John Heritage Bryan, Jr. was born 1825 in New Bern, Craven Co, NC, the 3rd of 14 known surviving children (8 boys / 6 girls) born to wealthy attorney and Congressman, Hon. John Heritage Bryan Sr. and his wife, Mary Williams Shepherd (Shepard/Sheppard).
He was the paternal grandson of James D. Bryan & Rachel Heritage; and gr-grandson of John Bryan & Elizabeth Oliver, all of Craven County, NC. The lineage of this Branch of the Bryan family has been traced by other researchers to the Brian's & O'Brien's of Ireland. The Bryan family of eastern North Carolina was founded by William Bryan, who married in England about 1689 Alice Needham, said to have been a daughter of the Irish Lord Needham of that day. About 1690 William, Alice and their son Needham came to America and settled in Isle of Wight County, Virginia. He subsequently had two more sons, John and William. In about 1722, William left VA with 2 of his sons, Needham & John. Needham settled at Snowfield, Bertie County; and son, John, son settled in Craven County, NC. (William later returned to Virginia.) John Bryan of Craven County had a son Edward, who is said to have married Christina. They had a son William, who married Ann Dawson. Their son John married Elizabeth Oliver. Their son James married Rachel Heritage. James and Rachel had two sons, (1st) John Heritage, who married Mary Shepard, and who was the father of John Heritage Bryan, Jr. On his mother's side, John was the maternal grandson of William Sheperd and Mary Williams Blount of Craven County, and later Hillsborough, Orange Co, NC.
All of the 14 children born to John H. Bryan Sr. & Mary Williams Shepherd survived to adulthood, and all were prominent. Of all their children, the least has been written about his son and namesake, John Heritage Bryan, Jr.
It is known John Jr. was born in New Bern, but came of age in Raleigh, where his parents moved in 1839. On November 25, 1858, the 33-year old married 18-year old Margaret Eliza Henderson Outlaw, eldest daughter of Dr. William Thomas McKay Outlaw (1818-1854).
The couple would become parents to 9 known children (4 boys/5 girls): Sarah Williams Bryan (1859-1914), Mary Shepard Bryan (1862-1941), William Henderson Bryan (1866-1892), John Heritage Bryan III (1869-1888), Victorine Santo Bryan (1876-1877), Minnie Speight Bryan (1877-1952), Frederick Outlaw Bryan (1879-1898), and Henry Shepard Bryan (1882-1892).
John was 36 when Civil War broke out in North Carolina. It is certainly likely he served in the CSA, but this researcher has been unable to confirm this. It is known his younger brother, Capt. George Pettigrew Bryan (1841-1864) served with the NC 2nd and was killed outside Richmond towards the end of the war.
In about 1866-1867, John, his wife and his 3 children left North Carolina and resettled in Brazil where their last 6 children were born. Little is known of their life in Brazil, other than they were known to be in the Petropolis and Campinas areas where their children were born, and where daughter Victorine Santo Bryan died.
The Bryan's were not alone in migrating to Brazil. Following the Civil War, Emperor Dom Pedro II of Brazil wanted to encourage cultivation of cotton. Through Freemasonry contacts, he recruited experienced cotton planters from the United States for his nation. Dom Pedro offered the potential immigrants subsidies and tax breaks. Confederate General Robert E. Lee advised Southerners not to migrate to South America, but many ignored his advice and set out to establish a new life away from the destruction of war. No one has determined how many Americans emigrated to Brazil in the postwar years, but estimates range from 10,000 - 20,000 Americans came after the war. An unknown number returned to the United States when conditions in the South improved, and those that remained adopted Brazilian citizenship. The newcomers were called "Confederados" by the locals, and the first Confederado recorded was Colonel William H. Norris of Alabama. Dom Pedro's program was judged a success for both the immigrants and the Brazilian government. The settlers brought modern agricultural techniques for cotton, as well as new food crops, such as watermelon and pecans, that spread among native Brazilian farmers. Some dishes of the American South were also adopted in general Brazilian culture, such as chess pie, vinegar pie, and southern fried chicken. The early Confederados continued many elements of American culture, for instance, establishing the first Baptist churches in Brazil. Today in Brazil, the Confederados are a cultural sub-group of 10,000 to 20,000 Confederate Americans who immigrated chiefly to the area of the city of São Paulo, Brazil after the American Civil War. These descendants of Confederados have intermarried in Brazil, live in many different cities, speak Portuguese and consider themselves thoroughly Brazilian.
The Bryans remained in Brazil for about 20 years, returning to the United States in 1886 and settling again in Raleigh. Whether it was the hardship of the life in Brazil, or just natural causes, many members of the Bryan family died soon after their return to the States. Margaret Outlaw Bryan would bury her husband and all 4 of her sons over the next 12 years. First her son, John III died at age 19 in 1888; then her husband in 1891 at age 66. She lost two sons, William Henderson (age 26) & Henry Shepard (age 10) in 1892; and her last son, Frederick Outlaw Bryan died at age 19 in 1898.
After the death of her husband and sons, Margaret Outlaw Bryan continued to live in Raleigh with her daughters Mary and Minnie, who never married.
According to the diary published by John's younger sister, Charlotte Emily Bryan Grimes (wife of Maj. Gen. Bryan Grimes of Pitt County), she reported John died in Brazil in 1891 and the remaining family returned to Raleigh. Census data indicates the family returned to the United States in 1886, so it seems likely John Heritage Bryan Jr. died in Raleigh in 1891, not in Brazil.
The Bryan monument in City Cemetery is a square stone base with the names of John Heritage Bryan, Margaret Henderson Bryan, Henry Shepard Bryan and William Henderson Bryan inscribed on each of the 4 sides. The stone appears incomplete, as if an obelisk or some other taller stone was intended to be placed on this base. It is possible, the monument has been eroded by time and the top no longer attached to the base. The graves are located in an iron fenced enclosure which is placed very close to the side of the grave featuring the inscription for John Heritage Bryan. Their daughter, Victorine Santo Bryan (1876-1877) who reportedly was born and died in Brazil, is shown on the index of graves for City Cemetery -- presumed to be a memorial -- but this researcher was unable to locate her grave.
Margaret Eliza Henderson Outlaw Bryan
1840–1912 (m. 1858)
Francis Theodore Bryan
Mary Shepard Bryan Speight
William Shepard Bryan
James Pettigrew Bryan
Elizabeth Heritage Bryan Lewis
Charles Shepard Bryan
Octavia Maria Bryan Winder
Henry Ravenscroft Bryan
Isabel Ann Bryan Bryan
Charlotte Emily Bryan Grimes
George Pettigrew Bryan
Ann Shepard Bryan Syme
Frederick Richard Bryan
Sarah Williams Bryan Lewis
Mary Shepard Bryan
William Henderson Bryan
John Heritage Bryan
Margaret Isabel Bryan Pearson
Victorine Santo Bryan
Minnie Speight Bryan
Frederick Outlaw Henderson Bryan
Henry Shepard Bryan