Bryan is my paternal line, with Peter Bryan being my first Bryan ancestor into Tennessee. I am an eighth generation East Tennesseean through Peter and his wife Betty Hubbard (or Hubbert).
Peter Bryan was the grandson of Cornelius O'Bryan of Rockingham County, Virginia. There is a reasonable chance that Cornelius was the son of the immigrant Brien O'Brien of County Clare, Ireland but this is not proven to my satisfaction. In any case, the name was gradually Anglicized due to English discrimination against the Irish and the O' prefix was dropped. Peter's name was spelled in various documents as Brian, Briant, Bryan, and Bryant. However, in the only two extant examples of his signature the name is "Peter Bryan".
Peter Bryan was a Revolutionary War soldier from Virginia, and his descendants are eligible for membership in Daughters of the American Revolution.
In 1790, Peter Bryan moved from Rockingham County, Virginia to Greene County, Territory South of the Ohio River. Greene County was split in 1792 and the area where he was living became part of Jefferson County. Jefferson County was split in 1794 and the area where he was living became part of Sevier County. The Territory South of the Ohio River was admitted to the Union as the state of Tennessee in 1796, and Peter's descendants are eligible for membership in First Families of Tennessee.
Peter Bryan had two land grants in Tennessee. Some of the land from his Dumplin Valley land grant is still in Bryan hands, including the Bryan-Drinnen-Cate Cemetery in Sevier County. Bryan Road and the cemetery are at mile marker 409 on I-40. At this point, I-40 goes down the middle of Dumplin Valley, and parallels both Dumplin Creek and Dumplin Valley Road. Mile marker 409 is two miles east of the Sevierville-Pigeon Forge-Gatlinburg-Dollywood exit on I-40. Dumplin Valley extends east into Jefferson County, and I have quite a few Jefferson County ancestors to go along with my Sevier County ancestors.
Peter Bryan was a delegate to the Tennessee Constitutional Convention from Sevier County and is known as Peter the Signer because he signed the original 1796 Tennessee Constitution.
Betty Hubbard's ancestry is not known. She was probably related to the Indian fighter Col. James Hubbard, but her exact relationship to James Hubbard is not proven. It is extremely unlikely that she was a daughter of James Hubbard, and I doubt that she was a sister. My personal guess is that she was a niece or a cousin.
Col. Hubbard had a daughter named Elizabeth, but Elizabeth Hubbard married Peter's younger brother Allen S. Bryan Sr. rather than marrying Peter.
Col. Hubbard was a colleague of Peter Bryan, and in 1791 they participated an unsuccessful expedition to take possession of the Tennessee Grant at Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The expedition lead by Zachariah Cox.
According to tradition, Peter Bryan drowned in 1810 while turning a boat on the French Broad River. However, many later records of his activities have been found, with the latest one being a Private Act of the Tennessee Legislature to his benefit on November 24, 1823. It is very likely that he died in late 1823. There are references to the land of "Peter Bryan deceased" in Sevier County land surveys in 1824.
It is not known where he is buried. According to tradition, he is buried in an unmarked grave in the Paw Paw cemetery in Sevier County. There is a historical marker at the Bryan-Drinnen-Cate Cemetery that lists his date of death as 1815, and this marker is frequently (and incorrectly) identified as his grave site.
This page last edited on 24 Dec 2014.