Needham Bryan

Needham Bryan

Isle of Wight County, Virginia, USA
Death 2 Jan 1770 (aged 79)
Bertie County, North Carolina, USA
Burial Lewiston Woodville, Bertie County, North Carolina, USA
Memorial ID 72777183 · View Source
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Note: In 1721, Needham patented 640 acres of land in Bertie
County on the Moratuck River. (NC Colonial Records, II, p. 426)
In 1726 he purchased 210 acres called Snowfield plantation. He
and his three wives are buried at Snowfield. Needham was
very active in county and state affairs. He served many years as chairman of
the court of Pleas and Quarter Session and was justice of the peace in 1732,
1739, and 1745. Also was sheriff and commissioner for Bertie Co., in 1745. From
1750-59 he represented Bertie in the colonial assembly at New Bern and in
1729-30 was a church warden for Society Parish..


The below was found in the Bryan Family file in the NC State Archives in

Will and Settlement of Needham Bryan, Sr., Bertie County, NC.
In the name of God Amen the Twentie Third day of September int he year
of Our Lord 1767, I Needham Bryan of North Carolina in the County of
Bartie farmer being very sick in body but of perfect mind and memory
Thanks be Given unto God for the Same and Caling to mind the mortality
of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die do
make this my Last will and Testament. That is to say principally and
first of all I give and Recommend my Soul into the hands of God that
Gave it and for my body I recommend it to the Earth to be burid in a
Cristian like and decent manner at the discretion of my Executors
nothing douting but that at the general Resurrection I shall Receive the
same again by the mity power of God and as Touchen such wordly Estate
whearwith it hath pleased God to bless me in this life I give and devise
and dispose of the same in the following manner and forme. Imprimis I
give and bequeath SARAH my dearly beloved wife one feather bed and
furniture the chose of all my beds one horse choise as she likes side
saddell and bridell and after her decease to go into the estate. Item I
give to my gran son WILLIAM BRYAN the son of my son WILLIAM my still and
my stock of smiths tools. Item I give and bequeath to my fore gran sons
WILLIAM hur first born each of them a cr[torn]lin and bequeath to SUSANA
HARRELL one [torn] called Anny ? Item and bequeath to young JACOB
JARNIGHAN three pounds out of my estate when sheared and after my debts
is paid. I do lend all my hole estate to my wife and my gran son WILLIAM
BRYAN that now lives with me and after my wifes widowhood to be eaqually
devided to my three children all but he has in razen? that his shear all
rest to my son NEEDHAM an WILLIAM and daughter RACHELL and my son
NEEDHAM nad son WILLIAM and my son in law WILLIAM WHITFIELD for every
one of them ot chuse them a man to vally and devide to three lots and
each to take their shear and I do make and ordain my two sons NEEDHAM
BRYAN and WILLIAM BRYAN my sole executors of this my last will and
testament and I do hereby utterly disallow revouk and disannull and all
and every other forms testaments and wills and legases bequeaths and
executors by me in any wise before this time named or ment. In witness
wheeof I have heir unto set my hand and seal this day and year above
ritten. Signed sealed published pronounced and declared by me the said
NEEDHAM BRYAN SENER as his last will and testament in the presents of us
the subscribers.
William Turner Jurat
James Turner
Joseph Turner
Proved in March Court, 1770; Bertie Co., NC, Will Book 2, page 8.
In Bertie, on 15 May 1777, Pursuant to the Dimentions of an order of
the Inferior Court of Pleas and Quarters Sessions....the second Tuesday
in May [1777]... We the Subscribers met examined audited and setled the
accounts of WILLIAM BRYAN Exec. of NEEDHAM BRYAN deceased and find a
ballance due to the said deceaseds estate of four hundred and eighty and
eight pounds thirteen shillings and nine pence proclamation money -
which we have divided and set apart agreably to the last will and
testament of the said deceased to the administrator of NEEDHAM BRYAN son
of the said deceased for his part and shair of the said deceaseds estate
one hundred and sixty two pounds seventeen shillings & eleven pence...
and the same amount for their shares "To Rachel Whitfield daughter of
the said deceased". This is signed by Noah Hinton, Samuel Moore, and
Thomas House. We may assume the recent death of the elder Needham
Bryan's widow Sarah, in 1776 or early 1777, terminating her life
interest and allowing final settlement of the estate.

The three principal heirs of Needham Bryan, Sr., as clearly indicated
in both the will and settlement, were sons WILLIAM and NEEDHAM, Jr., and
daughter RACHEL WHITFIELD. Payment to "the administrator of NEEDHAM
BRYAN son of the said deceased" indicates the death intestate of
NEEDHAM, JR., after date of the will, 23 Sept. 1767, and before the
settlement, in May 1777. This conflicts with 1784, given as year of
Needham, Jr's death by Zella Armstrong [see below]. The will does not
name the daughters who were mothers of "my fore Gran Sons", each of the
four being cut off with a crown sterling, thus disinheriting these
daughters and or their heirs and avoiding division of the estate per
stirpes. The executor's accounting, as approved by the commissioners in
1777, includes payments of five minor monetary bequests: For four
grandson, "To pay Ezekiel wimberly [sic] shi Legacy" and, tabulated in
immediate succession, "LEWIS GARDNER do do", "JOSEPH JERNAGAN do do",
and "WILLIAM BRYAN son of ANN BRYAN do do", each 8 chillings, 4 pence
[the equivalent then in local currency of a crown sterling]; to "JACOB
JERNAGAN, Jr. do do" 3 pounds [Bertie Co., NC Inventories and sales of
estates, 1775-1790, Part I, pp. 18-19, in NC Archives, Arleigh;
photocopy in compiler's possession]. Possibly JACOB JERNIGAN, Jr., is a
son-in-law. SUSANNA HARRELL, legatee in the will, may be a favored
niece, namesake, and or god-daughter of NEEDHAM'S second wife, said to
have been born SUSANNA HARRELL. The compiler is uncertain wheather one
of the above legatees and grandsons of NEEDHAM BRYAN, Sr., is really
EZEKIEL "WILLIAMS", as named in the will, or EZEKIEL "WIMBERLY", as
listed in the final accounting.

Jewel Davis Scarborough, in a chapter on Bryans and Gardners of Bertie
[Southern Kith and Kin, vol. 2, The Davis Family and Their Connections,
1952, page 116-122], misinterpreted NEEDHAM BRYAN's will as though it
named three GARDNER grandson - EZEKIEL, WILLIAM and LEWIS GARDNER. With
inadequate justification, she then assigned these three as sons to
MARTIN GARDNER, Jr. of Bertie, although admitting that they are not
mentioned in the latter's will of 1784. LEWIS GARDNER appears in an
early Bertie record as a "headright', 9 Nov 1742: "WILLIAM GARDNER
black" [Bertie Co. NC Minute Book 1724-1743, pg. 193], presumably
WILLIAM as head of family, wife MARY, their four children, and a slave.
A conjecture, for further consideration, is that WILLIAM and MARY
GARDNER are son-in-law and daughter of NEEDHAM BRYAN, Sr., and LEWIS the
GARDNER grandson named in NEEDHAM's will. In 1793 a LEWIS GARDNER [died
1799] of Georgia gave ALEXANDER GARDNER power of attorney to sell two
tracts of land in Bertie (Columbia Co Ga, Deed Book B, pg. 202].

Incomplete, and not altogether in agreement, are some published notes
on the Bertie County Bryans: J.R.B. Hathaway, "Bryan Record", North
Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. 1, pg. 577-84; Worth
S. Ray, "The Bryan Family", Lost Tribes of North Carolina, pg. 655-58;
and Zella Armstrong, Notable Southern Families, vol. 2, pg. 50-57.
Malcolm E. Gardner
Arlington, Virginia
12 November 1969.

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  • Created by: The Myrtle Beach
  • Added: 4 Jul 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 72777183
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Needham Bryan (11 Feb 1690–2 Jan 1770), Find A Grave Memorial no. 72777183, citing Bryan Family Cemetery, Lewiston Woodville, Bertie County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by The Myrtle Beach (contributor 47361123) .