William Smith Bryan, I

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William Smith Bryan, I

Also Known As: "William Bryan"
Birthdate: (101)
Birthplace: Belfast, County Claire, Ireland
Death: 1786 (100)
Rocky Springs, Goochland County, Province of Virginia
Place of Burial: Salem, Botetourt County, Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir Francis Bryan, III and Sarah A Bryan
Husband of Margaret Bryan; Margaret Brockers and Margaret Bryan
Father of Mary Catherine Bush; John Andrew Bryan; William Smith Bryan, II; Margaret Bryan; Henry Bryan and 4 others
Brother of William Bryan; Francis Bryan, II; Captain Morgan Bryan, I; Susannah Bryan; Bryan O'Bryan, II and 2 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About William Smith Bryan, I


  1. William BRYAN
  2. Sex: M
  3. Birth: 1685 in Belfast, Ireland
  4. Death: 1789 in Rocky Springs, Goochland, Virginia

Emigrant from Ballyroney County Down, Ireland 1718

Father: Francis BRYAN III b: 1630 in Claire, Ireland

Mother: Sarah BRINKER b: 1646 in Netherlands

Marriage 1 Margaret LNU b: 1689 in Ireland

   * Married: in Down, Ireland


  1. Has No Children John Andrew BRYAN b: 1712 in Belfast, Ireland
  2. Has No Children James BRYAN
  3. Has No Children William BRYAN , Jr.
  4. Has No Children Mary BRYAN

William Bryan with his wife Margaret and family migrated from Bainbridge, County Down, Northern Ireland in the year 1718, bringing with them a letter of commendation from the Ballyroney Presbyterian Church. After sojourns in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, he moved into Virginia around the year 1730 and finally settled in the Roanoke community about the year 1746. This became his home until his death in 1789 at the age of 104 years. They were both buried in the grave yard that is on the Bryan Homestead, or the Great Springs place in Salem, VA.

William Bryan m. Margaret, sent his little son, John, to the woods to cut a stick for the handle of a hook used in weaving, and he was arrested for "poaching". After much trouble and expense he got him cleared and immediately sailed for America in 1718, where, as he said, "Timber is free and there are no constables." They were from Ballyrony, County Down, and the neighboring town of "Bryanford" being named from some of the family. About 1745 he, with his son, James and David Bryan, a son or a brother, and probably others of the family, moved to and were the first settlers at present Roanoke. He settled at "Lake Spring" and David at "Big Lick" both now suburbs of Roanoke City.

He and his son William settled on a fine body of land in Roanoke Valley in 1749, building their cabin beside Lake Spring. He had made a preliminary visit to the section in 1746. The town reservoir is at the top of a high tower on the ridge out of which Spring Lake flows. On the narrow, level top of the reservoir hill, overlooking the town of Salem is an old graveyard. At the end is a monument in memory of William Bryan I, William Bryan II, and Margaret Bryan, wife of William II, "erected by a grateful descendent, Thornton Whaling, D. D."

William Bryan (Francis1), 2681, M. Born abt 1685 in Ireland. William died in Salem, VA, in 1789; he was 104.

1. Migrated from Banbridge, County Down, Northern Ireland in 1718. They brought with them a letter of commendation from the Ballyroney Presbyterian Church. They lived first in Pa, then in NJ before moving into VA around the year 1730. They finally settled in the Roanoke community about the year 1746.

2. Letter - Ballyroney, April 17, 1718. "The bearer hereof, William Bryan, who hath been a useful Member of this Congregation, being now about to Transport himself & family to America These are to certify that he & his wife Margaret Bryan were of good repute among us having Allways deserved the Laudable characterof a blameless and Gospel conversation & so Deserve Encouragement and a kind and cheerful reception into any christian Society where the Providence of God may cast their Lot as also admissions to Sealing ordinances in an orderly way all of which is Certifyed by us" James Donnell, William Vance, william Doan, John Truesdale, James Dodd, James Moore, Mod., George Irvin, C.S., Francis Wood, Robert McMullan, X xxx, James McLorver, John Stewart, James. Paxton.

(In the lower left hand corner corner a notation,which is in the hand of William Bryan, the emigrant, the words, "My age to the year of our Lord is 90 years.")

3. William and his family first setled at Donegal, now Lancaster County, PA where he helped to organize Donegal Township and Donegal Presbyterian Church in 1721and 1722 respectively. (Daughters ofAmericcan Colonists; lineage Book, Vol 1, p.31) Not satisfied with quit-rent title to his land, he moved to West New Jersey near present day Salem.(Vol VI, pp.114-115) (Virginia Land Records, Early Settlers in the Valley of Virginia, Page 721- 300 acres in what is now Lancaster Co., PA - is this our William? Date was 1745.)

4.  About 1730 we find William, along with other Scotch Irish Presbyterians,  pushing into the Shenandoah Valley.  He appears frequently in the records of Spottsylvania Co. and later in  Orange Co. records.(Crozier, William Armstrong; VA Co. Records, Spottslvania County, Vol. I, p.127.)

5. 2 Nov 1731, he is mentioned as a planterin Spottslvania Co., VA. (Mackenzie, George N.; Colonial Familes of the United States, Vol. 6, pp.105-106.)

6. In 1733 he gave 102 acres of land and 800 pounds of Tobacco to his son-in-law, Philip Bush. (Chalkley)

7. In 1734 his name is recorded as William Bryan of St. Thomas Parish, Orange Co., VA., as a member of the first grand jury in Orange County. In 1743 he purchased land from Richard Thomas near Somerset, Orange Co., VA (Kegley)

8. In 1746 he leased land to Philip Bush. (Mason Co. Deed Book D, p. 130)

9. In 1748 he purchased 400 acres on the Roanoke River which became the Bryan Homestead. William was one of the first to settle at the present site of Roanoke, and died there at the age of 104. Many of his descendants are listed in "The Shearer-Akers Family,"

10. Buried in the grave yard that is on the Bryan Homestead (aka the Great Springs place) in Salem, VA

11. History of the Bryan-Cole Family in America by Winfred Bryan

Cole - 1962 - Arnold, MO.

12. Jeannette Darling - John Andrew, James, David and William Bryan Jr. served in the Revolutionary War. They also fought in the French and Indian War and received land bounty certificates.

William married Margaret, 2682, F.

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William Smith Bryan, I's Timeline

June 1, 1685
Belfast, County Claire, Ireland
Age 24
Down, Bainbridge, Ireland
Age 26
Ballyroney, Down, Ulster, Ireland
Age 30
Banbridge, Co. Down, Ireland
Age 33
Age 34
Age 56
King George,,Virginia,USA
Age 100
Rocky Springs, Goochland County, Province of Virginia
Age 100
Salem, Botetourt County, Virginia, United States
September 14, 1938
Age 101