Broadnax-Smith Family Association
Our Family History
So far, our ancestors can be traced back to approximately 1850 in Brunswick County, Virginia. Census records show Alexander Sr. age one living in Brunswick County, VA. The census presumably shows his mother and probably his father also. They were held in slavery by a family named Brodnax. Katie was also held in slavery at the time of her birth. It is also known that Alexander Sr. and Katie later lived in the area known as Fort Mitchell, Alabama and had twelve children among who were: Alexander Jr., Ella, Rachel, John, Mark, Eddie, Ben, the twins Bessie and Dessie. Alexander Sr. was a sharecropper/overseer. Alexander and Katie lived to between age 70 and 80 years of age. Alexander Sr. died on May 3, 1925. Thereafter Katie moved to Chicago, Illinois where she passed away on
January 11, 1930.
Alexander Broadnax Jr. was born on March 30, 1881 and later married Della Smith who was born on August 26, 1888. They owned a large farm in Cottonton, Alabama spanning 160 acres. Both learned to read and write. Alexander Sr. followed his father's footsteps and also had twelve children whom were: Rufus Dink (RD), King David, William Thomas, Alexander Eugene, Jeremiah, Moses, King Solomon, Daniel, Roosevelt Sr., Samuel, Pinkie Lee, and Sally Lee.
All twelve of the children were born with the help of midwives. Alexander Jr. worked in a sawmill while also developing his farming skills. They raised chickens, turkeys, cows, pigs, and etc. They had also horses and mules on their farm. The woman were domestic and responsible for the upkeep of the house. They had to dip water from a spring with pails and used lye or potash soap to wash clothes. Scrub boards were used for washing clothes, kerosene lamps were used for reading, and a fireplace heated the home. However, Pinkie Lee also remembered milking cows and plowing fields. The children attended school in a one room schoolhouse with all grade levels. They were exposed to segregation at early ages. After accepting Jesus Christ as their savior, inspiringly they were all baptized in the Baptist Church in an outdoor creek or pool.
Alexander Jr. and Della Smith passed away on June 17, 1948 (67 years old) and March 3, 1963 (74 years old), respectively. Following this, the 160 acres were sold for $25,000 and the proceeds divided among the siblings equally.
Denkin Smith and Lizzie Fletcher were also held in slavery at the time of their births. Lizzie's mother was of African descent and her father was a indigenous man. Lizzie worked as a maid/cook on a plantation.
Denkin Smith married Lizzie Fletcher and from their proud union four sons and one daughter were born; James, Wilie, Gene, Perkins, and Della. Denton and Lizzie Smith lived around Cottonton, Alabama, Perkins Smith's branch of the family tree included six sons and five daughters. The sons are Major, Bradford, Ezekiel, Perkins,Jr., William C., and Johnny Lee. The daughter are Sally, Mary, Eldora, Montry, and Dorothy. Denton and Lizzie passed away on June 10, 1924 and March 7, 1928 respectively.
The Broadnax and Smith branches connected through union of Alexander Broadax Jr. and Della Smith. This connection remains strong because both branches are fed by a mighty trunk which is truly anchored to the "True Vine," our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the love that we share for one another.
The vision of the family members meeting regularly and getting to know each other became a reality in 1977 as "The Broadnax Family Reunion." Eunice B. Starke shared her dream during a conversation with her uncle Roosevelt Broadnax Sr. Thus our first reunion was held at the Holiday Inn In Phenix City , Alabama with approximately 100 family members in attendance from several different states.
Each reunion was built upon the firm foundation and traditions laid by the preceding one. Our gatherings have grown tremendously. The reunion has expanded over the years from a one day banquet to four days of family fun that includes a welcome, registration, family picnic, tour of the host city, banquet, and worship service.
The Son's of Alexander Jr. and Della Smith Broadnax
Bottom left Rufus D, Daniel, Samuel, Alex, and Jeremiah. Top left Roosevelt Sr, William Thomas Sr., King Solomon, Moses, and King David Sr.
Special Thanks, to the late William Thomas Broadnax Sr., the late Pinkie Lee Broadnax Rivers, and the family members of East Chicago, IN appreciation for most of this enlightening information about our heritage.
Special Thanks to our family photographers Rodney French and Artakia Rivers also late Mary Solomon Broadnax, Lavonda Kay Broadnax for providing many of the pictures linked to this history and the explanation of the 1941 Broadnax gathering hosted by King David and Lorise Broadnax.