Ann Bryan


Ann Bryan, wife of Miles Bembry, was born between 1760-1765 in North Carolina.

She was a favorite daughter of Needham Bryan and Jerusha Cain, and is mentioned by name in his Needham’s will, dated 1797. She was bequeathed 100 acres in Martin County, NC.

NEDAM BRYAN; Martin County will book page 343; 11 March 1797.

Will of Needham Bryan, Martin County, NC, 1797

In the name of God Amen I Nedam Bryan of the County of Martin and State of North Carolina being of sound mind and Memory Calling to mind the uncertainty of this Transitory life Do make and Ordain this my last will and Testament in manner and form _____ ________ To wit bequeath my soul to God, who gave it measure and Certain hopes of a Joyfull  Resurrection at the last day and my body to the Earth to be Entered at the Discretion of my beloved wife and my executors who I shall hereafter name as to my Worldly Goods which is hath pleased God to bless me with in this life.  I dispose of in manner and form following after my Just Debts being paid:

Item: I lend my unto my beloved Wife Jerusha Bryan all my hole Estate Real and personal During her Natural lifetime and After her Death in the manner and form following to wit. Item: I give and____ unto my Son James Bryan my plantation wherein I now live and all the land thereto belonging and my Still to him and his heirs for Ever.

Item: I give unto my Daughter Ann Bembray one hundred acres of land where James Bellflower formerly lived now possession of So (?) Bembray also one Negro girl named Hannah which she now has in possession to her and her Heirs forever. And it is Further my Will and Desire that all my Savanna Land that I have not all ready disposed of be Equally Divided among my five Children also all the Negros that I have not already given away to be Equally Divided Among all my five children including all the Rest of my personall  Estate to be Equally Divided as Above mentioned.

Last I Also ____and apoint my Loving friends Hardy Bryan and John Hayman and Timothey Ward Excr. to this my Last Will and Testament Revoking and Annulling all Other form of wills heretofore made by my hand and seal this 11 Day of March 1797.

___________published and declared in presents of
Test. Williams C. King
Henry Cooper
Nedom Bryan (seal)

Needham Bryan was the son of Robert Bryan, and one of a large family of brothers and cousins who owned plantations along the Conetoe Creek, just southeast of Tarboro, NC.  The family was of Irish origin, and probably descended from a John Bryan who settled near Norfolk, Virginia in the late 17th century.

Needham may have served in the Revolutionary War. There is a more famous Captain Needham Bryan who served with the Johnston County militia, but there is also a “Needham Bryan, Jr.” listed in the same unit in 1763.  (“Junior” at that time could simply mean younger, rather than “son of.” )

In addition to being a farmer, Needham ran a still. Ann surely would have learned how to make liquor from her parents, and the “brandy” that Miles later sold to Albin Plantation was probably the product of her home business. Brandy and cider-making were usually the province of women in colonial times.

Miles was overseer at Albin Plantation from about 1812 to 1818. As overseers typically lived on the plantations where they worked, Ann would have been in charge of their own farm and family during that period with the help of her children, the oldest of whom (John) would have been about 18 when Miles left to work at Albin.

The known children of Miles and Ann are an unknown daughter, John, William Miles, Thomas, and Kenneth.

Ann is found on the 1830 census, but probably died before 1832, when Miles made his will. While I have not seen the will, it does not appear that she is mentioned in it.

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