Week 24: 52 Week Ancestor 52 Week Blog: Will the real John Bryan step forward….

Week 24 June 14, 2014:

Will the real John Bryan step forward….

My earliest proven Bryan ancestor is a John Bryan – this is proven through land deeds, wills, pension records and earlier research ….
Based on names alone the only John Bryan in GA, is the one in Abner Bickham’s Burke County Georgia Militia 2nd Georgia Battalion — Continental Line (1779-1780). A John “Bryant” appears on the rolls of the 2nd Georgia Battalion — Continental Line.
Private John Bryant
Pay for Month in Dollars 6 2/3
Subsistence in Dollars 13
Present in camp
The roll is found at footnote.com, “Revolutionary War Rolls, Georgia, 2d Battalion (1779-80)”, page 3.
I found no John Bryan/Bryant in S.C., but did find a John Bryant in 1st Battalion North Carolina Continental Line (1775-1783) – Roll of Colonel Thomas Clark’s Company, September 8th 1778.

John Bryan was born about 1765-1770 in Georgia, and died 1837 (using wills and deeds) in Franklin Co. Georgia. He was married to a Nancy (last name unknown), possibly in Franklin County, Georgia. John enlisted in the Revolutionary War while living in Franklin County.

A John Bryan is mentioned in The Roster of the Revolution by Knight in section titled “Certified List of Revolutionary Soldiers Compiled by Capt. B.F. Johnson from Lottery Lists of 1827–p.346: “Bryan, John, lottery 1827, Franklin Co., Ga.

For service in the war he received a land grant in Lee County, now Sumter County, Georgia. John was the father of eight children by reading his will and land deeds. Illar (Ilia, Illac, Ilias?) and a Thomas Bryan were the only names listed in John Bryan’s will of October 20th, 1825 in Franklin County. Was that possibly because they weren’t married and out of the household? The name of Tarrance Bryan is from the land deeds from himself to our James Bryan, who was born in 1791 (his obit lists his birthplace as Sumter County, but when he was born that county was not yet created) in Georgia. On that land deed also was a Callaway Bryan that was a witness to the transfer; he may possibly be one of the eight children of John Bryan.

John Bryan resided in counties of Sumter, Franklin, Gwinnett, Habersham and Lumpkin by using all documents that I base my belief in. Also in the book “Whites among the Cherokees”, a John Bryan (From land relinquished in Habersham County there is a younger John Bryan so this one with 7 children may be the son of John Bryan Sr.) is listed as having applied for a license to reside in the Cherokee Nation in 1831 with seven children. This John Bryan may be the one married to a Nancy Mayes, whom I believed earlier to be my direct line. This may or may not be my John Bryan that I base my belief in, but my belief is that a John Bryan, with a wife of Nancy, was the father of my James Bryan by the info below. I realize that it is somewhat circumstantial but if you read and follow in order it seems to show that my James is the son of John Bryan. The recent land deeds found of when James and Tarrance conveyed land – have written, my father John Bryan.

·A John Bryan received a Georgia Land Lottery in 1805, being granted a parcel of land in Franklin County, Georgia. (I have documentation showing this information, but I don’t know for sure that this is my John Bryan)

·A John Bryan received a grant in Franklin County, Georgia, in 1814, shown as being 72 acres listed in Georgia Grant Book K.5, page 26. (I do not have any further information on this grant, but I should be able to somehow locate this Grant Book for a copy of his grant, and it might perhaps contain additional helpful information; again, I have no complete proof if this is my John Bryan, but I suspect that it is.)

·I know that my James Bryan, son of a John Bryan, was married in Franklin County, Georgia. His Pension file for his service in the War of 1812 contains the following information: James Bryan “…declares that he is married; that his wife’s name was Elizabeth Cain, to whom he was married at Franklin County, Georgia, on or about the 1st day of October, 1818”. So this shows that my Bryan family had at least some connection to Franklin County, which was settled before Lumpkin County.

·A will for a John Bryan was signed by him on October 20, 1825, and was subsequently registered in the Probate Court of Franklin County, Georgia, on November 29, 1825. No further information pertaining to this will have been uncovered, and it was apparently never probated when John died, or at least no record has been found of its probate. In this will he lists his wife, Nancy; her maiden name still remains a mystery. This will appears to have been made in the later years of John Bryan’s life, but I have no idea when he died. From a land deed of James Bryan and John Keadle, we find mention of John Bryan, deceased – deed dated Nov. 13, 1837.

John and Nancy Bryan with kids

Children of John and Nancy Bryan

Now, getting down to the particular tract of land on which I base my assumption that this John was the father of my James Bryan. The Roster of Revolutionary Soldiers in Georgia shows that a John Bryan, then living in Franklin County, Georgia, drew a lottery of land in the 1827 Georgia Land Lottery; although that roster gives no further information on either the John Bryan or on the land he received, we know by this record that this John Bryan was a soldier in the Revolutionary War.

The next listing, taken from a book entitled “1827 Georgia Land Lottery” shows that a successful drawer was a John Bryan, R. S., from Franklin County, Georgia; R. S. stands for “Revolutionary Soldier”. His fortunate draw in the lottery was parcel No. 175, in District 25, Section 1, in what was then Lee County, Georgia, later Sumter County, Georgia.

·I have a photocopy of the actual grant for this parcel of land, which was originally recorded in Lee County. The land grant deed shows that this John Bryan was living in the Stephens District of Franklin County, Georgia at the time this grant was drawn. The grant again lists his name as John Bryan, R. S.

·The next document is a photocopy of a deed from a Tarrance Bryan, conveying his interest in this same property to James Bryan. Important information contained in this deed from Tarrance to James Bryan reads as follows: “Tarrance Bryan… has granted… unto the said James Bryan his heirs and assigns the one undivided eighth part of all that tract, lot, or parcel of land situated, lying and being in the twenty seventh district (27th) of originally Lee, now Sumter County, in said State of Georgia, known and distinguished in the plan and original survey of said district by the number one hundred & seventy-five (175).”

James Bryan from John Estate Clip

Relinquishment to Joel M. Bryan from James Bryan: Joel M. (Mayes) was the son of John Bryan Jr.

·The lot and section reference are obviously the same property conveyed to John Bryan by the original land grant. This “undivided” wording indicated that John Bryan left eight heirs to this property upon his death, and that Tarrance is conveying his one-eighth share to my James Bryan. The date of the original grant to John Bryan is April 17, 1835. The deed from Tarrance to James Bryan is dated April 15, 1837.

·The next deed, from James Bryan is to a John Keadle and dated November 13, 1837. For some reason this deed from James was signed in Baldwin County, Georgia. The deed from James Bryan to Keadle is, again, the same property originally conveyed to John Bryan. James Bryan’s deed contains the following information:

“James Bryan conveys to the said John W. (?) Keadle… all that tract or parcel of land situate in the Twenty-Seventh district of formerly Lee, now Sumter County the undivided fourth part of lot number one hundred seventy-five in said district, drawn by John Bryan of Franklin County, it being the interest of two legatees of said John Bryan, deceased.”

·That reads that this is the same and exact property originally granted to John Bryan of Franklin County and that my James Bryan now owns a fourth interest, being the interest of two legatees (his and that of Tarrance Bryan).

·I might add that there was no other James Bryan living in Lumpkin County at the time of this conveyance, so it has to be my James Bryan. The deed from James Bryan to Keadle tells us that John Bryan is then ‘deceased’ and, most importantly, that James is a ‘legatee’ of the said John Bryan.

1836 John Bryan estate

·I know it’s circumstantial to some degree, but it seems pretty evident to me that my James was a brother to Tarrance Bryan, that they were both sons of this John Bryan, and that John Bryan had six other children then living, since the deeds from James and Tarrance show that they each owned a one-eighth interest in the said property.

Somewhere there will be other deeds to this same property, which should show us who the other six “legatees” of this John Bryan were. If and when I locate these deeds, I believe I will then have all the siblings of my James Bryan.

No pioneer family has a history so similar to that of the BOONE family and so closely identified with it, as the BRYAN family. Beginning with their early residence on the Yadkin River, the association between the two families has continued almost up to the present day, strengthened by many intermarriages and by the strong friendships formed in the frontier settlements. (At present I have not tied MY “Bryan” family into the Boone family, but I believe one day I will.) Maybe  I will connect when I take the DNA test on Ancestry!


© 2014, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

My blog is at: https://everyonehasafamilystorytotell.wordpress.com/
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3 Responses to Week 24: 52 Week Ancestor 52 Week Blog: Will the real John Bryan step forward….

  1. Pingback: 52 Ancestors Challenge: Week 26 Recap | No Story Too Small

  2. Sabrina Whitney says:

    Hi Jeanne,

    We have spoken before. My grandmother, Gertie Lee Bryan, born in Waterloo, always said that our family was connected with Daniel Boone.

    In my research, I learned that Daniel Boone’s wife, Rebecca, was a sister of John Bryan’s. Her father was Joseph Bryan. I thunk Rebecca’s brother John Bryan is possibly your John Bryan R.S.

    The problem with Bryan geneaology is that there are several Bryan family lines that pass through GA. Three, at least, possibly more, and they all passed then name “John” down from generation to generation. It maybe that the “John Bryan of GA/NC” mysteries can only be solved by DNA.

  3. Sabrina Whitney says:

    Hi Jeanne,

    I have a theory. I was linked to a descendant of Joel Mayes Bryan (or Joel Bryan Mayes, as he was called in Oklahoma). Again this is just a theory…

    So Nancy Mayes was at least half Cherokee, and she and John Bryan were married in a Cherokee ceremony. They had several children. I can’t list them all, but I am confident that Harrison Bryan and James Bryan are at least two of them. I was also linked to descendants of James Bryan. Eventually, however, they got divorced. Divorce was legal among the Cherokee, and since the Cherokee nation were considered to have a government separate from the colonists, it was recognized. John remarried Elizabeth Hinkle. I have no idea if they had children.

    So, John dies and gold is discovered, and the Cherokee are forced to move to Oklahoma. Joel moves to Oklahoma with Samuel Mayes, his uncle through Nancy Mayes, and his wife, Nancy Adair. To be more accepted among the Cherokee (and maybe somewhat out of anger), he changed his name from Joel Bryan to Joel Bryan Mayes. Nancy Mayes Bryan stayed behind to attempt to collect on John’s revolutionary war pension (I have seen court records where she had to testify), but I don’t think she got it because she had applied for “Private” John Bryan’s war pension, and he was actually a Captain. Plus, he had a “white” wife that they felt was more entitled.

    Around this time, she is living in Gwinnett Co with Ittar (Hetto) and nearby to my ancestor, Harrison and his Quaker wife and young children (as per 1830 census records). Harrison eventually got a job with Western-Atlantic railroad and had moved his family to Terminus. All of her other children married into English families and had moved on. She never received the war pension so she eventually made the move to Oklahoma to join the Cherokee and died there.

    Lastly, the Joel Mayes Bryan that eventually became chief of the Cherokees was actually a Junior and the son of Joel Bryan Sr.

    This is mostly just speculation, and I may never be able to prove it through documentation, but Joel, Harrison, and James, I believe are most certainly brothers. And if this is true, your two Nancy’s mystery is solved. What do you think?

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