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BRYAN FAMILY

 

MISSOURI'S OLDEST CITIZEN.

He is a Respected Resident of Nevada.

A Chapter in the History of one of the State's Most Ancient Families.

   There is no family more widely known in Vernon county than that of the Bryans. Comments upon the lives of the oldest Bryans made by the Post Dispatch has led to the following letter from William S. Bryan one of the leading book publishers of St. Louis:

   "Jonathan Bryan was the father of Elijah and James Bryan, the two aged brothers that now reside at Nevada, Mo. Elijah Bryan is my father, and he will be 94 years old on the 5th, of next month. He has resided continuously in what is now the state of Missouri since December 1800, and I presume he is therefore the oldest citizen of our state. He helped to guard the forts and fight the Indians in what is now St. Charles county from 1813 to 1816 which period represents the first Indian war in this state. It is a treat now to hear him relate the exciting incidents of those times, which he remembers more distinctly that those of latter years. The old flintlock rifle, "Charley," which he carried then, I now possess as an heirloom. It has never been altered to suit modern requirements, but it remains just as it was nearly 100 years ago.  There is no longer any occasion to use it in "civilizing" Indians, but I can knock a squirrel out of the tallest tree with it any day in the year. Old "Charley" was a great favorite with Daniel Boone, who lived near my grandfather's on Femmye (sic) Osage Creek, in St. Charles county. His old rifle, old "Checlicker," carried too large a ball for small game, so when he wanted to hunt squirrels, turkey, or deer, he always borrowed "Charley," which carried a smaller ball and was and is still very accurate. On the occasion of the massacre of the Ramsey family, near the present town of Marthasville, in Warren county, by Black Hawk and his band in 1816, my father was summoned with other men and boys able to bear arms, to go in pursuit; but on arriving at the scene of the massacre he was detailed, on account of his lameness, as one of the guards at Fort Charrette, which stood then on the north bank of the Missouri river a mile and a half south of the present site of Marthasville. He could ride horseback as well as any one, but in following the Indian trail through the woods the men were compelled to walk, and as he was lame and using crutches (as he has continued doing all the remainder of his life,) he was required to remain behind with the boys and the old men to guard the fort.

   When he reached the fort he found Daniel Boone, then 81 years old, pacing up and down in front of an unfinished portion of the stockade, with old "Checlicker" at shoulder arms and ready for any emergency which might arise.

   My father has voted at every state and national election since 1820. He was an enthusiastic and unswerving "Old Line Whig," until that party was absorbed by the American and republican parties in 1859, when he joined his old antagonist, the democratic party and has voted with it ever since.

   He has lived in Nevada with his two daughters (not sisters as stated) for the past five or six years. His brothers and sisters do not provide for him, and have never done so, because there was no occasion that they should. His sons and daughters have considered it a pleasure, as well as a duty, to see that their honored father was made comfortable during his old age.

   He belonged to a long lived family. His father, Jonathan Bryan, died at the age of 86; one of my father's sisters, Nancy Cole, died three years ago at Mexico, Mo., aged 91; a brother, Abner Bryan, died a few months since in California, where he had resided since 1848, at the age of 92, and the remaining brother, James, who also resides at Nevada, is in his 89th year, and one of the friskiest youths in the state."

The Nevada Daily Mail, Nevada, Missouri.  Wednesday, April 12, 1893

 

 

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2014

Vernon Co, MO County Coordinator

Nancy Thompson