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Biography of Sylvanus W. Bryant

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Sylvanus W. Bryant, of Cornish Flat, was born in the town of Cornish, October 23, 1839, son of Sylvanus W. and Sophia (Woodward) Bryant. He comes of a robust, tenacious, and progressive family, representatives of which fought in the French and Indian War, were officers in the Continental army under Washington, and have attained distinction in politics, the army and navy, the learned professions, and the arts and sciences. Among these none have been more widely known and beloved than New England’s poet of nature, the late William Cullen Bryant.

Sylvanus W. Bryant traces his genealogy to Stephen Bryant, who came from the west of England in 1643, and settled in the Plymouth Colony at Duxbury, Mass. He married Abigail Shaw, who was born in England, and came to this country with her father, John Shaw, in 1632. William Cullen Bryant belonged to the sixth generation descended from Stephen. Lieutenant John Bryant married the daughter of Stephen Bryant at Plymouth on November 23, 1665. Nothing is known of him prior to that date. His children numbered seven. Samuel, the fourth son, married Joanna Cole, and had seven children, four of whom were born in Plymouth and three in the adjoining town of Plympton. Samuel, Jr., the eldest child, married Tabitha, daughter of Deacon Joseph Ford, of Pembroke, Mass.; and eleven children were born to them. Sylvanus, the fourth child of Samuel, Jr., married Sarah Sears, daughter of Edward Sears, of Halifax, and had a family of six children.

Sylvanus Bryant, Jr., the third child of his parents, and the grandfather of the subject of this sketch, enlisted as a private in the Continental army, rose to the rank of Captain, and did good service in the Revolutionary War. After the war he settled in Cornish, being the first of the name in this town. He married Judith, daughter of Moses Chase, and had a family of eight children. Sylvanus W. Bryant, Sr., son of Captain Bryant, and the father of the subject of this sketch, was born in Cornish, June 14, 1790, and died August 17, 1864. He was a man of unusual mental range, sound judgment, and of much business capacity. His wife, Sophia, was born in Plainfield, N.H., June 3, 1800, and died September 3, 1890. Their six children were: John, Sophia, Judith, George, Sarah Anne, and Sylvanus W.

Sylvanus W. Bryant, the subject of this sketch, married Sarah G. Smith, of Westminster, Vt. They have had three children, namely: Mary H., now deceased, born September 6, 1876; Jennie S., born June 28, 1879; and George H., born November 22, 1880.


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