William Bryan, Sr

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William Bryan, Sr

Birthdate: (81)
Birthplace: Bladen County, North Carolina, United States
Death: July 28, 1838 (81)
Bladen County, North Carolina, United States
Place of Burial: Tar Hill, Bladen, NC, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Philemon Bryan and Elizabeth Bryan
Husband of Sarah Bryan
Father of Philemon Leigh Bryan; William Bryan, Jr.; Sarah Towler; Joseph Bryan; Lewis Bryan and 4 others
Brother of Susannah Smith; Sarah Lamb and Nathaniel Bryan

Occupation: Planter/Grist Mill Owner
Managed by: Jon Pohlers
Last Updated:

About William Bryan, Sr

A Patriot of the American Revolution for NORTH CAROLINA with the rank of PRIVATE. DAR Ancestor #: A016288

On 4 Feb 1833, William Bryan appeared in open court to obtain a pension for his services as a soldier in the American Revolutionary War (Pension #S-8089). He stated that he was born "...on the Brown Marsh in the County of Bladen (N.C.) on May 14, 1757...". On his original tombstone, which must have been erected sometime after his death, his birthdate was given as 28 Oct 1784. This was a source of confusion for researchers for many years until his Pension Application Papers (#S-8089) came to light in 1979. William Bryan built a Grist Mill in 1801 on a pond that he owned in Bethel Township, Bladen Co. He was also a surveyor.

The area today is known as the Bryan's Mill Pond Community. In 1952, the dam broke and the Mill collapsed. Community churches used the spill-way for its baptisms, and swimmers used the spot to cool-off in the hot summer months and fishing was a favorite sport. Years ago a few alligators were seen at the pond.

William & Sarah had 9 children. Only his son Nathan remained in NC.

1. Philemon (1779 -1857 )m. Nancy Hawthorne - settled Hamilton Co. FLA.
2. Benjamin (1781- ) m. - settled in Baton Rouge, La.
3. William, Jr. (1784-1860) m.Sarah Evers - settled in Monroe Co., GA.
4.Sarah (1787 - )m. Wm R. Towler - settled Hamilton Co., Fla.
5. Prudence (1789 - ) m. John White - settled Monroe Co., Ga.
6.Joseph (1790 - )m. Sophia Simpson - settled Hamilton Co., Fla.
7. Lewis (1795 - ) m. Susan Simpson - settled Hamilton Co., Fla.
8. James (1799 - ) m. - settled in Hamilton Co., Fla
9. Nathan (1801 - 1883) m. Margaret Ann Allen(1811-1894) - stayed in Bladen Co., NC and ran his father's grist mill.

For a picture of a military marker honoring William's service in the American Revolution, go to the Media section.

On 4 Feb 1833, William Bryan appeared in open court to obtain a pension for his services as a soldier in the American Revolutionary War (Pension #S-8089, DAR Ancestor #A016288).. He stated that he was born "...on the Brown Marsh in the County of Bladen (N.C.) on May 14, 1757...". On his original tombstone, which must have been erected sometime after his death, his birthdate was given as 28 Oct 1784. This was a source of confusion for researchers for many years until his Pension Application Papers (#S-8089) came to light in 1979.

William Bryan built a Grist Mill in 1801 on a pond that he owned in Bethel Township, Bladen Co. He was also a surveyor. The area today is known as the Bryan's Mill Pond Community. In 1952, the dam broke and the Mill collapsed. Community churches used the spill-way for its baptisms, and swimmers used the spot to cool-off in the hot summer months and fishing was a favorite sport. Years ago a few alligators were seen at the pond.

William & Sarah had 9 children, eight of whom migrated south. Only his son Nathan remained in NC.

  • 1. Philemon (1779 - 1857 ) m. Nancy Hawthorne - settled Hamilton Co. FL.
  • 2. Benjamin (1781 - ) m. - settled in Baton Rouge, LA.
  • 3. William, Jr. (1784 - 1860) m. Sarah Evers - settled in Monroe Co., GA.
  • 4.Sarah (1787 - ) m. William R. Towler - settled in Hamilton Co., FL.
  • 5. Prudence (1789 - ) m. John White - settled in Monroe Co., GA.
  • 6.Joseph (1790 - ) m. Sophia Simpson - settled in milton Co., FL.
  • 7. Lewis (1795 - ) m. Susan Simpson - settled in Hamilton Co., FL.
  • 8. James (1799 - ) m. - settled in Hamilton Co., FL.
  • 9. Nathan (1801 - 1883) m. Margaret Ann Allen (1811-1894) - stayed in Bladen Co., NC and ran his father's grist mill.

William Bryan was a soldier of the American Revolution. According to his pension application, he was born on Brown Marsh on May 14, 1757. He volunteered as a Private in Captain William Hendon's company of Bladen militia in 1776 when the loyalists were gathering at Cross Creek, Captain Hendon's company marched "from their company ground at Richard Smith's plantation on Baker's Creek" to Rockfish Creek where they joined other troops under the command of General James Moore. Their company was assigned to guard duty at the mouth of Rockfish until after General McDonald's army had retreated to Campbellton and crossed the Cape Fear. The company was then ordered to descend the river in a boat to "the neighborhood of Elizabethtown." From there they marched to Wilmington "to protect it from the Tories." William Bryan recalled terms of enlistment in 1777 and 1781 and said he had served at other times but "owing to the state of the country, families were obliged to make frequent removals" and his discharges had been lost. His final discharge was dated February, 1782.


During the war William married Sarah Singletary (1760 - 24 June 1839), daughter of Joseph Singletary and Mary Fitzrandolph. In 1790 and 1797 he purchased two tracts of land south of present day Tar Heel where they established their home plantation. Here he dammed Black Swamp and Reedy Meadow Swamp to create a millpond where, about 1801, he constructed water powered mills. Entries in his ledger suggest that the blacksmith shop served not only the home plantation but a wide circle of neighbors, who paid to have tools and saddles made and tools repaired.


Items of William's personal property, sold after his death, give insight on the activities of the plantation: one grindstone; various types of files; livestock; farm, shoe, cooper, and blacksmith tools; carriage wheels; a young bay mare and saddle; twenty-three books, including a prayer book and a large Bible; tables; chairs; chests; bedsteads; a slate desk; and clock..

There has been much disagreement in the past about the father of William Bryan the Rev. Soldier. Thomas Bryan who died in 1766 with a Will mentions a son William. William who died in 1838 and who was born in 1757 (the Revolutionary War soldier) was too young to be mentioned in Thomas' Will without mentioning a gaurdian.


Tax digests in the late 1700's shows William as son of William. The previous people who contest this think Philemon who was mentioned also in Thomas' Will was the father of William the Revolutionary War soldier.

William's headstone Inscription: William Bryan Pvt Bladen's Militia Revolutionary War May 14, 1757 Jul 28, 1838.

Find A Grave Memorial # 60571471.

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William Bryan, Sr's Timeline

1757
May 14, 1757
Bladen County, North Carolina, United States
1779
October 10, 1779
Age 22
Bladen County, North Carolina, United States
1781
1781
Age 23
Bladen, North Carolina, United States
1784
October 18, 1784
Age 27
Bladen, North Carolina, United States
1787
1787
Age 29
Bladen, North Carolina, United States
1789
1789
Age 31
1790
February 24, 1790
Age 32
Bladen County, North Carolina, United States
1795
1795
Age 37
Bladen, North Carolina, United States
1799
August 12, 1799
Age 42
Bladen, North Carolina, United States