Bryan is a surname based upon habitation, that is to say, based upon where a person lived or came from. The Dictionary of American Family Names[i] indicates it derives from either of two places called Brionne in northern France (in Eure and Creuse). It also has derivations from the Celtic personal name Brian as in “O’Brian.”
It has been my experience that Bryan and Bryant seem to be interchangeable in my wife’s family line and that occasionally, a Bryan might be known as a Bryant.
This Indenture made this the 3rd day of April in the year of our lord
Christ One Thousand Seven Hundred Ninety Four between Robert
Bryan of Martin county and Province of North Carolina of the one
part and Lewis Bryan of the County and province aforesaid of the other
part ??? ??? that the said Robert Bryan for and in Consideration
of the sum of one hundred pounds give to him in land ??? ??? to
in him off?? do our knowledge therein of these with fully satisfied and paid and ??
in faith granted buy and sold and by these presents doth grant bargain
see unto the said Lewis Bryan his heirs and assigns forever a tract of land
Containing one hundred ninety acres lying and being in the county of Martin
On the south side of Conoho Creek Beginning at a point in Hampton ?? ???
Tence No 59 N E 180 Pole asine Thence no 35 W S45 pole to asire on the ???
Thence along the ?? Creek to 59 E b 180 pole to an path thence to 35 EB 145 pole
Bryan ?? by deed of sale proved and registered in the registrar’s office of
??? county together with all houses buildings & privileges ??? residences
to the same belonging or in anywise appertaining unto the said Lewis Bryan
his heirs and assigns forever. In witness ?? of I Robert Bryan hise???
In the presence of ??? Witness.
John Hyman Durat
Catron Bryan (Her Mark) [Plain “X”]
Robert R Bryan (His Mark)
Residences: Robert Bryan and Lewis Bryan were alive on 3 Apr 1894 and both lived in Martin County, North Carolina
Event: Property Sale – Robert Bryan sold 190 acres in Martin County for 100 pounds to Lewis Brian. I am unable to decipher the physical location of the property other than it appears to be adjoining Conoho Creek.
Birth: 2 March 1755 – Oak City, Halifax County, North Carolina.
There are several sources regarding Lewis’ birth that indicate he was born on March 2nd, the year is somewhat in question. The best is a Roots Web message board where a person indicates that he or she has access to a bible with the 2 March date but the year was difficult to read, but thought it said 1756. I definitely want to see if I can get a copy of the page to confirm it myself. Two of the DAR descendants records indicate birth year as 1756 as well. Another possibility is 1757. The “Martin County Heritage” article by Sara Long Johnson indicates 1757; so does a different DAR descendant record (Nat’l #: 710397).
Excerpt from 1800 Census – North Carolina, Martin, Halifax, Pg 3
However, I believe that Lewis was born in 1755 (or earlier). The 1800 Census indicates that Lewis was 45 or older. With his birthday being in March, he had to have been born in 1755 or earlier in order to be “45 or older” for the census enumeration in August of 1800.
Oak City was in Halifax County until 1774, when Martin County was created.
I believe there may have been three marriages. one about 1777, a second marriage about 1787 and, possibly, a third marriage on about the time of John’s birth in 1788.
It is not really clear when Lewis married Lucretia. All three of the DAR Descendant records indicate he married in 1788. However, either there was a first wife or Lewis and Lucretia “lived in sin” for a number of years. I believe there was a first wife, whose name we do not know.
1878 – Catherine
1779 – Turner
1781 – Mary
1783 – Silas
(Possible 2nd marriage between 1783 & 1788)
1788 – John
(Possible 3rd marriage in 1788? )
All of the DAR records are consistent that Lewis’s parents, Robert and Elizabeth Bryan, died on the same date, 3 April 1794.
Lewis lived in Martin County all of his life. In 1797, he lived in “District 7.” Likewise, the 1800 Census indicates they lived in Martin County.
His son, Turner, was married in 1802 and his son John married in 1810.
His wife Lucretia probably died in December, 1829. I suggest that because Lewis signed a new will on Dec. 24, 1830. His new will did not mention his wife. It does mention the following:
Daughter: Catherine Hyman
Son: Turner Bryan
Son: Silus Bryan
Son: William Bryan
Son: John Bryan
Daughter: Mary P Mayo
It also mentions a Granddaughter: Sally Hyman.
(Note: Although William was named to receive some items directly, he was not mentioned to receive a portion of the remaining inheritance.)
The DAR records indicate that Lewis died on 24 December, 1829. This is the date he signed his will, so, it is unlikely his actual death date. The “Martin County Heritage” article and another researcher on the Roots Web Board indicate that Lewis died on 6 January, 1830, which is a much more likely date. Lewis’ will was probated during the April 1830 session of the court. I believe that the 6 January, 1830 date is the correct date for Lewis’ passing.
In his will, Lewis asked that his body “be committed to mother Earth.” Searches at Find-a-Grave and at Billion Graves did not result in finding a marked gravesite. Likewise, a search of various sites regarding cemeteries in Martin County did not return any results. Other documents indicate that there was once a “Bryan Family Cemetery.” I have been unable to associate that cemetery with any cemeteries in the area. This is definitely an area for further research.
The Great Ancestors
Deborah Ann Long
Martha Ann Bryan
Robert Bryan (Patriot)
Future Action Items:
Confirm Bible Record.
Confirm Robert & Elizabeth Bryan died same date, 3 April 1794.
Document mention of the “Bryan family cemetery,” (make sure my memory isn’t thinking of a “Price family cemetery or something else), find where it may exist today, then search for Lewis Bryan’s marker.
If you have any thoughts, agreements or disagreements regarding any of my statements, findings, or thoughts, please leave a comment or email me directly. I would love to share research on North Carolina’s Martin County Bryans.