The following articles were published in the Lexington Herald in 1927 and were written by J. R. Cooper.
I have entered the information from a typed version of the articles. I have found some confusion and some errors. I have requested a copy of the original articles from the Lexington Library and they are on the way along with articles that were published in 1926. The librarian has told me much of the microfilm is no longer legible. I'm hoping there is enough left to correct any mistakes found in typed copy I discovered. I will make any changes I find when the copies arrive. In the meantime, I've decided to post this information on the net. What better was to preserve it for future generations! I will post it two articles at a time, 'til finished.
Hopefully, this will help many of you in your research for your family roots.
Editor's Note - This is the first of a series of similar articles prepared through extensive research by Mr. J. R,. Cooper, dealing with the Bryan family and its history. Other articles in the series will be published in the Herald.
These sketches are taken largely from hitherto unpublished sources viz: County records of Fayette and other counties, U. S. pension office records, family Bibles, church records and Cemetery records as shown by tombstones or otherwise.
As to the origin of the family we will leave out the tradition and take the story as wrtiten by Samuel Bryan, eldest son of William Bryan and Mary Boone, and which is now of file in the pension office at Washington, D.C.
It is accompanied by the following depositions (Note: Samuel Bryan died the fourth day of March, 1837, and on December 16, 1839, his widow, Mary Bryan, made application for pension) in which she deposes, "That she is 80 years old, that she was married to Samuel Bryan on October 5, 1775 by Colonel Joseph Williams, a magistrate in Rowan County, NC, that she has no family record of her marriage. That the best evidence she can procure may be received, she herewith presents a history of her said husband's ancestry, as given to her son, Luke Bryan, by her husband, Samuel Bryan, I his own handwriting, which states that the said Samuel Bryan and herself, then Mary Hunt, were married on the 5ifth day of October, 1775 and she well knows that the said history gives the true date of the marriage of herself and the said husband, Samuel Bryan. (Signed) Mary Bryan"
The Family History
"My great Grandfather Bryan was a Dane, born in Denmark and reared in that kingdom, where he married a wife and lived until he had a son born, whom he called Morgan. After which he removed to Ireland where he lived until Morgan came to manhood. He left his father in Ireland and came to Pennsylvania in America, where he married Martha Strode, the daughter of a man by the named of Strode, a Hollander, who was moved to France, where he resided with is wife until he had three children.
He and his wife being, Protestants in time of a great persecution, fled for their lives, bound for Pennsylvania in America. But himself and wife sickened on the seas and died before they reached the end of their voyage.
The vessel landed in Pennsylvania, where the children were provided for by some of their shipmates and were bound out until of lawful age. The names of these children were Jeremiah, Samuel and Martha, who lived in Pennsylvania until of legal age. When the above named Morgan Bryan married Martha Strode, by whom he had seven sons and two daughters, namely: Joseph, Elinor, Mary, Samuel, Morgan, John, William, James and Thomas, he removed from Pennsylvania to a creek called Opecon, near Winchester in Virginia, where he resided until several of his children were grown and married, after which he removed to the Yadkin River in North Carolina, where he lived until his death."
Dr. J. D. Bryan, a great grandson of James Bryan, a son of Morgan Bryan and Martha Strode, gives their children in a slightly different order and adds two daughters. His list is as follows:
"Joseph, Samuel, James, Morgan, John, Elinor, Mary, William, Thomas, Sarah and Rebecca," the last two being the ones added. He also states, "In Chester County Pennsylvania, Morgan Bryan and Martha Strode were married in 1719. In 1728 or 1730, he with others obtained a grant of 100,000 acres of Opequan in Virginia where he remained until 1748. His wife died in 1747, and in 1748, he removed to the Yadkin River Country where he died in 1763."
Another in the family, Dr. John Gano Bryan of St. Louis, adds that "Morgan Bryan was born in Ireland in 1671. He had a brother, William Smith Bryan, of whom no record has been preserved. In 1695, Morgan Bryan removed to Pennsylvania. On the ship he met Martha Strode. They were married shortly after the ship arrived and resided near the present city of Reading, Pennsylvania. In the year 1710, Morgan Bryan removed to Virginia, and settled on Opequan Creek where he remained until the year 1748. His wife died in Winchester, Virginia in 1747 and he removed to the Yadkin River country in North Carolina where he died in 176(3)."
This gives three histories of the founder of the family, all founded partly on family traditions.
The writer does not know which list of children is correct, but is inclined to think that by Samuel the more accurate, as he was probably acquainted with the greater part of all of them. With the date of the marriage of Morgan Bryan and Martha Strode fixed as being in 1719, the dates of birth of their children would be approximately, as follows:
Joseph Bryan born about 1720 -died in Kentucky, 1792
The last two names are added to complete the list as given by Dr. J. D. Bryan.
Before proceeding with their subsequent history, it may be proper to give some of the events that occurred in the Shenandoah Valley and which will help to explain some of the later developments.
In "The History of Orange County, Virginia" by W. W. Scott at page 49 is the following: "In 1737, William Williams, a Presbyterian Minister, held meetings at his own plantation and that of Morgan Bryan."
In the ”Augusta County Records", a monumental work by Judge Lyman Chalkley, of our own city of Lexington, are found many items referring to the Bryans and kindred families.
In 1745, all that part of the colony of Virginia, most of the Blue Ridge Mountains, was erected into a county named Augusta. The records above mentioned covered the period 1745 to 1800, which includes the periods of the French and Indian War, Dunmore's War, and the Revolution.
The first reference to Morgan Bryan is in:
Vol. 2, page 56 - Anderson vs. Dermoss. In 1734, Thomas Anderson bought of Alexander Ross and Morgan Bryan, 1000 acres west of Opeckon, but Fairfax entered cavet.
Vol. 2, page 109 - In Light vs. Thompson, Bill recites, "On October 3, 1734, there was a patent to Morgan Bryan of a tract of Opeckon in Berkeley County, which is now (1803) possessed by Orator Morgan Bryan conveyed to Hugh Parker.
Vol. 3, page 258, February 26, 1746 - Thomas Linville to Morgan Bryan conveyed to Hugh Parker.
Vol. 3, page 474, August 16, 1768 - Michael Warren and wife to Joshua Hudson 310 acres of 400 acres patented to Morgan Bryan, September 20, 1745, and conveyed to Michael Warren, March 1751.
Vol. 3, page 343 - Patent to Morgan Bryan, September 20, 1746
Vol. 3, page 258, February 26, 1746 - Thomas Linville to Morgan Bryan, Mortgage L. 16.
Vol. 1, page 298, November Court 1747 - Robert McCoy, Jost Hite, Robert Green and Robert Green executors of William Duff, died vs. William Linville, Thomas Linville and Morgan Bryan. Debt on Bond dated June 18, 1746, writ dated August 24, 1747. Returned not found as to W. and T. Linville.
This suit based on the following transaction:
The William Linvell or Linville the grantee in the foregoing conveyance had married Eleanor Bryan, the daughter of Morgan Bryan and he had helped him in the purchase by signing his bond; note that the above conveyance was made to William Linville June 18, 1746 and some two months later, he wold the tract of 15,000 acres as follows:
Vol. 3, page 256, August 15, 1746 - William Linvell and Elanore, his wife to George Bowman of County of Frederick £ 100 - 500 acres on Linnvells Creek purchased of Jost Hite and Company. Line of Jacob Bryan five days later.
Vol. 3, page 257, August 20, 1746 - William £ 12 - 500 acres on Linnvells Creek, part of 1500 acres granted William by McKoy & Co., acknowledged and dower released by Eleanor and on the same date:
Vol. 3, page 257 - William Linnvell and Joseph Bryan £ 12 - 500 acres on Linnvells Creek between Williams and land in possession of Thoams Linnvells, part of 1550 acres, etc., acknowledged and dower released by Eleanor August 20, 1746.
Vol. 3, page 276, September 29, 1749 - Morgan Bryan to David Johnson 400 acres on Linville Creek.
This is the 400 acres which he patented September 20, 1746 and where he probably had his home during the intervening time. It was on Linville Creek near his son, Joseph and daughter, Eleanor.
The following entry would indicate that he had removed to North Carolina prior to making this sale.
Vol. 3, page 28, March 7, 1749 - Morgan Bryan of Antson [Anson] County, North Carolina to John Madison, P. A. to collect debts in August and Frederick Counties.
The following entry is of particular interest, as it relates to Martha, the wife of Morgan Bryan, as Dr. J. D. Bryan has the date of her death as 1747, and prior to the removal to North Carolina.
This is the David Johnson ,who bought the farm of Morgan Bryan, sold it March 11, 1751 to Michael Warren, who owned it at the time the acknowledgement was secured in order to perfect the title.
Vol. 3, page 292, January, 1754 - Morgan Bryan, North Carolina, witness to deed Vol. 3, 258, December 11, 1746 - James Gill to Joshua Hudson, proved by Samuel Bryan, Morgan Bryan, Jr. and John Ellis, March 18, 1746. (In this two of the son appear.)
Vol. 3, page 339, June 3, 1755 - Joseph Bryan and Alice, his wife, to Jacob Christman [Chrisman] £ 150 - 500 acres purchased by Joseph Bryan from William Linville, Part 1500 acres, etc. beg. cov. to land in possession of Thomas Linville.
Same page - Commissioners to examine Alice above at house of Joseph, executed June 4, 1755.
From this sale, it appears that Joseph and his family are ready to move to North Carolina, where the others have preceded him.
Vol. 1, page 69, November 21, 1755 - Daniel Harrison vs. Joseph Bryan, attachment, was levied before defendant moved out of the county and is dismissed.
Among the affiliated families mentioned, is the Boone family, who passed up the Valley of the Shenandoah in the years 1750-52. Josiah Boone, possibly the number 16, of the "Boone Family Book” complied by Mrs. H. A. Spraker, is mentioned in:
Vol. 3, page 473 - as the purchaser of 100 acres part of the Joseph Bryan 500 acres, August 17, 1768. This he sold, see:
Vol. 3, page 548, March 15, 1777 - Josiah Boone and Hannah H., his wife, to Michael Shank 100 acres, part of 1800 acres. Hite Green and Duff conveyed to William Linville.
Vol. 3, page 513, August 17, 1771 - Also mention same. Francis McBride and Mary, his wife, to Thomas Hood of Frederick County 200 acres on Linville Creek - Josiah Boone and Josiah Davidson part of 1500 acres William Linville and sold by him to Joseph Bryan.
Vol. 1, page 165, November 26, 1771 - Benjamin Lindon, son of John Lindon to be bound to William Boone.
Vol. 1, page 248 - Peter O. Boone, 17 years, to be bound February 20, 1787.
Vol. 2, page 265, July 27, 1789 - Will of Joseph Hamar of Rockingham, daughters *** Rosanna, Mary Boone, Jane Alden.
Morgan Bryan's brother, William, is mentioned in Spottsylvania County records:
Page 129, March 5, 1733 - William Bryan of Spottsylvania County to Philip Bourk of same county, 102 acres in St. Marks Parish - 800 pounds of tobacco.
Mrs. Bernis Brien of the National Military Home, Dayton, Ohio reports that William was born 1685, died 1789, aged 104 years. His wife, named Margaret; about 1745, he removed to Staunton River in Roanoke County, VA. His son, William, married Margaret Watson, and he was known as William Bryan of Roanoke. William, Sr. had several son, viz:
In ”Augusta County Records" is given in:
Vol. 3, page 21 - Cornelius Bryan's will dated March 30, 1751, wife, Rebecca; son, John; son, Cornelius; son, Thomas; eldest son, Benjamin; remainder of children: Test, James, William, Joseph Bryan and Jacob Green.
It may be that this Cornelius is another brother.
Vol. 2, page 376, June 29, 1746 - he entered 200 acres on south side of land of Bryan and William Linville.
David Bryan, a son of William, Sr. bought 400 acres from Charles Campbell on Goose Creek in 1753. He had probably married sometime previously. He made his will in 1766, which was proved March 18, 1767, in which he names: wife, Elizabeth; daughter, Mary; sons, William and David; brother, William.
In 1779, the widow married John Bowman. In Draper's manuscript 17 J. 123, mentions son, John Bowman, born (1771). The wife of Colonel John Bowman was seven years older than her husband, had eight children by David Bryan. John Bowman mentions his favorite half brother, David Bryan. This statement is of particular interest, as there is a tradition among some of the Bryans that Mary Boone, widow of William Bryan, had married some Revolutionary officer, possibly Colonel Bowman. As the later history of Colonel John Bowman is initially connected with that of Kentucky, further statements regarding him will be deferred to a later article.
In the will of John Lincoln, great grandfather of the president, mention is made of the granddaughter, Hannah Bryan, which will be treated later.
This completes the story of the Bryans, in regard to the migration to North Carolina. In the next number will be given their North Carolina period together with incidents during the Revolution and the spying out of the promised land in Kentucky.
THE BRYAN FAMILIES OF FAYETTE AND ADJOINING COUNTIES
Editor's Note: This is the second of a series of articles prepared through extensive research by Mr. J. R. Cooper, dealing with the Bryan family and its history. Other articles in the series will be published in the Herald.
From Linville Creek to Rowan County, North Carolina, is quite a trip in the present day, but how about one hundred and forty years ago? There were no good roads at that time, only trails from one settlement to another. The route was up the Shenandoah Valley and the continuation of it between the Blue Ridge and the various ranges to the west until near the border of Virginia where they crossed the mountains to the head waters of the Yadkin, and followed it to the new settlement.
It is not certain just who was the first to remove to the new county. William Linville sold his lands in the fall of 1746 and there seems to be no further record of him there. Being quite a hunter, it is likely that soon after disposing of his property, he went to North Carolina. Morgan Bryan seems to have gone at a later date, possibly about 1748. Squire Bone, with his family, from Pennsylvania, followed at a still later date and settled near the Bryans.
Marry in North Carolina
Joseph Bryan, eldest son of Morgan, sold his farm in June 1755 and, sometime later, joined the others on the Yadkin.
Just what a search of the records of Rowan and several of the other counties of North Carolina would disclose, the write cannot say. There are a number of incidents that can be gathered from other sources, sucha s the marrige of William Bryan to Mary Boone, about 1775; the marriage of Rebecca Bryan to Daniel Boone in 1756; and the marriage of William Grant to Elizabeth Boone, about 1752. James Bryan married Rebecca Enochs in 1756.
The death of Morgan Bryan, the ancestor of the family, occurred about July 1763. The writer was fortunate in procuring a copy of his will, which clears up several traditions regarding the family and it is included here as it is an important document, 1763.
Will of Bryan Morgan
I, Morgan Bryan of Rowan County, being in perfect mind and memory blessed be God for his mercies, do dispose of my worldly estates as followeth viz:
1st - I give and bequeath unto my beloved son, Thomas Bryan, my mansion house and plantation, also my part of a negro boy named, Jack, also my waggon and waggon [sic] horse called Black and the necessarys [sic] belonging to the waggon and my plow and utensils there unto belonging to breeding mare, viz: a mare called Brown Dent and her yearly and young - and her colt, two cows viz: a cow called Popy and her calf, the other called Brown and her calf, also my bed and furniture. After my decease reserving a sufficient living for me of the land, while I live.
2nd - I give and bequeath unto my beloved daughter, Elinor Linville, all my wife's wearing apparel.
3rd - I give and bequeath unto my granddaughter, Mary Forbis, my great pot and file shillings of Sterling.
4th - Eight pounds proclamation to my beloved son, James Bryan.
5th - I reserve for my funeral charges and sickness.
6th - I give and bequeath Joseph, Samuel, Morgan, John, William, James and Thomas, and my daughter, Elinor Linville, all the rest of my real and personal estate to be qual divided amongst them together with that part of my estate which they have already received.
7th - I do nominate and appoint my beloved sons, John Bryan and William Bryan to be exec. Gratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament, thereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal March 28th, 1763.
(Seal) Morgan Bryan
Signed, sealed, published and pronounced in the presence of Morgan Bryan, Anthony Braveslor, (x) Mary Forbis [her mark]
I, Elizabeth Gorman, Deputy Clerk, Superior Court of the aforesaid State and County, do hereby certify that the foregoing and attached is a true copy of the Last Will and Testament of Morgan Bryan, as the same is taken from and compared with the original on file in this office.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and official seal, this the 25th day of February, 1927.
(Seal) Elizabeth Gorman
From this document, it is seen that the names of two of the daughters mentioned by Dr. J. R. Bryan are eliminated. While the name of Mary, as a daughter, is not given, the name of Mary Forbis, a granddaughter, is included.
Morgan Bryan had evidently prospered, his cabin had been replaced by a mansion, and beside his plantation given to the youngest son, James, there was other lands and property to be divided equally among them.
The Bryan family had increased as all of the children were married at this time.
Move to Kentucky
(1) To begin with, Joseph, the eldest son, born in Pennsylvania sometime after 1719, and was taken to Virginia by his parents. Here he married first, according to tradition, some party whose name is not given, possibly about 1738. Some years later, she died and he married 2nd Alice (tradition, Linville).
Joseph did not go to Kentucky at the time when the others went in 1779, at least the records do not disclose it. He seems to have remained in North Carolina until about 1797. He visited Kentucky and in 1798, rented Weil's Station from Enoch M. Boone. A year or two later, he with two sons and a son-in-law, purchased land on Floyd's Fork in Shelby County, where he continued to live until his death in 1805. His wife, Alice, seems to have survived him, as she is mentioned in his will dated November 20, 1804, and was probated March 4, 1805. It is recorded in Will Book 1, page 158, Jefferson County, Kentucky.
In his will, he mentions his wife, Aylee (probably a pet name for Alice), then his three sons, Samuel, Joseph and John, Martha Boone and Rebecca Boone. My other daughter, Mary Howard, Susanneh Hinkle, Aylee Howard, Phebe Forbis, Charity Davis, Eleanor Adams; grandchildren, Aylee Adams, Noah Adams, Jacob Adams, Wilah Adams.
Has 11 Living Children
He makes no mention of any deceased child or children of such, and with eleven living children sixty-six years after date of marriage, he shows rather an exceptional family.
The date of the birth of the children is not given, so one cannot tell the order in which they were born, nor which were the children of the first wife. As given in the will, they were:
12. Samuel Bryan
(2) The next incident following the death of Morgan Bryan was the death of William Linville, husband of Eleanor Bryan, being in poor heath in the fall of 1766, he went with his son, John, and another young man, John Williams, who were going into the mountains that fall to hunt for meat and pelts. They went to the Blue Ridge, some sixty miles from home, where they pitched their camp. One morning, before daybreak, they were fired upon by Indians. William Linville and his son, John, were both killed and the other man was wounded, but made his escape. William and Eleanor were the parents of a number of children. Just how many, we do not know. We have the names of:
23. John Linville
(3) Of the third child of Morgan Bryan and Martha Strode, we only know that she is mentioned as one of their children, a granddaughter, Mary Forbis, being mentioned in the will of Morgan Bryan, would indicate that she had married a man by the name of Forbis and that she had died, leaving this daughter, Mary. There were a number of Forbis families in Virginia at this time and later in North Carolina, as Joseph Bryan's daughter, Phebe, married a Forbis. We will place this Mary Forbis on the list of the Bryan's in the third generation at No. 28 for further reference should later trace of her be received. It is more likely that shew as married in Rowan County, North Carolina and a search of the records there would show to whom.
28. Mary Forbis
(4) Samuel Bryan is the fourth child of Morgan Bryan and Martha Strode. It is quite likely he was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, about 1727. It is not certain whether he was married in Virginia or not until after they moved to North Carolina. It is said that he became very wealthy and influential.
According to the "Boone Family Book" quoting from Dr. J. G. Bryan, of St. Louis: In the proclamation issued July 1, 1776 by Governor Martin of North Carolina, Samuel Bryan and William Bryan were named and appointed to "raise Levy, muster and array in arms. All of His Majesty's loyal subject in Rowan County." It is said that Samuel Bryan raised 800 men on the Forks of the Yedkin and marched to the British at Anson Courthouse. As Colonel Bryan, he was on of His Majesty's most loyal subjects during the Revolutionary War, and was with Lord Cornwallis on his march through the state. In 1797, together with his brother, Joseph, he visited George Boone, son of Squire Boone, in Kentucky.
Arrested for Treason
It is thought he never afterward visited Kentucky. In 1783, after his return from Bryan Station in Kentucky, to North Carolina, he was arrested, tried for treason, and his property confiscated. After his release, he moved to New York, where he left numerous descendants.
Samuel Bryan of Syracuse, NY, congressman in 1902, a great grandson, had in his possession at one time, the sword carried by his great grandfather in the Revolutionary War.
There is also a tradition among the Bryans of Fayette County, that this Samuel was the Tory brother. There is also another story that he died in North Carolina in 1798.
Of one thing we are sure, that his brother, William, did not accept the appointment from Governor Martin, for at that time he was in Kentucky examining land for the location of a future home.
There is also a family tradition that there was another brother, who sided with the Tories, but thus far I have no evidence to support it.
As yet, I have not the name of the wife of Samuel Bryan or the names of his children, except that one of his daughters married Morgan Linville, son of Eleanor Bryan Linville.
(5) Morgan Bryan, the fifth child of Morgan Bryan and Martha Strode, was born about 1729 in Pennsylvania or Virginia. He married, probably about 1748, a Miss Forbish, a daughter of George Forbish. This is probably a misspelling of the name as in Virginia, there was a Geoge Forbis at about this time.
His sister, Mary, had married a Forbis before his marriage, and Phebe, daughter of his brother, Joseph, had also married a Forbis. Morgan and his wife were parents of a number of children and the list given may not include all of them:
(6) John Bryan, the sixth child of Morgan Bryan and Martha Strode, was born in Virginia about 1731 and removed with his parents to North Carolina, where he was married. We have not the name of his wife, nor of his children. There was a John Bryan, Sr., who removed to Kentucky in 1779 and who died in 1780 and it appears that two sons came to Kentucky, viz:
35. John Bryan
The writer is not sure as to John's family without receiving more convincing proof.
(7) William Bryan, the seventh child of Morgan Bryan and Martha Strode, was born in Virginia in 1733 and removed with his father to North Carolina.
Here we resume the family history as written by his son, Samuel Bryan.
"When his son, William, my father, coming to the age of 22 years, married Mary Boone, the daughter of Squire Boone, the first, and sister of Colonel Daniel Boone, the explorer and settled in Kentucky." (Here follows the family of Squire Boone and Sarah Morgan, giving the names of twelve children.)
Settle Bryan Station
William Bryan, with Mary, his wife, lived in Rowen County, North Carolina, until they had ten children, namely:
With his wife and these children, he removed to Kentucky in the year of 1779 and settled at a place called Bryan's Station on Elkhorn Creek, Fayette County, where the Indians killed him and his son, William, while hunting for game for the support of his family. Samuel, the oldest of the children, married Mary Hunt the fifth day of October 1775. She was the oldest daughter of Colonel Jonathan Hunt and Isabella, his wife, of Rowan County, North Carolina, who was of English extraction, but born in New Jersey. Samuel Bryan and Mary, his wife, lived in Carolina four years after marriage and had two children, when they moved to Kentucky in the year 1779, in which State they resided at the present.
Much of the history of William Bryan while in Kentucky was included in the articles published in the Lexington Herald last April and need not be repeated here.
There is also a partial list of his descendants given in the "Boone Family Book" composed by Mrs. Hazel A. Spraker, of 64 Dorchester Road, Buffalo, NY.
Connected With Boone
By her permission, we also make use of her book in giving the families of Edward Boone and Martha Bryan, George Boone and Ann Linville.
The children of William Bryan and Mary Boone were:
37. Samuel Bryan, born 1756
All of these children were born in North Carolina and went with the parents to Kentucky in 1779.
(8) James Bryan, the eighth child of Morgan Bryan and Martha Strode, was born in Virginia about 1735, and migrated with his parents to North Carolina with the other members of the family. Here, in 1756, he was married to Rebecca Knox or Enochs.
47. David Bryan, born October 29, 1757
(9) Thomas Bryan, the youngest child of Morgan Bryan and Martha Strode, was born in Frederick County, VA about 1737, and was taken to North Carolina by his parents on their removal to the Valley of the Yadkin.
May Have Been a Tory
In some of the family traditions, he is sometimes mentioned as having joined his brother, Samuel, in the Tory cause, bus the writer has found no proof of it. On the contrary, his heirs were granted a preemption of 1000 acres in Kentucky.
This concludes the families of the Bryans with the exception of a few of the fourth generation, who were born in North Carolina before the removal to Kentucky. This North Carolina story takes more space than I thought it would, and it will be included in the next as it covers the early years of the Revolution.
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