Category Archives: Bryan/Bryant

Morgan Bryan & Martha (Strode?) of ?Chester County, PA and Rowan County, NC

Today, we’ll take a look at Morgan Bryan, patriarch of a large family who settled in Rowan County, North Carolina. If you’ve been following my blog before the holiday weekend began, I have been fleshign out the family of Henry Alberty and wife, Rebecca, said to have been a Bryan or Bryant and born c1783 in North Carolina.

In order to try to prove that Rebecca was indeed a Bryan, it will be necessary to build out a family tree for Morgan Bryan and his many children.

Right off the bat, I need to rectify some apparent misconceptions widely published about the origins of Morgan Bryan. Fanciful lore names him as the son of an English knight, but born in Denmark in 1671 and who married a French wife.

None of those statements can be documented in any way, shape or form by me.

Also, I highly doubt that Morgan Bryan was born in 1671. Morgan’s wife, Martha (said to be a Strode, but I can’t document that either), died in 1762 at the age of 65 years, placing her birth in 1697. Her gravestone has survived and is said to be at the Rowan County, North Carolina Museum in Salisbury:

Given that Morgan Bryan married Martha about 1719, she was born c1697 and there is no evidence whatsoever that Morgan had a previous wife and/or family, I find it very hard to believe that Martha married a man who was 26 years older than her and had their last child when her husband was reportedly about 85 years old.

It seems much more likely that Morgan Bryan was born c1694, two years old than his wife and about 25 years old when they married.

Next, Morgan’s wife, according to lore, was French, but if she was a Strode, that surname is of English origin and Morgan Bryan himself has also been described as of Irish origin, which again seems much more likely since Bryan, Brian, O’Brian are Irish surname variants.

As to Morgan Bryan’s colonial residence before Rowan County, North Carolina, it is said that he was a landowner in Chester County, Pennsylvania, but I find no mention of any Bryan/Bryant in the grantor or grantee indexes of Chester County, which begin in 1688.

He is supposedly mentioned once, in 1719, in the New Garden Quaker Meeting Minutes of Chester County. Those minutes are digitized and searchable on Ancestry. I find no Morgan Bryan mentioned anywhere in those minutes. There is one Morgan Morgan in the 27 November 1718 minutes who wanted to marry outside the Friends and his parents were to try to dissuade him. However, Morgan Morgan was in the Goshen minutes, not those of New Garden.

After leaving Pennsylvania, the Bryans reportedly lived for a number of years in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, but moved on to North Carolina about 1748.

Lastly, Morgan Bryan may have had a brother, William, who was the ancestor of William Jennings Bryan.

Since the Bryan family had ties by marriage to Daniel Boone through his wife, Rebecca Bryan, and so little of what can be found online about Morgan Bryan has any documentation, I will divert a bit from Rebecca (MNU) Alberty and share what has been proven about Morgan Bryan’s life before he settled in Virginia.

Anyone who has early Virginia families who moved westward should be taking a look at Lyman Chalkley’s Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia. It is out of copyright and available through the same site that hosts the Wayback Machine.

Morgan Bryan is mentioned many times in Chalkley’s work, the first of which was in 1734:

Vol. 2, page 56 – Anderson vs. Dermoss. In 1734, Thomas Anderson bought of Alexander Ross and Morgan Bryan, 1000 acres west of Opeckon, but Fairfax entered cavet.

Further, he is mentioned in 1737 in the History of Orange County, by W.W. Scott on page 49:

In 1737 William Williams, Gent., a Presbyterian minister, took the oaths, subscribed the test, and likewise a declaration of his approval of such of the thirty-nine articles of religion as is required, and certified his intention of holding his meetings at his own plantation and that of Morgan Bryan.

There is mention of one Jacob Bryan in a land deed concerning William and Eleanor Linville. Morgan had no known son named Jacob. Given that this document is dated 1746, and Morgan was married c1719, could Jacob be a son who died young or a brother/some other relative of Morgan Bryan?

Vol. 3, page 256, August 15, 1746 – William Linvell and Elanore, his wife to George Bowman of County of Frederick, £ 100  for 500 acres on Linnvells Creek purchased of Jost Hite and Company. Line of Jacob Bryan five days later.

Morgan Bryan is often mentioned in land dealings with Thomas Linville and William Linville, who married Morgan’s daughter, Eleanor.

Morgan’s son, Joseph, also appears in the Virginia land records in 1746. He would have been about 25 or 26 years old:

Vol. 3, page 257 – William Linnvell and Joseph Bryan £ 12 – 500 acres on Linnvells Creek between Williams and land in possession of Thomas Linnvells, part of 1550 acres, etc., acknowledged and dower released by Eleanor August 20, 1746.

Morgan Bryan removed to Anson County, North Carolina before 7 March 1749 and proves that he had financial ties to both Augusta and Frederick Counties in Virginia. Rowan County was formed from part of Anson County in 1753:

Vol. 3, page 28, March 7, 1749 – Morgan Bryan of Antson [Anson] County, North Carolina to John Madison, P. A. to collect debts in Augusta and Frederick Counties.

It is possible that Morgan Bryan had at least two brothers, William and Cornelius. William is found in Spotsylvania County records:

Page 129, March 5, 1733 – William Bryan of Spotsylvania County to Philip Bourk of same county, 102 acres in St. Marks Parish – 800 pounds of tobacco.

Cornelius Bryan died in 1751 in Augusta County, leaving a will. Notice that witnesses were James, William and Joseph Bryan:

Vol. 3, page 21 – Cornelius Bryan’s will dated March 30, 1751, wife, Rebecca; son, John; son, Cornelius; son, Thomas; eldest son, Benjamin; remainder of children. Witnesses: James, William, Joseph Bryan and Jacob Green.

For those of you who are certain descendants of Morgan Bryan, you now have a starting place to search out more records.

By the way, if anyone can direct me to an actual full source citation, or better yet, a digital image, of Morgan Bryan’s appearance in the New Garden Monthly Meeting minutes, to to proof of his land ownership in Chester County, Pennsylvania, I would greatly appreciate it.














The Mysterious Henry Alberty (c1770-1850+) & Wife Rebecca and Maybe Daniel Boone!

Henry Alberty, or John Henry Alberty, his apparent full name, was the eldest son of Frederick Alberty and his first wife, Elizabeth Krieger.

There is no birth or baptismal record for Henry and the only official record that gives his year of birth is the 1850 census that places it as 1772. I suspect that the family was illiterate (and that column is checked on this census) and, by 1850, he and his family might not have known his exact age. However,  between 1770-1775 is likely  a good estimate.

In 1850 Washington County, Arkansas, John Henry and Rebecca were living with their son, Daniel, who appears to be widowed, his two children, Nancy, born in Indiana (not Iowa, as indexed by Ancestry), and George, born in Arkansas, along with possibly his unmarried sister, Mary, aged 24, given the way in which the census taker grouped the family members.

I’ve suspected that Rebecca could be a second wife, as she is ten years younger than Henry, but no trace of a previous marriage has been found and she is just old enough, born c1783, to be the mother of Henry’s first child, born c1804.

Why is Henry mysterious? Well, first of all, he was aged 20 years at the most at the time of the 1790 census in Surry County, North Carolina, home to the Alberty clan at the time.

His father, Frederick’s home had but one male over 16, two males under 16 and one female.  The female would be his third wife, Elizabeth Raper, and the two boys under sixteen would be Moses, born 1787 to Frederick’s second wife, and Jesse, born 1788 to Elizabeth.

The only other Alberti in the entire 1790 census was a Dr. George Alberti living in Philadelphia.

Where was Henry in 1790? I have no idea. Nor does he appear in the 1800 or 1810 censuses, which would be a big help in defining his age, how many children he had and whether or not Rebecca was a second wife.

In 1800, there was an Isaac Alberty living in Craven County, North Carolina, which is nowhere near Surry County. He is over 45 years of age and living with no family and one slave. Barnard Elberty, over 45 years old, is in Greene County, New York. Dr. George Alberti is still in Philadelphia and Frederick is still in Surry County.  There is no male near Henry’s age living in Frederick’s household.

By 1810, the Alberty line up has not changed much. Frederick is in Surry County, along with his son, Jesse, wh is now in his own household. Caroline Alberty, aged 26-45, is living in Washington County, Pennsylvania, Dr. George Alberti is still in Philadelphia and “Barnhart Alberte”, likely Barnard Elberty from the 1800 census, still resides in Greene County, New York.

Henry Alberty finally surfaces in the 1820 census, living in Rowan County, North Carolina.

Although several counties separate Surry County, where Frederick lived, and Rowan County, back in the early 1800s, Rowan was much bigger and actually bordered the southern portion of Surry County, which is where Frederick lived. Today, that area is Yadkin County.

From 1820 to 1850, Henry appears in each census. Wife Rebecca was also enumerated in the 1860 census. From those records, the following children can be identified:

1. Son, born 1802-1804; not found after 1820. This might be Frederick, born c1805, North Carolina, who married Matilda Harrison, 20 May 1828, Surry County, North Carolina and settled in Pike, Marion, Indiana, where the family lived in 1850. It makes sense that Henry would name his first born son after his father, as they were living in the Moravian community and might follow German naming patterns. Frederick  and Matilda may have separated or divorced, as Frederick is living with his likely aunt and uncle, Thomas and Elizabeth Rapier, in Greene County, Indiana in 1860. Matilda and her two sons and daughters were living in Wayne, Marion, Indiana that same year.
2. Samuel, born c1806, North Carolina; died 1890, Washington county, AR; married Sarah Agnew, c1829. She was apparently the daughter of Andrew Agnew, who lived with the family in 1850. Sarah was born c1816 in Tennessee.
3. Son, born 1811-1815, probably c1811; not found after 1830
4. Son, born 1811-1815, probably c1813; not found after 1830
5. Henry, born 15 July 1815; died 1888, Washington County, Arkansas; married Nancy Douthit, 29 December 1836, Union County, Indiana
6. Daughter, born 1810-1819, probably c1817; not found after 1830
7. John S., born c1818; died 1861, Newton County, Missouri; married Susannah Douthit, c1840.
8. Eliza, born c1820; reportedly married John I. Douthit, but no further information found.
9. Sarah, born c1824; died 1899, Washington County, Arkansas; married Thomas Douthit, c1841. He was born c1819; died 1897. Both are buried in White Rock Cemetery, Washington County, Arkansas.
10. Mary, born c1826; unmarried and living at home in 1850 and 1860 in Vineyard Twp., Washington, Arkansas. She lived with brother Nathan’s family in 1870, still unmarried.

As you can see, there are quite a few gaps in the Alberty vital statistics dates.  To complicate matters, even though henry Alberty was enumerated in the 1820 and 1830 Rowan County censuses, I can find no land deeds for ANY Alberty buying OR selling in Rowan County. Henry isn’t found buying or selling any land in Surry County, either. This, in spite of the fact that Henry was a farmer later on.

Note, though, that there is about a five year gap between the births of Samuel in 1806 and the next son, born c1811. This makes it possible that Rebecca was not the mother of Henry’s first two children, but it is also very possible that they lost a couple of children very young.

If there was a first wife, it seems she will forever remain unknown. However, my husband’s line is through John, born 1818, so Rebecca is probably his mother.

How does Daniel Boone fit into this picture? Rebecca’s maiden name has been repeated, since way before the internet age, as Bryan or Bryant and there is such a family in Rowan County, North Carolina. This is the same family from which Rebecca Bryan, mother of Daniel Boone, comes.

We’ll take a look at the Bryan/Bryant family after the Independence Day holiday weekend.