Name: STEPHEN BRYANT* , SR 1
Birth: ABT 1620 in EXACT BIRTH DATE AND LOCATION UNKNOWN of Kent Cranbrook, Sussex County, England
Death: BET 19 JUN AND 7 JUL 1701 in probably Plymouth Colony, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, New England
Immigration: 29 OCT 1630 Pilgrim Ship the "Handmaid"
Burial: BET 19 JUN AND 7 JUL 1701 EXACT BURIAL DATE AND LOCATION UNKNOWN
Reference Number: SHAW10634
STEPHEN BRYANT is in Plymouth Colony, according to Kingman, as early the year 1632. He is certainly there in the year 1643; for in the list of males, in that colony, between the ages of 16 and 60, able to bear arms, August, 1643, his name is entered under the town of Plymouth, but it is afterwards, for some cause, stricken from the list. He is probably there the preceding spring, as land is purchased in his name on the 5th May 1643. The births of children of his are recorded at Plymouth, from 1650 to 1665. He is propounded as a Freeman of Plymouth colony in 1653, and is admitted as such 6th June 1654. He is chosen Constable of Duxbury, 6th June 1654, and surveyor of highways at Plymouth 1st June 1658. He is a juryman 5th March 1660-1, and is chosen constable at Plymouth 1st June 1663.
Stephen Bryant, in 1630, bound out by his stepfather, John Doane, To John Shaw, a friend of the Bryant and Doane families. This John Shaw had preceded the Doanes and the Bryant boys from Kent County, England, arriving at Plymouth Colony at least by 1627. On 22nd May 1627, he is listed in the colony records as one of 12 men drawing lots for the division of the responsibility for caring for the colony's common herd of cows and goats. 7th July 1630, John Shaw bought from John Winslow for 6 pounds a tract of firm land called Knave's Acre or Woodbee.
With a step-father who is a friend of the colony's leaders, and a master who was prospering, Stephen is in an opportune position. In a book written by Governor William Bradford, called Plymouth Plantation, the following excerpt has to do with colony affairs in 1638: ".nominated and appointed Thomas Prence, Gent.; Governor William Bradford and Edward Winslow Gent.; and assistants of the government Stephen Bryant or Doane; John Doane, Thomas Willette Gent. and John Dunham to have the power and authority for these next four years to put forth and dispose of said stock of cows to the inhabitants of the poor of the said town of Plymouth as shall be thought fit to partake therein."
Governor Bradford added the name Doane to Stephen Bryant for the purpose of identifying him as the step-son of John Doane. This committee is a select group; both Thomas Prence and Edward Winslow are to become governors of Plymouth Colony in their own right. As for the business they are to handle, an English merchant had made a tidy profit selling necessities to pilgrims at Plymouth, and about 1626 had sent a few cows as a gift to the poor of that town. For twelve years the cows are cared for as the common property of the colonists. Now the committee is to decide who qualified for the cattle, and the assistants are to deliver the animals and get the proper receipts. John Shaw is a constable and road surveyor at Jones River in 1642 and 1644. He is a juryman at Plymouth 1638, 1641, 1643, 1644, 1648 and 1649. One of the trials he helped decide in 1648 is that of Mrs. Alice Bishop, who is found guilty and hanged for killing her four-year old daughter, Martha Clark, by slitting her throat with a knife.
John Shaw and his wife Alice (unknown) had two sons, James, who married Mary Mitchell in 1652, and Jonathan, who married Phoebe Watson in 1656, and a daughter, Abigail. Jonathan Shaw and Stephen Bryant are working together. A deed dated 5th May 1643, records a sale of 40 acres of upland "at the high cliffe" from Edward Dotey to Stephen Bryant and Jonathan Shaw for the price of 12 pounds ten shillings, to be paid in corn or cattle. Two years later, in 1645, Stephen Bryant married the Shaw's daughter Abigail, together they are thought to have had eight or more children.
Source: Stephen Bryant & His Descendants by John A. Boutelle, Esq., of
STEPHEN BRYANT, SR.
DUXBURY & PLYMOUTH, MASSACHUSETTS
The information in this biography comes from the hard work of other family members researching the family name and the credit goes to them for all the research. I am but a benefactor of their generosity:
It is said that Stephen Bryant Sr.'s mother married John Doane in England. Then she and John along with Anne's children from her first marriage and his (six altogether) boarded a pilgrim ship called the "Handmaid" and 2 months later, (29th October 1630) arrived in Plymouth Colony.
John Doane rated highly in the estimation of Governor William Bradford and Thomas Prence. His name appears many times in the old records of the colony. He held many offices and is mentioned frequently on various committees. He had charge of settling many estates and handling the legal affairs of numerous minors.
Following a practice common in those days, John and Anne bound out two of the Bryant boys to good friends. Stephen Bryant went to John Shaw. This practice offered the boys financial opportunities and connections independent of and supplementary to those which their own parents could offer them as they grew up.
John Shaw had preceded the Doane family and the Bryant boys from Kent County, England arriving at Plymouth Colony at least by 1627. On 22nd May 1627, he is listed in the colony records as one of 12 men drawing lots for the division of the responsibility for caring for the colony's common herd of cows and goats.
In a book written by Governor William Bradford called "Plymouth Plantation", the following excerpt has to do with colony affairs in 1638: "...nominated and appointed Thomas Prence, Gent.: Governor William Bradford and Edward Winslow, Gent.: and assistants of the government: Stephen Bryant or Doane; John Doane; Thomas Willette, Gent.; and John Dunham to have the power and authority for these next four years to put forth and dispose of said stock of cows to the inhabitants of the poor of the said town of Plymouth as shall be thought fit to partake therein."
Governor Bradford added the name Doane to Stephen Bryant for the purpose of identifying him as the step-son of John Doane.
Jonathan Shaw and Stephen Bryant were working together. A deed dated 5th May 1643, records a sale of 40 acres of upland "at the high cliffe" from Edward Dotey to Stephen Bryant and Jonathan Shaw for the price of 12 pounds ten shillings to be paid in corn or cattle. Two years later, in 1645, Stephen Bryant married the Shaw's daughter, Abigail.
A deed dated 31st July 1646, records two acres of upland meadow leased for Abraham Pierce for three years by Stephen Bryant and Samuel Sturtevant for 50 shillings per year. In 1650, Stephen bought or is granted 100 acres of land in a spot identified now as on the eastern side of Jones River Pond (now Silver Lake). This lot of land is eventually passed along to Stephen's oldest son, John, and through him, down through many generations of the Bryant family.
In 1651, Stephen bought 8 acres of marsh meadow for Jonathan Shaw; 4 months later he sold 4 of those acres to William Ford, and 8 years later he sold 3 acres of the same to Edward Cook. Also in 1651, Stephen bought more property at "the high cliffe' for Benjamin Eaton and sold it to Edward Gray. Among other transfers of land where Stephen Bryant's name occurs are sales to Samuel Wood, Samuel Sturtevant, Jonathan Shaw, Edward Gray and Jacob Cook and purchases from Samuel Eddy, Benjamin Eaton and Jonathan Shaw.
What was Stephen doing with all of these parcels of land? William Bradford wrote in his journal that the first impression he had of the site of Plymouth Colony as he looked form the deck of the "Mayflower" is "so goodly a land and wooded to the brink of the sea" (Mourts's Relation, p.2). Back from the coastline, the colony is a vast area of swampland extending for miles in many directions. These swamps, bogs and marshes are overgrown with cedar trees. One of the first manufacturing enterprises in new England sprang up here as the land is stripped of the cedar trees, which are made into barrels, used for shipping to England the tar and pitch into which the coastal pines are being converted. Additional cedar staves and heads are shipped to England for use as beer barrels and wine casks. Unlike other woods, cedar did not damage the flavor of the beverages.
These frequent deeds for Stephen Bryant's purchases and sales of land find a striking parallel seven generations later, when the brothers Colby and Gustavus Bryant are to crows the record books in Jefferson County, Wisconsin, and Monona County, Iowa, with the same sort of transactions. (it is believe Gustavus is a Civil War Veteran, lost a leg and almost an arm).
By the year 1649, Sunday work had become prevalent. This is a grave crime in the eyes of Plymouth Church. On 6th of June that year, Stephen Bryant is presented in court for carrying a barrel to the tar pits on the Lord's Day. He is cleared "with admonition" but his brother-in-law, Jonathan Shaw, is sentenced on the same day to sit in the stocks for working those tar pits.
On 16th January 1650, John Cary a planter (i.e., farmer), of Duxbury sold two acres of meadow ground "lying upon the north side of Pine Point" to Stephen. John Shaw signed as a witness. The swamp region is filled with numerous streams and ponds alive with pickerel, red perch, trout and herring. Wild ducks, turkeys, geese and pigeons in enormous flocks helped fill the larder, as well the pillows and feather ticks. Moose, deer, bear and rabbit provided food and clothing. Beaver, mink muskrat and skunk pelts ere bartered for necessities. Five generations later, Stephen's descendant William Cullen Bryant, in his daily involvement with, and dependence upon nature found much poetical expression in the natural beauty of these areas. Eight, nine, ten generations after Stephen, his offspring in Iowa are fishing the rivers and lakes and hunting and walking the fields and woods with a passion which is better understood by seeing this historical beginning.
In 1651, Stephen bought a cow from Samuel Cutbert for two bushels of Indian corn and two barrels of tar. On 2nd March 1651, Stephen and his wife, Abigail, appeared in court to "complain against John Haward, Edward Hall, and Susannah Haward, of Duxburrow, in an action of slander and defamation, to the damages of 500 pounds." They are awarded 5 pounds. The Plymouth records are so detailed we even read there what sort of mark Stephen used to identify his cattle (a slit on top of the left ear; his son-in-law Lieutenant John Bryant used a "cut across the near ear", and what sort of gun he had " one of the longer sort of guns from Sergeant Harlow."
On 6th March 1654, John Shaw's wife, Alice, died. In poor health John Shaw returned to England to die. On 30th January 1663, a deed of gift is recorded in Plymouth whereby he distributed his land to his heirs. This deed reads as follows:
"Know all men by these presents that I, John Shaw, of Plymouth in New England, Senior have and do by these presents give unto my son-in-law Stephen Bryant of Plymouth all that, my whole share of land allotted unto me near unto Namassaket both upland and meadow, with all and singular, the appurtenances there unto belonging to the said Stephen Bryant and his heirs and assigns forever. Also, I do give unto my son-in-law, Stephen Bryant, another portion of land called by the name of Rehoboth, which land was formerly granted unto me lying on the south-side of Smelt River according as it is bounded and set out with all appurtences there unto belong to the said Stephen Bryant, his heirs, etc. I do declare by these presents that I do give unto my son, James, one-half my purchase lands at Cushena and one-fourth to son Jonathan and one-fourth to Stephen Bryant. Me daughter, Abigail Bryant, my bed, etc., also my chest."
On Nov. 3, 1653, Thomas and Anne Savory had indentured their son Benjamin, age 8, to John and Alice Shaw. On 2nd March 1657, Thomas and Anne again indentured Benjamin, this time to Stephen and Abigail Bryant, to be "instructed in husbandry" (i.e., farming) and to receive five pounds sterling at the end of his term. This was a way for Benjamin to learn farming, and for Stephen to have cheap hired help, in the same way that Stephen himself had been indentured as a boy to John and Alice Shaw.
The Plymouth town records list that Stephen is called upon to fill certain public offices. He is appointed constable for 1663, road surveyor for 1658, 1659, 1670, 1674, 1676. He also served on juries in 1653, 1659-62, 1670-72, 1674-76, 1678-79, and 1681. He is on the jury in 1676 when Mrs. Bethiah Howland drowned in a tub of clothes and water; her death is judged accidental.
The Plymouth Church records, dated 27th July 1684, read as follows: "The Church was desired to stay after public worship they if any, had any just exception of admission of Old Goodman Bryant with the church they might express it. The issue of the agitation was that nothing appeared to his calling forth to declare himself on the next Lord's Day." A later entry reads: "Stephen Bryant, Senior, admitted to the church."
Of Stephen and Abigail (Shaw) Bryant's six daughters, the oldest, Abigail, married Lieutenant John Bryant of Plymouth. This Bryant-Bryant marriage is not at all unusual at that time, and is a practice, which continued for several generations. Mary and Sarah probably died young, or at least before marriage, as their names have not shown up in any of the records. Lydia married William Churchill on 17th January 1684, and died a widow on 6th February 1736. She is buried in a Churchill lot, next to a Bryant lot in the cemetery at Plympton Green. Her son William Churchill Jr. married Ruth Bryant, a daughter of Lydia's brother John. Another son, Deacon Samuel Churchill, married Joannah Bryant, also a daughter of John. Thus the two brothers married two sisters that are their first cousins. Elizabeth married Joseph King on 15th January 1689, and Mehittable married Isaac King, probably Joseph's' brother, on 12th August 1689.
Stephen Bryant died 11th August 1693 in Duxbury, Massachusetts, in Plymouth County.
Source: Submitted by Connie R. Goodrum of Pocahontas, Illinois, USA
The Children of Stephen Bryant, Sr. and his wife Abigail Shaw, are:
1. Abigail b. c.1648. m._____Lieut. John Bryant.
2. John b. April 7, 1650. m. 1676 to Sarah Bonham.
3. Mary b. May 29, 1654. m. 1675 to Eleazer Churchill.
4. Stephen, Jr. b. Feb 2, 1656. m. 1682 to Mehitable Standish.
5. Sarah b. Nov. 28, 1659. m. 1679 to Isaac Lobdell.
6. Lydia b. Oct 23, 1662. m. 1662 to William Churchill, Sr.
7. Elizabeth b. Oct. 17, 1665. m. 1688/89 to Joseph King.
Mehitable b. 1669. m. Aug. 13, 1686 to Isaac King.
Submitted by Connie R. Goodrum of Pocahontas, Illinois
Source: Taken from "America's First Families" internet website
The oldest house that is still standing in Plympton is built before 1700, located at 125 County Road, Stephen Bryant, Jr is the original owner.
Source: Plympton, Massachusetts Public Library Land Records.
Father: JOHN BRYANT** b: ABT 1592 in of Kent County, England
Mother: ANNE ?PERKINS? , MRS ANNE BRYANT b: 1596 in of Kent County, England
ABIGAIL SHAW b: WFT Est 1623-1627 in EXACT BIRTH DATE AND LOCATION UNKNOWN of Halifax Yorkshire or Kent County or Donyat, Somersetshire, England
in of Plymouth Colony, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, New England
- ABIGAIL BRYANT b: WFT Est 1646-1648 in of Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, New England
- John Bryant b: 9 APR 1650 in Plymouth Colony, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, New England
- Sarah Bryant I b: ABT 1652 in possibly Plymouth Colony, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, New England
- MARY BRYANT b: 29 MAY 1654 in Plymouth Colony, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, New England
- Stephen Bryant , Jr b: 2 FEB 1656/57 in Plymouth Colony, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, New England
- Sarah Bryant II b: 28 NOV 1659 in Plymouth Colony, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, New England
- Lydia Bryant b: 23 OCT 1662 in Plymouth Colony, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, New England
- Elizabeth Bryant b: 17 OCT 1665 in Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, New England
- Alice Bryant b: ABT 1670 in probably Plymouth Colony, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, New England
- Mehitable Bryant b: ABT 1672 in probably Plymouth Colony, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, New England
- Title: @"John Shaw of Plymouth Plantation in Progress"; Abigail Shaw married Stephen Bryant, Sr & their descendants
Author: Kenneth Linwood Shaw, III
Publication: A collection of compiled pedigrees & data from books, bibles, town vital records, grave yards and people through out the United States of America and Canada (Copyright © 2001-2011, data as of 11th Oct ober 2001)
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