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Archiver > BRYAN > 2000-08 > 0966114715

From: "John K. Bryan" <>
Subject: [BRYAN-L] Morgan Bryan's sons
Date: Sat, 12 Aug 2000 17:11:55 -0400

I stand chastened for having said of a prior Bryan List posting that I
had hoped some of the misinformation expressed therein had long since
been laid to rest. Apparently that came across as imperious. I
apologize for the tone....but not for my reaction.

The reference to the Bryans fighting brother-against-brother at King's
Mountain set off a powerful knee-jerk reaction. It's just one of many
myths about this branch of Bryans which have been accepted as fact by
many generations of descendents. Other such include: Morgan Bryan &
Martha Strode met aboard ship en route to America; M & M had seven sons
and four daughters including Rebecca; Martha died in Virginia in 1747;
the children of son James were raised by Daniel and Rebecca Boone after
their mother died; son Thomas served as an army Surgeon during the
Revolutionary War; son John, Captain of Militia, was killed on his own
doorstep by Tory Col. Fanning; son James served as Paymaster with General
Washington; son Samuel, a Tory, fled after the war to upstate New York
"where he left numerous descendents."

I began researching my Bryan line around 1965. I soon found that an
enormous amount of unsubstantiated and often contradictory information
about Morgan Bryan and his family was being given credence. Separating
fact from fiction was an obvious first step in getting a handle on the
most probable reasons my Bryan ancestors did what they did when they did
it. Almost all of my investigation took place in the pre-computer,
camp-for-days in the library, hand-crank-miles of microfilm,
sweet-talk-the-County Clerk, hand-written-notes-in-folders era. I wrote
a few articles and exchanged countless letters with other family
historians. Then nearly 15 years ago, I put Bryans et al on the back
burner to do a book on an altogether different subject.

A few months ago I subscribed to this list to see what was being
discussed. Maybe that was a mistake. Certainly my popping off
gratuitously on June 11 was a mistake; long absence from the subject
doesn't leave me very well prepared to respond swiftly and surely to
"put up or shut up" challenges.

But this posting is two months tardy primarily because I've been
junketing and haven't been home long enough to frame a reply and deal
with its consequences.

I'm the last person in the world who would suggest that anyone seriously
interested in genealogy accept another researchers allegations out of
hand.....particularly the comments of some unknown geek on a Rootsweb
list. I check everything out and consult the original source whenever
possible - no matter how competent, the abstractor may have bypassed the
very clue I need. Also, I live by E. S. Mills "Evidence! Citation and
Analysis for the Family Historian." In the absence of evidence, all is

My posting of June 11 was merely conversational; I had not observed any
Rootsweb traffic of similar genre which were footnoted with source
citations. I expected anyone interested enough to simply ask why I
thought thus and so and to try to answer them with citations and/or a

As to my labeling as "patently preposterous" the tale about Loyalist
Bryans adding a "t" to their surname to distinguish themselves from
Patriot Bryans, perhaps I should have said "extremely unlikely." But
I'll stand by that assessment until I've found reason to revise it.
Since a few of the 20 or so Bryan grandsons of Morgan and Martha Strode
Bryan remain unaccounted for, it is theoretically possible that one or
more changed his name to disassociate himself from his family. But in
that case his reason would almost certainly have been to try to get a
fresh start by hiding his Tory heritage. I'm well aware that many
ex-Loyalists changed their names for that reason in the wake of the
Revolution but I know of no Bryan of this clan who did so.

Now, just which of my June 11 statements would you like me to defend,

Jack Bryan

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