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William Noel Bryan    

WILLIAM NOEL BRYAN, BRAZORIA COUNTY.  The death of this patriot of the Texas revolution occurred at his home in Brazoria County, March 13, 1903, and his remains were interred in the family burying ground on Gulf Prairie the second day following. He was born at Hazel Run, a branch of the Tar Blue river, in Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri, December 14, 1816, the son of James and Mrs. Emily M. (Austin) Bryan.

His father, who was engaged in mining and smelting lead ore at Hazel Run, died in 1823 at Herculaneum, a town on the Mississippi river, twenty-five miles below St. Louis.

Mrs. Bryan was an only daughter of Moses Austin. He died at her home June 10, 1821, after his return from Texas. In 1824 she married James F. Perry, a merchant of Potosi, Washington County, Missouri, a town laid off by her father when the territory belonged to Spain.  William Joel attended school at Potosi until 1830.

In the spring of 1831 Mr. Perry started from Missouri with his family and traveled in wagons overland, reaching San Felipe August 31st. In 1832 he moved to a place that he established at Peach Point, ten miles below the present town of Brazoria. Mr. Perry performed valuable services during the Texas revolution and was on duty in the fort on Galveston island when the battle of San Jacinto was fought. His death occurred in 1852; that of his wife in 1851.

As a member of Capt. Ebberley’s company, William Joel Bryan was among the first volunteers who marched from Gulf Prairie to Gonzales at the beginning of the Texas revolution in 1835. From Gonzales he proceeded with the army under the command of Gen. Stephen F. Austin, and participated in the siege and reduction of San Antonio.

After the capture of San Antonio the volunteer army disbanded, there being no provision for its support and nothing for it to do. A few organized under the authority of the Governor, or Council, held together in the hope of inaugurating and participating in military enterprises that were mooted at the time, and others returned to their homes. William Joel Bryan was among the latter, as he saw that nothing would, or could, be done until the meeting of the Plenary Convention called for March 1, 1836.

After that convention elected Gen. Houston Commander-in-Chief of the army and. after his arrival at Gonzales, news of the fall of the Alamo was received, and the patriot force began, under his direction, the famous retreat that terminated at San Jacinto. Mr. Bryan took part in this retreat as a soldier in Capt. Calder’s company and would have participated in the battle of San Jacinto, but for the fact that he was stricken down by an illness that, for a time, it was thought would prove fatal. It was with him a life-time regret that he was thus prevented from being present. The family, however, was well represented on that memorable field by his brother, Moses Austin Bryan.
April 6, 1840, William Joel Bryan was united in marriage to Miss Lavinia Perry (niece of his stepfather, James F. Perry, and daughter of Dr. Samuel I. Perry), and established a plantation (named by him “Durazno”) on the Brazos river, two miles below Peach Point and about six miles from Velasco. Here he lived continuously thereafter until the time of his death (a period of seventy-three years). For many years prior to his decease he was engaged in sugar planting and stock raising.

His wife died September 8, 1872. Six children were born to them, two daughters and four sons. The daughters married and have left descendants. The sons are still living, and are respected, well-to-do and influential citizens.

Mr. Bryan joined the Presbyterian church in 1894, and was a consistent Christian.

He was a member of the Texas Veterans’ Association from its organization.

Such were the salient facts that marked with distinctive coloring a modest, honorable and useful life.

Year Book for Texas: party conventions, election returns, inauguration of Governor Lanham and Lieutenant-Governor Neal, legislative work, public officials and current reports of departments and state institutions, important events, obituaries of distinguished dead, industrial development, statistics, biographical sketches, and historical manuscripts never before published. Raines, Cadwell Walton, Austin, Tex.: Gammel-Statesman Pub. Co., 1903, pages 34-35 View image of this page on line.  Search Hundreds of 1880s-1920s Texas History Books for biographies and historical information on your ancestors.  View the book page images on line and print them out for your genealogy file!  Try the family history collection for free for 14 days!

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