas Broadway in an entry dated 1771.
I’ve often had excellent finds in land records. Not so this time around.
Nicholas Broadway is first mentioned in a land entry dated April 1748 with 5 white polls and 0 black polls. The county isn’t listed, but it was likely Bladen County, from which Anson County was formed in 1750.
Next, there is a Samuel Broadway, born c1763, Anson County, thought to be a son of Nicholas, who removed to Prince Edward County, Virginia and served in the American Revolution.
Land record entries reveal only a handful of early Broadways:
Nicholas, buying and selling land 1757-1768
(Elizabeth, thought to be wife of Nicholas, 1755)
Robert, with a land grant in 1782
(Gracie, 1790 head of household thought to be his widow)
Gracie reported three males over 16 in 1790. They are most likely John and William, below, plus one unknown.
John, appears in land records from 1795-1800
John, appears on Capt. Stator’s Co., taxed for 1 white poll and 1 black poll, 1815
William, land grant on 10 July 1797
I was unable to find the disposition of William’s land grant.
My tentative hypothesis is now that William, who appears in no other Anson County records, or the unknown third male over 16, could be the husband of Mary, who left for Tennessee between 1796-1800, if the birth years and places of Mary’s daughters Peggy and Louvina are accurate. It may be significant that William Broadway doesn’t appear anywhere else, either. If he is the man who married Mary, then he died no later than 1803.
A lot of “ifs” in that hypothesis!
As for South Carolina, it does seem that some of those families left for Tennessee in the early 1800s. However, if Peggy Broadway was born in North Carolina, then it isn’t likely that these families might be more than distant cousins to her at best.
It also appears, at first glance, that the Broadway/Broadaway family that migrated to the Carolinas came mostly from Virginia and possibly Delaware or Maryland before that.
The biggest issue trying to document this family is that everyone is linking the surname to multiple people and places with no documentation. There are bound to be quite a few errors in research like that!