Williams County History (May 24, 1864): John A. Bryan, founder of the city of
Bryan, died. John Alexander Bryan was born April 13, 1794, at New Marlboro,
Mass. Little is known of his early life. Bryan moved to Olean, N.Y., when he was
a young man and became an attorney. He became involved in politics, serving
as Cattaraugus County district attorney several times before being elected to the
New York Legislature. About 1829, John Bryan moved to Columbus, Ohio, and
started a Democratic newspaper; he sold this business in 1833 when he was
elected Ohio state auditor. About this time Mr. Bryan became a land agent—buying
unimproved Ohio land and selling it to settlers. On July 14, 1840, John A.
Bryan had the village of Bryan surveyed as the new Williams County seat. The
original town plat contained 182 lots and a public square, the present courthouse
square. On August 15, 1844, President John Tyler appointed Mr. Bryan Charge
d’ Affaires to the Republic of Peru for one year. In 1846 he was among two dozen
men that were considered to head the new Smithsonian Institution in Washington,
D.C., but he lacked the necessary scientific background. In 1850 Mr. Bryan
moved to Wisconsin, where he edited the Milwaukee Commercial newspaper for
three years and then served as a U.S. land agent. He died in Menasha, Wis., on
May 24, 1864. This portrait of John A. Bryan is from the Kevin Maynard collection.
The post Historic Reflection: 1864: Founder Of Bryan Passes first appeared on The Village Reporter.
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