a variation of the English surname ‘
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Part 2: Edward Bryant (c1800 - 1859)
Bryant was born in
He was a generous man and gave donations to the Bristol Royal Infirmary and places for the poor and homeless, as did many other wealthy merchants and gentlemen. He also owned several properties for which he received rent, usually around £16 per house per annum (about £930 in today’s money).
His reputation in merchant circles was important to him. In 1846, a report of a town council meeting cited Edward Bryant as the master of the ship Anna Watson, refusing to pay pilot dues and threatening to throw the pilot overboard. Edward was moved the following week to write an ‘epistle’ of some length to the editor of the Bristol Mercury newspaper to ‘beg to state that what is therein set forth [was] not exactly the facts of the case’. He declared he was one of the owners, rather than the master and that there were two ‘respectable witnesses’ who would prove that the pilot swore he would tell people Edward made threats. As for trying to evade pilotage dues, he declared: ‘I am the last man that would infringe on established laws and customs’ and set out to explain why he was not breaking any laws and how the ‘system’ negatively affects the smaller merchants (like himself).
Although he was a merchant and made a lot of money, by many accounts he seemed to be a kind and fair employer. In late 1843, he was obliged to prosecute one of his employees, George Ball Stokes, who had apparently stolen some Spanish dollars from Edward’s warehouse in Marsh Street (near the Avonmouth docks) and sold them to a silversmith, Mr Dell. The trial in the Bristol Quarter Sessions occurred less than a month later. As was a common occurrence, the complainant himself prosecuted with a barrister representing the defence. Even though he was the prosecutor, Edward himself gave such a good character reference for George (even stating he would re-employ him if he was acquitted), and cast enough doubt over the origin of Mr Dell’s newly-acquired dollars, that he almost certainly was responsible for ensuring his employee was acquitted!
Edward was part of Bryant Bros and Pugh (likely consisting of his older brother William and Edward's son-in-law - and nephew by marriage - Richard Pugh. They had a bonded warehouse which was where goods that needed duty paid on them could be stored, repackaged or altered without having to pay duty. Customs would be involved and Edward must have travelled to nearby Wales and London as part of his business dealings. It was while he was in London that he met Elizabeth Pearson. Elizabeth's brothers-in-law were grocers and her father was a custom excise officer. Edward and Elizabeth married 19 August 1827 at Poplar All Saint's Church. Two of Elisabeth’s sister Sarah's children, John and Sarah Pearson, came to live with the Bryants by 1841. John was an apprentice grocer, most probably apprenticed to his uncle Edward.
possible they had a loving marriage and Edward referred to her as his 'dear
wife' in his will (although sometimes that was used as a standard phrase,
regardless of the level of affection the couple actually had for each
and Elizabeth had five daughters and two sons: Agnes, Emily, Sarah,
Elisabeth, an unnamed son, Edward and Martha. Both boys died before they
were three months old. The family lived ‘above shop’ for years but Edward did well enough to
set the family up, with servants, in Avon House in the fashionable village
of Shirehampton, about seven miles from the Bristol docks, where other
rich merchants and ship owners had settled. When Edward died 15 June 1859,
he left behind property, shares, stock and effects worth about £56,000
(worth about £2.5 million in today’s money). After
his death, Elizabeth lived with
two of her daughters and
died in Cardiff in 1889.
Sarah Louisa (c1833 - 1905) was baptised 10 February 1833 at St Augustine the Less Parish Church. She married Charles Fry, a ship owner and master mariner, 04 October 1860, at St Paul's Church, Bedminster Parish, Bristol. They never had any children but she was involved in the upbringing of her niece, Agnes Trickey. Sarah accompanied Charles on many voyages, as was a captain's wife's privilege at the time. In 1881, the couple were actually in England to be counted in the census (having missed the previous two), living at Hampton Terrace, Westbury on Trym Parish, Bristol. In the 1880s and 1890s, they lived in the Liverpool area where Charles was a Marine Superintendent. In 1899 he finally retired and they moved back to Bristol. Sarah died of heart disease and heart failure 20 April 1905. Charles missed her terribly and died exactly three months later, 20 July 1905.
Their fourth daughter was Elisabeth (1834 - 1868). She was known as 'Lily' and more information about her appears in Part 3.
An unnamed son was born and died quite soon after on 06 May 1836.
Edward William (1837 - 1837) was born 15 August but died 26 October aged nine weeks. The cause of death was convulsions (one possible illness associated with convulsions was tetanus).
(1839 - 1927) was born 05 August 1839. It is likely she attended a private girls' school
like her sisters when she was a teenager. She married August
Bernard Tellefsen, a Norwegian shipowner, 12 January 1858 at
Shirehampton Parish Church. She was 18 at the time and
he was a 38 year old widower. They had five children:
Emily Louisa, Maria Elizabeth, John Edward August, Theodore Charles and
Ernest Bernard. Martha was probably quite close to her older sister
Elisabeth and even travelled to
Martha Middleton Tellefsen née Bryant
'Aunt Pattie' Tellefsen
With the death of Edward, the Bryant name ended in that family, though it was adopted as a middle name: Agnes’ grandson Arthur Edward Bryant Cayzer, Lily’s grandson George Bryant Schwartz, and three of George’s four children.
Next: Elisabeth Bryant