Morgan and Martha Bryan had seven sons who lived to adulthood. Documenting their life activities and descendants is not an easy job, given that they moved several times, likely from Pennsylvania to Virginia to North Carolina and then made numerous trips to and lived in Kentucky.
Normally, I would focus on Bryans/Bryants who were living in Rowan County in 1820. However, a big monkey wrench in that plan is that Henry Alberty, Rebecca’s husband, had children approaching 20 years of age by that time and I have no idea whatsoever where he was living between 1790 and 1810.
That means that he might have meandered over to Kentucky and married Rebecca there. One of his siblings has ties to Georgia. He could have been down there, too. In the 1830s, Henry’s son, Daniel, married in Indiana.
Suffice it to say that with no idea where Henry was living before Rowan County, I need to look at all potential Bryans/Bryants as prospective parents for his wife, Rebecca.
Please note that I am not transcribing all these wills, as I am simply looking for names of heirs. If you are interested in a particular will, I have cited each will book and page where they are found.
Here we go:
- Joseph Bryan, likely born c1720 and the eldest son of Morgan and Martha is found in Fayette County, Kentucky on the 1787 and 1800 tax lists there. He is said to have married Alyee Linville, but no marriage record has been found. He earlier lived on Opequon Creek in Frederick County, Virginia, south side of the south branch per Draper Manuscripts, before removing to Rowan County, North Carolina where other family members had settled. Joseph Bryan left a will, dated 20 November 1804 and proved on 4 March 1805 in Jefferson County, Kentucky. (Will of Joseph Bryan, Jefferson County, KY, 1804, Will Book 1:158-160
In this will, Joseph named his wife, Alee, sons, Samuel, Joseph and John Bryan (called youngest son), daughters, Martha Boon and Rebecca Boon, Mary Howard, Susanne Hinkle, Aylee Howard, Phoebe Forbis, Charity Davis, Eleanor Adams, and grandchildren, Aylee Adams, Noah Adams, Jacob Adams, and Wilah Adams. His two sons, Joseph and John Bryan were appointed as executors.
From this will, it is evident that Joseph was not the father of Rebecca who married Henry Alberty. Joseph did have a daughter Rebecca – she was the wife of Daniel Boone.
However, Joseph did have three sons – Samuel, Joseph and John Bryan, so I will need to take a look at them.
2. Next we have Samuel Bryan, born c1724. Although Samuel ventured to Kentucky during the 1770s, he seemed to prefer North Carolina, dying in 1798 in Rowan County. He married Elizabeth, who some say (no documentation) was a McMahon.
Like brother Joseph, Samuel left a will and it leaves a curious loophole in it:
Will of Samuel Bryan, Rowan County, NC, 1798
Will Book D: 67-68
Samuel named his wife, Elizabeth, sons Samuel and Morgan, and daughters Martha, Eleanor, and Keziah all called Bryan, Ann Enochs, Margaret Ellis, Suzanne Bryan, Sarah Linville and Elizabeth Hampton. Suzanne evidently married a Bryan cousin, given that she is listed among her married sisters.
Curiously, though, after son Morgan’s bequest is one to “Daughter Bryan”:
Since Samuel clearly had unmarried daughters and named no daughter as Rebecca, and Rebecca (MNU) Alberty was born c1783, it is certainly possible that whoever transcribed this will omitted the name of this daughter, who could be “my” Rebecca.
In addition to this omission, Samuel lived in Rowan County, as Henry did later, AND Henry named his second son, born c1806, Samuel. That was not a name previously found in the Alberty family.
Why oh why did the clerk not write the name of this daughter in his will book????
3. Morgan Jr., was born c1725 and was in Kentucky by 1775 per Draper Manuscripts. Morgan, too, left a will dated 29 September 1794 but not proved until July 1804 in Fayette County, Kentucky.
Will of Morgan “Bryant” Sr., Fayette County, KY, 1804
Will Book A:176
Morgan made bequests to his wife, not named, daughter Rebecca, son Morgan and Mary, daughter of his son Joseph Bryant. There is no indication as to whether Rebecca was married. If this is “my” Rebecca, then she wouldn’t have been married in 1794, but would be by the time the will was entered into court records in 1804. If Morgan who wrote the will is this man, then there is a daughter Rebecca who could be the one who married Henry Alberty. Morgan Bryan would have been about 58 when she was born c1783. Not impossible or even improbable, particularly if he married more than once.
4. John Bryan was born c1730 and married Sarah. Although he was in Kentucky by 1773, if information in the Draper Manuscripts is correct, he apparently moved back and forth to North Carolina as his will, written in 1797, was filed in Rowan County in 1804:
Will of John Bryan, Rowan County, NC, 1804
Will Book D:1-2
John made bequests to wife, Sarah, and children – Samuel, Jean Orten, Elizabeth Davis, Sarah Allen and Mary Huey. He also made a bequest to John Bryan, son of his deceased son, John. John clearly did not have a daughter named Rebecca, so he can be struck off the list as a potential father. However, I need to research his son, Samuel, who might be the father of Rebecca (MNU) Alberty.
5. William Bryan was born c1732 and died by 1782, when his will was proved in Rowan County, North Carolina, and possibly soon after 23 May 1780 in Kentucky County, as it was then called. (From Draper Manuscripts: The death of William Bryan was greatly lamented. His wound in the knee mortified. It was not at first thought to be dangerous.) It is said he was killed in an Indian attack, which is supported both by his son’s interview and by his opening statement in his will that he was of “low Estate of Health, but of Sound mind” and later in a nephew’s interview that “the Indians fired on my uncle, shot him through the knee, then the groin, and shot away the ball of his thumb and shot his horse in the side of the head. The horse sunk to his knees, then rose and carried Bryan off.” William married Mary Boone, c1755, based on their son’s Draper Manuscript interview.
Will of William Bryan, Kentucky County, NC, 1789
Rowan County, NC Will Book B:36-38
In his will, he named his wife and children Samuel (born c1756), Daniel (born c1758, based on his statement of age and being the second son) in the Draper interview) and unmarried daughters Phebe, Hannah, Sarah, Elizabeth and Mary.
However, “BRYAN FAMILIES” by J.R. Cooper was published in THE LEXINGTON HERALD Sunday, April 17, 1927 in a diary format and it states that this was William Bryan JUNIOR??? If Mary was a newborn and we count back by increments of two years between births and one more year for marriage, then William who died would have been born in the 1730s. Junior might be an error. The information was apparently taken from interviews found in the Draper Manuscripts about 1844. William was in Kentucky by 1773 if information in Draper Manuscripts is correct. The Draper interview was seemingly given by a son of William and Mary (Boone) Bryan.
In any case, William had no daughter named Rebecca, but like his siblings, he had sons who could be her father. Therefore, I will need to try to trace descendants of Samuel and Daniel Bryan.
6. James Bryan was born c1734 and less is known about him than his siblings. He married Rebecca Enochs c1756 and, like other members of his family, went to Kentucky. Rebecca reportedly died after giving birth to their sixth child and he never remarried. It is said that he moved with the Boones in 1799 to Missouri and lived in what became St. Charles County. He supposedly died there in 1807. However, St. Charles didn’t become a county until 1812. There is a James Bryan selling land there in 1817.
Aside from the unknowns surrounding his death, his children appear to have settled in Missouri. Although he reportedly had three sons, David Enochs, Jonathan and Henry, the family settled in Missouri very early on and it seems less likely that Henry Alberty married a young lady who was living in Missouri. Not impossible, but for now, I am thinking Rebecca (MNU) Alberty was probably not a daughter of David, Jonathan or Henry.
7. Thomas Bryan, last of Morgan’s sons, was born c1736. he reportedly married Sarah Hunt and they had a number of children. Thomas inherited the mansion house from his father, but sold it and went to Kentucky.
There is less documentation about Thomas’s family than about his siblings’. It appears that Thomas had mostly sons and that they were too young to be the father of a child born about 1783.
For now, I am thinking that Thomas’s line is less likely to include Rebecca (MNU) Alberty.
To summarize this lengthy post, then, we have the following candidates who could possibly be the father of Rebecca (MNU) Alberty:
Joseph Bryan’s three sons – Samuel, Joseph and John Bryan, who lived in Kentucky
Samuel Bryan’s sons, Samuel Jr. and Morgan and 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
William Bryan’s sons, Samuel and Daniel, named in his 1789 Kentucky will, but which was proved in Rowan County, North Carolina
That is a total of eleven possibilities. More to come.