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HE impelling cause which is responsible for this article needs no elaboration. During the last few months, so many conflicting statements have been made by writers, friendly and unfriendly, concerning Mr. Bryan's ancestry, habits, education, etc., that a short biography based upon fact seems a necessary part of this book.
Writing from the standpoint of a wife, eulogy and criticism are equally out of place. My only purpose, therefore, is to present in a simple story those incidents which may be of interest to the general reader.
Mary Baird, Bryan
ITHIN the last few years Mr. Bryan has corresponded with a number of persons bearing the family name. Some of the
Bryans trace their ancestry to Ireland, some to Wales, while others have followed the name through Irish into English history. A biographical sketch written under the supervision of Silas L. Bryan states that the family is of Irish extraction.
William Bryan, who lived in Culpeper County, Virginia, something more than one hundred years ago, is the first ancestor whose name is known to the descendants. Where he was born, and when, is a matter of conjecture. He owned a large tract of land among the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, near Sperryville. The family name of his wife is unknown. There were born to the pair five children: James, who removed to Kentucky; John, who remained upon the homestead; Aquilla, who removed to Ohio; and Francis and Elizabeth, about whom nothing is known.
John Bryan, the second son, was born about 1790, and at an early age married Nancy Lillard. The Lillard family is an old American family of English extraction and is now represented by numerous descendants scattered over Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. To John Bryan and wife ten children were born, all of whom, excepting Russell and Elizabeth, are deceased. The oldest, William, removed to Missouri in early life and lived near Troy until his death, some ten years ago. John and Howard died in infancy. Jane married Joseph Cheney and lived at Gallipolis, Ohio. Nancy married George Baltzell, and lived in Marion County, Illinois. Martha married Homer Smith, and lived at Gallipolis, Ohio, later removing to Marion County, Illinois. The next child, Robert, a physician, was killed in a steamboat explosion while yet a young man. Silas Lillard, father of William Jennings Bryan, was born November 4th, 1822, near Sperryville, in what was then Culpeper, but is now a part of Rappahannock County, Virginia. The next child, Russell, located at Salem, Illinois, where he has since lived. Elizabeth, the youngest of the family, married another George Baltzell. She early removed to Lewis County, Missouri, her present home,