It has been several years since I last looked for clues about the origin of Mary Broadway, who married John Dulworth in Knox County, Tennessee on 2 December 1803.
Mary was a young widow, based on the fact that the only Broadways found in eastern Tennessee in those early years are Mary, herself, and Peggy Broadway, born c1796 in North Carolina, who married Thomas Robinson in Knox County on 23 December 1813. Mary had a second Broadway daughter, Louvina, who married John Rush, c1820. A child’s death certificate gives her maiden name as Dulworth, but stepfather John would have been the only father she ever knew. Her reported birth year of 1800 is well before John and Mary married, so she is most likely a Broadway by birth.
Tennessee’s early census records have been lost and they might have been a huge help since Louvina said she was born c1800 in Tennessee and Mary married in 1803.
Unfortunately, although Tennessee has some excellent tax records, those of Knox County, along with Hawkins and Greene Counties, its parents until Knox was formed in 1802, surviving tax lists don’t begin until 1806-1808. Just a bit too late for a man who died between 1800-1803.
There are early probate records, with start dates in the 1790s for those counties, but not a Broadway or any variation close to that to be found. Nor has a search of land records produced any Broadways in the neighborhood either.
Since I have been unsuccessful at finding any Broadways in or near Knox County, Tennessee in the early years of the 1800s, where do I do from here?
Well, if the birth places of Mary and Peggy are correct, I have two locations outside of Tennessee – North Carolina and South Carolina.
Also in my favor is that Broadway isn’t a very common surname in that era and in those places.
Thankfully, there are censuses in the Carolinas for 1790 and 1800 (and there is certainly a chance that Louvina was born there just before her parents headed west to Tennessee) and there are but a handful of Broadways found in those census records.
They appear in two locations – the 96 District in South Carolina, which included the counties of Abbeville and Edgefield.
We also have Anson County, North Carolina, which borders Laurens and Chesterfield Counties in South Carolina.
The 96 District was on the western side of South Carolina and was nowhere near the border of North Carolina.
Therefore, my research plan will focus first on Anson County because Mary claimed South Caorlina as her birthplace and there are Broadways just across the state line.
The old 96 District will be searched if Anson County runs dry!
Another handicap for this brick wall is the fact that I find no published family histories with a focus on early Broadway families. FamilySearch does have the Bradway/Broadway and Family Research Bulletin, edited by Bette Innes Bradway, who passed away in 2018. I had corresponded with her decades ago. However, the issues date from pre-internet days in the 1970s and 1980s. Even so, they summarize information shared by researchers and offer a helpful start.
Lacking the name of Mary’s Broadway husband and knowing that there is a distinct lack of vital records in the early years of the Carolinas, my research question will be framed in more general terms:
What evidence is there, if any, that connects Mary (MNU) Broadway and daughters Peggy and Louvina to the Anson County, North Carolina clan and, on the reverse side of the coin, is there evidence connecting the Anson County family to early Tennessee?
So begins the hunt! We will see where this all leads.