Just some thoughts--I tend to believe Bible records because families generally remembered when significant events, like a birth, death, or marriage, took place. There's a family Bible for my father's family with many dates in it, and only one is questionable. One thing you have to do is take into account WHEN the dates were written down. From the publication date on our family Bible, I realized that many of the early dates were written down years later, not at the time. This wasn't too hard to see either because most the handwriting was too uniform. If each date had been written down right after each event occurred, the ink and handwriting would have been slightly different for each time. So maybe that one date was off, but I still tend to believe it because all the other dates are correct.
The 1845 marriage date and 1862 death date in your family Bible certainly seem right. Possibly James and Mary got married in 1846 or 1847, but look at their children's ages. William Bryant was born, from what I can tell, in 1847 (let's hope they were married well before then!). And their last child, James E., was 8 in 1870, which means he was born in 1861 or 1862. Seeing how James and Mary were having children every couple years, you would expect more had he lived longer.
That's significant that you've found Mary's father in the same county where Bryant Bradley was in 1840. You may not find a direct connection between him and James, like a will, but if you can find enough other clues, I think you can make a good argument for James being Bryant's son by "preponderance of the evidence." I've done that to prove my lineage back to an ancestor for a historical society, and they accepted my proof. Have you figured out when or where Bryant died? He may have even died after James.
Yeah, I looked all over for Mary in 1860, and I have to conclude that she was there, just missed in the censuses. By the way, "Polly" is an old nickname for Mary. If I can find anything out, I'll let tell you, of course. I'm not related--just when I'm taking a break from my own research, I like to solve problems.
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