October 25, 2018

Pages 5064-5072
Whole Number 184

THE FAMILY OF ELIZABETH (SPARKS) BRYAN (1765-1863)



On the cover of the present issue of the Quarterly we are using a photograph of the tombstone of 1.2.5.6.2 Elizabeth (Sparks) Bryan (1765-1863) who was a daughter of 1.2.5.6 Jonas Sparks. A lengthy article about Jonas Sparks, who died in Rowan County, North Carolina, in 1805, was published in the Quarterly of March 1964 (pp.790-94). We had not then discovered, however, that Jonas was a son of 1.2.5 Joseph Sparks, who had died in 1749 in Frederick County, Maryland. Joseph Sparks (died 1749), father of Jonas, had been the youngest son of 1.2 William Sparks who had died in Queen Annes County, Maryland, in 1709. Two articles have appeared in the Quarterly devoted to William Sparks (died 1709): the March 1971 issue, Whole No. 73, pp. 1372-89; and that for December 1992, Whole No. 160, pp. 4025-34. This William Sparks (died 1709) was thus the grandfather of Jonas Sparks. He had been born in Hampshire County, England, ca. 1640 and is the immigrant Sparks ancestor of hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals living today.

When Jonas Sparks was about twenty years old in, we believe, the spring of 1754, he accompanied a number of his Sparks relatives in their move from Frederick County, Maryland, to the Forks of the Yadkin in North Carolina. Rowan County then included the large area known as the Forks of the Yadkin, but the part of Rowan County where Jonas acquired land ws cut off from Rowan in 1822 to form Davidson County.

The Sparks families migration from Maryland to the Yadkin River area of North Carolina was described in the Quarterly of December 1989 (Whole No. 148, pp. 3483-3501) in an article devoted to William Sample Snarks, a first cousin of Jonas Sparks. Additional information about Jonas Sparks appears in an article devoted to Rachel (Sparks) Griggs, an older sister of Elizabeth (Sparks) Bryan, in the June 1997 issue of the Quarterly, Whole No. 178, pp. 4829-37.

The first wife of Jonas Sparks, and the mother of his children, had the forename Elizabeth, but we have not discovered her maiden name. It is probable that they were married after Jonas came to North Carolina. Their daughter, named Elizabeth,·was probably named for her mother.

In the autumn of 1773, when Elizabeth was eight years old, Jonas Sparks and his family joined the famous frontiersman, Daniel Boone, then a near neighbor of the Sparkses, in Boone's plan to establish a settlement in what would become the state of Kentuciry. In his explorations, Boone had found a "promised land" to which he would lead families seeking a new home. Jonas Sparks and his family agreed to accompany Boone along with four other families on the "Wilderness Trail" to this "promised land." The heads of these other four were Daniel Roone's brother, Squire Boone, and three brothers named Bryan, James, Morgan, Jr., and William. (Daniel Boone's wife was Rebecca Bryan.)

Among these six families, there were about forty males old enough to carry rifles, and it was they who took the lead on the party's daily march. The women and small children followed on horseback, while youngsters driving a herd of cattle brought up the rear.

Although there was concern that they might encounter hostile Indians, all went well until October 10, 1773, as they were approaching the Cumberland Gap. Here they had to ford the Powell River. The armed men and boys crossed first to form a line to pages the women and children as they crossed, assuming that if Indians should attack, they would do so at the front of the party. Instead, there was an ambush, with the attack fron the rear. During the ensuing battle, six young men were killed, including Daniel Boone's oldest son. No one in the Sparks family was killed. In Daniel Boone's autobiography, completed in 1784, he recalled: "Though we repulsed the enemy, yet this unhappy affair scattered our cattle, brought us into extreme difficulty, and so discouraged the whole company, that we retreated forty miles to the settlement on the Clinch River."

Based on Bryan family memories and records, a great-grandnephew of Daniel Boone, a Dr. J. D. Bryan, wrote an article entitled "The Boone-Bryan History" that was published in the 1905 Register of the Kentucky State Historical S,ociety (Vol. 5, No. 9). Later this was published in the form of a booklet. In this, page 17, appears the following interesting reference to eight-year-old Elizabeth Sparks:

...at the time of the attack by the Indians, the company was fording Powell's River. Elizabeth Sparks, [a member of] one of the.families from North Carolina, then about nine years old, was riding a gentle horse and carrying a baby brother before her. She was in the midst of the river when the Indians fired on the rear guard. My great uncle [i.e., grand uncle] Henry Bryan, at a later date, married this Elizabeth Sparks in Kentucky, and they afterwards came to Missouri, where they lived until their death. She lived to be nearly one hundred years old. I have seen and heard her talk often. She finally died at my oldest sister's house after I was grown.

An Indian War, known as Lord Dunmore's War, broke out not long after the Boone company's retreat, and two years passed before the journey was begun again. It appears that Jonas Sparks and his family had returned to their old home on the Yadkin River in North Carolina well before June 1775 when Daniel Boone again began his Kentucky venture. He and his followers successfully reached the site on the Kentucky River where they built Fort Boonsborough and founded the dreamed-of settlement, but Jonas Sparks and his family were not among them. Although Dr. Bryan stated in his account (p. 15) that Jonas Sparks (whom he mistakenly called "James" Sparks) had accompanied Boone in 1775, this is, almost certainly, not true.

On the cover of the Quarterly of September 1993, Whole No. 163, we published a photograph of a marble stone, some fifteen feet tall, at the entrance of the reconstructed Fort Boonesborough in Madison County, Kentucky, on the four sides of which have been carved 750 names of persons credited with helping to establish this settlement. The name of Jonas Sparks is included among the founders, and we so reported in the caption for this photograph. When something is carved in stone, one tends to accept it as fact. The inclusion of Jonas on this monument as a founder, we have learned, was based solely on Dr. Bryan's account. There can be little doubt, based on official records in North Carolina, however, that Jonas Sparks was again paying taxes and farming his land back in Rowan County on the Yadkin River as early as 1774.

Dr. J. D. Bryan was also mistaken in stating that his grand uncle, Henry Bryan, had been married to Elizabeth Sparks in Kentucky. Their marriage bond had been obtained back in Rowan County, North Carolina, on February 11, 1786, with a relative named Thomas Enochs serving as bondsman. The marriage doubtless took place a few days later. A week earlier, on 5 February 1786, Elizabeth's father, Jonas Sparks, had obtained a Rowan County marriage bond to be married to his second wife, a widow named Mary Eakle (bondsman, Peter Little). Jonas Sparks was actually Mary Eakle's third husband, her first husband having been Daniel Little, who had died in Rowan County in 1775. She had then been married to Jacob Eakle in 1779, but he died in Rowan County in 1783. by her first husband, Mary (whose full name was Anne Mary) had a daughter named Mary Little who would become the wife of David Sparks, a son of Jonas. (See the Quarterly of March 1978, Whole No. 101, pp. 1965-84.)

Elizabeth (Sparks) Bryan's younger sister, Esther Sparks, was married in 1787 to Jesse Caton in Rowan County (marriage bond dated January 20, 1787, with Charles Caton as bondsman).

As noted above, Elizabeth Sparks married Henry Bryan in 1786. Born on January 27, 1761, Henry Bryan was a son of James and Rebecca (Enochs) Bryan. James Bryan was an uncle of Rebecca (Bryan) Boone, and after the death of his wife in 1767 or 1768, his six small children were taken by Rebecca and Daniel Boone to rear, including six-year-old Henry. Henry Bryan had been 12 years old when he accompanied the Boones on their 1773 attempt to migrate to Kentucky.

Whereas Jonas Sparks and his family, including his daughter, Elizabeth, had returned to their North Carolina home following the Boone party's retreat to the Clinch River in the autumn of 1773, Henry Bryan had remained with the Daniel Boone family and was a member of their successful migration to Boonsborough in 1775. When it was that Henry Bryan returned to the Forks of the Yadkin, we do not know, but as noted earlier, he was there in February 1786 when he and Elizabeth Sparks were married. Within a year or two, however, they were living in Clark County, Kentucky, where most of their ten children were born.

Henry and Elizabeth's association with the family of Daniel Boone continued, and when Daniel's venturesome spirit prompted him and his family to be pioneers again in an area that is today in St. Charles and Warren Counties, Missouri,·Henry and Elizabeth soon followed. Other friends and relatives did, likewise, including; Elizabeth's sister and her husband, Esther and Jesse Caton. They obtained land grants from the Spanish government, Spain then ruling; the area. Ken Kamper, Historian of the Daniel Boone and Frontier Families Research Association, has given us permission to quote from his "A Fact or Two on Early Missouri History" that appeared in the April 1991 issue of the Boone-Duden Historical Review (Vol. 6, No. 2).

In the area around present day Marthasville [in Warren County, Missouri], we can still relate to a lot of Boone history. The Spanish Land Grants of David Bryan, James Bryan, William Lamme, and Philip Miller are located in the area amongst earlier Spanish Land Grants which had been obtained by French settlers. James Bryan, born, according to current thinking, in 1723 in Chester Co., Pennsylvania, was Rebecca Boone's uncle. He had married Rebecca Enochs, daughter of John Ecochson and Margaret Van Nummer, who died in 1767 or 68, leaving James with three boys and three girls between the ages of one and ten. Rebecca and Daniel Boone took over the raising of the children, while James remained close by, no doubt providing support. They were with the Boones on the first attempt to settle in Kentucky in 1773. On this attempt the group turned back after some were killed by Indians, including the Boones' son James. With the Boone group was the Jonas Sparks family, including 8 year old Elizabeth. Some ten years later Elizabeth married Henry Bryan, son of James.

The Boones came to Missouri in 1799. Soon after, James Bryan, his sons David, Jonathan, and Henry, and their families followed the Boones. The grave of Elizabeth (Sparks) Bryan is (south) across the street from the U.C.C. Church in Marthasville. The sister of Elizabeth, Esther Sparks, married Jesse Caton, Sr., who brought his family to the Marthasville area in 1811.

Mr. Kamper has also noted information provided by Nadine Williams Britton showing that Henry Bryan operated a tanning yard on Tuque Creek not far from Marthasville. Also appearing in the same publication as the above quotation, is a drawing made by Mr. Kamper in 1991 showing the area where Henry and Elizabeth (Sparks) Bryan settled, including the site of Elizabeth's grave where the photograph was taken by Mr. Kamper that appears on the cover of this issue of the Quarterly. He has given us permission to reproduce his map on the following page.

According to Mr. Kamper, the gravestone of Elizabeth (Sparks) Bryan is to be found in the Old Methodist Cemetery of Marthasville, across the street from the present United Church of Christ. He has added: "No doubt there were many more burials in this cemetery years ago, however, only a half-dozen remain, and no record remains of the persons buried there."

[Here is a map of the Marthasville area of Warren County, MO, showing the grave site of Elizabeth (Sparks) Bryan]

Henry Bryan died on August 20, 1820; in that part of Montgomery County, Missouri, that became Warren County in 1833. Elizabeth had thus been a widow for nearly 43 years when she died. (Daniel Boone died on September 26, 1820, and was buried close to where the Bryans lived in Warren County.)

Our record of the children of Henry and Elizabeth (Sparks) Bryan is far frorn complete . They are believed to have had ten children; most were born in Kentucky. Dr. J. D. Bryan, whom we have quoted above, is known to have compiled a Bryan "family tree, "a portion of which a genealogist named J. H. Cooper included in the seventh part of an article published in the Sunday edition of the Lexington Herald in the summer of 1927. We have used this information, along with that compiled by one of our members, Nadine Williams Britton, in the compilation of the following record. Mrs. Britton lives at 715 Sequoia Dr., Exeter, California 93221-1314. She descends from the daughter of Henry and Elizabeth (Sparks) Bryan named Rebecca, born on April 8, 1790, in Clark County, Kentucky. Other data on the family of Henry and Elizabeth have been found in Lillian Hays Oliver's Some Boone Descendants and Kindred of the St. Charles District [Missouri].

Children of Henry and 1.2.5.6.2 Elizabeth (Sparks) Bryan:

1.2.5.6.2.1 Joseph Bryan was born ca.1786 and died ca.1818. He married Parthea Bryan, a cousin, on February 13, 1812, in St. Charles County, Missouri. She was a daughter of Jonathan Bryan and had been born in Kentucky on November 9, 1793; she died on 1 April 1873, in St. Charles County, Missouri. Following the death of Joseph Bryan, his widow married (second) Moses Bigelow. According to Lillian Hays Oliver, Joseph and Parthea were the parents of three children:

1.2.5.6.2.1.1 Louisa Bryan, born November 19, 1812, in St. Charles County, Missouri, and died there on January 2, 1895. She married Francis Howell Stewart.
1.2.5.6.2.1.2 Elizabeth Bryan, born February 3, 1815, in St. Charles County, Missouri, and died there on November 11, 1881. She married John Stewart.
1.2.5.6.2.1.3 Mary Bryan, born 1817, died 1889. She married Robert Young King.

1.2.5.6.2.2 Susannah Bryan was born September 8, 1987, and died on October 18, 1854. She married John Davis who had been born on April 4, 1781, in Pennsylvania and was a son of a James Davis who had migrated to Pennsylvania from Wales. According to Lillian Hays Oliver: "In'1804, John Davis came to St. Charles Co., Missouri. He was a great trapper and hunter and spent most of his time in the woods, often being absent for months at a time." He "was in the company of dragoons who accompanied General William Clark up the Missouri River to Fort Osage." Ms. Oliver states that the papers settling his estate in 1846 are in Box 16, Vault of the Probate Court, Warrenton, Warren Co., Missouri. His property "was appraised December 8, 1846...his son James B. Davis was administrator. The Letters of Administration of John Davis name as his heirs Susannah Davis, his widow, and the following children: James Bryan Davis, Jonathan S. Davis, Joseph C. Davis, John H. Davis, and Elizabeth Davis."

1.2.5.6.2.2.1 James Bryan Davis, born August 31, 1811, died March 1, 1840. He married Eliza Ann Wheeler.
1.2.5.6.2.2.2 Jonathan S. Davis, born ca.1814. He married Nancy K. ----
1.2.5.6.2.2.3 Joseph C. Davis, born ca.1810. He married Teresa A. ----
1.2.5.6.2.2.4 John H. Davis, born ca.1831. He married Melvina Bryan.
1.2.5.6.2.2.5 Elizabeth M. Davis, born ca.1825.

1.2.5.6.2.3 Johanna Bryan. According to Dr. J. D. Bryan she was born ca. 1790 and married Chester Wheeler. Lillian Hays Oliver states that Chester Wheeler was from Vermont and settled in what is now Warren County in 1810 or 1812. His estate papers are in Box 59, Vault of the Probate Court, Warrenton, Missouri. "His Letters of Administration named John Davis and Moses Bigelow as administrators, and the following as his children:" Children of Chester and Johanna (Bryan) Wheeler:

1.2.5.6.2.3.1 Samuel Adams Wheeler married Margaret Fulkerson. He was reared by his uncle, John Davis.
1.2.5.6.2.3.2 Cynthia Ann Wheeler died ca. 1836, while her father's estate was being probated.
1.2.5.6.2.3.3 Catherine Wheeler. Samuel Morris was appointed her guardian.
1.2.5.6.2.3.4 Emaline Wheeler. Samuel Morris was also appointed her guardian.
1.2.5.6.2.3.5 John Hancock Wheeler. James B. Davis was appointed his guardian.
1.2.5.6.2.3.6 Anestatia Wheeler. James B. Davis was also appointed her guardian.
1.2.5.6.2.3.7 Lydia Ann Wheeler.

1.2.5.6.2.4 Rebecca Bryan, daughter of Henry and Elizabeth (Sparks) Bryan, was born April 8, 1790, in Clark County, Kentucky; she died on April 5, 1875, in St. Clair County, Missouri. She married Joseph Johnston in Clark County, Kentucky, on July 31, 1806. He had been born on February 18, 1784, and died on March 12, 1850, in St. Clair County, Missouri. He was a son of Robert and Catherine (Wallace) Johnston.

According to Nadine W. Britton, they were the parents of the following children: (The first seven were born in St. Charles District, Missouri; the rest in what is now Warren County, Missouri.)

1.2.5.6.2.4.1 Robert Johnston, born September 19, 1807, and died on February 27, 1849, in Texas. He married Hannah Bryan.
1.2.5.6.2.4.2 Andrew Johnston, born December 11, 1809, and died on March 15, 1827.
1.2.5.6.2.4.3 Elizabeth Johnston, born December 19, 1·811, and died in July 1827. She married Hardin Wright (or Knight?).
1.2.5.6.2.4.4Catherine Johnston, born July 25, 1813. She married Tilford Taylor .
1.2.5.6.2.4.5 Bryan Johnston, born February 21, 1815. He married Delilah Reed.
1.2.5.6.2.4.6 Sophia Jane Johnston, born February 24, 1818, and died on November 5, 1909. She was married in Warren County, Missouri, on December 3, 1840, to William P. Duckworth. Mrs. Britton descends from their daughter, 1.2.5.6.2.4.6.1 Mary Elizabeth Duckworth, born June 5, 1848, who was married in 1865 to William Penn Bunch.
1.2.5.6.2.4.7 Cynthia Ann Johnston, born August 18, 1819. She married James Henry White.
1.2.5.6.2.4.8 John W. Johnston, born October 30, 1822, died October 10, 1907. He married (first) Katherine Smith and (second) to Elizabeth James Hall.
1.2.5.6.2.4.9 Mary Sparks Johnston, born May 7, 1826. She married D. B. McDonald .
1.2.5.6.2.4.10 James Riley Johnston, born February 2, 1827, died June 11, 1880. He married Harriet Gist.
1.2.5.6.2.4.11 William Wallace Johnston, born February 8, 1830.
1.2.5.6.2.4.12 Harriet Newell Johnston, born December 26, 1833, died November 15, 1836.
1.2.5.6.2.3.13 Thirza Emeline Johnston, born April 16,1836. She married (first) Thomas Green and (second) to FNU Harris.

1.2.5.6.2.5 Elizabeth Bryan, daughter of Henry and Elizabeth (Sparks) Bryan, was married in St. Charles County, Missouri, on January 13, 1814, to Luke Holden. According to records found there by Lillian Hays Oliver, Luke Holden had died by July 18, 1818, for on that date, his widow, Elizabeth (Bryan) Holden, was given authority to administer his estate. (Book E, p. 187, Recorders Office, St. Charles, Missouri.) We have no further information about Elizabeth.

1.2.5.6.2.6 Mary ["Polly"] Bryan, daughter of Henry and Elizabeth (Sparks) Bryan, was born April 8, 1798, in Clark County, Kentucky. She died on May 25, 1882, at her daughter Marcella Happy's home in Ray County, Missouri. She was rnarried in Montgomery (now Warren) County, Missouri, on December 31, 1820, to David Reed, who had been born January 10, 1794, in Berkeley County, Virginia (now West Virginia). He died on April 26, 1853, in Carroll County, Missouri. He was a weaver by occupation. Fortunately, a family Bible has been preserved that had belonged to their son, William H. Reed, which provides a list of the children of David and Mary (Bryan) Reed, with dates of birth and, in some instances, deaths. With other information gathered by Mrs. Britton, the children of David and Mary (Bryan) Reed were:

1.2.5.6.2.6.1 Elizabeth K.Reed, born October 6, 1821, died June 10, 1822.
1.2.5.6.2.6.2 Hester Ann Reed, born May 10, 1823, died March 6, 1851.
1.2.5.6.2.6.3 Clary Sparks Reed, born September 1, 1824, died October 14, 1847.
1.2.5.6.2.6.4 William Henry Reed, born November 30, 1826. He married Nancy White on January 23, 1846, in Carroll County, Missouri.
1.2.5.6.2.6.5 Caroline Reed, born May 31, 1829, died February 14, 1852. She married Jonathan Miles who had been born in Alabama.
1.2.5.6.2.6.6 John Darst Reed, born August 14, 1831; he died in Oregon. Re married Emma Margaret Allen.
1.2.5.6.2.6.7 Marcella Esther Reed, born May 7, 1834, died December 28, 1891, near Richmond, Missouri. She married Elijah Happy on April 21, 1853.
1.2.5.6.2.6.8 James L. Reed, born April 28, 1839, died in March 1916. He married Permelia Shackelford on July 26, 1860.

1.2.5.6.2.7 Cynthia Bryan, daughter of Henry and Elizabeth (Sparks) Bryan, was married (first) to John Killebrew on November 11, 1813, in St. Charles County, Missouri. (John Killebrew had been married previously, on August 18, 1808, to Sarah Darst.) Lillian Hays Oliver has noted: "John Killebrew must have died in January 1814, for Dr. Seth Blillington sent a doctor bill dated January 12, 1814 for visit to John Killebrew during his last illness for 'visit, bleeding and medicine.' The inventory of the Killebrew estate was dated January 7, 1814, and the sale was February 22, 1814." Ms. Oliver has also noted that among the estate papers there is the following;: "On October 2, 1815, John B. Callaway, Justice of the Peace, sent to the estate of John Killebrew, deceased, a bill for $4.00 for performing the marriage ceremony of John Killebrew on November 11, 1813. John Davis swore that the account presented by a. B. Callaway was correct, and on the same day Lawrence Killebrew paid the account in full." Ms. Oliver states that Cynthia Bryan married (second) Alonzo Turtelott. In the listing of the children of Henry and Elizabeth (Sparks) Bryan given by Dr. J. D. Bryan (see page 796 of the Quarterly of March 1964), he gave no information regarding Cynthia Bryan other than that she had been married to "Alonzo Fourtelatt." We have no further inforrnation.

1.2.5.6.2.8 James Bryan, son of Henry and Elizabeth (Sparks) Bryan, was listed by Dr. J. D. Bryan as the 8th child of Henry and Elizabeth with the statement that he "died single." We have found no other information regarding him.

1.2.5.6.2.9 Esther Bryan, daughter of Henry and Elizabeth (Sparks) Bryan. Dr. J. D. Bryan, in his listing of the children of Henry and Elizabeth, gave more information regarding Esther Bryan than he did for any other. He stated: "Esther Bryan, born May 20, 1806, died April 15, 1860; married Samuel Morris, who was born September 28, 1791, and died February 15, 1885."

Ms. Oliver gives slightly different dates in her data on Esther and her husband: She gives Esther's birth date as May 20, 1806, and her death as April 15, 1860; she gives the date of birth of Samuel Morris as September 28, 1791, and his date of death as February 15, 1885. Ms. Oliver also provides the date of marriage of Esther to Samuel Morris as 1824, and the fact that Samuel Morris was a saddler by occupation. A descendant of a daughter of Esther and Samuel has also provided information; she is Lillian Van Arsdale of Lawson, Missouri. We have combined Ms. Oliver's list with that of Mrs. Arsdale; all appear to have been born in Montgomery County, Missouri.

1.2.5.6.2.9.1 Joshua [or John] Morris, born ca. 1830.
1.2.5.6.2.9.2 Chester Morris.
1.2.5.6.2.9.3 Naomi Morris, born August 7, 1832, died October 2, 1868. She married Jesse C. Diggs.
1.2.5.6.2.9.4 Louisa [or Lucinda] Morris, born ca.1833.
1.2.5.6.2.9.5 Cynthia Emaline Morris was born August 11, 1836, and died on November 22, 1924. She married William Bailey Diggs.
1.2.5.6.2.9.6 Julia Morris.
1.2.5.6.2.9.7 Verlina Morris.
1.2.5.6.2.9.8 William Marion Morris was born September 23, 1847, and died on February 22, 1941. He married Mary Frances Thornton.
1.2.5.6.2.9.9 Mary Alice Morris was born October 29, 1851, and died on November 22, 1938. She married William Irvin Davidson.

1.2.5.6.2.10 John Wesley Bryan, son of Henry and Elizabeth (Sparks) Bryan. Ms. Oliver reports that he was married in Warren County, Missouri, on February 14, 1833, to 1.2.5.6.4.4.2 Verlina Callaway (see article 084-H), daughter of John Boone Callaway, the oldest son of Flanders and Jemima (Boone) Callaway. She adds that an undated clipping from a Montgomery Co., Missouri newspaper reads: "Mrs. C. McCutchan, 82 years old, resident for many years of Prairie Lea, Texas, was born in St. Charles Co., Missouri, December 21, 1840; parents were Mr. and Mrs. John Wesley Bryan who moved to Texas and settled at Paris in 1845. Mrs. McCutchan's great-grandmother was Jemima Boone."

[Editor's Note: We shall welcome corrections and additions to this record of the children and grandchildren of Henry and Elizabeth (Sparks) Bryan.]

top