Friday Finds

Ottawa Herald
June 15, 1976
page 6-A

Clipping in materials received from Mildred (Briles) Barby

From Broil to Broyles to Broles to Briles
By Joan Istas
The year was 1717. Johannes Broil had just come to America from Alsace, Germany.
He located in Germanna Colony in Virginia and he started a line of descendants that changed the name of Broil to Broyles, then Broles, and finally to Briles.
Nelson Briles, Ottawa RFD 2, is one of those descendants. Briles lives on a small farm east of Ottawa on K-68.
It’s a farm that doesn’t seem to have changed much in the times it has been passed down through the generations from Grandfather John Broyles, to Father William C. Briles to Mother Mary Elizabeth Briles and finally to Nelson Briles.
The acreage has changed little since the first Briles occupied it, the farm buildings remain in primarily the same position as they were originally built and the crops have changed little, too.
John Broyles migrated from North Carolina to Missouri in 1847 and from there came to Kansas in 1863.
He was 48 years of age when he purchased the land now farmed by his grandson, Nelson Briles. He purchased 120 acres from Alexander Wilson at a cost of $500.
Briles believes that the U.S. government signed a treaty with the Indians in 1854 in which the land became the property of the government. In that year the land was sold to the settlers.
The 120 acres purchased by John Broyles passed through many hands in the years 1858 to 1863 when he purchased it.
Broyles added another 25 acres tot he 120 when he purchased a piece of land from a man called Adkins. Broyles wanted timber to burn for wood.
He lost an acres, however, when he donated one acre to the community to erect a schoolhouse. The school was called Briles school.
When Broyles son, William Briles inherited the land, he tore down the original house and in 1900 built the house that with a few additions, stands today.
William Briles added an additional 15 acres to the tract purchasing 15 acres adjoining the timber Broyles had purchased.
William’s two sons Clarence and Nelson attended Briles School and occasionally William and his wife Mary Elizabeth would treat the school children.
There were geese in the front yard. A little cedar was planted. An orchard provided fruit. Flas was grown to pay for the new house.
The maples thrived until the wind took them down. Part of the elms succumbed to Dutch elm disease.
The old kerosene lamps, the Aladdin lamps and the gasoline lights provided light until electricity replaced them.
William Briles died. His wife Mary Elizabeth farmed the land for a short time with the help of her son Nelson and when she died he inherited the land.
The farm now consists of 117 1/2 acres. Corn, wheat, milo and soybeans are grown. A herd of 40 cows and calves graze on the native pasture.
Nelson Briles farms the land now but he says he is the last of his family with the Briles name. His niece, Lou Ann Lindsey, is the next in line to get the farm, he says. That is if inflation doesn’t make him sell it first.

“From Broil to Broyles to Broles to Briles,” digital image, Ottawa Herald (Ottawa, Kansas), 15 June 1976, page 6A; digital images, NewspaperArchive ( : viewed online 31 December 2022).