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The Bryant Family of Washington DC

Levi Jesse Bryant and his wife Ellen Sarah Salley had four children – three boys and one girl. In order they were Arthur Levi Bryant (1870-1933); Charles Fardon Bryant (1872-1923); Grace Bryant (1876-1943) and Herbert Sydney Bryant (1878-1950). The only one I have a picture of is Herbert Sydney Bryant, my great grandfather. He died before I was born but I have a feeling I would have enjoyed getting to know him.

Levi was a government clerk in the War Department for most of his career. When he died in 1920, he was identified as one of the oldest residents of the District of Columbia. He was a member of the Burnside Post No. 8 of the Grand Army of the Republic and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. After the civil war, men from both the Union and Confederate armies formed social groups with fellow veterans, each named for a famous general. From what I could learn about Burnside Post No. 8, its members often marched in Memorial Day parades, participated in civic and patriotic activities, such as dedicating the Washington Monument and commemorating Abraham Lincoln’s birth. The organization also provided for its members in need.

Soon after the war, and when he was just starting his family, Levi attended law school, graduating in 1875 as a member of the 4th graduating class of National University. I don’t think he was in private practice for very long , since all census reports indicate his profession as a government clerk rather than a lawyer. I remember being surprised when I learned that I wasn’t the first in my family to attend law school. Levi was ahead of me by 110 years!

Sometime between 1870 and 1880, Levi built a sizeable home (or perhaps a row of homes) on Q Street, NW, just a little north of DuPont Circle. In the late 1800s this area was a far cry from the bustling commercial and residential center it is today but true to his pioneering spirit, Levi settled there and raised his family as the City grew in his direction. The addresses were 1817 and 1819 Q Street, NW.

Levi and Ellen Bryant’s Children

Arthur Levi Bryant was a patent attorney in Washington DC. He and his wife, Lizzie Habel, never had children. Arthur worked for the patent firm, Cushman, Bryant, Darby and Cushman and from his 1907 passport application we learn that he was 5’8″ with a high forehead, oval face, brown hair and blue eyes. He and Lizzie Habel married in 1897 and lived at 1819 Q Street (next door to his parents) for their entire married life. When Lizzie died in 1963 (outliving Arthur by 30 years) her estate was valued at $1 million. Most of her specific bequests were to her siblings and their children but a portion of her estate passed to the descendants of Arthur’s siblings, which included my father and his brother, who received their mother’s share.

Charles Fardon Bryant was a business man of some sort although he also worked as a government clerk. His most interesting mention in the DC papers was for his enlistment in Company H of the regiment of men from Washington DC who fought in the Spanish American War. This war only lasted from April to August of 1898 but in keeping with our family tradition, he gave a very detailed report of his expedition in a letter home. His mother shared it with the Evening Star and it appeared in the newspaper in August 1898. It just might appear in a later post here so stay tuned!

Charles married Isabella Byrn whose father was a patent lawyer and well-known member of the DC Bar. He was also active in real estate and built what sounds like a beautiful home near the Capitol in 1894. Charles and Isabella were married there in October 1899.

Sadly, the Byrn home on B Street is no longer standing.

Charles and Isabella had one son, Charles Byrn Bryant. From the address for him in Lizzie Bryant’s will written in 1955, he was living in Chicago. Charles died in 1923 and there was only a brief mention of his death in the Washington newspapers.

The only girl born to Levi and Ellen was Grace Bryant who was born in 1876. She married William John Eynon in September 1900 and they lived in Washington DC where William had a very successful career in the printing industry. He often appeared in the newspaper for his leadership role in that industry as well as other civic and philanthropic endeavors including the Board of Trade, which was the equivalent of what we know as the Chamber of Commerce.

Grace and John had three children, although their firstborn son, William John Eynon, Jr. died at ten months in July 1902. Their next son, Lee Edward Eynon was born in 1903 and died in 1965 and their daughter, Dorothy Bryant Eynon was born in 1905 and died in 1969. The children born to Grace and William Eynon, offer the best chance of finding relatives with pictures of our common ancestors. If any of you happen to be reading this, please get in touch.

I’ll close this post by listing the names of the descendants of Levi and Ellen Bryant’s children who are my third or fourth cousins. Charles Byrn Bryant, born in 19–; Lee Edward Eynon, whose children with Dorothy Von Bayer include William A. Eynon (1927-2001); Lee Ellen Eynon (1929-2011) who married Erik Gregory Nordholm; and Roberta C Eynon (1935 – 2005) who married David Walton Mayo. Sadly, Lee and his wife Dorothy divorced shortly after Roberta was born – some time between 1936 and 1940.


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Bryant Family of Washington DC

Originally written in February 2016; Updated March 29, 2019

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 Sarah Salley. 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 May 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 (1872-1923); Grace Bryant (Eynon) (1876 – 1943) and Herbert Sydney Bryant (1878-1950). After mustering out of the Union Army in August 1862, Levi worked for the US War Department for several years. He also was a member of the fourth graduating class of the Law Department of National University in May 1875. His oldest son Arthur also became a lawyer.

In 1893, Arthur Bryant married Lizzie Habel, who’s mother was born in Germany and 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.

ArthurBryant.LizzieHabel.marriage.evestar.5.18.1893Here 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 some of which passed to my father and uncle because their mother (Lizzie and Arthur’s niece) had died in 1959 so they inherited what had been left to her.

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 .

HerbertBryant.ElizabethPreson.marriage.evestar.9.10.1900Levi 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. The church has survived the passage of time and never ending building boom in Washington DC and is currently located at 1317 G Street NW, just a couple of blocks east of the White House. I’ve submitted an email to the church to see if they have a record of Herbert and Elizabeth’s wedding.

GraceBryant.WilliamEynon.marriage.evestar.10.3.1900On October 2nd, Grace Bryant married William John Eynon at All Soul’s Unitarian church located at the corner of L and 14th Streets NW. The church building today at 1500 Harvard Street was constructed in 1923. The church congregation dates back to the early days of Washington DC. This ceremony 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.

I’ll focus a bit more on each of these Bryant family members in preparation for an upcoming visit to Washington DC in June 2019.