Whiteside County Bios - 1885
6 Mar 2012
JAMES BRYANT, farmer and stock-raiser on section 36, Portland Township, is a son of William and Elizabeth Bryant, and was born in Wayne Township, Knox Co., Ohio, Sept. 14, 1821. His father was a native of New Jersey and his mother of New York. On attaining the age of manhood, Mr. Bryant came West and located in Ogle Co., Ill. June 23, 1844, he came to this county, and two years later, in 1846, he entered 104 acres of the land he at present owns in Portland Township. On first coming to the county his entire moneyed possessions footed up the "enormous" amount of $1.50! His energetic determination and faith in the future developments of the county, for he had faith from the first time that he came, induced him to "stick," and he "stuck." He went to work by the day, farming and following the carpenter and joiner's trade, which he had learned in the East, and waited patiently for developments and opportunity. They came, and his good judgment prompted him to enter his land as stated, and still better judgment induced him to hold on to it. He has done so to the present time and has increased his acreage, by subsequent purchase,until he is at present the owner of 590 acres. He has a fine residence on his farm, which stands as a monument of his own handiwork.. He has a fine residence on his farm, which stands as a monument of his own handiwork. Even the doors and windows were made with his own hands.
Mr.Bryant usually keeps about 100 head of cattle, a number of which are grade short-horns, 15 or 16 head of horses, and from 100 to 160 head of hogs, and his success is attributable to his push and energy, joined with the active co-operation o his good helpmate.
He was united in marriage in Portland Township, this county, Oct. 17, 1848, to Miss Emily M. Benson. She is a daughter of Christian and Maria Benson, and was born in Rhode Island, March 29, 1829. Mr. Benson, Mrs. Bryant's father, was born in Sweden, may 1, 1805, but early in life, in 1820 came to America and became one of the first pioneers in Whiteside County. He located in Portland Township, where he lived, an honored and respected citizen, until his death, which occurred June 5, 1885. In early life Mr. Benson was a sailor and had sailed three times around the world before he settled down to the quiet, peaceful life of a farmer. He was a well-informed man, and in his long and eventful life of four score years accomplished much good.
Mr. and Mrs. Bryant have had four children: William C., born Oct. 11, 1850, is a dealer in stock at Erie; George E., born April 12, 1853, is a farmer; Joseph F., born Sept. 1, 1856, and Maria R., born Feb. 5, 1866. Miss Maria possesses considerable natural ability as a sketcher, painter and musician.
Mr. Bryant is a self-made man and deserves no little credit for the success he has thus far made of life. He possesses many rare traits of character, which have made him an enterprising citizen, one who is devoted to the best interests of the community in which he resides, and won for him the esteem and respect of all who know him. His portrait, made form a photograph recently taken, is given in this volume, included in the galaxy of those given of representative people of the county (photo sketch)