BIOGRAPHY and GENEALOGY
AUTAUGA COUNTY, ALABAMA
Robert Broadnax was an early settler of Autauga County, Alabama. He was born March 15, 1792, in Hancock County, Georgia, the son of John Brodnax and Martha Rivers. He married May 19, 1814, in Putman County, Georgia Olive Taylor Whitaker (1795- 1844). She was the daughter of Thomas and Mary Whitaker and grand-daughter of John Whitaker and Olive Taylor. He married second Hannah Evans Kirven on Dec. 29, 1844. She was the daughter of Rev. William Kirven and Margaret Evans.
Robert was in the War of 1812 and Indian Wars of 1836. He and was very popular. He had a practical mind and frequently served Autauga County in the lower house from 1825 to 1832. In 1834, he defeated Hon. William R. Pickett for a seat in the senate. He had seven children by his first wife and three by his second.
Shortly after 1834, he moved to the southern part of the State and represented Clarke, Monroe and Baldwin in the Senate in 1862-4 After the Civil War, Alabama was in dire straits. “A northern visitor to the state of Alabama just after the close of the war found that the “railroads were not in running order” and were not “likely to be for some months. The war had destroyed their rolling stock. Some were left without cars; nearly all without good locomotives.
Bridges were burnt; rails were torn up and twisted for miles and miles; the companies themselves were utterly impoverished; and unless they could get unlooked-for aid, most of them would have to go into liquidation.” On entering Mobile he saw the “planks had been torn up for squares along the levee to make firewood, and the bare sleepers were rotting from exposure; elsewhere the decayed planks rattled ominously under carriage-wheels, and disclosed here and there ugly holes that might prove dangerous to unwary walkers. Half the warehouses and shops along the levee seemed closed; a few transports only lay at the landing.” In the city proper he discovered “universal torpor of business.”
But it was the scarcity of money and food and the imminence of starvation throughout the South that threatened the gravest consequences. The Confederate currency that gradually declined in value during the contest became absolutely worthless at the close. As a result, the rich became poor and the poor became beggars. Generals who had thousands of acres of land and hundreds of negroes before the war found themselves with insufficient funds for paying transportation home at the close; women who had large incomes before were unable to purchase postage stamps at the end; indeed some hitherto wealthy people came to the end penniless and with heavy debts hanging over their heads. What was worse, there was no food in most quarters. On many plantations, corn bread and sassafras tea were the only forms of sustenance. In all the towns from Richmond to Mobile hundreds and even thousands of idle and destitute people of all colors depended upon the government and private agencies for food. In some communities, one-half the people looked to these sources for support.
Due to these reasons, many people in the south left the American South and resettled in São Paulo, Brazil, immediately after the Civil War. Although the exact number of individuals is difficult to determine, between 2,000 and 4,000 emigrants are estimated to have participated in the movement between 1865 and 1875. Leading researchers of the topic have identified 154 families that arrived in Brazil during this time, with 37 families being from Alabama. About half the total number eventually returned to the United States
Robert joined in this move and immigrated to Brazil in 1867. The name Col. Broadnax is listed as a representative from Alabama in 1870 Santa Barbara. Robert and Anna Brodnax apparently traveled back to the US alone leaving Rio de Janeiro for Mobile 14 Oct 1874. The passenger list of the American barque HELEN ANGIER, as given in the Jornal de Comércio the following day has no other Broadnax.
Some known children of Robert Broadnax include:
Robert moved to Brazil in 1867. The name Col. Broadnax is listed as a representative from Alabama in 1870 Santa Barbara. Robert and Anna BRODNAX apparently traveled back to the US alone leaving Rio de Janeiro for Mobile 14 Oct 1874. The passenger list of the American barque HELEN ANGIER, as given in the Jornal de Comércio the following day has no other Broadnax.
Some known children of Robert Broadnax include:
- Thomas Whitaker Brodnax ( July 16, 1818, Putnam, Georgia)– died in Hemphill Texas 1874
- Rebecca Virginia Brodnax (b. Feb. 15, 1829, AL – 1912) married Captain James McDonald Winston (1826-1905)
- Ann Hall Brodnax (b. 1816 Gainesville, Alabama – d. Jan 29, 1848) married Anthony Augustus Winston
- Margaret Olive Brodnax (b. Dec. 22, 1845, Mobile, Alabama) married Jones
- Augustus Winston Brodnax (b. October 2, 1847) went to Brazil – was a dentist. He married Emma Luella Norris (b. May 4, 1849, Dallas County, Alabama – Apr11, 1935)) She was the daughter of William Hutchinson Norris (another immigrant to Brazil) and Martha Black. and is buried alone in Campo Cemetery in Santa Barbara, Brazil – Children of Winston Brodnax: Leila Brodnax b c1871, Olive Brodnax b ca1873 Brazil, Florence Brodnax b ca1875 in Brazil (I believe Rebecca Virginia Brodnax b 15 Feb 1829 who married James McDonald Winston and Ann Hall Brodnax b c1816 Gainesville, AL d 29 Jan 1848 age 29 married Anthony Augustus Winston were both daughters of Robert Broadnax and Olive Whitaker) Winston Brodnax did not have a very stable temperament and later on, when his parents and the sister [Jane] md to Dr Ezelle had left for the U.S., the situation did not improve. One day when his ch: Olive, Leila and Florence were still very young, Winston disappeared and never came back. Col. Norris collected his daughter and brought up the grandchild with much love and care.
- Eliza Jane Brodnax (b. ca. 1850) married Christopher Pritchett Ezelle went to Brazil
Robert Broadnax is buried at Choctaw Corner, Alabama and his wife Hannah (Kirven) Broadnax is buried at Elmwood Cemetery, Birmingham, Alabama.
- Lawrence F. Hill, “Confederate Exodus to Latin America”, Volume 39, Number 3, Southwestern Historical Quarterly Online, http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/publications/journals/shq/online/v039/n2/contrib_DIVL1560.html [Accessed Fri Jul 11 8:38:21 CDT 2008]
- Lawrence F. Hill, “Confederate Exodus to Latin America”, Volume 39, Number 3, Southwestern Historical Quarterly Online, http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/publications/journals/shq/online/v039/n2/contrib_DIVL1560.html [Accessed Fri Jul 11 8:38:21 CDT 2008] F. Andrews, The War Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, 222, 230.
- Encyclopedia of Alabama
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