February 22, 2016 –
My father Bryant Kingsbury was born on May 30, 1932 in Bethesda, Maryland. His first name is his mother’s maiden name. His brother, born four years later, was given another family name as his first name – Preston- but has always gone by his middle name – Deane.
My grandmother, Katherine Gertrude Bryant, was the only daughter and first child of Herbert Sydney Bryant and Elizabeth Monica Preston. Kitty, as she was known, was born on October 27, 1902 in Washington DC. Her father Herbert Sydney Bryant was the youngest son of Levi Jesse Bryant and Ellen Sally. Although Levi and Ellen met and married in Wisconsin, they started their family in Washington, DC where they moved at the end of the American Civil War.
I’ve written about Levi Jesse Bryant losing his arm in the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1862. In September 2015 I visited the Chancellorsville Battlefield and with the help of a very knowledgeable ranger, was able to find the spot on the battle field where the Wisconsin 3rd Infantry came under intense fire on the last day of the battle. According to the ranger, that was most likely where Levi was wounded.
Levi and Ellen had four children – all born in Washington DC. Arthur Levi Bryant (1870-1933); Charles Fardon Bryant (1872-1920); Grace Bryant (Eynon) (1876 – 1943) and Herbert Sydney Bryant (1878-1950). After working in the War Department for a few years after the Civil War, Levi got his law degree from Columbiana College, which became George Washington University. His oldest son Arthur also became a lawyer.
In 1893, Arthur Bryant married Lizzie Habel, who’s mother was born in Germany but immigrated to New York just before Lizzie was born. Lizzie and her mother moved to Washington DC to live with Lizzie’s uncle Dr.George M. Kober after her father died. The 1910 census shows Lizzie, her husband Arthur and her mother, living with Dr. Kober. Dr. Kober was Dean of the Medical School at Georgetown University.
Here is their marriage announcement from the Washington Evening Star – May 18, 1893. Arthur and Lizzie took a long honeymoon and went to the Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
Arthur and Lizzie never had children. He died in 1933 and Lizzie lived the next 30 years as a widow, dying in April 1963. From some family correspondence I know that she had a sizable estate and someone contested her will. That will be an interesting probate file to explore.
I haven’t been able to learn much about Charles Fardon Bryant. He was only 48 years old when he died and there was only a brief mention of his passing in the Washington newspapers. Charles was a business man of some sort and I suspect he married well. Isabella Byrne, his wife, is sometimes mentioned in the Washington Post and Evening Star society pages. They had one son, Charles Byrn Bryant, born in 1900. He went to the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh in 1919 to study engineering .
Levi and Ellen’s two youngest children, Grace and Herbert, married within a month of each other in 1900. Herbert married Elizabeth Monica Preston on Saturday September 8, 1900 at Epiphany Church, an Episcopal church in Washington DC. It seems they had a small ceremony.
On October 2nd, Grace Bryant married William John Eynon at All Soul’s church, also in Washington DC, in a ceremony that got a bit more press. I was surprised to read that Grace was escorted by her brother Arthur Bryant. Why not her father Levi? Then I remembered that Levi’s obituary in 1920 mentioned that he was one of the District’s oldest residents and that he had been paralyzed for the last 20 years of his life. Perhaps Levi wasn’t physically able to walk his daughter down the aisle.
So there we have the new Bryant families to explore in a future post. I know that Herbert worked at the Smithsonian – which was known as the National Museum when he worked there. He began working as a clerk in 1907 and became the chief of the division of correspondence and records in 1918, a position he held until he retired in September 1948. He and his wife Elizabeth, who was known as Lala by her two grandsons, Bryant and Preston Deane, were active in community affairs, particularly in promoting and supporting the public schools in Manor Park, the NW neighborhood where they lived for most of their years together. After Bert died, Lala moved to New Brunswick New Jersey where there son, Herbert Preston Bryant, worked as a journalist. Neither Herbert nor his younger brother Deane, ever married.