A Final Look at the Bryan Family and Rebecca (MNU) Alberty, wife of Henry

I’ve spent a fair amount of time researching the family of Morgan Bryan of Rowan County, North Carolina. This is the Bryan family with very close ties to the Daniel Boone family, both through friendship and marriage. Thankfully, Morgan and most of his sons left wills identifying their children.

From those records, there are eleven possibilities if Rebecca was born a Bryan. She could be a grandchild, but it’s also possible that she might be a great grandchild.

Each succeeding generation makes it a bit more difficult to establish ties because Henry Alberty is MIA until he surfaces in the 1820 census of Rowan County, North Carolina. To quickly review Henry, he was born c1772 in Surry County, North Carolina (which formed from Rowan County in 1771), the son of Frederick Alberty and Elizabeth Krieger.

In 1850, John H(enry) and Rebecca were living with son Daniel in Vineyard Township, Washington, Arkansas and he was enumerated as a farmer. However, he was way up in his senior years at age 78 and it is more likely that Daniel was the farmer.

In spite of Henry’s stated occupation, I cannot find any land records for him in Rowan or Surry Counties, nor is he found in any census anywhere before 1820, when he was close to 40 years old with a wife and house full of children.

It has crossed my mind that Henry might have worked on someone else’s plantation in his younger years as a tradesman or perhaps as an overseer.  It’s just as likely that he was a wanderer, as were the Bryans. It was about 400 miles form Rowan County to Bryan’s Station, near today’s city of Lexington, Kentucky.

Henry’s first child was a son, born c1802-1804, but he has been lost to time. His other children included Samuel, Daniel, Henry, John S., Eliza, Sarah and Mary. There are two other unknown children – a son and another daughter, both born between 1810-1820.

None of his children’s names are unusual in any way, but Samuel and Daniel are not names found in the earlier generation of Albertys and might be a clue as to Rebecca’s family.

It so happens that Samuel does, indeed, appear in the Bryan family, as Morgan Bryan had a son named Samuel and four of Morgan’s sons gave that name to their own sons. Given the strong ties to Squire Boone and his family, it is easy to assume that Daniel crept into the family names because of Daniel Boone, who married one of Morgan’s grandchildren.

The eleven descendants of Morgan Bryan who could possibly BE Rebecca or be her parent are:

One of Joseph Bryan’s three sons – Samuel, Joseph and John Bryan, who lived in Kentucky

Samuel Bryan, one of his two sons, Samuel Jr. and Morgan or his  daughter, called “Daughter Bryan” in his Rowan County, North Carolina will

Morgan Bryan’s daughter Rebecca and his son, Morgan, named in his 1797 will in Fayette County, Kentucky

John Bryan’s son, Samuel, named in his Rowan County, North Carolina 1804 will

One of William Bryan’s sons, Samuel and Daniel, named in his 1789 Kentucky will, but which was proved in Rowan County, North Carolina

Here’s where things get a bit sticky. A first look at the Rowan County census records show but two Bryans living there in 1790. We have William with one male over 16, one under 16 and one female.  We also have Samuel, named above, who left the will a few years later that included “Daughter Bryan.”

The 1800 census has exactly ZERO Bryans living in Rowan County. It is known that Samuel visited Kentucky as late as 1797, even though he reportedly died in Rowan in 1798.

The 1810 census of Rowan County shows two families, that of Thomas and his wife, both over 45, and a Battaley Bryan from Fauquier County, Virginia.

The 1820 census has two Bryons, neither of whom live near Henry Alberty. Both are named John. The elder John is 26-44 years old, so is an age where he could be Rebecca’s brother, living in Battalion 1. The young John is probably a newlywed as he is 16-25 years old with one female his age and one male and one female under 10. He is living in Battalion #3.

Sadly, I have to admit here that I’ve lost this battle. The Bryan surname is too common and by the early 1800s, Morgan Bryan’s descendants had left North Carolina for Kentucky and then Tennessee, Missouri and other destinations.

I have never been able to track down the original source that stated Rebecca (MNU) Alberty was a Bryan or Bryant, but that fact that Henry and Rebecca named two of their three eldest children Samuel and Daniel, I have to wonder if there is a kernel of truth in this statement.

If you are an Alberty researcher and can shed any further light on the mystery of Rebecca’s maiden name, please leave a comment.



4 thoughts on “A Final Look at the Bryan Family and Rebecca (MNU) Alberty, wife of Henry”

  1. I enjoyed reading this. I have been searching for lineage of Mary “Polly” (Bryan) Hayden, whose 1805 Bourbon County, Kentucky marriage certificate has father is James Bryan, but I can’t figure out who this James Bryan is. Very similar search of many of these same characters.

    1. We hail from the same family line of Bryan and we too are searching for James Bryan’s parents. Please send me a message let’s compare notes!

  2. I am related to the Bryan/Bryant family from Rutherfordton NC. I am a great granddaughter of lee Bryan/Bryant. Stroud, and Bishop surnames. Julia Bishop, is my great grandmother.

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