William H. Bryan was my great-great-great grandfather.  He was born about 1804 in Kentucky.  I was able to find him and his wife and children in the 1830 and 1840 censuses of Lincoln County, Kentucky.  Of course, with these 2 censuses, all that I knew about William H. were the numbers of males and females (and their age range) in the family. With the 1850 census, I was able to put names to everyone in the family – William H., Elizabeth, and their 5 sons and 2 daughters.


Quite a bit was soon discovered about William H.

  • owned 17 slaves in 1850 – some blacks and some mulattos
  • owned 16 slaves in 1860 – some blacks and some mulattos
  • owned much land in Lincoln and Mercer County, both in Kentucky
  • W. B. Harland was the executor of his estate in 1861
  • was guardian, in 1828, to the sister of Elizabeth (his wife)
  • bought and sold various lands from and to the Harland and Hickman families
  • was the surety for Reuben Engleman and his first wife, Mary Gentry.  Upon the death of Mary, Reuben decided to marry Sallie, the daughter of William H.


Quite a few other discoveries have been made about William H., and they will be featured in another blog post.    However, the discoveries above show something about William H. – he was a man who wealth – he owned land and slaves.  And, he was a caring man – he was guardian for his wife’s sister when the father died.