My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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FRANKLIN PIERCE BRYAN is the leading business man of Fairfield, Greene County, and a man of prominence and influence throughout the township, well liked by his acquaintances and respected for his business enterprise and zeal, his good citizenship and his upright Christian character. He deals in groceries, hardware and general merchandise, and does a large business. He is of Irish extraction in the paternal line, and a descendant of a worthy family, at least two generations of whom were natives of Frederick County, Md.

The grandfather of our subject was Peter Bryan of the above named State and the owner and operator of a large tract of land. He came to Ohio, locating on Government land at Baltimore, Stark County, where he improved a farm and became a large landowner and prominent and influential citizen. His son Henry, accompanying him to Ohio when a boy, was educated in Stark County, remaining on the farm until he was grown to manhood. He then went to Dayton where he married and soon afterward located in Fairfield, this county, where he learned wagon-making and put up a shop of his own. He worked at the business from 1844 until the spring of 1871, when he sold out and retired until fall. After that rest he embarked in the grocery business as a member of the firm of Louck & Bryan, the connection continuing until 1876, when the senior partner was bought out by our subject, and the firm became Bryan & Son. The business was carried on under this style until September, 1889, when the father sold his interest to our subject and retired from business.

Henry Bryan was a man of prominence and influence, and had an extensive acquaintance throughout the county in which he had made a successful career. He was Treasurer of Bath Township thirty-three year’s, or from 1856, until his death, December 5, 1889. When called from time to eternity he had reached his three-score years and ten. In politics he was a Democrat and in religion a believer in the doctrines of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he was a Trustee and Steward. During the raid of Gen. John Morgan he took the field against the raiders.

The mother of our subject bore the maiden name of Lydia Petry. She was born in Lancaster, Pa., and is a daughter of Henry Petry, a baker who came to Ohio in an early day, locating at Dayton. He ran the first coffee house in that city. Subsequently he removed to Fairfield, this county, where he built a bakery, which he carried on until he retired from active life. He died in 1870 at the age of eighty-six years. His daughter, Mrs. Bryan, is yet living, her home being in Fairfield, and her age seventy -one years. She is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. She is the mother of three children — Laura I., wife of L. C. Mitman of Bath Township; W. H, a blacksmith at Osborn, and our subject.

The gentleman with whose name we introduce this sketch is still a comparatively young man, having been born June 6, 1852. Fairfield is his birthplace and here he was reared and educated, receiving excellent instruction in the Fairfield High Schools. He learned carriage painting, following it from the time he was seventeen years old until 1871, when he went to Dayton and found employment in the carriage shop of Decamp, and later in the agricultural works of Dodge& Stoddard, where he remained about five years. He then returned to Fairfield, bought out John Louck and became his father’s partner in business, enlarging the stock and remodeling the store, which is now 20x57 feet. In addition to the grocery stock they deal in hardware and queensware, having a good trade in those lines and doing the largest grocery business in town.

In 1879, Mr. Bryan started in the undertaking business with Robert Miller under the style of Miller & Bryan. The business is in charge of the senior partner, the firm doing all in that line in the vicinity, having their own building and the goods, hearse, carriages and horses needed. When in September, 1889, our subject bought out his father’s interest in the business which they were carrying on, the style was changed to F. P. Bryan, under which it has since been run. Success has attended his efforts in life, and beside his business investments he owns a good residence and four lots.

The estimable lady who presides over Mr. Bryan’s cozy home and whose companionship is his chief delight, is a native of Bath Township, where she was reared and educated. She bore the maiden name of Nettie Wilson and became the wife of our subject, September 21, 1876. Their happy union has been childless. William Wilson, the grandfather of Mrs. Bryan, was a native of Kentucky who came to this county about 1800 while still a young man. He entered land in Bath Township, upon which he made improvements until the War of 1812, when he enlisted, while in the army contracting a disease from which he died in July, 1812. He had married Miss Catherine Heffley, a native of Maryland who came to this section about 1805. After her husband’s death Mrs. Wilson left the farm and made her home with her father, Michael Heffley, where she died in the spring of 1813.

William Wilson, Jr., who was born in Bath Township, October 14, 1812, was thus left an orphan at the age of six months, and was reared by his grandparents until seventeen years of age. He was then apprenticed at the blacksmith’s trade under Jacob Griner, at Byron, where he spent three years as an apprentice and one year as a journeyman. He then bought the shop and tools and carried on the business for himself eighteen years. At the expiration of that period he sold out and bought a small farm in the neighborhood which he operated until 1855, when he traded for a larger estate north of Byron, upon which he resided until 1872. He then retired to Fairfield, where he died December 4, 1881. He was Justice of the Peace two terms, and belonged to the Reformed Church forty-four years. In May, 1834, he was united in marriage with Elizabeth Watts, who died March 13, 1877.

Mr. Bryan of whom we write is the present Treasurer of Bath Township, having taken his father’s place in that office. He has been Treasurer of Fairfield for six years, and has also been a member of the Common Council four years. Few men of his years have taken a more prominent stand than he in public affairs or have served with greater credit in official capacities. His vote and influence are given to the Democratic party. He is active in the Methodist Episcopal Church and Sunday-school, holding various offices.

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This family biography is one of the many biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890. 

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