English Ancestry of Richard Thomas Bryant (husband of Keziah Arroyah) of Staffordshire, Virginia

I have written quite a bit about the "Indian" ancestry of the Bryant family of Staffordshire, Virginia. This post concerns the ancestry of Richard Thomas Bryant who supposedly married Keziah Arroyah in Virginia about 1650. The Bryan(t) ancestry is tough because many descendants of early Virginia Bryants claim the same ancestors, which is not always possible. Before I tackle Richard Thomas himself, I want to talk about his ancestry, where was he born,who were his parents? I trolled through the internet to see what everyone was saying and here is what I found.

#1.WIKITREE( as of 28 August 2016):

Dr. Richard Thomas Bryan b. 1630 in Bitton, Gleneaster (sp)  (should be Gloucester), d. 14 Feb 1680, Isle of Wight, VA was the son of:

Father: Edward Bryan (2) b. 1600 in Denbigh, Wales, d. 1660 in Elizabeth City, Virginia. He was the son of Sir Edward Bryan (1) and Unknown Mother. Sir Edward (1) was born 1 June 1565 in Gloucestershire. He was the son of Sir Francis Bryan and his wife Joan Fitzgerald. His wife and mother of Edward (1) b. 1600 in Denbigh is Unknown.

Mother: Anne Butler Bryan was born 1 June 1592 in Hertfordshire, England. She was the daughter of William Boteler and Anne (Wilson) Boteler. She died 1 June 1670, Elizabeth City, VA.
William Boteler was born 1455 in Woodhall, Hertfordshire, England.
Anne Wilson was born 1572 in William, Bertford (sp) should be Hertfordshire, England, died in Watton on Stone, Hertfortshire.

Marriage of Edward (2) and Anne Butler in 1609 in Gloucestershire.

This ancestry looks like this:
 Sir Francis Bryan + Joan Fitzgerald
Sir Edward Bryan + Unknown
      Edward Bryan + Ann Butler Bryan
            Richard Thomas Bryan

Red Flag: Sir Francis Bryan, well known Tudor figure, died 2 Feb 1550 in Ireland. [1]
Red Flag: Joan Fitzgerald died 2 Jan 1565 in Limerick, Ireland and was buried in Askeaton Friary. [2] [3] Note: the book: Our Cup Runneth Over by Herbert Krause incorrectly gives her  birth as 1529 it should be c. 1509 and she did not die in Buckinghamshire, she died in Ireland.
Red Flag: William Boteler was born 137 years before the birth of his daughter.
Red Flag:  Two red flags here; 1. Edward was only nine years old when he married, other sites give his year of birth as 1600. 2.He was born in Denbigh, she was born in Hertfordshire, they married in Gloucestershire. Either Edward was born much earlier or the marriage took place later.

Children of Edward and Anne Butler Bryan:
1. Ann b. 1 June 1610, Bitton, Gloucester, d. 1 June 1680, Bitton, Gleneaster
2. Benjamin b. 1 June 1612, Glneeaster, d. 1 June 1672, Bitton, Glouc.
3. Hugh b. 1 June 1614 Bitton, d. 1 June 1676, Bitton, Glouc.
4. John b. 1615 Bitton, Gleneaster, d. 1680, Isle of Wight, VA
5. Jospeh b. 1 June 1616, Bitton, d. 1 June 1677, Bitton, Glouc.
6. Martha b. 1 June 1617, Bitton, Gleneaster, d. 1 June 1680, Bitton, Gleneaster
7. Lewis, b. 1 June 1619, Bitton, d. 22 Dec. 1662, Bitton Gleneaster
8. Richard Thomas, b. 1630 Bitton, d. 14 Feb. 1680, Isle of Wight, VA
9. Thomas James, b. 1635, Elizabeth City, VA, died 1680, Elizabeth City, VA
10. Roger, b. 1640, Elizabeth City. d. unknown.

Red Flag:  Clearly the dates of births and deaths are made up, (1 June).
Red Flag:  Middle names were virtually unheard of until the time of the American Revolution. To see two boys with middle names usually indicated that the real name is possibly one or the other, but not both.
Red Flag: Edward and Anne are said to have immigrated to Virginia where they both died. Their first eight children were born and died in Bitton. Did Edward and Anne just abandon them there?
Red Flag: Bitton St. Marys parish records for baptism begin in 1572, none of these baptisms are found in their records, although their are numerous other Bryant baptisms.

Conclusion: Sir Francis Bryan and Joan Fitzgerald cannot be the parents of Edward and therefore are not the ancestors of Richard Thomas Bryan.(1). William Boteler cannot be the father of Anne Butler; therefore we do not really have a clear idea of who she was. 
The children are highly questionable, the birth and death dates are not real, possible estimated,  but do not seemed to be based on an documents. 
*No source is given for any of the above information.

#2. Morris Family Tree (http://www.morrisfamilytree.comxa.com/foley.html) as of 28 August 2016

Richard Thomas Bryant b. 1 June 1615 Bitton, Gloucestershire, England, d. 14 Feb, Isle of Wight, Virginia was the son of:

Father: Edward b. 1590, Denbigh, Wales

Mother:Anne Butler b. 21 Jan 1593 Woodhall, Watton. (correct name is Watton Woodhall)

Red Flag: Mother's birthdate is very specific but  I can find no such DOB or baptism. The Boteler family of Watton Woodhall were well known and I can find no such daughter.

Conclusion: Copy and paste stuff. This tree has moved Richard's  birth to 1615, fifteen years before #1. and Edward b. in 1590. 
*No Source is given for any of this information

#3. Genealogy.com tree of Kathy B Aristy Durham as of 28 August 2016; Genealogy.com tree of Dennis M. Frye 

This tree does not include Richard Thomas but does have Edward and Anne Butler, his parents from example #1. 

Edward Bryant 01 Jun 1592, Walton On Stone, Hertfordshire, England and d. 1 June 1670 in Elizabeth City. The same connection to Sir Francis and Joan Fitz Gerald is also made. The correct name of the town is Watton at Stone.

Anne Butler b. 1 June 1592 and d. 1 June 1670. 

Red Flag:  Once again the 1 June dates, the attempt to make a connection to Sir Francis.
The tree of Kathy B includes a son named Thomas who m. Tabitha Wright.....we'll see more of this later.
conclusion: this is copy and paste genealogy, this version leaves out Richard Bryant and inserts another Bryant who immigrated to Virginia, Thomas, most likely the Thomas James from site #1.
*No Source is given for any of the above information

#4. Armchairgenealogist.com as of 28 August 2016

Richard Thomas Bryant was b. 1630 Elizabeth City, VA d. 12 Feb 1680 Elizabeth City, VA he was the son of:

Father: Lord Edward Bryant b. 1595 Denbigh, d. 1650 Elizabeth City, VA. He was the s/o Lord Edward Bryant b. 1565 in Gloucestershire, d. 1 June 1630.

Mother: Lady Anne Butler b. ? Gloucestershire, England, d. 1 June 1670 Elizabeth City, VA
Edward and Ann m. 1609 Gloucestershire.
Red Flag: 1 June dates
Red Flag: If Edward and his wife Anne were Lord and Lady Bryan, how did they go unrecorded in class conscious Colonial Virginia. Why are there no land grants, no court records, etc.
conclusion: This is more copy and paste stuff, using the same 1 June dates. Again the attempt to connect to Sir Francis Bryan is made. 
*No source is given for any of the above information

#5. Geni (https://www.geni.com/people/Edward-Bryant/6000000002846480834) as of 28 August 2016

Richard Bryant b. 1630 Westmoreland, Westmoreland, VA, d. 15 May 1704 Virginia. He was the son of:

Father: William Smith Bryan b. 1599 County Clare, Ireland, d. 1 June 1667, Gloucester County, VA. William Smith was the son of Sir Francis Bryan II, Justiciar of Ireland and Anne Smith. Sir Francis was the son of Sir Francis and Joan Fitzgerald. He was born (you guessed it) 1 June 1549 and died on 1 June 1640 in Ireland. Anne, mother of William Smith Bryan,  was the daughter of William Smith of Stratford on Avon. She was born 1 June 1560 and died on 1 June 1635.

Mother: Catherine Morgan

The ancestry looks like this:
       Sir Francis Bryan + Joan Fitzgerald
   Sir Francis Bryan II + Anne Smith
 William Smith Bryan + Catherine Morgan
                         Richard Bryant

Children of Francis II and Anne:
1. Francis Bryan b. 1 June 1580 in DeKalb County, Illinois, d. 1 June 1650 (is this an auto fill error?)
2. Whanganoche Bryan b. 1 June 1590
3. Richard b. 1598
4. William Smith  b. June 1599 County Clare, d. 1 June 1667 Gloucester County, VA
5. James b. 1603

Red Flags: Sir Francis Bryan was known to have had one illegitimate son who was old enough to travel to London on his father's business in 1548. [4][5][6] If he had a son named Francis, he was not recorded anywhere. There is no record of his being knighted. He was never the Justiciar of Ireland.
Red Flags: Again with the June dates.
Red Flags: Whanganoche was a Powhatan Indian, how and why does Francis Bryan have a son by this name?
Conclusion: copy and paste work, Indian names thrown into the mix, and false information. This tree also has Richard Thomas born in Westmorland, Virginia instead of England. Westmorland was not established until 1653, so this information is not correct. 

#8. Find A Grave: This is a virtual cemetery by Angela Rivers who has the following to say about Edward Bryant: These are the decendents (sp) of Edward Bryan, son of Edward John Bryan and Annie Bignold. Edward was born 1590 in Denbigh Wales and died 1660 in Elizabeth City, Va. He married Anne Boteler abt. 1609. Anne was born Jan 1593 in Walton on Stone, Hertfordshire, England. She died 1670 in Elizabeth City, Va. She was the daughter of William Boteler and Anne Wilson. Edward arrived at Jamestown, Virginia in 1618 aboard the "Marygould" from London/South Hampton and established the Bryant name here in America. [7]

this ancestry looks like this:
Edward John Bryan + Annie Bignold
Edward Bryant + Anne Boteler (Butler)

Red Flag: this bio has some very similar elements, but introduces a new name, Annie Bignold.
conclusion: This information is a mish mash of other trees with the Bignold family throw in for good measure. 
*No sources given for this information.

#8. Geni (https://www.geni.com/people/Edward-John-Bryan/6000000002846946991) as of 31 August 2016

This family tree does not have Richard Bryant in it but it does have the same Edward who was supposed by others to be his father. Edward was born in 1590 in Denbigh, Wales. He was the son of:

Father : Edward John Bryan, Lord of Upper Ossory. Edward John's parents were Sir Francis Bryan d. 1550 and his first wife Phillipa Spicer. Edward was born 1565 in Bitton, Gloucester and died 1 June 1630.

Mother: Anne Brayne Bignold, born 1569 in Bitton, Gloucester and died 1590 in Denbigh, Wales. No other info available for her on this site.

Red Flag: both Sir Francis and Phillip were dead in 1565 and cannot be the parents of Edward John.
Red Flag: The use of middle names was not in practice in Tudor England.
Red Flag:  The 5th Lord of Upper Ossory was not Edward John Bryan. This title belonged to the FitzPatrick family. The 5th Lord of Upper Ossory was Barnaby (Bryan) Fitzpatrick. This confusion likely comes from an 1891 book on american families descended from nobility. The author totally mangles the Fitzpatrick information. [8]
Red Flag: This tree also includes the name Anne Bignold as the mother of Edward. This may also come from the book mentioned above. Anne Butler Brayne was the daughter of Richard Brayne and Anne Bignold of Westminster, London. In 1724 she married Alexander Spotswood, the Governor of Virginia. Poor thing, I can't imagine how she got dragged into this tree. [9] I suspect that the name of Anne Butler Brayne is the source of the Anne Butler who is said to have married Edward Bryan.

Conclusion: this tree is a bunch of junk. Richard was not a descendant of the Lords of Upper Ossary, they were the Fitzpatricks. He is not related to the Bignold/Braynes, different time.

__________________________________________ So, I think this gives a pretty good overview of what is out there on the internet. What we seem to have are two candidates for the father of Richard; Edward Bryan and William Smith Bryan. What can actual records tell us about these two men, their wives and children. Let's see what I can find.

Edward Bryan
Edward is consistently said to be born 1590/1600 in Denbigh, Wales. I searched the published Denbighshire baptisms with no results. The only Edward I could find was an Edward Brian born in 1616 in Ruthin, Denbighshire. Where this information came from is anybody's guess. Nothing is known about the English/Welsh origins of Edward Bryan and I believe that none of what is written is correct.

What is known about Edward Bryan in Virginia? In 1623 a list of 'Living and Dead' was drawn up to include all the colonist known to have come to or currently living in the Virginia Colony. The list was meant to represent all those who survived the Indian attack of 1622. On that list was Edward Bryan, living in Elizabeth City. Some ancestry's have tried to place him on the ship Mary Gould, but no passenger lists exists, other put him on the Bona Nova, again there is not passenger list. No other Bryan, Brian or Bryant was on the 1623 list of living and dead. [10] A second muster was taken the following year in 1624/25. Notably, Edward Bryan was not on that list. Was he dead, did he leave? No land grant was made to Edward Bryan. His name is not found in any colonial record. No wife or children can be identified. All we know about him is that he was in Elizabeth City,Virginia in 1623.

William Smith Bryan
William Smith Bryan is an interesting character. He is first written about in a book published in 1876 called The Pioneer Families of Missouri, written by William Smith Bryan, his descendant. [11] Mr. Bryan wrote that his ancestor landed in Virginia by way of Ireland in 1615, saying he "arouse the hostility of the British Government by a too ardent Irish patriotism and was deported as a rebellious subject." He also claims that William Smith Bryan was the only living lineal descendant of Brian Boru, a high king of Ireland from the 10th century. Mr. Bryan goes on to say that William Smith Bryan had eleven children but the name of only one was known; Francis, who returned to Ireland to reclaim the family lands.

This Francis was unsuccessful in his attempt to regain the old family land and for whatever reason is said to have fled to Denmark. In Denmark two sons were born; Morgan and William. Morgan inexpicably became the Standard Bearer for William of Orange and was present at the battle of the Boyne in 1690. He then left Europe and immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1695, where he married Martha Stroud. [12]

On page 132 of the Pioneers of Missouri, a second William Bryan is introduced. He is said to have come from Wales with Lord Baltimore in 1650 and settled in Maryland. His wife was Irish and they had three children; William, Morgan and Daniel. A descendant of this William, another William, settled in Roan County, NC and married a woman named Sally Bringer. The had eleven children, one of whom, a daughter named Rebecca, married Daniel Boone. [13]

By 1915 the story had changed quite a bit. In the book The Shearer and Akers Family, by J. W. Shearer, William Smith ? Bryan, his question mark, was a descendant of Sir Francis Bryan. No wife is identified. William Smith Bryan is said to be a landowner in Ireland, probably County Clare. In 1650 he and his family were deported by Cromwell for being a rebellious subject. Accompanying him were eleven sons, but only two are given in this book, Morgan and Francis. [14] This newer version sets the action forward by 35 years into the Cromwell era.

Again, Francis is said to have returned to Ireland to reclaim the family land but was persecuted by the English and fled to Denmark. Morgan is identified only as a possible son and is said to have been in Norfolk, Virginia in 1663. His son Morgan married a woman named Martha Stroud and ended up in Davie County, North Carolina. [15]

In a 1917 publication William is described as an Irish land owner with eleven children who was deported by Cromwell's forces in 1650 for being a rebellious subject. Francis returned to Ireland in 1677 and fled for Denmark where his sons William and Morgan were born. William married a Margaret and they lived in Ballyrooney, County Down, Ireland. William and Margaret and their son John left Ireland after John was arrested for poaching. [16]

In 1622  a book called Notable Southern Families was published. [17] William Smith Bryan is also discussed in this book, in which he is said to be the son of Sir Francis Bryan. He was deported in 1650 for being an undesirable citizen. He arrived in Virginia in 1615 with his family and a boatload of household goods. This book makes the amazing claim that William Smith Bryan was the ancestor of the O'Briens who were the Lords of Inchquin. The book repeats the story of Francis' return to England and the troubles that led him to Denmark, his marriage to Sarah Brinker. This version of the story says that Francis eventually returned to live in Ireland. It also supposes that Morgan Bryan was a son of William Smith Bryan.  Morgan, this time, left Ireland for Pennsylvania. [18]

Another book published in 1922 was a history of the Boone Family. This book gives two versions of the story of Morgan Bryan. In the first, Morgan grew to manhood in Ireland and then left for America, settling in Pennsylvania where he married Martha Stroud. [19] The second version is the William Smith deported version but has Francis returning for his land in 1650. Again Francis goes to Denmark where son Morgan is born. Morgan of the battle of the Boyne comes to Pennsylvania in 1695. Francis died in Belfast in 1694. The author says that he does not know which if either were the correct story.

A 1962 article in the Virginia Magazine perpetuates the story of Francis Bryan returning to Ireland to reclaim the family estates. His son Morgan, then living in poverty, sailed, possible under indenture to Pennsylvania. [20]

In 1965, in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volume 53, it is Francis that is the standard bearer for William of Orange in 1690.

Skip forward a few decades to the age of the internet. In 2011 this was posted on a ancestry.com message board:

Sir William Smith BRYAN, 8th Great-Grandfather. PMC" Prince William of Ireland", Deported in 1650, to Gloucester Beach, Virginia as a "Rebellious Subject." Marriage 1: Countess Of Ormond Catherine MORGAN, b: 1594 in , Claire, Ireland.
Married: 1620, in , Claire, Ireland.

Note: In 1650, William Smith Bryan, the Grandson of Sir Francis Bryan, declared himself Heir-to-the-Throne Of Ireland, and fought against Cromwell, from the back of a White horse. Defeated by sheer numbers of the Puritan army, Bryan was deported to the Colony of Virginia in America, together with "twenty-one sons and grandsons." Declares himself Heir to the Throne of Ireland. 
What an interesting evolution this story took. From Irish rebel of 1615 to pretender to the 'Irish Throne.' In a few years we might even know the name of his white horse. In fact, if you can keep a secret, I'll let you know that the horse was called 'Snowball." The one thing that each of these stories has in common, is that there are no sources, none at all. As interesting as it is, it is clear that William Smith Bryan and our Richard Thomas Bryant are not related.

Richard Thomas Bryant
Where does this leave Richard Thomas Bryant? Well there is no record of a Richard Thomas Bryant in Virginia. There is nothing that would lead me to believe he was a doctor. He has no land grants, he is not in any colonial record. If he were a doctor you would think he would have a prominent role in Virginia society, but nada, nilch, is out ther. All there is is a loose group of  men and women with the surname Bryant who could possibly be siblings and some of these are highly questionable themselves.

Who was the father of Richard Bryant born about 1650? There is nothing in the records which would answer this question. It is entirely possible that he was the immigrant himself.


[1] Great Britain Public Record Office, Calendar of the State Papers Relating to Ireland, of the Reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth, Vol. 3, (London: Longman and Co., 1877) 118, digital images, Google Books (www.books.google.com : accessed 28 August 2016).

[2] James Graves, "The Earls of Desmond," Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquities of Ireland, Vol 1, Series 3, 1868-1869, (1873) p. 484, digital images, Google Books (https:books.google.com : accessed 28 August 2016).

[3] Askeaton Franciscan Friary, Monastic Ireland, (http://www.monastic.ie/history/askeaton-franciscan-friary/ : accessed 28 August 2016)

[4] "Sir Francis Bryan, 1492-1550" The History of Parliament, The House of Commons 1509-1558, database, The History of Parliament Online (http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1509-1558/member/bryan-sir-francis-1492-1550#biography : accessed 30 August 2016).

[5] Correspondence Politique de Odet de Selve, Ambassedeur de France en Angleterra 1546-1549, (Paris: F. Alcan, 1888) 446; digital images, Archive (https://archive.org/details/correspondancep00pongoog : accessed 30 August 2016). This is a letter dated 16 September 1548 detailing a dispatch that was delivered by the son of Sir Francis Bryan to the French Ambassador.

[6] Daniel Mac Carthy, "Appendix," The Journal of the Historical and Archealogical Association of Ireland, Volume 1, (January 1869) 505-506, digital images, Archive (https://archive.org/metadata/jstor-25497800 : accessed 30 August 2016). This article says that Joan Fitzgerald and Francis Bryan did not have any children. Francis on his deathbed asks Johan Desmond, Ormand and Ossory.

[7] Angela Rivers, Bryant Family in America, Virtual Cemetery, database, Find A Grave  (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=vcsr&GSvcid=483827 : accessed 30 August 2016).

[8] Charles H. Browning, Americans of Royal Descent, A Collection of Genealogies of American Families Whose Lineage is Traced to the Legitimate Issue of Kings, (Philadelphia: Porter & Coles, 1891) 429; digital images, Archive (https:www.archive.org : accessed 30 August 2016).

[9] Randall Shrock, "Alexander Spotswood, 1676-1740", Encyclopedia Virginia, (http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Spotswood_Alexander_1676-1740 accessed 1 September 2016).

[10] Virginia General Assembly, Colonial Records of Virginia, (Richmond, VA : Clemment and Jones, 1874) 52; digital images, Archive (https://archive.org/stream/colonialrecordso00virg#page/n7/mode/2up : accessed 1 September 2016).

[11] William Smith Bryan, Pioneer Families of Missouri, (St. Louis, MO : Bryan Brand & Co., 1876) viii; digital images, Archive (https://archive.org/stream/historyofpioneer00bryauoft#page/viii/mode/2up : accessed 2 September 2016).

[12] Bryan, Pioneer Families, viv.

[13] Bryan, Pioneer Families, 132.

[14] J. W. Shearer, The Shearer Akers Family, (Sommerville, N.J : Press of the Somerset Register, 1915) 11; digital images, Archive (https://archive.org/details/shearerakersfami00shea : accessed 2 September 2016).

[15] J. W. Shearer, The Shearer Akers Family, 11.

[16] George Norbury Mackenzie, Colonial Families of the United States, (Grafton Press, 1917) digital images, Google Books.

[17] Zella Armstrong, Notable Southern Families, (Chattanooga, Tennessee; The Lookout Publishing Co., 1922) 33, digital images, Google Books, (https://www.books.google.com : accessed 2 September 2016).

[18] Zella Armstrong, Notable Southern Families, 33.

[19] Jesse Procter Crump, The Boone family: a genealogical history of the descendants of George and Mary Boone, who came to America in 1717 : containing many unpublished bits of early Kentucky history : also a biographical sketch of Daniel Boone, the pioneer, by one of his descendants
(Buffalo, New York: Tuttle Co., 1922) 505-506, digital images, Google Books, (https://www.books.google.com).

[20] Charles W. Bryan, "Morgan Bryan; Pioneer of the Opequon and Yadkin," The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 70. no. 2 (April 1962) 154-164, digital images, JSTOR ( http://www.jstor.org/stable/4246837 : accessed 2 September 2016).

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