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John Neely Bryan (1810 - 1877)

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John Neely Bryan
Born in Fayettesville, Tennesseemap
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married in Texasmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Austin, Texas, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 17 Aug 2013
This page has been accessed 2,050 times.

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Founder of Dallas, Texas

JOHN NEELY BRYAN is known as an Indian trader, farmer, lawyer, and founder of Dallas. He was born Dec 24, 1810 to parents, James and Elizabeth (Neely) in Fayetteville, Tennessee. He attended Fayetteville Military Academy and after reading law was admitted to the Tennessee bar. With a partner john Neely is also listed as platting the town of Van Buren, Arkansas.By 1841 John was in Dallas, Texas. Since he had been trading with Indians in Arkansas, he hoped to do the same in Texas. [1]

He settled on the east side of the Trinity and began talking to clients to join him in a Bird's Fort project. John married Margaret Beeman in 1843. The couple had 5 children. [2] John had many hats: postmaster, storeowner, ferry operator where Commerce Street crosses the Trinity River} (he operated a ferry where Commerce Street crosses the Trinity River today) as well as opening his home to be a courthouse. [2] John was a mover and a shaker, being instrumental in the choosing of Dallas as the county seat. By the time it became county seat, John donated land for the courthouse.[2]

He joined the California gold rush of 1849. Upon return in 1855, John fled after shooting a man for insulting his wife. [1] He joined the military (Col. Nicholas H. Darnell's Eighteenth Texas Cavalry and served a while, but was discharged due to his age and health. In the late 1860's John lobbied for the train to come through Dallas, and a bridge to be built over the Trinity River.. 1871–72 he served as director of Dallas Bridge Company and which built the first iron bridge across the Trinity. He welcomed the Houston and Texas Central train when it pulled into town in mid-July 1872. [1]

By 1874 John's mind was faltering. He passed away in 18 September 1877 at Texas State Lunatic Asylum. His grave may be on these grounds. [3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Handbook of Texas Online,
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2

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No known carriers of John's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests and no close relatives have taken a 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA "Family Finder" test.

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On 17 Aug 2013 at 14:48 GMT C (Evans) E wrote:


John is 25 degrees from Rosa Parks, 24 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 22 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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