James Bryent, supposed to have come from England, is said to have settled on Great Island in Portsmouth harbor. He was b. about 1660 and d. in 1720. His wife, named Honour, was b. Jan. 31, 1678; d. in 1767. These had one (probably others) son, namely:
Walter Bryent, Esq., b. on Great Island near Portsmouth, N. H., Feb. 10, 1710; m. Dec. 25, 1735, Elizabeth Folsum, who was b. Sept. 10, 1712. He settled at Newmarket, and was a noted land surveyor for many years; called in history a “Royal Surveyor.” To him was assigned the responsibility of running and establishing the northern boundary between Maine and New Hampshire, an undertaking that involved many dangers, great difficulties, resolution, and endurance as his Journal proves. He had three sons and two or more daughters, who lived to maturity. His death occurred in 1807, at the age of 96.
Family of Walter Bryent, and Elizabeth Folsum, who was b. Sept. 10, 1712. They married m. Dec. 25, 1735
1. Mary, b. Oct. 4, 1736.
2. Elizabeth, b. Feb. 3, 1738.
3. Walter, Esq., Feb. 12, 1740; m. Nov. 17, 1762, Mary Dole (she was b. July 21, 1738; d. Nov. 9, 1777,) and had issue of whom hereafter. Like his father, he was an expert land surveyor; was commissioned to survey the lots of Wolfborough, N. H., and built a camp for his headquarters in the southern part of the township, the exact location of which is still pointed out. This survey was completed in 1762. He was one of the grantees of Tamworth and Albany, N. H. I suppose his home was at Newmarket. He d. Oct. 2, 1784. Six children, as follows:
1. Anne, b. Aug. 25, 1763; m. Eliphalet Smith (a relative of St. John Smith), and resided in Portland. She d. July 31, 1836, aged 73 years.
2. Walter, b. July 16, 1765; m. Hannah Goodwin, of Newmarket, N. H., and resided there as farmer and tavern-keeper many years. He began life with bright prospects and had acquired considerable property, but misfortune came and he lost nearly all. Coming into the wilderness of Maine, where “wild land” was cheap, he purchased a tract in Lovell and sought to retrieve his fortune. Here he built a log-house, and to this lonely spot he brought his family in 1803. Neither Mr. Bryent nor his wife were fitted to this new condition of life. She was a woman of proud spirit who had been accustomed to the concomitants of wealth and the influence of good society, and felt most keenly the deprivation and hardships that are incident to a new and remote settlement. Chafing under some embarrassment, Mr. Bryent abruptly left home in 1815, and remained silent and unknown to his relatives for nearly twenty-five years. Meanwhile, his wife, worn out with disappointment and sorrow, had strangled herself with a skein of yarn at the home of her daughter at North Fryeburg, and was buried in Stowe.
To the astonishment of everybody Mr. Bryent came back when an old man, with a horse and sleigh, and drove first to his daughter’s, Mrs. Bachelder, who at once recognized him as her father; but as he went from house to house to call upon his other children, they regarded him with feelings akin to those that might be experienced in seeing one who had come from the abodes of death. This was in the year 1844. He claimed to have been in the state of New York, and alluded to a mill he owned there; but nothing very definite could be learned from him respecting his experiences while absent. He wished to go back, but by the importunity of his children decided to remain with them the remainder of his days. Much of his time was spent in visiting his sons and daughters, alternating between Fryeburg, Lovell, and Chatham, until the infirmities of age rendered it imprudent for him to undertake such long journeys on foot, and a permanent home was provided for him at John L. Farrington’s, where he mostly continued till his death, in 1856-7, at the age of 94. He was buried at North Fryeburg.
During the last years of his life Mr. Bryent was fond of fishing, and as his children remonstrated, considering it unsafe for him to go alone, he would promise not be long away, but seldom returned till the day was well spent. As he came home nearly exhausted, and without any fish, he always said he threw them upon the bank, one by one, as caught, but that he could never find them when he was ready to return home. It is said of him that he would often drop his head and exclaim: “As a man thinketh so is he.”
He was a man of heavy build, with fair, fresh complexion, and was well preserved, physically and mentally, when advanced in years.
The meagre outlines of history furnished by the descendants of this remarkable man, indicate an experience as strange and eventful as the most thrilling romance. While preparing this brief sketch, the conjuring imagination has many times forced me to ask: “What must have been the reflections of this poor old man during the years of his long expatriation, and after his return?” His career certainly involved much that is pathetic, and the motives for his singular conduct, locked within the security of his own breast, must ever remain enshrouded in mystery. Childrens’ names as follows:
(1) . Mary D., b. Nov. 11, 1786, in Newmarket, N. H.; m., May 7,1805, Benjamin Wiley, of Fryeburg, Me., and has issue.
(2) . Walter , b. Oct. 28, 1788; m., May, 1814, Mary Swan, who was b. May 19, 1789. He purchased a farm at North Lovell— the place since owned by Dea. Peter MacAuister—and lived there for many years. He used to tell his children of his going to Canada where he worked till he had saved one hundred dollars in gold, which he gave for his land. After the death of his son Walter, in the West, Mr. Bryent sold his farm and purchased a house and sufficient land for cultivation and for pasturing a horse and cow, at Lovell Centre, and lived there, in the enjoyment of health and happiness, for many years. After the death of his wife, and when his health failed, he lived with his daughter, the wife of Dr. Chandler, and died there Oct. 13, 1872. He was buried at Lovell Centre, by the side of his wife, who d. Apr. 21, 1869. Like his ancestors of the same name, Walter Bryent was an accomplished surveyor of land and long a justice of the peace and trial justice. He was for many years agent for the late Ellis B. Usher, having charge of his timber lands and superintending the cutting, hauling, and surveying. He was also public spirited and active in local affairs, holding offices in town at times, and declining to serve at other times. (1). Mary Ami, b. Sept. 21, 1815; d. Jan. 2, 1818. (11). Walter L., b. Sept. 17, 1817; m., Dec. 24, 1844, Amanda Phipps, and had issue, two children, both of them dying in minority. He d. Nov. 21, 1853, some say “out West.” (in). Marian, b. Mar. 27, 1820; m. Moses Kilgore, Jan. 24, 1844; d. Oct. 6, 1846. (iv). Henrietta, b. Feb. 20, 1822; d. Nov. 26, 1840. (v). Eliza, b. Apr. 20, 1824; d. Sept. 18, 1826. (vi). Israel L., b. Feb. 13, 1826; d. Dec. 21, 1826. (vn). Eliza F., b. Nov. 18, 1827; m., Dec. 16, 1849, to Freeman Evans, of Lovell; now living at Pleasantdale, Cape Elizabeth, Me.; a lady of accomplishments, (vni). Olive G., b. Dec. 7, 1829; m., Dec. 6, 1849, to Dr. Isaac Chandler, of Lovell. She is now living at North Fryeburg, a widow. Like her sister, Mrs. Chandler is a woman of cultivated mind, greatly beloved, (ix). Hannah E., b. Sept. 2, 1835; d. Aug. 13, 1851.
(3) . Sarah G., b. Aug. 16, 1792, in Newmarket, N. H.; d. June 14,1839.
(4) . Martha H., b. Jan. 31, 1794; m. Richard Bachelder, of North Fryeburg; had children.
(5) - John S., b. Feb. 12, 1797, in Newmarket, N. H.; m. Mary, dau.of Samuel McDonald, of Chatham, N. H., and settled in that town. He was a man well endowed by nature, but of irregular habits and speculative propensities; died at the home of his daughter in Brownfield, May 15, 1879, aged 82. His wife predeceased him, Nov. 11, 1874. Children, probably all born in Chatham, as follows: (1). Walter I.., b. June 29, 1824; m. Mary A. Johnson; resided at North Conway, N. H.; d. Oct. 20, 1885. Two children. (11). John S., b. July 3, 1826; m., first, Caroline Mclntire; second, Octavia Gibson; d. Jan. 15, 1792; resided at North Fryeburg, Me. Three children. (m). Robert CP., b. May 6, 1828; m. Martha Goodwin; resided at Cape Elizabeth; d. Dec. 20, 1892. (iv). Martha H, b. May 1, 1830; never married, (v). Benjamin W., b. Mar. 20, 1833; m. Mary H. Goddard; resided at Paris Hill; lawyer by profession; d. July 20, 1865; left one child. (vi). Hannah £., b. Nov. 13, 1836; m. Phendeus Hill, and is now (1893) living in Brownfield, Me. (vn). Mary R., b. Apr. 29, 1840; a single woman.
(6) . Nancy, b. June 13, 1800; m., Dec. 31, 1842, John L. Farrington, and lived at North Fryeburg, Me.
(7) . Olive G., b. Jan 14, 1804; d. Mar. 14, 1842.
(8) . Eliza C, b. Sept. 9, 1809; m. Simeon C. Wiley, of North Frye burg. She d. and her husband m. Hannah M., dau. of Benjamin D. Bryant, of Lisbon, now living in Greene, Me. Molly, b. Oct. 6, 1768, at Newmarket, N. H.; m. Hateville Knight, of Rochester.
iv. Benjamin D., b. Nov. 17, 1770; m. Rachel Davis, dau. of Jesse Davis, May 7, 1809. He attended school at Exeter, N. H., and after leaving there, went with his brother-in-law, Eliphalet Smith, to Portland, where he engaged in mercantile business. From there he removed to Webster, in 1806, and settled on a farm, where he continued to live until his death, Dec. 14, 1844. Mr. Bryant was many years a magistrate and much employed in town business. His widow d. July 14, 1856, aged 66. Twelve children.
(1) . Paulina A., b. May 27, 1810; d. Nov. 20, 1837.
(2) . James, b. July 4, 1811; m. Harriet N. Hamilton, and had two daughters; d. Feb. 20, 1887, aged 75 years. The widow is in Boston.
(3) . Anne S., b. Apr. 24, 1813; m. Daniel L. Weymouth and has two sons.
(4) . Benjamin D., b. Aug. 24, 1815; d. Apr. 8, 1887, aged 72.
(5) . Mary D., b. Dec. 29, 1816; d. Sept. 17, 1819.
(6) . Walter, b. May 25, 1819.
(7) . John C, b. Sept. 2, 1821; m. Drusilla Patten, of Lisbon, and lived on the homestead; d. June 26, 1884; widow living.
(8) . Christopher C, b. Dec. 18, 1823; went to California and lives there now; unmarried.
(9) . Hannah M., b. July 31, 1826; m. Simeon C. Wiley, whose first wife was her cousin, Eliza, a dau. of Walter Bryent, of Lovell. Mrs. Wiley is a woman of intelligence, who has by extensive reading acquired a rich store of general information. Residence, Greene, Me.
(10) . Sarah, b. May 2, 1829; d. Mar. 12, 1863.
(11) . Eliphalet S., b. Oct. 31, 1831; m. and resides in Webster, Me.
(12) . Daniel C, b. Aug. 16, 1834; d. May 8, 1838.
v. John S., b. Jan. n, 1773, in Newmarket, N. H.; supposed to have been killed near Canada, in 1814.
vi. Elizabeth, b. Apr. 2, 1775; m. Isaac Hopkins; lived and d. in Portland, Me.
4. Jeremy Bryent, son of Walter (1), b. Aug. 7, 1743, in Newcastle, N. H.; m. Apr. 25, 1765, Mary , who was b. Mar. 6, 1741, and had as many as six children, some of them b. in Newmarket. His name appears frequently in the early records of northern New Hampshire. He was a grantee of Albany in that state. He d. May 25, 1786. Issue as follows: 1. James, b. Sept. 16. 1766. 11. Mary, b. Apr. 12, 1767; d. Apr. 25, 1772.
in. John, b. Apr. 25, 1770; d. in 1863, leaving five sons and three daughters, of whom hereafter. He was a very useful man in town and county; was for several years selectman of Tamworth, N. H., his place of residence, and served in the legislature.
iv. Jeremy, b. Apr. 25, 1772.
v. Walter, b. Mar. 21, 1774, at Newmarket, N. H.; m., Nov. 16, 1797, Rachel Gilmore, who was b. Sept. 4, 1774, and had five children. He was settled in Tamworth, N. H., as early as 1790, as a farmer. Children as follows:
(1) . Lucy, b. Sept. 29, 1799.
(2) . James, b. Sept. 16, 1801; m. and settled in Industry, Me., when a young man. He lost his wife and three children within a few days, but m. again, and had two other children. William, by first wife, now living. The father has been dead many years.
(3) . John, b. Oct. 3, 1803; lived in Tamworth, N. H., where he was,for many years, a prominent man, serving as selectman and as representative. He d. in 1863, leaving five sons and three daughters.
(4) . Walter, b. Mar. 20, 1807; left home when quite young and resided in Boston many years; had no children of his own but adopted one of his sister’s daughters, who is now living in Somerville. Mr. Bryant died about 1873.
(5) . Jerry G., b. June 5, 1810; is now living, a feeble old man, in Tamworth, N. H., where he has lived all his days. He had a family of eight children, only two now living.
[Source: Saco Valley settlements and families: historical, biographical …, Volume 1 By Gideon Tibbetts Ridlon, Portland, ME. Published by author, 1895.]
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