My great-grandfather was named for a distant cousin, William Cullen BRYANT the poet and editor of the New York Evening Post. Though the conclusive proof has not been found, family tradition is pretty consistent about this relationship. Acknowledging that there is a tendency in families to claim a connection to a famous person without much proof, I am certainly not going to argue otherwise. I am pursuing every avenue in my search for the truth. But in my research of this BRYANT clan, I have assembled a fair amount of information about the spouses of my great-grandfather. There were four.

First was Nelly Loretta PRESTON. Nelly was born 5 Aug 1867 (“Unrecorded Births of Newaygo County” 1867-1883. Her date of birth from age at death is 21 Aug 1867) in Newaygo County, the daughter of Shinar PRESTON and Eugenia DICKISON. William and Nelly married about 1886 (record of marriage not located) in probably Fremont, Newaygo County, Michigan. Nelly died of paralysis in Sheridan Township, Newaygo County 8 Sep 1887,  about two months after the birth of her first child, Lois. Lois BRYANT was enumerated in Dayton Township with her grandparents (PRESTON) at the time of the 1900 census. Lois married after 1914 John WOLD, but died in 1919 (Maple Grove Cemetery, Fremont) a relatively young.

Shinar PRESTON, son of William and Margaret (BARNHARD) PRESTON was born 15 Aug 1839 in Oak Harbor, Ottawa County, Ohio. Shinar came to Michigan with his mother and siblings in 1851 after the his father William died in of Typhoid fever in Ohio. Shinar married Eugenia DICKISON at her father’s residence in Dayton Township, Newaygo County 17 Mar 1862. He enlisted 12 Mar 1862 just five days before his marriage. Shinar served as a private in Company K, 3rd Michigan Infantry and was mustered out 18 Mar 1865. Among other battles, he was at Gettysburg and Wilderness. After the war Shinar rejoined his wife and they started a family in Dayton Township, Newaygo County, where he lived until his death on 14 Nov 1932.

Eugenia DICKISON was born 2 Mar 1846 in Evans, Erie County, NY. She was the daughter of Frederick and Keziah (HOPKINS) DICKISON and came with her parents to Michigan in 1859. Eugenia died 31 Oct 1914 in Fremont and is buried at Maple Grove Cemetery.

Shinar married 2nd, Eugenia’s sister, Hannah DICKISON, widow of Arthur B. BROOKS on 3 May 1915 in White Cloud. Hannah died 16 Jun 1930 at age 79 years, 3 months 10 days.

Shinar and Eugenia had the following children, all born in Dayton Township near Fremont.

  1. Reno S. b. 5 Feb 1866 – d. 31 Jul 1942 and m. 23 Dec 1891 Lillie Belle EVANS (b. 30 Aug 1869 – d. 22 Nov 1901) and m. (2nd) 5 May 1904 Mary Harriet ROBINSON (widow of ___ ALDRICH ).
  2. Nelly Loretta. above
  3. infant (female) b. 23 Feb 1869 – d. 25 Feb 1869
  4. Lester Peirce b. 28 Jul 1870 – d. 13 Jul 1960, Hastings, Michigan and m. 28 Mar 1891 at Denver Township Mary Louise RICE (b. 2 Dec 1870 – d. 1950)
  5. Nettie Elenora b. 20 May 1872 – d. 5 May 1931 at Saginaw; bur. Maple Grove Cemetery
  6. Kearney Newton b. 6 Feb 1874 – d. 9 Dec 1936 at Fremont and m. 23 Nov 1892 at Newaygo to Ellen M. DONAHUE (b. 25 Dec 1872 – d. Jan 1941)
  7. Olive Mary b. 23 Dec 1876 – d. 26 Nov 1961 m. 15 Jun 1904 at Newaygo to George David ROBERTSON (b. 11 Sep 1875 – d. 8 Oct 1950)
  8. Frank Clare b. 19 Nov 1878 -d. 7 Aug 1939 at Fremont and m. 29 Sep 1909 at Grand Rapids Nellie Blanche ROBERTSON (b. 8 Dec 1878 – d. 16 Feb 1972)
  9. William Frederick b. 2 Jun 1880 – d. 12 Mar 1968 at St. Johns, MI and m. 17 Jan 1906 at Fremont Olive L FOWLER (b. 30 Apr 1885 – d. 6 Jun 1918) and m. (2nd) 21 Feb 1920 at Fremont Leona PRICE (b. 1895 – d. 21 Nov 1964)
  10. baby (male) b. 4 Feb 1888 (prob. died young)
  11. Elbert Oscar b. 4 Feb 1889 d. 7 Dec 1977 and m. 1 Jun 1920 at Denver Township, Beulah THOMPSON (b. 4 Oct 1896 – d. 28 Feb 1990)

William PRESTON married Margaret BARNHARD 29 Oct 1835 at Sandusky, Ohio. Margaret was born in Ohio about 1816, the daughter of Simon and Sarah BARNHARD. Simon BARNHARD, b. 1788 in Pennsylvania, died in July 1872 at age 84 years, 3 months. William PRESTON died in Ohio 6 Oct 1850, leaving Margaret with several young children. All born in Ohio they were:

  1. Martha b. 16 Jan 1837 – d. 12 Feb 1854 at Fremont
  2. Jonah b. 26 Feb 1838 – d. 26 Aug 1838
  3. Hiram Jerome -b. 1838 – d. 1907 in Fremont
  4. Shinar above
  5. John b. 14 Mar 1841 – d. 19 Jul 1936 in Ottawa Co., MI and m. Cleome GREENLEY
  6. Sarah b. 20 Oct 1842 – d. 3 Nov 1925 in MI and m. 11 Sep 1859 Alexander W. WALKER Perry b. 30 Oct 1844 – d. 20 Dec 1863 in the war
  7. Havens b. 2 Jan 1846 – d. 10 Nov 1850 in Ohio
  8. Levi b. 24 Dec 1849 and married Lucinda O’BRIEN, and 2nd Margaret WILLIAMSON

D. Bryant

Sources: Michigan Death Registers, 1867-1897; Michigan Birth Records, 1867-1902; Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925 (http://search.labs.familysearch.org) ; Portrait and Biographical Album of Newaygo County, Mich. p. 226; Michigan Death Records 1897-1920 (http://seekingmichigan.org)