2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Week 14 (April 1 – 7) Brick Wall

2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Week 14 (April 1 – 7) Brick Wall

“first” joined Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks on its “first” year in 2014… and what a whirlwind year that was… writing, editing and researching daily for 365 days! As much as I wanted to continue the following year, I found that I didn’t have the time to continue another year with that type of research… although I did continue blogging and writing stories at my own pace, which allowed me to write on other topics as well as family stories when ideas came my way… but I’ve often missed it. The first year were no specific weekly prompts like today… but I’m taking a different spin on them. There will be some posts on a specific ancestor, but most will be memories that spring from those prompts. Head over to 2014 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks to read about my ancestors in the first years challenge.

If you’re new to genealogy, make your “first” stop to Amy’s website for genealogy ideas or even join in on this 52 Week challenge… you learn by doing… not procrastinating! There is no right or wrong… anything you do is a start

Breaking Down Brick Wall2


I’m hoping Nancy Drew will come along and help me break down my “Brick Wall”… brick by brick… on John Bryan (circ.1753 – 1835). I’ve packed a bag… just as Nancy would… you can’t go on a hunt without your notebook, pen, flashlight, a good magnifying glass and a cellphone. I bet Nancy would have solved more mysteries if she’d had a cellphone!

In trying to break this ongoing brick wall on my John and Nancy Bryan… I’m going through Ancestry… again… and trying to deduce… who isn’t my John Bryan, just like Nancy would do!

The original inhabitants of Franklin County, Georgia were the Cherokee and Creek Indians; the Creek Indians were more warlike, unlike the Cherokee who were more peaceful. Over the years, the Indians became indebted to the new white settlers, which led to the treaties of 1773 and 1783 where they eventually relinquished claim over the land to the white settlers. Franklin County, Georgia was formed on February 25, 1784, from parent lands, ceded by the Cherokee and Creek Indian lands in the Treaties of Augusta in 1783… land lying between the Ogeechee and Oconee rivers.

Did the opening up of land in Franklin cause my John Bryan to move there?

The Treaty of May 31, 1783, between the State of Georgia and the Cherokee Indians, is what led to the development of the ninth county, Franklin County in Georgia… the 1st new county formed in Georgia after the Revolutionary War. It originally had encompassed parts of South Carolina and land covering twelve future counties in Georgia.

 The first of my Bryan line was found in Franklin County around 1785. 

The Treaty of Beaufort in 1787 allowed the secession of the northern section of Franklin County to South Carolina and ended on November 3, 1914, with the formation of Barrow County. 

Often my James Bryan is seen listed as born in Bates County, Georgia… but there is no such-named county! 

Franklin County, along with Washington County, was the 1st new county formed in Georgia after the Revolutionary War… and now Georgia’s 9th county; so named in honor of patriot Benjamin Franklin.

The state of Georgia soon began offering land grants in Franklin County to veterans of the War of 1812, but the land there was so remote that many veterans never took advantage of their rights of ownership; Franklin County is located in the western corner of the state, bordering to the county of Oconee County, South Carolina.

Franklin County was a huge territory that eventually became the parent county to new counties… Banks, Barrow, Clarke, Jackson, Oconee, and Stephens, and also parts of Gwinnett, Hall, Hart, and Madison, as well as three counties that are now part of South Carolina. Is it possible that my Bryan’s may have ended up in these counties when the lines changed? In those days, you could easily live in a different county from one day to the next! The Franklin County Courthouse wasn’t built until 1906 in Carnesville, which is also the county seat of Franklin.

The Treaty of Beaufort in 1787 allowed the secession of the northern section of Franklin County to South Carolina. What about the land given over to South Carolina… could I be missing Bryan records there… somewhere?

My early Bryan’s had moved from an undetermined place in 1787, and now found in Franklin Co., Georgia. The first census taken in Franklin County was in 1790, showing a count of 1,041 in population.

Did my John Bryan, Sr. settle in Franklin County because of a land grant? A John Bryan in Franklin Co., GA. enlisted in the Revolutionary War. My John Bryan received a land grant from the War of 1812… in the 1827 Georgia Land Lottery.  That land grant reads…  John Bryan, R. S., from Franklin County, Georgia.  His fortunate draw in the lottery was parcel No. 175, in District 25, Section 1, in what was then Lee County, Georgia, later Sumter County, Georgia. I need to re-check the relinquishment papers of James, Tarrance, and Elizabeth… as I believe this land grant is referred to. 

  • A John Bryan is mentioned in The Roster of the Revolution by Knight in section titled “Certified List of Revolutionary Soldiers Compiled by Capt. B.F. Johnson from Lottery Lists of 1827–p.346: “Bryan, John, lottery 1827, Franklin Co., Ga.
  • For service in the war he received a land grant in Lee County, now Sumter County, Georgia. John was the father of eight children by reading his will and land deeds. Illar (Ilia, Illac, Ilias?) and a Thomas Bryan were the only names listed in John Bryan’s will of October 20th, 1825 in Franklin County; was that possibly because they weren’t married and not yet out of the household? The name of Tarrance Bryan is from the land deeds from himself to our James Bryan, who was born in 1791 (his obit lists his birthplace as Sumter County, Georgia, but when he was born that county was not yet created. On that land deed also was a Callaway Bryan that was a witness to the transfer; he may possibly be one of the eight children of John Bryan.
  • I know that my James Bryan, son of John Bryan, was married in Franklin County, Georgia. His Pension file for his service in the War of 1812 contains the following information: James Bryan “…declares that he is married; that his wife’s name was Elizabeth Cain, to whom he was married at Franklin County, Georgia, on or about the 1st day of October, 1818”. This shows that my Bryan family had at least some connection to Franklin County, which was settled before Lumpkin County.

  • A will for a John Bryan was signed by him on October 20, 1825, and was subsequently registered in the Probate Court of Franklin County, Georgia, on November 29, 1825. No further information pertaining to this will have been uncovered, and it was apparently never probated when John died, or at least no record has been found of its probate. In this will he lists his wife, Nancy; her maiden name still remains a mystery. This will appears to have been made in the later years of John Bryan’s life, but I have no idea when he died. From a land deed of James Bryan and John Keadle, we find mention of John Bryan, deceased – deed dated Nov. 13, 1837.

  • Dec. 31, 1835: Newspaper clipping of Nancy Bryan filing for Letters of Administration of the late John Bryan’s estate.

I question why it was filed in Gwinnett Co., but I did find Nancy Bryan(t) and Ittar Bryan(t) listed on the 1830 Gwinnett Co. Census; a Harrison Bryan(t) was also listed nearby. Nancy moved there with son Ittar/Illac… this possibly proves her husband, John, was already deceased by 1830. Why did she wait until 1835 to apply for letters of administration?

exerpt of will John Bryan

Excerpt of will of John Bryan: Even though “only” two children were listed by name (Illac & Thomas)… it also states “all my estate both real and personal be equally divided among “all” my children. It would have made it much easier for me if he had listed “all” his children!

john and nancy Bryan children

These are the children I believe to be of John and Nancy Bryan… but who was the 8th child, could it be Harrison or Callaway Bryan? My James Bryan named a son Callaway… he could have named him after his brother.


John Bryan of Habersham, I believe to be John Bryan Jr. The John Bryan, grantee of land in Franklin County, Ga in 1793, I believe to be the father.

My JOHN BRYAN: Timeline:

  • 1753/60: John Bryan born; parents unknown
  • 1780 abt: John Bryan married Nancy (unk)
  • 1784: Franklin County, Ga., formed from Cherokee Indian Lands.
  • 1785: John Bryan land deed
  • 1791: John Bryan possibly placed in Franklin County; John’s son James Bryan was born in Georgia from census records; son, James Bryan born 1791.
  • 1793: John Bryan was grantee of land in Franklin County, Ga. in 1793. (Source: Some Ga. Records by Lucas, Vol. 7, pg. 280)
  • 1805: John Bryan of Franklin County, Ga. was entitled to 2 draws in Lottery. He drew 2 blanks.
  • 1807/1808: Tax Lists John Bryan listed on
    1818: Habersham County, Ga. was formed from Cherokee Indian Land and Franklin County, Ga.
  • 1820: John Bryan listed in the Habersham County, Ga. Census.
  • 1821: John Bryan is sworn in as a Justice of the Peace in Habersham County, Ga. (Source: The Early History of Habersham County, pg. 11)
  • 1827: John Bryan, R. S., of Habersham County, Ga. drew land in Carroll County, Ga. in land lottery.
  • 1830: John Bryan with wife and 9 children listed in the Cherokee Nation. He was listed as having a license for residence in the Cherokee nation. (This must be John Bryan Jr.)
  • 1831: John Bryan with 7 children in the Cherokee nation 1832: Lumpkin County, Ga. was formed. (Must be John Bryan Jr.)
  • 1835: newspaper notice of death of John Bryan by wife Nancy.

To Search:

  • John Bryan, Sr. – land grant in Franklin County, Georgia
  • Check for Bryan’s in the counties that branched off from Franklin County.
  • Could my missing Bryan records still be residing in the land that was ceded back to South Carolina?
  •  Franklin County Historical Society in Carnesville – there oldest records are housed from 1790! (only open Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30am to 2:30pm.)
  • Franklin County Georgia USGENWEB Archives Project
  • Recheck Franklin County History book (I have).

Records at Carnesville, Franklin Co., GA courthouse:

  • Franklin County Clerk of Superior Court has Land Records from 1786 and Court Records from 1798. The County Clerk of Superior Court has jurisdiction over cases for a title to land and equity, felony cases, adoptions, divorces, child support, and custody enforcement. Lands were given to Georgia citizens by lotteries for the years 1805180718201821182718321832 (Gold), 1833.
  • Franklin County Clerk of Probate Court has Marriage Records from 1806 and Probate Records from 1786. The County Clerk of Probate Court responsibilities includes legal proceedings for Wills, Estates, Guardianships of minor children, Involuntary Committals Hearings, Issuance of Marriage License, ect.. The county probate judge’s office is the office where the most valuable genealogical records are created and maintained in the state of Georgia.


Rowan County, North Carolina

Many “BRYAN” researchers have surmised that our John and Nancy Bryan may have come from Rowan Co., N.C.

  • 1755: N.C. Early Census: John Bryan with female (Could this be my John Bryan? – my John born about 1753 or later – or could this be his father?)
  • 1784: John Bryan: Land Grant No. 934 / 220 Acres / Warrant 419 / Lying on South Side of S. Yadkin
  • 1790: John Bryan : Rowan Co., N.C. Census: see photo below (Before 1790, my John Bryan had left N.C. – was this his father?)

John and James Bryan Rowan Co NC records

  • 1790 N.C. Census: John Bryan, head of household, 1 slave, and a free white female (My John Bryan was in Franklin Co., Ga in 1790, could this be his father?).
  • 1790 N.C. Census: James Bryan, head of household, 1 slave, and a free white female (Could this James be a brother to John… possibly why “my” John Bryan named a son James Bryan?)
  • Land Deed No. 2144 from a John Bryan, assigned to Charles Lovelace, 200 acres, Issued Oct., 25, 1786; Entered March 26th, 1779; BK 67, Pg. 110. Located lying on both sides of Fifth Creek.
  • 1795 Rowan Co: Land Deed – John Bryan… lying on Dutchman and Cedar Creek. I believe my John Bryan to be in Franklin Co., Georgia by this time as my James Bryan was b. 1791. So who is this John Bryan, his father?

This relinquishment proves that a “John Bryan” is the father of my James Bryan. The Joel M. Bryan is the son of John Bryan Jr. (James brother) and wife Nancy Mayes. Many researchers initially tied Nancy Mayes into the John Bryan b. 1753/60, but that has been proven untrue; Nancy Mayes married John Bryan, Jr.


Franklin County, Georgia


  • 1811: John Bryan Sr.? on Rocky Creek # 125
  • 1812: John Bryan
  • 1818: John Bryan for Tarrance Bryan
  • 1819: John Bryan
  • 1820: John Bryan / 5 Negroes / Granted land Mulling to Yowell / Bounded by Patterson No. 125 / Lying by Rocky Creek / 19th District Franklin County
  • 1821: John Bryan / 6 Negroes / Bounded by Patterson / No. 125 / Lying on Rocky Creek / In Franklin, Wilkinson, Early
  • 1821: Jane Bryan for David Bryan
  • 1821: Micajah Bryan
  • 1821: Tarrance Bryan
  • 1821: Ransom Cain (An Elizabeth Cain married my James Bryan – possible her father or the Ransom Cain who married Elizabeth Bryan – James sister)
  • 1822: John Bryan / 6 Negroes / Mullings to Yoell – Self/ Robenson No. 125/ Franklin / Wilkinson
  • 1823: John Bryan / 6 Negroes / Mullins to Yowell / Roberton No. 125 / Lying on Rocky Creek 19th District / Franklin / Wilkinson /Early
  • 1825: John Bryan for Harris Bryan / 6 Negroes / Mullins  to Yowell
  • 1825: Micajah Bryan
  • 1825: Jane Bryan for David Bryan
  • 1827: John Bryan / Brood River / Franklin
  • 1829: John Bryan / Captain Cokers Distr: Franklin County
  • 1830: John Bryan / Property lying on Rice Creek / Franklin County
  • 1831: John Bryan / Property lying on Rice Creek / Franklin County
  • 1833: John Bryan / Property lying on Rice Creek / Chamblin County


 Ancestry Searches:

It seems everyone tries to hook into the will of John Bryan (1825) in Franklin County, Georgia. In my ongoing search for my elusive John Bryan with a wife of “Nancy”… I’ve been trying to deduce on Ancestry all the John Bryan’s that are not My John Bryan.

  • John Bryan married to Nancy Ann Duncan: In the tree I discovered this John and Nancy, they have linked him to the will in Franklin County and using the same dates of 1753-1825, with Nancy Ann born 1762. While the names match as to who I am looking for, there’s no evidence… but they did also list a son named Thomas Richard Bryan, b. 1793. In my John’s will, he did list a son named Thomas. Maybe I need to look more into this John and Nancy Ann Duncan?
  • John “William” Bryan Sr: I find this name on Ancestry with about the same dates as mine… an abt. b.1760 with death date of 1825 in Franklin Co., Georgia; this is the same about dates and death date from the will that I attached to my John Bryan. I’ve never found the middle name of William in the records I’ve researched, so I’m unsure about this… some on this line use a middle name of William?

1790 Census Cumberland Settlements

The heirs of a “John Bryan” sold land in 1790 by document above… as Davidson County is adjacent to Rowan, N.C…. could this be a clue to my Bryan line?


Rowan Co 1790 John BryanCLIP

This 1790 Rowan Co., N.C. census shows a John Bryan and a James Bryan. Were they related to the “heirs” of John Bryan in Davidson Co. and the James Bryan? (why did they have to use the name John & James so often in our Bryan lines?)

pic Davidson Co NC

Davidson County was created from  Rowan in 1822, so I can easily see how my Bryan’s could have been in both Rowan and Davidson Counties, N.C.  In 1753, Rowan County was created from Anson County.

From the 1750s, up onto the time of the American Revolution, Rowan County included most of the frontier area of Western North Carolina. All or portions of the present-day N.C. counties of Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Davidson, Davie, Guilford, Iredell, Lincoln, McDowell, Madison, Mitchell, Randolph, Rockingham, Stokes, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes, Yadkin, and Yancey fell within the bounds of Rowan County at one time. 1865: 18th century land grant records were destroyed by Federal troops. 50% completely destroyed and 25% partially destroyed with 25% remaining intact…. The records I need to prove back to my John Bryan and beyond were possibly those very records? 

  • Morgan Bryan reached the Forks of the Yadkin in the spring of 1749… he was seventy-eight years of age.
  • Samuel Bryan, ca. 1726 – 1798), son of Morgan and Martha (Strode) Bryan: In the fall of 1748, the entire Bryan family set out for relocation on Yadkin River in the newly organized Anson County, N.C.  The Bryan children in the family were raised in the Society of Friends… their mother traveled to America among Huguenot refugees… their father’s heritage was probably Presbyterian. Moravian preachers referenced their “good friends”, the Bryans in their Moravian journals. Are there Moravian journals that might hold Bryan clues for me?
  • Samuel Bryan was listed on the rolls of the Rowan County 1754-55 militia along with his brother, Captain Morgan Bryan, Jr. Samuel Bryan made his will in 1798, he lists no child named John Bryan. 

  • Bryan, William ca. 1733 – 1780, fifth son of Morgan and Martha (Strode) Bryan. Morgan arrived on the Yadkin in the spring of 1749. By 1753, Rowan County was created from a part of Anson, the area in the Forks of the Yadkin in what is now Davie County, was now known as the Bryan Settlements. My Bryan’s were in these same areas at the same times.. somehow, they must tie in… but where?
  • Daniel Boone moved his family to Boonesborough in the fall of 1775… the first record of my John Bryan in Franklin Co., Georgia was a land record of 1775… did my John Bryan move out of Rowan, the same time as other Boone’s and Bryan’s?
  • Spring of 1776, William Bryan (1733-1780) led a party to begin construction of Bryan’s Station, sixteen miles near present Lexington, Ky. The Bryan families in the Yadkin area prepared to move to Kentucky in the fall. The new state government of N.C. was now in unrest…this pushed William Bryan and his relatives to now forsake Rowan County for Kentucky. (there is more on link above of William Bryan)


Many Bryan researchers believe our “John” to have been born in Rowan Co., N.C. The early pioneers in Virginia and North Carolina often migrated slowly into warmer climates as they opened up… Georgia held much of that for them, especially as Franklin County was formed in 1784.

Stay tuned for Week 15… DNA

Continue reading 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks over HERE!

To read more Family Stories… click HERE.


© 2019, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved


About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

My blog is at: https://everyonehasafamilystorytotell.wordpress.com/
This entry was posted in 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Daily Writings and funnies..., Family Stories and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Week 14 (April 1 – 7) Brick Wall

  1. What tremendous research you’ve done on this. Very impressive.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.