Inconsistencies with Samuel Aquilla Long (1817-c.1870)

By – Don Taylor

Sometimes, I feel like I am marching to the beat of a different drummer.  Or as my mother might say, “Look at my son, he is in step, but everyone else is out of step.” Once again, that is the case in my research of Samuel Aquilla Long. The problem is that there are a couple things that just don’t make sense to me, so I need to make a different determination of what I believe are the facts.
The first conflict of facts is easy. Various sources, including the DAR Descendants Database indicate that Samuel Aquilla Long died on 3 April 1866.[1]  However, he is clearly in the 1870 Census, alive and well.

Certainly, the census taker writes the names of Sam’s wife and daughter [Martha] in a way that indexers have had trouble reading, and I can’t fault them. But, the names and ages of the children all match up correctly.  Consequently, I have little doubt that Samuel Aquilla Long died sometime after 1 June 1870, and probably sometime after 30 July 1870 when the enumerator visited the area.
The Martin County Heritage, an awesome book, has an article about Samuel Aquilla Long, written by Sarah Long Johnson. Sarah was the great-granddaughter of Samuel Aquilla Long. In her article,[2] almost in passing, she mentions that Samuel (son of John Long) m. Martha Ann Bryan. Over the years, I have been struggling to find some corroborating evidence to support Samuel’s father’s name without success.    The public trees I’ve found don’t provide a source for Samuel’s father’s name or go back to Sarah Long Johnson’s article in Martin County Heritage.

The second issue is a bit more complicated.

The problem occurred when I attempted to follow Samuel back to the 1840 Census.
The 1870 Census indicated Samuel was 50.
The 1860 Census indicated Samuel was 40.
The 1850 Census indicated Samuel was 33. (Humm.)
Every record I’ve found indicates that Samuel was born in Martin County. He married in Martin County in 1844.  Consequently, I believe that Samuel had to be in Martin County in 1840.
A search of the 1840 Census looking for Samuel had no results. Because the 1840 Census only indicates the names of Heads of Households, I didn’t expect Samuel to be listed; I figured the 20-23-year-old was probably living with his parents. So then I searched for John.  Nothing.
I figured something must be amiss and searched for surname Long in Martin County in 1840 Census. There were four heads of households in Martin County. Joshua, Stephen, W.B., and Gracey Long.  “W.B. was the only person in his household, so that couldn’t be Samuel. The only other person with a 20-30-year-old male in the household was Stephen Long.
A review of the 1830 Census yielded similar results. In that Census, there were two children ages 10 to 15 in the household where Stephen Long was the head of household.
Sadly, the 1820 Census records for Martin County were lost.[3]
Many scenarios can explain my findings.

Sarah was incorrect about Samuel’s father’s name being John, and it is Stephen instead.
Samuel’s father was named John Stephen or Stephen John making both names for the same person.
Samuel’s father John had died before 1830 and Samuel lived with Stephen Long in 1830 & 1840.
Samuel wasn’t born and raised in Martin County.


Usually, I would write a biography about Samuel Aquilla Long at this point.  However, because of the above issue and problems and some other inconsistencies in my records, I’ve decided that things are too messed up for me to make sense of the Long family of Martin County, North Carolina. 

Further Actions:

Contact the Martin County Historical Society and see if they have anyone researching Samuel Aquilla Long’s ancestors. [Email sent 5/9/2016.] 
Perform a Surname/Location study for all Longs in Martin County before 1880. There were only 34 individuals with the surname of Long and only nine people with the surname identified as “Head of Household” in Martin County in 1880. So, a Surname/Study should be relatively easy in this case. I should also particularly look for siblings of Samuel Aquilla Long and look for offspring of Stephen Long. 
Determine the relationship of the children, John & James in relation to Martha Ann as they were born before her marriage to Samuel. 

List of Greats

1.     Deborah Ann Long
2.    Samuel Aquilla Long
3.     John Long (or Stephen Long)

[1] DAR Descendants Database, National Number #517846
[2] Hughes, Shelby Jean Nelson. 1980. Martin County heritage. Williamston, N.C.: Martin County Historical Society. “The Samuel Long Family” Article #579.
[3] Family Search Wiki: North Carolina Censuses Existing and Lost; 1820 Census;  Currituck, Franklin, Martin, Montgomery, Randolph, and Wake counties missing.

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Martha Ann Bryan Long (1820-c.1900)

52 Ancestors #15 – Martha Ann Bryan Long (1820-c1900)

Bio –Martha Ann Bryan Long (1820-c.1900)

Martha Ann Bryan was born on the 24th of April,
1820, the fourth of nine children of John W Bryan and Cherry Price of Martin
County, North Carolina.
She grew up in Martin County.  When she was sixteen, her mother Cherry died.
Her father then married one of Cherry’s cousins.
In 1844 Martha married Samuel Aquilla Long, also of Martin
Ariel view Conoho Creek on right.
Thanks to Google Maps.
In 1860,  the family
lived in District 9, Martin County, North Carolina and had a mail address of
Hamilton.  Apparently they lived about half way between
Goose Nest and Conoho Creek.  An area
that today is open farmland.
It isn’t clear, but it appears that Martha & Samuel may
have had 11 children.
John          b.
abt 1841
Joseph      b.
28 Mar 1844
William     b.
at 1845
Ann           b.
7 Jul 1846
Mary         b.
abt 1848
Sarah        b.
7 May 1850
Benjamin  b.
8 May 1852
Susan        b.
abt 1854
Martha     b.
abt 1856
10. Samuel     b. abt 1860
11. Jennie       b. 24 Jun 1962
A review of the 1860 and the 1870 Censuses indicates there
was only one Sam, or Samuel Long in Martin County. So I’m fairly certain that
the Samuel A Long from Martin County who fought in the Civil War was Martha’s
husband.  Certainly the  Civil War would have been a difficult time
for Martha with a husband and one or two teenage sons of service age.  Her husband, Samuel, served for the
Confederacy enlisting as a private and coming out of the war as a second Lieutenant.
 I am sure that Joseph served as
well.  I have a lot more research to
confirm their participation in the war.
General Hospital #24 (aka Moore’s Hospital)
In September of 1862, Martha’s husband Samuel donated one
barrel of vegetables to the Moore’s Hospital (aka General Hospital #24) in  Richmond, Virginia.  According to Civil War Richmond,
hospital #24 was a converted tobacco factory. The three-storied, flat-roofed,
brick building. Opened summer-1861 and was first used for Union prisoners. It
was taken over by North Carolina on 29 July 1864.

There is a “family Story”
regarding  Martha’s Civil war experience.
It is said, “that the family hid everything of value deep in the stored cotton.
The mules, horses, and cows were taken to the woods and tied, leaving only one
young horse, Hector, who had never been bridled. A Yankee officer strapped his
overcoat to the colt’s back and took him with them. That night he broke loose
and came home.
“Also related that the Yankees plundered the
house and took every feather bead to the yard where they had great fun cutting
them open and yelling “It’s snowing, it’s snowing.  They also cut the feet of the chickens, geese
and young pigs leaving them in great misery.”

It is notable that the 1880 census indicates Martha living without her husband, however, she is listed as married (not widowed). I’ve searched at length and have been unable to find her husband in the 1880 censuses anywhere, so I believe he passed before 1880.

I’m not sure when Martha Ann passed. It appears that she was alive in 1870 and 1880 censuses. She doesn’t show in the 1900 census that I can find, so I believe she died before 1900. The DAR Descendants database indicates that she died in Martin County but none of the entries indicate a death date. Likewise, she is not identified in Find-a-grave or Billion Graves.

We remember Martha Ann Bryan Long, my wife’s 2nd great grandmother as the 194th anniversary of her birth approaches next week.

List of Great Ancestors

Ann Debora Long 
Martha Ann Bryan
John W. Bryan
Lewis Bryan
Robert Bryan (the patriot)

Further Research
Finding a record of Martha Ann Bryan Long’s death and cemetery record.
Exploring the lives of her children in greater detail to find additional connections.

Census Records:

1850 Census – Martin, North Carolina; Roll: M432_636; Page: 426B.
1860 Census – District 9, Martin, North Carolina; Roll: M653_905; Page: 443.
1870 Census – Hamilton, Martin, North Carolina, Pages 59 & 60. 
1880 Census – Goose Nest, Martin, North Carolina, ED 103, Page 32. 

Daughters of the American Revolution Database,

Member # 639203 – Ancestor # A016279. Robert Bryan.
Member # 517846 – Ancestor # A016279. Robert Bryan.
Member # 597793 – Ancestor # A016279. Robert Bryan.

Hughes, S. J. N., & Martin County Historical Society (N.C.), Martin County Heritage (Williamston, NC, , 1980), Article # 89 – John Bryan Family.

Newspapers.Com – Semi-Weekly Standard (Raleigh, North Carolina) 10 Sep 1862, Page 1.
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Lewis Bryan (1755-1830)

52 Ancestors #8 – Lewis Bryan (1755-1830)

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
Thanks: Ancestry.Com

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

  1. Deborah Ann Long
  2. Martha Ann Bryan
  3. John Bryan
  4. Lewis Bryan 
  5. 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.