Sunday, October 25, 2015

Agnes (Sims) Bryant

© Kathy Duncan, 2015

Agnes Sims, daughter of Rev. James and Dolly (Spillers) Sims, married Reuben Bryant.

Children of Agnes (Sims) and Reuben Bryant:

Son John B. Bryant:

Among the prominent farmers and old settlers of DeWitt County, Illinois, J. B. Bryant is recognized as one of the most eminent, both on account of his long residence and also from the fact that his efficient service as road commissioner has entitled him to the high regard of his neighbors.

The birth of Mr. Bryant occurred in Sangamon County, Illinois, on February 20, 1831, this year being noted as the one of the greatest severity ever experienced in that part of the state. He was a son of Reuben and Agnes (Simms) Bryant, the former of whom was born in Virginia, and the latter was born in Kentucky. Reuben Bryant came to St. Clair County, Illinois, married there and then moved to Sangamon County. His death occurred in Menard County, after which his widow married William McMurry, who was one of the pioneer settlers of DeWitt County. She was a daughter of James Simms, who was one of the first settlers of Sangamon County, and was the first man to erect and operate a grist mill in that part of the state, using horse-power. A family of nine children was born to Reuben Bryant and wife, eight of these children growing to maturity, and of these, J. B., who is our subject, and his brother, Thomas, deputy-sheriff, are the only residents of DeWitt County.

J. B. Bryant had but limited educational advantages, and was obliged to be contented with a few weeks of schooling during the winter months, as at that time this populous and flourishing part of the County was but a pioneer settlement. At the age of twenty-one he rented land in Sangamon County and began to engage in farming for himself, putting into practice the principles he had learned during his former years.

Mr. Bryant was married on the 24th of April 1853, to Miss Matilda V. Duff, who was born in Sangamon County, about five miles west of Springfield. Her grandfather, who was Abraham Duff, settled on Spring Creek when there was but one house where the city of Springfield now stands, and the Indians were abundant. He was the first blacksmith in this part of the state, and as in those days all travel was necessarily by means of oxen or horses, he was a very useful and busy man. He also engaged in farming and reared a large family. His son, Combs Duff, was the father of Mrs. Bryant, and he became a farmer of Sangamon County and resided there many years, then moved into DeWitt County, later moving to Macon County, where he died at the age of sixty-six years. He and his wife reared a family of ten children, and of these, Mrs. Bryant and her two brothers, Benjamin and John, still survive. The latter reside in Creek Township. This was a loyal family during the Civil war, all of the five sons serving in the Tenth Illinois Cavalry and returning in safety to their homes.

After marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Bryant resided in Sangamon County until 1865, and then came to the present home in DeWitt County. This is pleasantly located on section 25, Clintonia Township, and consists of fifty-four acres of some of the best improved land in the County. Here Mr. Bryant has become identified with all of the leading interests and for thirty consecutive years has been the efficient road commissioner and general overseer of roads, all of the excellent and secure bridges having been erected under his supervision. The Township has a reputation for its excellent roads and Mr. Bryant has received much praise from the residents for the good judgment he has shown, giving the farmers excellent highways without causing unnecessary taxation.

Mr. and Mrs. Bryant and family are well and favorably known through the County. Six children have been born to them; two of these died in infancy, a son and a daughter, and the survivors are: Jacques, who lives in Sacramento, California, married Mamie Williams, and they have one son—George; John E., who lives in Clintonia Township, married Minnie Metz and has two children—Clyde and Lyle; Charles F., who is engaged in the shoe and boot business, married Cuby Phares, deceased, and has one daughter—Helen Louise; and Sophia, who married Philo S. Jones, lives in Clinton and has two children—Clinton and Rea.
Mr. and Mrs. Bryant are consistent members of the Methodist church, having become such under the ministrations of the boy evangelist, Harrison. In this church they are valued for their true Christian characters and most exemplary lives. In politics Mr. Bryant is a stanch Republican, but cast his first voice for Filmore.

The DeWitt County Agricultural Society, at its fair in 1900, wishing to do honor to these most estimable residents, presented to Mr. and Mrs. Bryant a solid silver spoon in remembrance of their being the oldest couple of the County born previous to the deep snow of 1831, this being a notable event in the history of the state. 
[Source: The Biographical Record of DeWitt County, Illinois, S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901]


Mrs. John BRYANT died early yesterday morning at her home two miles northeast of Clinton, of pneumonia, being sick about two weeks.  She was 73 years old, except one month and 16 days.
Deceased’s maiden name was Matilda DUFF and she was born Jan. 19, 1831, near Springfield, Ill.  After she was married to Mr. Bryant they moved to this county which had since been their home.  Of the five children born to them four are living; they are Jacques, of California; John, Charles, and Mrs. P. S. JONES, of Clinton.  Three brothers, a sister and her husband also are living, John and Ben DUFF, of Creek township, James of Kansas and Mrs. PROCTER, of Bloomington.  She was a member of the Methodist church.  Funeral at the residence tomorrow at 1:30 conducted by Rev. Canady.  Burial in Woodlawn.
[Source: Clinton Register; 4 Dec. 1903]

Passed Away Sunday at Age of 85 Years—
Was Road Commissioner for Forty-Nine Years.
Long Gatekeeper at Fair.

The death of John B. BRYANT occurred at the home of his son, J. E. BRYANT, 617 North Center street Sunday at 12:25 o'clock, following an illness of just fifteen days.  Mr. Bryant’s death was due to uremic poisoning and hardening of the arteries.  He has been feeble practically all fall, but never took to his bed until fifteen days ago.
Among the prominent farmers and old settlers of DeWitt county, Ill., J. B. Bryant is recognized as one of the most eminent, both on account of his long residence and from the fact that his efficient service as road commissioner for forty-nine years entitled him to the high regard of his neighbors.
Born in 1831.
The birth of Mr. Bryant occurred in Sangamon county, Feb. 20, 1831, this year being noted as one of the greatest severity ever experienced in that part of the state.  He was the son of Reuben and Agnes (SIMMS) BRYANT, the former being born in Virginia and the latter in Kentucky.  He was one of a family of nine children.  He and his brother, Thomas D. BRYANT, were the only residents of DeWitt county.
Mr. Bryant had limited educational advantages and was obliged to be contented with a few weeks of school during winter months; at that time this flourishing part of the country was but a pioneer settlement.  At the age of twenty-one years he rented land in Sangamon county and engaged in farming for himself.
Forty-Nine Years Road Overseer.
On the 24 of April 1853, occurred his marriage to Miss Matilda V. DUFF, and to the union six children were born.  After their marriage they resided in Sangamon county until 1866 and then came to Dewitt county, where they located on fifty-four acres in section 25, Clintonia township.  Here Mr. Bryant became identified with community interests and for forty-nine consecutive years he was road commissioner and general overseer of roads.  All of the excellent and secure bridges have been erected under his supervision.  The township has a reputation for its excellent roads and Mr. Bryant received much praise from the residents for the good judgment he showed giving the farmers excellent highways without causing unnecessary taxes.

Twenty Years Gate Keeper.
Mr. Bryant was for over twenty years gate keeper at the old fair grounds, and the young men of today have never forgotten his kindness toward them in their early days.  He was known to all as "Uncle John" and he always had a smile and kind word.
Mrs. Bryant preceded her husband in death twelve years ago and since the death of his wife, Mr. Bryant has made his home with his children.  The past seven years has been spent with his son, J. E. Bryant, 617 North Center street.  He is survived by two sons, J. E. and C. F. BRYANT, and one daughter, Mrs. P. S. JONES, all of this city.  Two died in infancy and one son, Jacques, died several years ago.  Thomas D. BRYANT, 200 East Jefferson street, is the only surviving brother.  Several grandchildren survive.
He was a long time member of the Methodist church and was a staunch Republican.  It was his pride that he always voted his ticket straight.

Honored by County Fair.

The DeWitt County Agricultural Society at its fair in 1900, wishing to do honor to these most estimable residents presented Mr. and Mrs. Bryant with a solid silver spoon in remembrance of their being the oldest couple of the county born previous to the deep snow of 1831, this being the most notable event of its kind in the history of the state.
Funeral Tuesday.
The funeral will be held from the home of J. E. Bryant, 617 North Center street, Tuesday afternoon at 2 o'clock with Rev. W. D. Fairchild of the M. E. church, officiating.  Interment will be made in Woodlawn cemetery.
[Source: Clinton Daily Public; February 14, 1916 - Monday]

Son Cornelius M. Bryant:

Cornelius M. Bryant is a prominent rancher and early settler of Butte County, California. He is a native of Springfield, Illinois, born January 6, 1833, the son of Reuben Bryant, a native of Virginia and a planter. Grandfather Cornelius Bryant was born in Ireland, came to the Colonies and settled in Virginia before the Revolution. Reuben Bryant married Agnes Simms, a native of Kentucky. Her father, James Simms, was a pioneer of the State of Illinois; resided there when it was a Territory; was a Methodist local preacher, a prominent citizen, and a member of the first State Legislature from Sangamon County.

Cornelius M. was the fourth of the eight children born it his parents. He received his education in his native State, was reared on his father's farm, and came to California in 1861. Upon his arrival here he first settled in Amador County, in Ione Valley. His journey across the plains was a memorable one. He was accompanied by his wife and one child, and the trip was made with an ox team. They were on the road six months to a day when they reached the Sacramento Valley. Besides their yoke of oxen they had a yoke of milch cows for leaders, and these furnished them a supply of milk and butter during the whole journey. They first settled on Government land and lived on it three years, when, like many other pioneers of this State, they were dispossessed of what they supposed to be theirs. Then they went to Oregon and farmed there one year. In the fall of 1865 Mr. Bryant settled upon his present beautiful farm. This he got by agreement from Mr. Northgraves, who had bought a section of land that had been a Mexican grant. When Mr. Bryant located here the property was covered with brush, and a small board shanty served as a home. In 1877 he burned the brick and built their present residence. It is painted slate color, is somewhat back from the main highway, and is a pleasing and attractive home. The ranch is a mile in length along the road, consists of 640 acres, is well-supplied with substantial barns as well as an elegant house, and with its beautiful level fields dotted over with majestic white oaks, the whole forms the typical California home--the abode not only of wealth but of taste and refinement. On this ranch large crops of grain are raised. Much attention is given to find horses and mules, and a few cattle are kept. Several years ago Mr. Bryant imported from the East a pair of large black mules, which are still in fine condition and do good service. Aside from his large ranch interests Mr. Bryant also owns town property in Chico.

He was married in Illinois, to Miss Sarah Ann Elmore, a native of that State and a daughter of Johnson Elmore, an Illinois farmer. Their union was blessed with five daughters, one born in Illinois, one in Oregon and three in California, viz: Annie, wife of Fred Hauck, resides in Chico; Rosie V., a widow of F.A. Breed, who lost his life in a railroad accident while on his way to Albuquerque; Alice J., wife of E.I. Crane, resides in Santa Cruz; Addie Bryant, living with her father; and Minnie Bryant, who was born in Chico in 1871, and died in 1872. Mrs. Bryant was an amiable woman, a loving wife and an indulgent mother. She was an earnest Christian and a member of the Presbyterian church. Her death occurred in 1889, the result of that relentless disease, consumption. Her mother still lives in Illinois at the advanced age of ninety-three years.
Mr. Bryant has been an Odd Fellow for twenty-one years. His daughters that have been born in California are members of the Native Daughters of the Golden West, and are officers in their parlor. Mr. Bryant is a Republican, but does not take great interest in politics. He is a quiet and unobtrusive man, and is highly regarded by all who know him.
[Source: A Memorial and Biographical History of Northern California, Illustrated by Lewis Publishing Co., 1891]

Granddaughter Rosie V. (Bryant) Breed:

F. A. Breed, who has been in the city for the past ten days in attendance at court, left for his home at Holbrook on Tuesday.
[Source: The St. John's Herald; St. Johns, Apache County, Arizona, 12 Feb 1885]

Collision on the A&P
The first serious accident on the Atlantic & Pacific railroad, occurred on the evening of the 19th inst. at Blue Water, a station 110 miles west of Albuquerque.
The eastbound passenger train had stopped at the station, where it was run into by a freight train, coming down the steep grade from the west, and which judging from the force of the collision, must have been running at the rate of 20 miles an hour. The engine of the freight struck the near sleeper of the passenger train, driving it into the next car ahead, and wrecking both cars completely. When the collision occurred, F.A. Breed and Morris Barth, two well known merchants of Holbrook, were standing on the platform between two sleepers. Mr. Breed was killed instantly, and Mr. Barth was mortally wounded.
The conductor, Frank Morgan, being unwell, had turned the train over to another conductor, and gone to bed in one of the sleeping car berths. He was thrown from the berth by the shock, and seriously injured in the back. No other persons are reported as badly injured.
The body of Mr. Breed was taken to Albuquerque, and from thence forwarded to Los Angeles, Cal, the home of his parents. He had only been married about six months, and his wife was at Holbrook at the time of his death.
The coroner's jury which investigated the case rendered their verdict on the 26th inst., laying all the balance of the accident an its fatal results to the carelessness of Charles Cramer and conductor Shoemaker.
Morris Barth was taken to Albuquerque, where he died of his injuries on the 22nd inst. He was a member of the firm of Barth Bros. of Apache county, and leaves a wife and two children.
Conductor Morris was also taken to Albuquerque, and now lies in a critical condition.
[Source: Mohave County Miner; Mineral Park, Arizona Territory; 1 March 1885]

Mrs. R.V. Breed, of Chico, is visiting Mrs. E.I. Crane.
[Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel; Santa Cruz, CA; 14 Sept 1892]

Mrs. E. I. Crane, formerly of this city, is dangerously ill at Chico.
[Source: Evening Sentinel; Santa Cruz, CA; Sat 18 Sept 1897]

CRANE--January 24, 1898, Alice Bryant, beloved wife of E.I. Crane, aged 32 years 7 months and 29 days.
Notice of funeral hereafter.
[Source: San Francisco Call; San Francisco, Calf.; 25 January 1898]

Daughter Mary Ann (Bryant) Chenoweth:

Mary Ann Bryant b: April 18, 1839 in Morgan Co., IL d: December 03, 1899 in Monticello, Piatt Co., IL Burial: New Monticello cemetery, Monticello, Piatt Co., IL Father: [Cornelius?] Rueben Bryant Mother: Agnes Sims. She married Gideon Chenoweth b: March 16, 1840 in Darke Co., OH d: April 06, 1907 in Deland, Piatt Co., IL Military: Civil War: Union, Burial: New Monticello cemetery, Monticello, Piatt Co., IL 
[Source: Descendants of Jacob of Darke Co., OH; Chenoweth History: 4th Generation; The Families of John Chenoweth & Mary Calvert website:]


Among the honored veterans of the Civil war now living retired in De Land is numbered Gideon Chenoweth, who was born in Darke county, Ohio, March 16,  1840, his parents being Jacob and Sarah (Foster) Chenoweth, natives of Virginia and Ohio, respectively. On the paternal side he is of Welsh descent, while his maternal ancestors came originally from Scotland. His father was horn in the Old Dominion in 1798 and was educated in the subscription schools of that state, the temple of learning being a rude log structure with greased paper windows, puncheon floor and huge fire-place. He was married in 1818 and settled in Darke county, Ohio, where he entered three hundred and twenty acres of timber land, which he developed into a fine farm. He gave considerable attention to the raising of cattle, sheep and hogs and was considered one of 
the best and most successful farmers and stock-raisers of his locality. After his death, which occurred in 1853, the family remained upon the farm but a year, when the widowed mother sold the place and with her children removed to De Witt county, Illinois, where she made her home throughout the remainder of her life. She died very suddenly in 1867 while visiting friends and relatives in Iowa and was buried in the town of Bedford, that state. Her early life was passed amid primitive surroundings and our subject well remem-bers hearing her relate of turning the grindstone for Indians while they sharpened their scalping knives. 
Gideon Chenoweth is one of a family of twelve children, the others being Abraham, who died in Kansas in 1891 ; Rebecca, who died in Clinton, Illinois, in 1899; Joseph, who died in Versailles, Illinois, in 1877; John, who died in Nebraska in 1890; Thomas, who died in 1856 or 1857; Mary Ann, who married Jacob Rarrick and is now living in Portland, Oregon, at the age of seventy-five years ; William, deceased ; Martha, who is the wife of Jacob Harless and is living in Weldon, Iowa, at the age of seventy-one; Noah, who is living in Kansas, at the age of sixty-nine; Eliza, who died in 1874; and Cassandra, who died in infancy.

During his boyhood Gideon Chenoweth attended school in Ohio for about three months during the winter season, the remainder of the time being devoted to the work of the home farm. In 1854 he accompanied his widowed mother on her removal to Clinton, De Witt county, where he continued his education until sixteen years of age. In 1857 he led to the marriage altar Miss Mary A. Bryant, a daughter of Cornelius and Agnes (Sims) Bryant, who were of Irish descent. By this union were born five children, as follows : George H., the eldest, died at Argenta, Illinois, November 5, 1892. Francis H., the next of the family, was born in Clinton, Illinois, June 22, 1866, and is a druggist of Charleston, this state. Edward B., born January 4, 1869, is mentioned more fully below. Eliza A., born August 22, 1872, died May 4, 1874. William C, born June 28, 1878, is a druggist of Charleston, Illinois. 

After his marriage Mr. Chenoweth engaged in operating a rented farm until he entered the army during the Rebellion. In 1861 he joined the boys in blue of Company E, Twentieth Illinois Volunteer Infantry and remained at the front until honorably discharged at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, April 16, 1863. He participated in the battles of Frederickstown, Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Shiloh and Corinth, and was accidentally wounded at Jackson, Tennessee, being confined in the hospital from the 6th of September 
1862, until he left the service. 
On his return home Mr. Chenoweth accepted a clerkship in a general store in Clinton, Illinois, where he was employed until 1867, when he came to Piatt county and for four years rented and operated the farm belonging to his sister, Mrs. Eliza Lowery. At the end of that time he removed to Monticello, where he conducted a meat market for two years, and then assisted in building a branch of the Illinois Central Railroad from White Heath to Clinton, this state. In 1876 he became connected with the firm of Piatt, Hubbell & Company, who were in the elevator business at Monticello, acting as their buyer at Cisco, Illinois, and when the business was sold to E. A. Townley, he remained with that gentleman in the same capacity until 1883. During the following two years he was with W. H. Telford, who was in the same line of business, and on the expiration of that time he went to Ness county, Kansas, where he pre-empted three claims, both homestead and timber claims. He had nothing on his removal to that state but on his return to Illinois after five years he was the owner of four hundred and eighty acres of fine farming land in Kansas and one hundred head of cattle besides other personal property, so successful had he been. After his return to Monticello he was in the employ of E. C. Knight in the grain business until November, 1900, when he accepted a position as carrier in the rural mail service and faithfully served as such for two years and two months, during which time he lost but seven days. He made a trip of twenty-seven miles and a half each day and therefore traveled nearly nineteen thousand miles during the twenty-six months' time.

Mr. Chenoweth has been called upon to mourn the loss of his estimable wife, who died in Monticello of heart failure on her way home from church December 3, 1899, when sixty years of age. She was a lifelong member of the Methodist Episcopal church and was an active and faithful worker in the' same. On the 7th of January, 1903, Mr. Chenoweth removed to De Land, where he is now living a retired life, honored and respected by all who know him. He is still a member of the Grand Army Post at Monticello and enjoys meeting with the gray-haired veterans who as young men fought with him on the bloody battle-fields of the south.
[Source: Past and Present of Piatt County, Illinois, 1903]

Son Thomas D. Bryant:

After Suffering Stroke of Paralysis— Was Seventy-seven Years of Age and Veteran of Civil War.

After suffering two strokes of paralysis Sunday morning, Thomas D. BRYANT quietly passed away this morning at 9:30 o'clock at the family home, corner of Monroe and Jefferson streets.  Mr. Bryant was one of the well known citizens of Clinton and DeWitt county, having lived in the country for sixty-five years.  He was a quiet unassuming gentleman and a great number of friends and acquaintances will mourn over the news of his death.

Thomas D. Bryant was born in Morgan county, Illinois, June 23, 1841, and at the time of his death was almost seventy-seven years of age.  In the year of 1853, he came with his parents to DeWitt county and located on what was known as the old Lewis Campbell farm just west of the fairgrounds.  August 6, 1862, he was united in marriage to Miss Harriet J. PIERCE, granddaughter of Rev. John M. BERRY, one of the first Presbyterian ministers in Clinton, and to this union four children were born, Delmar, at present deputy sheriff of this county; Mrs. W. F. CLARK, and Miss Carrie BRYANT, of Clinton; and William Clark, of Gibson City.  Shortly after his marriage the deceased enlisted with Co. D, 107th Ill., and continued in the service of his country until the end of the Civil war, during which time he was permitted to return to Clinton for a short visit on but one occasion.  During his service in the army he was in many important battles.  The deceased was a member of the local G. A. R. post and had for years belonged to the K. of P. lodge.  He held the office of county coroner for one term; acted as deputy sheriff for eight years and was tax collector and city marshal of Clinton during the time of the building of the Gilman and Springfield railroad was in progress.  On August 6, 1912, Mr. & Mrs. Bryant celebrated their Golden wedding anniversary when a large gathering of relatives and friends were in Clinton to aid in the ceremony.
The funeral will be held from the home at 2:30 o'clock Saturday afternoon in charge of the K. of P. lodge with Rev. A. M. Wells officiating.  Burial will be made in the family lot in Woodlawn cemetery.  It is the request of the family that no flowers be sent.
[Source: Clinton Daily Public; DeWitt County; February 28, 1918]

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