"My Bryan Line"

William Bryan, brother of Morgan Bryan, is my 6th G-Grandfather, his son John Andrew Bryan who married Mary Morrison is my 5th G-Grandfather, his son Andrew Morrison Bryan who married Mary Akers is my 4th G-Grandfather, his son William Acres Bryan who married Elizabeth DeJarnette is my 3rd G- Grandfather, his son Andrew Bryan who married Mary J. Coffee is my 2nd G-Grandfather, his daughter Sarah Jane Bryan who married Lee Arthur is my Great Grandmother.


Ancestors of William Bryan - my 6th Great-Grandfather


While the immigrant ancestor of William and Morgan Bryan migrated to these shores from Ireland, he was of Anglo-Irish stock, being descended from Francis Bryan (My 10th G-Grandfather), an Englishman who was sent to Ireland in 1548 as Lord Lieutenant. Some of the writers who have compiled papers on the genealogy of the pioneer Bryans have stated that William and Morgan Bryan are descended from Brian Boru, an Irish monarch of the tenth century, and great-stem of the royal Irish house of O'Brien.

While this is true, this statement, without a word of explanation, is indefinite and misleading. Sir Francis Bryan of Buckinghamshire, and ancestor of Morgan and William Bryan, married Joan, dowager duchess of Ormond and heiress of James Fitz-Gerald. Joan's mother was the daughter of Turlogh O'Brien, and of that branch of the clan known as the "Mac-I-Brien-Ara."

The Bryan royal ancestors of Europe are linked at:



Thus do the Bryans descend from the house of O'Brien and from the mighty Boru, but only through the wife of Sir Francis Bryan, and not in the direct male line. My Bryan Family claims decent from the ancient Norman house of deBohun, the Bryans through this collateral line. Humphrey, founder of the house, and surnamed "with the beard," came into England with William the Conquer, Henry duBohun, great-grandson of Humphrey, joined the barons who obtained the concession of Magna Carta, and was one of the twenty-five appointed to insure it's 0bservance.

A comparative study of the armorial bearings of the Irish O'Briens and the English Bryans reveals that the Bryans of Carolina and Kentucky inherit and display the coat of the English Bryans. This device, described as "Or, three piles in point, azure," was first displayed by Guy, Lord Bryan, at the siege of Calais, 1345. His lordship "le bon Guyon" as he was sometimes called, was descended from a long line of Guy Bryans who settled in Devon since very early times. While there is only heraldic evidence, their name is believed to be a place name, and from the ancient Chateau de Brienne in the former province of Champagne. The generations which intervene between Lord Guy and Sir Thomas Bryan (grandfather to Sir Frances) are missing, and it is stated by Beltz (Order of the Garter) that the family of the former became extinct, but it is a matter of record at the College of Arms that Sir Thomas bore arms: three piles in point, and difference from those of Lord Guy only in the matter of color.

The earliest of the Bryan grandsires of whom there is authentic record is Sir Thomas Bryan (My 12th G-Grandfather), Chief Justice of the Common Pleas from 1471 until his death.

His will, proved December 11, 1500 mentions his son, Thomas, Thomas' wife and an illegitimate daughter. The son - Sir Thomas Bryan of Chedington, Bucks (My 11th G-Grandfather), was knighted by the seventh Henry in 1497. His wife, the Lady Margaret Bryan was a sister of John, Lord Berners, and daughter of Sir Humphrey Bourchier and his wife, Elizabeth Tylney. Through this marriage the Bryans claim descent, on the distaff side, from the houses of Bourchier, Bohun and Plantagenet.

Following the unhappy death of Anne Boleyn, Lady Margaret was made foster-mother to the princess Elizabeth, and in recognition of this service the king created the Barony of Bryan. She died in 1551, whereafter her peerage, conferred only for life, is heard of no more. An interesting account of Dame Bryan's training and her relationship to the little princess, is contained in Agnes Strickland's "Lives of the Queens of England."

Her son and heir - Sir Francis Bryan (My 10th G-Grandfather), had a prominent place at the court of Henry VIII. Together with Sir Thomas Wyatt, George Boleyn and Nicholas Carew, he was one of a coterie, the members of which were the companions of the sovereign. Sir Francis was educated at Oxford, was M.P. for Buckinghamshire from 1542 to 1544, and a member of the Privy Council until the close of Henry's reign. At the beginning of the reign of Edward VI, he was given large grants of land, which through the dissolution of the monasteries had reverted to the crown. In 1520 he was knighted, and during this year attended Henry at the Field of Cloth and Gold.

The circumstances under which he removed to Ireland are curious and interesting. In 1548, James Butler, Earl of Ormond, an Irish noble whose powerful influence was obnoxious to the government at Dublin, died in London of poison. Thereupon his widow, Joan, daughter or James Fitz-Gerald, sought to marry her relative Gerald Fitz-Gerald. To prevent this marriage, which would have united the leading representatives of the two chief Irish noble houses, Sir Francis was induced to prefer a suit to the lady himself. In the autumn of that same year, he married the widowed countess, was shortly nominated Lord Marshal or Ireland, and sent to Dublin. He died in February, 1550, at Clonmel, and was buried at Waterford.

The data concerning the ancestry of Sir Francis Bryan is based on research done by The Society of Genealogists, London. Much of this material is also contained in "The Dictionary of National Biography" and "The Complete Peerage."

For the line showing the descent of William and Morgan Bryan from Sir Francis, the writer is indebted to the late Gordon M. Ash, Esq. Of Frederick, MD, a Bryan descendant, and lately genealogist to the Society of Descendants of Knights of the Garter. It has also been published in Carter R. Bryan's, "The Bryan Family," Armstrong's "Notable Southern Families, " J. W. Shearer's, "The Shearer-Akers Family," and various articles on the ancestry of Morgan's brother, William.

Sir Francis Bryan (My 10th G-Grandfather) was twice married, first to Phillippa Montgomery, by whom he had a son, Sir Edward Bryan. By Lady Joan, he had a son, Francis, who married Ann, daughter of Sir William Smith. From his mother, the second Francis Bryan (My 9th G-Grandfather) inherited estates in County Clare. His son, William Smith Bryan, (My 8th G-Grandfather) attempted to gain the throne of Ireland, and in 1650 Cromwell deported him as a troublesome subject. Together with eleven sons and a shipload of chattels, including horses and other livestock, he landed at Gloucester Beach, Virginia, and his twenty-one sons and grandsons settled Gloucester County, Virginia. An article in "The Thoroughbred Record" credits him with being among the first to bring horses to America.

In time the eldest of his sons, Francis Bryan III, (My 7th G-Grandfather) returned to Ireland and tried to regain the Clare County estates, but being persecuted by the government he was obliged to seek refuge in Denmark. He was born about 1630, married Sarah Brinker, a cousin to the Princess of Orange. He was permitted to return to Ireland about 1683, and is said to have been standard bearer to William of Orange at the battle of the Boyne. He died in Belfast in 1694.







Francis Byron III and the Battle of the Boyne














































Francis Bryan III, (My 7th G-Grandfather), had two sons, William, born in Ireland, and Morgan, born in Demark. Both came to America.

William (My 6th G-Grandfather) was the first to settle at the present site of Roanoke, VA and died there at the age of 104.

From the time of his arrival until his marriage in 1719 to Martha Storde, not much is known of the movements of his brother, Morgan Bryan. Martha Strode's parents had migrated from France to escape religious persecution. Her mother died at sea, leaving three children, who were provided for by their shipmates until they came of age. Martha died in Virginia in 1747, and it was about a year later that Morgan Bryan began his epic journey through the Blue Ridge to the Yadkin Country, to found what came to be known as the Bryan Settlements in Rowan County, NC. His route was afterward called "Morgan Bryan's Road." It is related that at one point he was obliged to take his wagon apart, carry it piece by piece over a mountain, and reassemble it on the other side. He died about July 1763. A copy of his will is contained in Mr. J. R. Cooper's "The Bryan Families of Fayette County," and it is apparent from this document that he had prospered at the Settlement. He reared seven sons and two daughters, namely: Joseph, born c. 1720; Eleanor, born c. 1722; Mary, c. 1724; Samuel, c. 1726; Morgan, c 1728; John, c. 1731; William, c 1733; James, c. 1735; and Thomas, about 1737.

Researchers who have delved into the Kentucky pioneer period of the Bryan annals have found their task somewhat less arduous than those who have searched out and listed the Morgan Bryan ancestry. Interest in the brothers William and Morgan, founder of Bryan's Station, and in Rebecca Bryan, wife of Daniel Boone, has uncovered the wealth of material to be had from the Fayette County records, family Bibles, gravestones, and two notable collections of family papers, known as the "Shane and Draper Collections." Thanks to these sources, present day descendants of Morgan and Martha Strode Bryan are enabled to complete their lines of descent from their immigrant ancestors.

Daniel Boone married a Bryan, his brother, Edward, married another, his sister, Mary, a third, and these Boone-Bryan alliances were continued into following generations. Joseph, eldest son of Morgan Bryan, taught young Dan'l to ride and to handle a rifle. Friends and neighbors in Pennsylvania, the two families continued their close association on the Yadkin River in North Carolina, and in time blazed the trail together to settle the land of blue-grass and rhododendron.

When in the autumn of 1773 Boone made his first attempt to settle Kentucky, the Bryans were among the "forty well-armed men" who joined him in Powell's Valley. After being attacked by Indians as they approached Cumberland Gap, and having several of their number slain, and after retreating forty miles back on the trail over which they had come, most of the company rested a while at Blackmore's fort on the Clinch River, before moving back to North Carolina.

The Bryans, however, remained at the Clinch settlement, and again joined Boone when he returned there in 1775 to take his family to Boonesborough. Thence they moved on northward to the Elkhorn, where during the autumn and winter of 1775 they built the stockade fort, which bore their name. The siege of Bryan's Station and the subsequent battle at the Blue Licks, were Rev. War Battles of national as well as local importance.

Friends and kinsmen in the several colonial communities in which they lived, it is a curious circumstance that the ancestors of both the Boones and the Bryans were long settled in Devonshire, and that both families claim decent from the ancient Norman house of deBohun, the Bryans through a collateral line.

Humphrey, founder of the house, and surnamed "with the beard," came into England with William the Conquer, Henry duBohun, great-grandson of Humphrey, joined the barons who obtained the concession of Magna Carta, and was one of the twenty-five appointed to insure it's 0bservance.

When in 1799 Boone, finding Kentucky too crowded for him, sought "elbow room" in what is now Missouri, he was not long separated from the Bryans. Shortly thereafter, Jonathan, son of James Bryan, as if to continue the Boone-Bryan tradition, followed him to the Femme Osage region and settled within half a mile of him. "However, for the most part, the Bryans were content to remain on the dark and bloody ground. The restlessness, which had so long characterized both families, appears to have ended for them once their roots were embedded in Kentucky's rich limestone soil.

Rebecca Ann (Bryan) Boone (January 9, 1739 March 18, 1813) was an American pioneer and the wife of famed frontiersman Daniel Boone. No contemporary portrait of her exists, but people who knew her said that when she met her future husband she was nearly as tall as he and very attractive with black hair and dark eyes.

She was born near Winchester, Virginia. Her father was Joseph Bryan, Sr. but there is no clear documentation as to her birth mother. Some say her mother, Hester Hampton, died in childbirth, and that Alice (or Aylee) Linville, Joseph Bryan's second wife, raised her. Rebecca is the 2nd cousin of Andrew Morrison Bryan, and my 2nd cousin 6 times removed.


When she was ten, Rebecca moved with her Quaker grandparents Morgan and Martha (Strode) Bryan, to the Yadkin River valley in the backwoods of North Carolina. Meanwhile, the young Daniel Boone's family settled near the Bryans in North Carolina. Rebecca and Daniel began their courtship in 1753 and married three years later.

Rebecca married Daniel Boone in a triple wedding on August 14, 1756, in Yadkin River, North Carolina at the age of 17.


My Bryan Line

Generations In America

Bryan No. 1

William Smith Bryan. A landholder in Ireland, probably Claire co., when Cromwell invaded Ireland in 1650; was transported as a "rebellious subject" to the American colonies, with his family of eleven sons and a ship's load of goods and chattels. He settled in Gloucester co., VA. Francis was the oldest of the 11 sons.

Bryan No. 2

Francis Bryan III returned to Ireland in 1677 to recover his hereditary titles and estates, but was so persecuted by the English government that he sought refuge in Denmark.

Son - Morgan, b. 1687, m. about 1719, Martha Strode. Chester co., Pa. Later to present Frederick Co., VA.

Son - William b. 1685, m. Margaret Brockers, sent his little son, John, to the woods to cut a stick for the handle of a hook used in weaving, and he was arrested for "poaching." After much trouble and expense he got him cleared and immediately sailed for America, where, as he said, "Timber is free and no constables." They were Presbyterians and lived at Ballyrony, County Down, the neighboring town of "Bryansford being named from some of the family.




Bryan No. 3


William Bryan b. 1685 m. Margaret Brockers, d. near Roanoke City, aged 104, in 1789. About 1745 he moved to and was the first settler at present Roanoke, VA. He settled at "Lake Spring now a suburb of Roanoke City.

William Smith Bryan 1685 - 1789 - My 6th G-Grandfather by E. David Arthur

Married Margaret Brockers


Father of John Andrew Bryan


Family Memorial Stone

West Hill Cemetery - City of Salem, Virginia USA Plot: GPS: 37.29313 - 080.06825


This Cemetery is reported to be on the site of the Bryan Family Cemetery, no marked stones from the early family burials are present.































William Bryan and wife Margaret Brockers with son John, migrated from Banbridge, County Down, Northern Ireland in 1718. They brought with them a letter of commendation from the Ballyroney Presbyterian Church. They lived first in PA, then in NJ before moving into VA around the year 1730. They finally settled in the Roanoke, VA community about the year 1746.


The Church Letter - Ballyroney, April 17, 1718. "The bearer hereof, William Bryan, who hath been a useful Member of this Congregation, being now about to Transport himself & family to America .These are to certify that he & his wife Margaret Bryan were of good repute among us having always deserved the Laudable character of a blameless and Gospel conversation & so deserve encouragement and a kind and cheerful reception into any Christian Society where the Providence of God may cast their lot as also admissions to sealing ordinances in an orderly way all of which is certified by us." James Donnell, William Vance, William Doan, John Truesdale, James Dodd, James Moore, Mod., George Irvin, C.S., Francis Wood, Robert McMullan, James McLorver, John Stewart, James. Paxton.


(In the lower left hand corner a notation, which is in the hand of William Bryan, the emigrant, the words, "My age to the year of our Lord is 90 years.")


William and his family first settled at Donegal, now Lancaster County, PA where he helped to organize Donegal Township and Donegal Presbyterian Church in 1721and 1722 respectively. Not satisfied with quit-rent title to his land, he moved to West New Jersey near present day Salem.


About 1730 we find William, along with other Scotch Irish Presbyterians, pushing into the Shenandoah Valley of VA. He appears frequently in the records of Spotsylvania Co. and later in Orange Co. records. On the 2nd of Nov. 1731, he is mentioned as a planter in Spotsylvania Co., VA. In 1734 his name is recorded as William Bryan of St. Thomas Parish, Orange Co., VA., as a member of the first grand jury in Orange County. In 1743 he purchased land from Richard Thomas near Somerset, Orange Co., VA.


In 1748 he purchased 400 acres on the Roanoke River which became the Bryan Homestead. William was one of the first to settle at the present site of Roanoke, and died there at the age of 104.


Son John Andrew Bryan b. 1712 Banbridge, Down, Ireland - d. 1799, m. Mary Morrison, a Scotch-Irish Presbyterian. About 1745 moved to the Burden colony, near present Fairfield, Rockbridge Co., VA, founded 1737, the furtherest colony then in the valley of Va. A few years later he moved to the Staunton river colony and settled where the town of Salem now stands.

Bryan No. 4

John Andrew Bryan, m. Mary Morrison. Troubled by Indians, he traded his land on Staunton river for a pair of cart wheels and moved in 1763 to present Campbell Co., VA.; bought 320 acres from Richard Stith on Molly's Creek and 439 acres from Benj. Arnold at its head and built a hut about 2 miles southeast of present Rustburg, VA. John Andrew Bryan was a Rev. War Vet. A lot on this place was used for many years after the Revolution as a muster ground. Campbell court house was built about 1782 on 40 acres covering the spring which heads Molly's Creek, given by George Rust, soon after the county was cut off from Bedford.

Son Andrew Morrison, b. 1748-4-25, m. Mary Akers, was also a Revolutionary War Veteran. In 1773 he received 156 acres from the large tract on Molly's Creek. Mary Akers was the daughter of William Akers.



Bryan No. 5

Andrew Morrison Bryan is married to Mary Akers and living in Campbell County, VA in 1810.


Name [Andrew Bryan]

[Andrew M Briant]

Andrew M Brant

Home in 1810 (City, County, State) Lynchburg, Campbell, Virginia

Free White Persons - Males - 16 thru 25 2

Free White Persons - Males - 45 and over 1

Free White Persons - Females - 45 and over 1

Numbers of Slaves 2

Number of Household Members Over 25 2

Number of Household Members 6



Bryan No. 6

William Akers Bryan wife Elizabeth Dejarnette her Father is James Pemberton DeJarnette





A few homes away from Andrew Morrison Bryan, in the same community is the son of Andrew Morrison Bryan, William Akers Bryan with his wife Elizabeth DeJarnette (married in 1806) in the 1810 Census, same page.


Name of the head of family

Number of free white males under age 10 2

Number of free white males age 10-15 -

Number of free white males age 16-25 -

Number of free white males age 26-44 1

Number of free white males age 45 and over -

Number of free white females under age 10 1

Number of free white females age 10-15 -

Number of free white females age 16-25 -

Number of free white females age 26-44 1

Number of free white females age 45 and over -

Number of all other free persons -

Number of slaves 1


Two sons in this census under the age of 10. One of these sons is Andrew Bryan born in March of 1810.


William Akers Bryan was reported to be a sleep walker who would get up and harness his horse in his sleep.





By the 1820 Census Andrew Morrison Bryan has moved his family to Ohio, most if not all of his younger children move with him.


By the 1820 Census William Akers Bryan and his young family have moved to Halifax County, VA and are living next door to Walker DeJarnette, the brother of his wife Elizabeth DeJarnette.


Andrew b. 1810 is also in this 1820 census listed as (Male - 10 thru 15 - 1) since the other male from the 1810 census listed as Under 10, is not counted, the assumption is he has died.




1820 United States Federal Census

Name William A Briant

Home in 1820 (City, County, State) Meadsville, Halifax, Virginia

Enumeration Date August 7, 1820

Free White Persons - Males - Under 10 3

Free White Persons - Males - 10 thru 15 1

Free White Persons - Males - 26 thru 44 1

Free White Persons - Females - Under 10 2

Free White Persons - Females - 26 thru 44 1

Number of Persons - Engaged in Agriculture 2

Number of Persons - Engaged in Manufactures 1

Free White Persons - Under 16 6

Free White Persons - Over 25 2

Total Free White Persons 8

Total All Persons - White, Slaves, Colored, Other 8


William Akers Bryan continued to live in Halifax County until his death in 1835.


Bryan No. 7


The son of William Akers Bryan.


Andrew Bryan b. 1810 is married in 1842 in Bedford County to Mary Jane Coffee and they live in Campbell County until their death sometime after 1900 before 1910.


Their daughter Sarah Jane Bryan marries H. Lee Arthur of Campbell County.


On December the 12, 1866 Lee Arthur obtained a License in Campbell County to marry Sarah Jane Bryan a resident of Campbell County, Virginia.

On December 13, 1866 they were married at the home of Andrew Bryan, father of the bride, with the ceremony performed by William Craft. Sarah Jane Bryan was born in 1843 the daughter of Andrew Bryan and Mary J. Coffee. Andrew Bryan and Mary J. Coffee were married in Bedford County, Virginia on June 8, 1842. Mary J. Coffee was the daughter of Joshua A. Coffee, the son of Abner Coffee, the son of William Coffee.




According to a recorded deed in Halifax County on March 1, 1884, Lee Arthur purchased 80 acres of land from Davis and Malvina Pigg for the sum of $600. This property is on the North side of the Banister River. This property is accessed from VA State Route 774 aka Peaks Trail.







Their son William Thomas Arthur was born in 1869, in the same Halifax County community that Sarah Jane Bryan's Grandparents lived (William Akers Bryan and Elizabeth DeJarnett). Eliz. Dejarnett's family and ancestors had been in this community for over a century and are still there today.


William (Willie) Thomas Arthur married Anselona Wade and lived and farmed on "The Guthrie Place", their oldest son, Jonnie, married Maggie Guthrie.

My father, Edgar Wilson Arthur was born in Halifax Co. VA on the Guthrie farm in 1909. My Grandfather William Arthur moved his family to Lunenburg County VA around 1914-1915. He bought a tract of land bordering on the "Poor House Road" which extended across Hounds Creek and on across what is today "Tomlinson Road", the tract was divided into 3 farms, the Northern tract was the farm of William and Anselona, the tract on the Southern side of Tomlinson Road was the farm of Jonnie and Maggie (oldest son) and the middle tract between Hounds Creek and Tomlinson road was the farm of William's oldest daughter Elsie and her husband Haynie Tomlinson, hence the name Tomlinson Road.


The Northern tract, the farm of William and Anselona, is now the Victoria Golf Course, with the exception of two acres on the Northwest corner which my father, Edgar Arthur bought from his father to build his home on. The home on this two acres is where I was born.


By Edgar David Arthur, August 16th, 2019.


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