PPNA Happenings

Happenings, history and news of the Prospect Park Neighborhood and Ypsilanti

Sarah Bryan

Posted by ppna on January 12, 2008

Excerpt from:

Pioneer Women of the West

Mrs. Ellet

New York, Charles Scribner 1856

Pg 361 chap XXL Sarah Bryan

Sarah Bryan came with her husband John Bryan and their 5 children to Woodruffs Grove in October of 1823. The family left Geneseo, NY October 7th, 1823. The trip to Detroit took 10 days her husband then went to the Grove to procure a team to bring the family to the settlement, it took him 3 days to return. It was a wearisome 4 day journey through thick woods with John Byron cutting the road with an ax. They arrived at the Grove on October 23rd and moved into their own log cabin on December 31st. Alpha Washtenaw was born on February 27th, 1824. Alpha was the first white child born in Washtenaw county the first settlers of Ann Arbor, Allen and Ramsay, presented Alpha with a lot of land at the county seat.

*Pg362 Describes the corn mills made out of stumps.

John Bryan spent a lot of time working away from the Grove spending time building in Detroit. He would come home occasionally to provide wood and provisions. In October of 1824 John took a job in Maumee and ventured to make his way through the woods by himself instead of going around through Brownstown. He had thought he would be gone 3 weeks. After 2 months nobody had heard from John and his family was surviving by eating their small remaining stock of Potatoes for several weeks. The Grove as a whole was destitute and the neighbors had nothing to lend. Mrs. Bryan was able to borrow 2 ears of corn which she boiled into jelly. On December 23rd John Byron returned stating that the wages were good and the roads were bad so he decided to stay assuming his wife was taken care of. The letters he had sent had never made it to the Grove from Detroit.

Mrs. Bryan says that their suffering for the next 5 or 6 years was even worse but it would take a volume to describe them.

The first Sabbath school gathered in the summer of 1828 in a log room 12 or 14ft square. Mrs. Bryan took a great interest in the Sunday School and the benevolent society. She did not spare herself when her aid or nursing was required by her neighbors many who suffered from ‘the fever of the country.’

Mrs. Bryan appropriated the best room in her house to be used as a school and engaged a young man of good education to teach her children and others in exchange for a room. The Bryan children received wonderful educations.

The Bryans moved from Ypsilanti in 1835 or 36 with 8 children to Constantine, Michigan.

Husband – John Bryan

Son: Alpha Washtenaw Bryan

Daughter: Lois B. Adams — a poet for the Kalamazoo Telegraph and went on to run a female seminary in southern Kentucky.

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