Family Stories

William Bryan, Founder of Bryan’s Station, Brother-in-Law of Daniel Boone – Fayette County

In 1925 J. R. Cooper, after extensive research, wrote several articles for The Lexington Herald about the Daniel Boone family, including his sisters.  Since it is such a big part of the history of Kentucky, I would like to share the portion of the articles that concentrate on Mary Boone, Daniel’s sister, and her husband, Col. William Bryan.  William Bryan was the founder of Bryan’s Station, located in Fayette County.  August 15, 1782, a large Indian force surrounded the fort.  About thirty souls were killed.  When help arrived, they chased the Indians north to Blue Lick where that battle occurred four days later.  30 individuals were killed at Bryan’s Station and an additional 64 during the Battle of Blue Licks.  Life was hard and dangerous when our first ancestors moved to Kentucky.

The Lexington Herald, Fayette County, Kentucky

Bryans and Grants Allied with First Boones in State

Sunday, May 17, 1925

The second installment of the genealogy of the Boone family, which is offered in this article, deals particularly with the Bryan family, which originated in Kentucky with Col. William Bryan, brother-in-law of Daniel Boone, and founder of Bryan’s Station, scene of one of the most dramatic encounters with the Indians in pioneer days.  Many members of the Bryan family are residents of Fayette County and the chapter this week shows their connection with the Boone family and right to be registered for the Boone family reunion.

The Family of Mary Boone

Mary Boone (1736-1819) married William Bryan, born 1733.  They were married in Rowan County, North Carolina, and came to Kentucky with Daniel Boone and his party in the fall of 1779 and settled at Bryan’s Station.  In regard to the name of the station, Daniel Boone Bryan, born 1758, says that he came in the spring of 1779 to make corn.  The station was named after himself (my father) and several of his brothers but he was the principal.  William Bryan was wounded in an encounter with the Indians and died May 7, 1780.  Probably buried near Bryan Station.  His wife, Mary Boone, after his death returned to North Carolina and remained there until 1785, then came back to Kentucky and lived in Daniel Boone’s house on Marble Creek.  She died in 1819; place of burial unknown.  Their nine children were Daniel Boone Bryan, William Bryan, who was killed by the Indians at the time his father was wounded, Phoebe Bryan, Hannah Bryan, John Bryan, Sarah Bryan, Abner Bryan, Elizabeth Bryan, Mary Bryan and Samuel Bryan.

[In the May 22, 1927, issue of The Lexington Herald, is the following:  In searching for a further record of the daughter of William Bryan and Mary Boone Bryan, Mrs. Wiles b. Baker, of Butler, Ky., Route 4, sent a copy from a Bryan Bible in her possession which contained the following:

  1. Samuel Bryan born Mary 6, 1756
  2. Daniel B. Bryan born February 10, 1758
  3. William Bryan born December 7, 1760.  Died (killed by Indians) March 8, 1780.
  4. Phebe Bryan born January 24, 1763.  Died April 1785.
  5. Hannah Bryan born January 10, 1765.
  6. John Bryan born February 6, 1768.  Died December 1779.
  7. Sarah Bryan born September 1, 1770
  8. Abner Bryan born November 21, 1772.  Died April 1870.
  9. Mary Bryan born January 7, 1777.  Married Joseph Ingels.
  10. Does not list Elizabeth Bryan in the above list in the 1925 newspaper article.]

Samuel Bryan (1756-1837), the eldest child, married in 1775 in North Carolina, Mary Hunt, daughter of Col. Jonathan and Isabella Hunt.  He was a Revolutionary soldier and pensioner.  Their 11 children were Ann Bryan, Phoebe Bryan, William Bryan, Abner Bryan, Luke Bryan married Mary Sanders, Thomas Bryan, Sarah Bryan, Mary Bryan, Daniel Bryan, Hampton Bryan, and Samuel Bryan, Jr.  Samuel Bryan removed to Harrison County, Kentucky, where many of his children lived and later went to Marion County, Indiana, where he died in 1837.

Sarah Bryan, daughter of Mary Boone and William, married in 1792, at Bryan’s Station, Col. William Chinn (1768-1814) and resided in Fayette County.  Children: Sarah Chinn married Captain Graves; Franklin B. Chinn, William B. Chinn, Nancy B. Chinn married Willis Arnold; Morgan B. Chinn (1801-1870), Alfred S. Chinn, mortally wounded at Raisin River; Rhoda D. Chinn, married Preston Morgan, and Elizabeth Chinn, married, 1830, Frank Speers.

Franklin B. Chinn (1800-1876), married, First, Mary Scott in 1827.  Children: William Chinn, Amanda Chinn and Mary Chinn.  Married second, in 1835, Mrs. Anne Bell Wells.  Children: Clement Bell Chinn, married Jennie Markham; Frank Chinn married Elizabeth Blackburn; Anna E. Chinn, and Sarah Jane Chinn married John C. Morton.  She was regent of the State Historical Society at Frankfort, Ky.

Daniel B. Bryan (1758-1845), after coming to Kentucky, spent his life in Fayette County.  He married Elizabeth Turner.  His monument in Lexington Cemetery recites: “Daniel Bryan, Sr., nephew of Daniel Boone, son of the first settler of Bryan’s Station, born February 10, 1758, died February 28, 1845.  Elizabeth, wife of Daniel Bryan, Sr., born November 13, 1761, died January 29, 1833.”

Let me interject to give you the link for my blog – Bryan-Cartmell Family – Lexington Cemetery.  The post contains photos of all the stones.

Children of Daniel Boone Bryan

Their children were Joseph Bryan, Samuel Bryan, Louis Bryan, who married Mary Cartmell, died in Palmyra, Mo.; William Bryan, married Margaret Gist October 27, 1813, lived in Jessamine County.  Daniel Bryan (1792-1822), Elizabeth Bryan (1792-1822), married Jeremiah Vardeman, a Baptist minister, December 21, 1820.  Thomas Bryan, married Mary I. Kay, August 20, 1829.  Mary Boone Bryan, married, first, Andrew G. Kay, September 27, 1821, children, Daniel, John, Lucy and Sarah Kay, married second, William F. Kay, November 2, 1834, had son, Lewis Kay.  Sallie Bryan married William Barr, of Jessamine County.  Phoebe Bryan married John Womack, of near Louisville.

Joseph Bryan, Jr., son of Daniel Boone Bryan, born 1797, died 1887.  Married Margaret Cartmell (1804-1874), married December, 1822.  Their five children were Elijah C. Bryan, who married his cousin, Lucy Kay [in paragraph above]; Daniel Bryan, Mary Cartmell Bryan, Theodore Bryan (died at the age of five), and Joseph B. Bryan.

Samuel Bryan, son of Daniel Boone Bryan, married Elizabeth Higbee, had issue 11 children: Mary Bryan married William G. Royster January 8, 1847, had daughter Elizabeth, married Mr. Thompson; Charles C. Bryan removed to Texas; Edward R. Bryan removed to Texas; Ellen Bryan married in 1840 S. Thomas Finley, went to Missouri; Elizabeth Bryan married 1839 Aaron Byrns; Rebecca Bryan married, first, Prewitt, second J. W. Barr; Alice Bryan married

L. B. Williams, went to Missouri; John G. Bryan; Sarah Bryan married W. A. Baxter, went to Missouri; Hester Bryan married John B. Hurst, daughter Mary Elizabeth Hurst; Samuel Bryan, Jr., died unmarried.

Let’s go back to Elijah Cartmell Bryan, son of Joseph Bryan and Margaret Cartmell.  In a later paragraph from the above newspaper article:

Family of Elijah C. Bryan and Lucy S. Kay: Children, J. T. Bryan, Louis K. Bryan, E. C. Bryan, Thomas Bryan, Margaret Bryan, Theodore Bryan and Mary K. Bryan.  In the 1850 through 1880 census for Fayette County, children listed for Elijah and Lucy were Theodore (1855), John C. (1857), Joseph (1859), Elijah, Jr. (1860), Mary (1863), Louis K. (1865), Margaret (1867) and Thomas Jefferson (1871). 

Elijah Cartmell Bryan and Lucy S. Kay were first cousins, their grandparents were Daniel Boone Bryan and Elizabeth Turner.  Elijah’s father was Joseph Bryan; Lucy’s mother was Mary Boone Bryan.

This family is so important in early Kentucky history that a series of ten lengthy articles were written by J. R. Cooper and printed in The Lexington Herald from February 27 – May 29, 1927.  This is in addition to the articles written in 1925 about the founding of Bryan’s Station.  I have copied all pages for these articles and will present more information at a later date.

14 replies »

  1. Being a Bryant born in Lexington with many Bryant kinfolk in the Central KY area I thought we might be part of this Boone/Bryant clan, but so far I have been unable to see any connection. Now, after doing a Y-DNA test and finding most of my matches are Smoots/Smutes, and not being able to reliably go back further than my great grandfather Thomas Bryant on the Bryant line, I am coming to the conclusion that there was a NPE (non-parental event) prior to 1830. Any suggestions on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated. I have found Smoots in Hardin County which is a stone’s throw across Nelson County from Washington County. Were changes of surname or adoption records kept that far back? I have not been able to find anything.

    • In one of the newspaper articles I read, but didn’t use in my blog, said the name was always Bryan, not Bryant. Their names were signed as such in all the court records. Speaking of Smoots, I have a connection to a family by that name in very early Maryland. Would this be your group?

  2. This is so interesting. Thank you so much for sharing all that you do. This first time I’ve been able to read your email in several weeks

  3. Yes, I’ve seen Bryant and Bryan used interchangeably , even in the same document. Regarding the Smoot surname: My Y-DNA results show several best matches associated with William Smute, b. 1596. I have tracked this line via paper to at possibly 3 Smoots in the Central KY area. Given the scarcity of documentation I’m not sure where to go next with my Bryant line. How does one prove a NPE. I know the Bryant line is frequent in KY but I cannot connect my folks to them. And I have this y-DNA line Smoot line. Ne’er twain shall meet?

  4. I am a direct descendent of William Bryan and Mary Boone. They are both my 8x great grandparents. John Bryan is my 7x great grandfather. I actually have conflicting dates on when John Bryan was born and when he died. I am not too sure on this but what I have is he was born Jan 1 1760 and died 10 April 1841. This information I got off of records on I will link it below. I have no idea if it is 100% accurate but it is definitely something to look into.


  5. 4-3-2023. We have discovered tombstones in Fayette County Kentucky on a horse farm off Winchester Road that has Bryan and Dodd surnames. Some headstones just have initials. The dates are 1700’s and date of deaths range from 1790, 1792, 1808, 1821, 1833. We do not have a clue who these are. I have many photos as we are cleaning 200 years of brush away from the site.

    • Thanks for cleaning up the cemetery. You should post the pictures to Find a Grave so others can see them.

      • My great grandfather was Thomas Bryant, b,1830 d.1910. Life as a blacksmith in Washington and Anderson county KY. Civil war vet. Married Mariam Alice McMichael. I have been unable to establish who Thomas’ parents were. Thomas’s brother Arthur was born 1819. It seems reasonable that their father was born in the late 1700s to early 1800s. Which would fit with the gravestones you mention in your post. It also seems likely that he was born/lived in the central KY area. I wonder if one of the Bryan grave markers was somehow related to my Bryant line. There are many my Bryant line in the Fayette, Anderson, Washington county area.

        I was unable to “read more” at the end of the post, but would like to see the continuation of your message. Thank you for posting. I look forward to your reply.

      • We have reached to the Sons of the Revolution and these guys are unbelievable in their concern and care for these historical finds. We actually may have discovered a Patriot who was a Danbury at another family cemetery we found on the adjacent farm off Winchester Road. They have permission to enter thenoroeorriws to continued their “proper” techniques of cleaning the headstones and are researching them as well. Once the stones are legible we will take photos and post.

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