Week 31: 52 Ancestor 52 Week Blog: The Tale of the Two Nancy Bryan’s….

Week 31: August 2, 2014

The Tale of the Two Nancy Bryan’s…

Who is the real Nancy Bryan married to my John Bryan (RS) from Franklin County, Georgia?

A imagequestion every Bryan researcher has asked about our John Bryan (RS).

After years of research, and with the help of others insight – I now know that Nancy Bryan (1) is not the Nancy Mayes Bryan (2) who was born 1790 Ga. and died 1876 OK. It doesn’t help having the four of them sharing such common names as John and Nancy – making it even more difficult, but I have not given up the search of my Nancy’s (1) maiden name.

I hope to clear up some of the confusion, with info found on another site of a fellow researcher. If you search this line, check out his site for more info:
Michael Parks http://www.bauer.uh.edu/parks/genealogy/tjbryan.htm

The Nancy Bryan (No.1 – bc 1760/70) of my John Bryan (RS) of Franklin County, Georgia is the one in the 1825 will of John Bryan and the same one living next door to son Hetto/Ittar Bryan in Gwinnett Co., Ga. in later census. She is the Nancy (No. 1) married to the Rev. War (RS) soldier John Bryan, (1750/60 -1826). She is the elusive Nancy that I have no maiden name for. I strongly believe she is NOT Nancy Mayes.


Ittar Bryant

1784 Franklin Co. formed.
1787 John Bryan’s Revolutionary War land grant in Franklin Co., Ga.
1793 John Bryan (RS) received headright grants in Franklin Co., Ga.
1796 Jackson Co., formed from a large portion of Franklin Co., Ga.
1818 Habersham, Gwinnett, Hall Co. formed from Franklin Co., Ga.
1825 Gwinntt Co. will listing a Nancy Bryan (No. 1), wife of John Bryan (RS)
1827 Land Lottery in Gwinnett County shows draws for Nancy Bryan (1) widow of Rev. War Soldier:
1830 Gwinnett County, Ga. census: Nancy (1) born S. C. (adjacent to Ety Briant) She is listed age 60-70, one male child age 10-15, plus 2 slaves.
1830 Gwinnett County, Ga. census: Itar (living next to Nancy ( 1), age 30-40, one female child less than 5, one female age 20-30, plus one slave.
1832 Joel Mayes Bryan and mother Nancy (2) Mayes Bryan move to Indian Territory, Ok.
1840 Gwinett County, Ga. census: Nancy (1) born S.C., age 60-70; (adjacent to Ittar Briant from the 1825 will) Both last names spelled Briant on this census.
1850 Dekalb County, Ga. census: We did not find Nancy (1) listed but did find son Hetto/Ety/Ittar/Ittlac.

The 1825 will references the Gwinnett County land of John Bryan (RS); the 1830 Gwinnett Co., census lists Nancy Bryan (t), born circa 1770/1780 (No. 1), widowed wife of John, and her son Ittar/Hetto on adjacent property in Gwinnett. The subsequent transaction deeds seem to indicate 8 legatees of the will (thus perhaps 8 children) – although I have accounted for only six deeds; John Jr., Elizabeth, James, Tarence, Ittar, Thomas.


John Bryan (RS) listed on roster

Besides Illac (Hetto/Ittar/Ety/Illac) and Thomas that were listed in the will of John Bryan (bc 1750/60 -1826), land records indicated other children of James; Tarrence; John Jr.; and Elizabeth; (Mrs. Ransom Cain).

john joel mayes

Joel Mayes Bryan 1809-1899

The “Rebecca Bryan” on deeds as a witness is most likely Joel Mayes Bryan’s wife (Rebecca Wright) who signed as witness with husband in John Bryan Jr.’s (Joel’s father) acquisition of his sister Elizabeth Bryan Cain’s share of their father’s estate (John Bryan RWS) in 1831. Many of us first thought that she also was one of John Bryan’s children, but now know that she was the wife of Joel Mayes Bryan (1809 Ga.-1899 OK.). Joel Mayes Bryan is a son of John Bryan (Jr) and Nancy (2) Mayes Bryan, and grandson of John Bryan (RS), not his son.

The Rebecca Wright (1814 Indian Territory -1882 Mayes, OK.) who married Joel Mayes Bryan is a quarter blooded Cherokee of the Wolf Clan.

From the work of Michael Parks on Nancy and John’s son Hetto/Ety/Ito/Ittar Bryan:
“The Lost Connection to “Ito” and the 1850 Dekalb Georgia Census. My father used to speak of an ancestor named “Ito” on the Bryan side of our family. The use of the spelling “Ito” is only my interpretation of my father’s words. It sounded like a long letter “E” followed by the word “toe.” E-TOE. It was nowhere written down. Now for the STRETCH – how do we show that the “Ittar” Bryant is the same as “Hetto” Byant on the 1850 Dekalb Co. Census. In the 1825 will, it was written as “Ittar,” but the census takers spelled it more phoetically. If this “Ittar” who is adjacent to Nancy (No. 2) on the 1830 Gwinnett Co. census is a son of John Bryan, then I feel that she was the wife of John Bryan Jr.” Got more on this Ittar Bryan, see Michael Parks web page on the spelling of the name of Ittar Bryan(t).

John Bryan Jr. is on the Franklin Co. tax list (To be listed on the tax list generally meant he was of age (age 21) to own land. That would make him born circa. 1786 or before.
The John Bryan Jr. (c.1786) who married Nancy Mayes (No. 2) is on the 1820 and 1830 Habersham census.
Elizabeth Bryan (1787) married Ransom Cain.
James Bryan (1791) is well documented in Lumpkin county GA. and Habersham Co. appearing in many land transaction.
Tarrence Bryan (1795) married Polly Shade (1) then Elizabeth Patterson (2). He transferred his share of John Bryan’s estate to brother James in 1837. The deed transfer stated “my father John Bryan.” (More on Tarrence Bryan can be provided by descendant Margie von Marenholtz.)
Hetto/Ittar (1801) is mentioned in the 1825 will of his father, John Bryan (RS).
Thomas Bryan is mentioned in the 1825 will of his father John Bryan (RS).

Nancy Mayes (No. 2) married to John Bryan was born circa 1790 – about the same time as my James Bryan (b. 1791) so this clearly rules her out as being James mother. Actually my John Bryan would be her father in law – as she married his eldest son, John Bryan Jr. It’s written that they only had one child, Joel Mayes Bryan. If true, the 1820 Census of Habersham County shows a John Bryan with a wife and one male child age 10-15 years of age. (Most likely this is John Bryan Jr. with wife Nancy Mayes and son Joel Mayes Bryan.)

If you follow the time frames of the Two Nancy’s – it pretty much proves that Nancy Mayes Bryan (No. 2 – b. 1790 Ga. d. 1876 OK.) cannot be the mother of Elizabeth Bryan Cain (bc.1787), John Jr. (b.1790), James (b.1791), Tarrence (b.1795-1885 Polk, AR.), Thomas or Hetto/Ittar/Ety/Illac (b.1801 d. 1870 Fulton Co., Ga) as she was not born when Elizabeth was born – and only a child herself when the others were born. Only Joel M. Bryan b. 1809 could be her son. My Nancy (No. 1) is about fifteen years older than Nancy No. 2.

I conclude that Nancy Mayes is the daughter of John Mayes (1770-1803) and Charlotte Samuel Mayes and was NOT married to my John Bryan (RS) who served in the Revolutionary War – but WAS instead married to his son John Bryan Jr.

John Bryan (RS) real wife Nancy (Nancy 1) was born between 1770 and 1780
Joel Mayes Bryan’s mother Nancy Mayes (Nancy 2) was born in 1790

I believe the Mayes name to be of Indian nationality or part of. Joel Bryan Mayes was listed as the founder of Mayes County, OK. This is documented in the Oklahoma Historical Society’s Chronicle of Oklahoma, Vol. 15, pg. 58. This area was Indian Territory.

house built by joel mayes bryan ok

House built by Joel Mayes Bryan in OK.

In Harry F O’Beirne’s 1892 The Indian Territory; Its Chiefs, Legislators and Leading Men, p. 103. “Joel Bryan Mayes was named for his cousin, Joel Mayes Bryan, who was the only son of John Bryan and Nancy (Mayes) Bryan. Joel Mayes Bryan was born in Bates County, Georgia on Oct. 2, 1809. He came to the Indian Territory in 1832 and built his home seven miles of Stilwell, Adair County, Oklahoma in 1838. He later sold this saltfarm in 1883. Joel Mayes Bryan later operated the Salt Works at the old Union Mission for many years and died on August 7, 1899 (Find a Grave lists Aug. 8, 1898). He is buried in the family cemetery on the old Bryan farm southeast of Pryor, a farm owned and occupied by his son. (Oklahoma Historical Society’s Chronicles of Oklahoma, Vol 15, No. 1 March 1937. Pg. 58)

salt licks Joel mayes bryan

Joel Mayes Bryan operated the salt works at Union Mission

After the last dated land relinquishment’s of land belonging to John Bryan (RS) in 1830/31, we have Joel Mayes Bryan and mother Nancy (2) immigrating to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) in 1832.

I have not researched this, but the relinquishment deed (Recorded Habersham Co., Ga. Deed Bk. LL, pg. 13) of James Bryan signing to Joel Mayes Bryan in 1830 – did Joel Mayes Bryan sell this land in 1832 when he moved to Oklahoma? Another twist and turn to research – at some point!

I conclude that Nancy Mayes is the daughter of John Mayes (1770-1803) Charlotte Samuel Mayes and was NOT married to my John Bryan (RS) who served in the Revolutionary War – but WAS instead married to his son John Bryan Jr.


Response to Week 31: 52 Ancestor 52 Week Blog: The Tale of the Two Nancy Bryan’s….

Margie von MarenholtzAugust 4, 2014 at 1:45 pm

VERY, VERY NICE! Great Job! I had never found a spouse for John Bryan, Jr. I’m sure all the records we need were in some burned out courthouse – LOL. Thanks for all the great digging 🙂

About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

My blog is at: https://everyonehasafamilystorytotell.wordpress.com/
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45 Responses to Week 31: 52 Ancestor 52 Week Blog: The Tale of the Two Nancy Bryan’s….

  1. VERY, VERY NICE! Great Job! I had never found a spouse for John Bryan, Jr. I’m sure all the records we need were in some burned out courthouse – LOL. Thanks for all the great digging 🙂

  2. Hello, great work. I was wondering if you know how a John Bryant born 1785-1795 who is found first in Madison County, GA at it’s forming (1811) and resided their until 1857 (likely his death) might fit in? He had a son named John Pinkney Bryant who married a Virginia Cooper in Madison Co. GA.

    I’m unsure if my John is related, though of interest I had my uncle (a paternal Bryant descendant) Y dna tested and he matched someone who seems to descend from a John Bryant (also born about 1785) who moved from South Carolina to Giboson County, Tennessee, he seems to be the son of a Lucy Bryant, someone who was at least part Cherokee and had a reservation granted to her in Northern Georgia.

    What is of interest is a descendants of hers/his were accepted into the Cherokee Nation and some moved into it (in OK, though they didn’t move west during the trail of tears period) and a specific descendant, a Hanna Belew Flippin had a trial and was removed from the Cherokee Nation via a trial. Apparently her lawyer might have been a Joel Mayes Bryant:

    I’m guessing one (or a descendant of one) mentioned in your article?

    Could be a coincidence but makes me wonder if they were related (both descending from Cherokee Bryants). I’m unsure how my Bryant line relates to that line other than I dead end in Northern Georgia with my John Bryant (so many John Bryant(s) out there!) and the proximity of Madison County to Franklin has made me wonder if there’s a relation somewhere, Madison was partly from Franklin.

  3. Sabrina Whitney says:

    I live and work for the state of Georgia. We have 159 counties. There is no Bates County in Georgia at present, and I was not able to locate any history of a Bates Co Ga. Could this possibly be a typo in your blog?

    I believe we may have spoken before. I suspect one of my ancestors to be among the unnamed children in the John Bryan will of 1825. I would like to know more about that John Bryan if you have time to speak about it.

  4. Katy Snyder says:

    Hi there, I came along your blog from Ancestry; I’m a descendant of Fatima “Faney” Bryan and West Walker…

    Check out this map of Cherokee “land” from 1822, if he was born in 1809 then the area was definitely still inhabited by Native Americans. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherokee_County,_Georgia#/media/File:Cherokee1822.jpg

  5. MaryLynn McCloskey says:

    I think that you have finally found the parents of my Docia Dianna Bryan- John Jr. and Nancy Mayes! She was born 1821 Georgia and married William Prather in 1838 Franklin. William is listed next door to John in the 1840 census.

  6. 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?

    • Mike h says:

      Dear Ms. Whitney,

      Thank you so much for you speculation about John Bryan and his wife Nancy. I too have entertained a speculative version of John Bryan’s history that has him with two wives, the first of which, Nancy, most likely being of Indian or mixed-race ancestry. Heretofore, I’ve refrained from sharing my speculation on this blog for two reasons:

      -I have previously pestered Ms. Insalaco with other of my hare-brained speculations, and while she has been unfailingly good-natured in her tolerance of genealogical flights of fancy, in the past, I did not want to try her wonderful patience further.

      -My own, speculative, “two-spouse” version of John Bryan’s bio draws on various web-based genealogical sources that are of uncertain reliability, and, indeed, seem to often be at odds with one another. Therefore, I didn’t want to embarrass and humiliate myself, in front of a highly professional and meticulous researcher, like Ms. Insalaco, with a “theory” drawn from a bunch of possibly long-discredited, half-baked sources–that would surely try Ms. Insalaco’s patience!

      But inspired by your sterling example, Ms. Whitney, I’m emboldened to try my hand at the same, And, of course, I look forward to lively critiques–even crushing “put-downs”–of my humble efforts to strip away some of the mystery that surrounds our elusive shared ancestors, John Bryan and his wife Nancy.

      I’ll divide my little “leap into the abyss” into several “bite-size” comments.

      • Mike h says:

        For what it’s worth, I understand the Mayes and Bryant connection as follows:

        -John Bryan, son of John Bryan, R. S., married Nancy Mayes, as I believe Ms. Insalaco has demonstrated elsewhere on this blog. Nancy (nee Mayes) and her husband were both classed as white according to one site I referenced (though, like you, Ms. Whitney, I suspect that her husband, John Bryan, was of mixed race through his mother, who shared his wife’s Christain name, Nancy). Prior to the Indian removal and “Trail of Tears”, John Bryan, son of John Bryan, R. S., and his wife Nancy were adopted into the Cherokee tribe and moved with their tribal kin to Oklahoma. They apparently had only one child, a son named, Joel Mayes Bryan.

        -Nancy Mayes Bryan, had a brother and a sister. In that regard, her brother, Samuel Mayes, married, as you mentioned above, Ms. Whitney, Nancy (another Nancy!) Adair, who was Cherokee on the basis of her maternal grandmother who was Indian, her other relatives being white, curiously. This marriage produced a number of children who were quite prominent in the Cherokee nation, to include two sons who became Principal Chiefs–Joel Bryan Mayes (not to be confused with his first cousin Joel Mayes Bryan), and Samuel Huston Mayes.

        -Nancy Mayes sister, Lucy, married Charles Ward, a Cherokee, whose maternal grandmother was a Cherokee, named Su-Gi, and who is claimed by some genealogical sites to have been the daughter of the legendary Cherokee chief Thomas “Stalking Turkey” Moytoy, styled variously as the “Uku of Chota”, “Emperor of the Chota”, and “Old Hop”. Charles Ward definitely can claim some “braggin’ rights” with that pedigree. But wait!–that’s not all! Charles Ward was also the grandson of Bryant Ward, who was, famously, the bigamous husband of–sitting down?–yet another Nancy, the storied Nancy Ward, “Beloved Woman” of the Cherokees.

        -In addition to his lucrative employment in the salt works, discussed in Ms. Insalaco’s post, above, Joel Mayes Bryan, along with his first cousin, Joel Bryan Mayes, and his uncle, Charles Ward, all actively supported the Confederacy, during the civil war. Unfortunately, Charles Ward was killed by so-called “pin” Indians–Cherokees who supported the Union cause and were denoted by a “pin” that they wore on their lapels. The two Joels, on the other hand, both served under the Cherokee Confederate General Stand Wait, in his 1st Cherokee Mounted Volunteers (folks are often surprised to learn that there was a Native American General in the Confederate Army). Future principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation Joel Bryan Mayes was a Captain and adjutant to the Brigade Quartermaster. Joel Mayes Bryan, in contrast, served in a rather more dashing capacity.

        -Joel Mayes Bryan began his service as a Captain, when General Albert Pike (yep!–that Albert Pike (note Joel’s grave marker)) authorized him to raise a 100 man mounted infantry company. The young Captain exceed his orders and actually recruited four such companies, which were then formed up into a Battalion with, now Major, Joel Mayes Bryan commanding. Finally, Joel Mayes Bryan ended the war a Lt. Col in command of a rather mysterious, independent unit, designated the “Cherokee Bn. Special Service.”

        Bit of a digression, I know, but, again, for what it’s worth, the above is what I think I know about the Wards, Bryans, Mayes, and Adairs. And it is utterly frustrating that for such a prominent Cherokee clan, it is easy to find genealogical detail for all of the constituent families, except the Bryans, beyond the generation of James and Elizabeth Bryan.

      • Mike h says:

        Finally, Ms. Whitney, I would like to offer my somewhat alternative version to your very cogent “two-spouse” speculation about John Bryant, R. S., for your consideration and correction, if you would be so kind. Actually, my version of the speculation is not at all original, on my part, but rather is taken from the geni.com website,. A Google search for “geni john henry bryan 1753-1825”, brings up a page with some striking, albeit undocumented, assertions about our John Bryan, R. S., and his wife Nancy. In particular:

        -The page maintains that our John Bryan, R. S., is actually John Henry Bryan, a half-brother to Rebecca Bryan Boone.

        -It is also asserted, at the geni.com page, that John Henry Bryan married Nancy (no parentage or maiden name given) in 1782 and then married Elizabeth Hinkle Bryan, in 1797. One hopes that some sort of a “divorce” intervened between the two, succesive nuptials, above, but bigamous “frontier marriages” were commonplace, during the era, I have discovered, and were even a part of the “deer skin trade” business model, so maybe not. Regardless, the John Henry Bryan, of my speculation, to his credit, took care of his children from both his marriages and apparently his first wife, as well.

        -Further, the geni.com reference, for John Henry Bryan, claims that his marriage to Elizabeth Hinkle Bryan took place in Surry County, North Carolina, that county being formerly a part of the Rowan County in which Daniel Boone and Rebecca Bryan Boone lived at the time of their marriage. And all that is very much of personal interest to me, since it means my Bryan ancestors would have, then, been living in Surry/Rowan County at the same time/place as my Woody ancestors. Small world.

        -Finally, as for the freakish lack of information about Nancy Bryan, wife of John Bryan, R. S., I think the explanation that makes the most sense is that her place in the family history has been actively suppressed, and, most likely, due to an Indian heritage. In that regard, I have some friends, who have lived in the SouthWest, and when I showed them a photo of James Bryan, they, unprompted, exclaimed that he looked Indian! (my estimate, as well). When I was in my mid-twenties my mother let me in on the “big secret” that we have quite a bit of Indian blood in us–conveyed with a sense that such explosive info is all hush-hush “close-hold”. Times have surely changed, though, and I am delighted that I might be able to claim Native American ancestry–possibly from both the Bryans and Woodys in my family tree.

        But, of course, my above speculation all hinges, for its genealogical worth, on “proving” that John Henry Bryan, half-brother of Rebecca Bryan Boone, is, indeed, our John Bryan, R. S. Hope some one can do so. Alternatively, and next best, hope someone, perhaps yourself, Ms. Whitney, can show that the info provided for John Henry Bryan, at the geni site is just so much “fake news” bad-scoop that we can safely ignore. But I fear that what we really have in my little, “two-spouse”, John Henry Bryan, plaigarized brainstorm is just another, dime-a-dozen, “could-be” speculation.

        As always, Ms. Insalaco , thank you for you for all the time and effort you’ve put into this blog. And thank you, Ms. Whitney, as well, for your thought-provoking contributions.


      • LOL I corrected the spelling of my name for you.

        Mike, as you aren’t comfortable in joining Facebook at this time, would it be ok if I copied your posts to offer to our group for speculation. I’d be happy to send you comments on them in email.

      • Mike h says:

        Dear Ms Insalaco,

        I’m mortified to see that in the last paragraph of my last comment, I misspelled your name. Please accept my sincerest apologies.

      • No problem in the spelling – I’ve often wished there was an edit feature in postings. Mike if you’re on Facebook I’d like you to join our Bryan group as well as the Woody group – we all are trying to solve the same lines and welcome new ideas!

      • Mike h says:

        Dear Jeanne,

        Thank you so much for your very kind, and reassuring words. Whenever I post to your wonderful blog, I am immediately wracked with worry that I may have loutishly imposed on your blog’s gracious hospitality.

        As for Facebook, I’m an “ol’ dog”, Jeanne, and it has taken all the courage I can muster to even work myself up to posting on your blog. I remember my grandmother describing her first telephone call and how bizarre and strange is seemed to be talking into “a box”. In much the same way, the prospect of joining Facebook seems, for me, something very alien and “age-inappropriate.” So I appreciate your considerate invitation and am honored to be so invited, but I’ll skittishly “pass” on joining Facebook. At the same time, I am so glad to learn that there are others, who share my ancestry, working to resolve those persistent mysteries of our family history.

      • Mike our small group on Facebook is a community interested in reaching the same purpose. Sometimes just throwing out ideas and everyone hashing them together helps to solve problems. We aren’t all young in there. Facebook is very geared to the older groups / you’d enjoy.

      • Feel free to write your ideas here – always open to suggestions on where our Bryan line hails from!

      • Mike h says:

        Dear Jeanne,

        Alas, I’ve found a likely fatal “glitch” in my John Henry Bryan =John Bryan, R. S., theory. In particular, the website that identifies John Henry Bryan with our ancestor records his death as occurring on October 20, 1825, in Louisville, Kentucky. In contrast, Michael Park’s blog (linked in the above post) quotes John Bryan’s will as “sworn and subscribed 29 November 1825”–in other words, more than a month subsequent to John Henry Bryan’s putative death!

        Under the circumstances, my speculative identification of John Henry Bryan with our John Bryan, R. S. is untenable, unless:

        -The undocumented date, cited for John Henry Bryan’s death, at the relevant website, is in error. The website is managed by a “private party” and I have no idea how to contact the site manager for a clarification.

        -The will is a fraud, prepared as news of John Henry Bryan’s death in Tennessee was received in Franklin Co, Georgia, and intended to “uncomplicate” the complications created locally by John Henry Bryan’s intestate death. A long-shot, albeit technically possible “save” for the theory, but, at best, a good-fun, entertaining “stretch”, I’d say. Though Georgia was famous for its land frauds in the late 18th, early 19th century (e.g., “Yazoo Land Fraud”). Just sayin’…

        -The will is that of another John Bryan, with heirs in Franklin Co, Georgia that included a wife named Nancy and a son named Illac. Not very likely, I’m thinkin’…

        At any rate, Jeanne, my speculative identification of John Henry Bryan with our John Bryan, R. S., is clearly now so “suspect” that it is not worth sharing with anyone seriously interested in our family’s history, I recommend. . Sorry I didn’t catch the likely “fatal flaw” earlier. Indeed, my apologies.

        Oh by the way, I’m hot on the trail (not there yet) of a truly cockamamie, possibly-lunatic, speculative theory about Nancy, wife of John Bryan, R. S. Teaser: What if there were not just “two Nancy Bryans”, but “two Nancy MAYES Bryans”? The mind reels at the thought! But I’ll only unload that “beaut”, if my brainstorm survives further scrutiny from all angles, and, then, only if I have your permission.

        And, as always, Jeanne, thank you so much for this fantastic blog

      • We all keep trudging along!

  7. It’s a good speculation and at this point it’s sll we can do while continuing the search. Do you have copies of those records where Nancy applied for the pension? I’d appreciate seeing or you could post in the Bryan FB group – sometimes it takes a new eye on records to find another clue?

  8. It certainly could be true! Def another possibility!

  9. Sabrina Whitney says:

    Hi Mike,

    I do believe John Bryan had 2 wives, with more children resulting from the first marriage. I do not believe there was a divorce since Joel Mayes Bryan was born after the marriage to Elizabeth Hinkle. John Bryan RS did have a son named John Bryan, but I believe this to be one of the many sons of Nancy Mayes. I also believe that Joel Mayes Bryan and Joel Bryan Mayes are the same person and not cousins, mostly because of semantics. I am interested in the stories of their individual contributions to the Confederacy and we will research that further. Thanks for your input.

    • Sabrina Whitney says:

      Also, on the Bryan/Bryant geneaology FB page, you should know that John Bryan’s RS pension roll has been located and a very interesting letter about the Bryan family that support at least some of my speculation.

      Like you, I have heard my entire life that I look like I have indian ancestry. But now, I understand how. The Bryans that pioneered have a very interesting and prolific story.

      • Are you referring to the pension record that was posted recently in the Bryan FB group? By reading it’s entirety I don’t think this is our John – but off top of my head I can’t remember all the references that led me to that belief at the moment. If your talking abt another record please let me know

    • Mike h says:

      Dear Sabrina,

      Thanks so much for your very insightful and informative reply. I wasn’t sure how either yourself or Jeanne might react to some of those “sensitive” suggestions, I offered up in my prior comments. Glad that I did not apparently offend anyone with my possibly outlandish flights of fancy.

      There’s no question, Sabrina, that you present a compelling case for your intriguing ideas about John Bryan’s identity, ancestry and progeny, that I much appreciate. Still working out the ramifications, in my mind, and finding the welcome exercise very stimulating.

      Of possible interest, I might note that my features are all pretty much in line with your standard-issue, blue-eyed, pale-face model. My mother, on the other hand, like you, Sabrina, did not have that appearance. Rather, my mother’s “looks” had a character that might well be described as a very attractive, woman version of James Bryan, as he appears in his picture with Elizabeth. And, in that regard, I’ve often mused on the tendency for unprepossessing ol’ coots, like James, to leave to posterity a multi-generational run of truly lovely lady descendants.

      Again, Sabrina, for what my addled thoughts might be worth.


    • I’m open to other ideas, anything is possible as all this took place so long ago. I’m not sure about the two Bryan/Mayes cousins being the same though as so much as been written on them both long ago, but it’s certainly a possibility with more research. The RS pension record I believe isn’t our John Bryan but I’ll take another look at it. It’s def going to take many eyes to solve our Bryan lines going back.

  10. Sabrina Whitney says:

    Okay folks… all my previous theories have been off. For my birthday, my mom bought me an Ancestry DNA kit, and she also did one herself. Since then, I have confirmed that my Harrison Bryan is one of John and Nancy Bryan’s sons. He falls somewhere between Hetto and Joel (descendants, both of which, I have been matched to). I also have confirmed matches with descendants of Rebecca and Mary Boone. So I have been looking at the Morgan Bryan descendants, and hoo boy, did they pass the name John around. I have resolved that our John Bryan couldn’t possibly be Rebecca Boone’s brother (though my mother still adamantly believes this). I explored the possibility that he might be her father’s brother John Bryan Sr’s son, John Bryan Jr, but have ruled that out. Currently, I am considering that he may be Morgan Bryan Jr’s son, John Bryan. Many people seem to have confused Morgan Bryan Jr’s son, John Bryan, with Morgan Bryan Sr’s son, John Bryan. The mistake is certainly understandable. At any rate, because their doesn’t seem to be any information about Morgan Bryan Jr’s son, John Bryan, I am lead to believe that he may possibly be our ancestor.

    I am also chasing down a theory that Nancy Mayes was born in Kentucky. I believe John Mayes may have been among the Allied families of the Boones.

  11. RDonaghe says:

    I am so confused with this line. My husband is a direct descendant of Samuel Mayes, son of John Mayes and Charlotte Samuel and brother of Lucy who married George Ward, Nancy and Sarah “Charlotte” who married a David Elison/Allison. I have Samuel’s sister Nancy as the wife of John William Bryan and records have indicated they had only one child, son Joel Mayes Bryan Sr. That being said, my husband has DNA links to the lines of Elizabeth Bryan who married Ransom Cain, James Bryan who married Elizabeth Cain, and Tarrance Bryan who married Elizabeth Patterson. Since Nancy would by my husbands 5th great aunt and his DNA connection is via the Mayes line I don’t know how he would have DNA links to these children if they were just the children of John W. Bryan and another woman and not the children of Nancy Mayes Bryan. To my knowledge he has no other connection to the Bryan line besides via Nancy. All these children seem to have been born before the dates that I have for Nancy even being born which further confounds me.

    I am beginning to wonder if folks have gotten it all wrong and that the Nancy Mayes that married John W. Bryan was really a sister of John Mayes who married Charlotte Samuel and Lucy Mayes who married Samuel Ward. I cannot fathom any other way my husband could have a DNA link to these Bryan’s otherwise. Perhaps Nancy Mayes daughter of John and Charlotte Samuel Mayes married another Bryan, even another Bryan named John? It would also help explain all the Nancy’s a bit better. Anyone have any ideas?

  12. Mike h says:

    Dear Ms. Donaghe,

    My no-longer-young brain is always at risk of mis-reading discussions of our Bryan ancestry. However, if I understood your last comment correctly, then I think you’ve provided genetic evidence that gives a goodly boost to my heretofore half-baked, “Two Nancy Mayes Bryan” idea, that appears in the next to last para of my July 20, 2018 comment, above.

    In particular, Ms. Donaghe, if your husband descends from Samuel Mayes and Nancy Adair Mayes, then he should have no genetic linkage to the children (James Bryan, Nancy Bryan Cain, and Tarrance Bryan) of John Bryan R. S. and his wife Nancy (maiden name unknown), unless–BIG, BIG UNLESS!!!–Nancy, again, wife of John Bryan R. S., was a Mayes or Adair family member herself! In which case, it is most likely, then, that John Bryan Jr., father of Joel Mayes Bryan, married his first cousin, Nancy Mayes Bryan (same name as her aunt and mother-in-law (if her mother-in-law was not an Adair, that is)).

    That Nancy, wife of John Bryan R. S., does not appear in the Mayes, Adair, or Bryan family histories, as an aunt of Samuel Maye’s wife (daughter of Walter Washington Adair), or, alternatively, as an aunt of Samuel Mayes, himself, very possibly indicates that she was illegitimate or the product of a bigamous frontier marriage, with whatever stigma might have attached itself to that circumstance. Further, given that the Adairs were classed as “Indian” (though their ancestors were almost all white), while the Bryans were classed as “white”, then Nancy, wife of John Bryan R. S., would have been tagged, if she was an Adair, as having “Indian” blood, in addition to her speculative “irregular” birth. Just the sort of “family skeltons”, in either case, that might prompt a ruthless suppression of Nancy’s personal life story, by her own flesh and blood, and, in turn, deprive us descendants of her family history, I would opine.

    Of course, Ms. Donaghe, my “Two Nancy” theory has a “tenuous” quality to it, and perhaps your husband’s own family history can help firm the theory up (or shoot it down). Indeed, your comment may well serve to finally begin to pierce the infuriating mystery that surrounds Nancy Bryan, wife of John Bryan, R. S. If it helps, the 1840 census shows Nancy’s birth place to be South Carolina. Likewise, the birthplace of her son, James, is recorded as South Carolina in the 1880 census (though all of Nancy’s other children were apparently born in Georgia). So Nancy seems to have a family connection with South Carolina. Further, her son’s birth (again, James) was noted to have been in Sumnter County, according to his obituary (though the obituary mistakenly makes that Sumnter County, Georgia, rather than South Carolina). Somewhat confusing since both Georgia and South Carolina have Sumnter Counties, that were not yet established at the time of James’ birth. Regardless, something attracted Nancy to the area of Sumter County, S. C. to give birth to her son–and I think it most like that it was, again, family and the unsettled times in Northeastern Georgia, contemporary with Jame’s birth. But please, Ms.Donaghe, thank you sincerely for the valuable information you’ve already provided and for any further geneological info you might additionally provide.

    P. S. Jeanne, I don’t want to go off half-cocked (though a part of me would like to, I must admit), but I really think Ms. Donaghe’s comment is very possibly momentous in its potential to gain access to Nancy Bryan’s identity beyond that of wife to John Bryan, R. S., and mother to his children. Also, while I think I’ve considered all the “angles” in this comment (unlike in some of my earlier comments, above), there is always the possibility that I have not. And if not, my sheepish apologies.

  13. I’ll have to really sit down and read this again – we still all struggle to piece our Bryan lineage together. Thanks for continuing to work on it.

    • Mike h says:

      I sense that opening up my little over-heated reaction to Ms. Donaghe’s comment, may not have been the best start to your morning (or any morning), . In that regard, if there is any value in my last comment, it is that, if Ms. Donaghe’s interpretation of her husband’s DNA info is accurate, as it relates to the children of John Bryan, R. S., then we have a pretty good indication that Nancy Bryan, his wife, was either an Adair or a Mayes (I think). All the rest of the comment can be profitably ignored, I recommend.

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