One of the first ancestors to capture my imagination was my 4th great-grandmother Isabella or Ibby Bryson. I first learned about her when I was 12 years old. According to information handed down in the family she was born 14 September 1776 to John Bryson and Margaret Carson. Her father died shortly after her birth in July 1778. Her poetic name, 1776 birth date and a father who died during, though not necessarily in the Revolutionary War sparked adolescent speculation about her life. When I grew up and began seriously researching my family she was one of my first projects.
I learned then, and continue to learn, that what I know is far surpassed by what I do not. What I know (or at least believe I can support) is that Ibby married Hugh McAdams in June of 1800 in Greene County, TN. The family record lists the date as 12 June 1800. A register of marriage licenses and bonds now available online gives a date of 9 June 1800. They had five children - Margaret (b. 1802), Mary (b. 1804), Thomas Cunnningham (b. 1806), Samuel Bryson (b. 1809) and Jane (b. 1811) - before Hugh's death on 13 December 1814 in Washington County, TN. Hugh's estate documents suggested he had been a cabinet maker. I have since learned that he may have been an influential cabinet maker. A PhD candidate at Middle Tennessee State University is examining his work for her thesis. I look forward to her analysis.
One year after Hugh's death Ibby married a widower, Joseph Hale. Their daughter Louisa was born about 1817. Learning of Louisa's birth was startling to me. She is not mentioned in the seemingly comprehensive family record passed on by her half-brother Thomas.
In 1816 Ibby's only known sibling, Samuel Bryson, died without having married. She was the executor for his estate. Ibby is mentioned in her husband Joseph Hale's will. According to the family record she died on 1 June 1855 and was buried in Fairview Cemetery with the children of her sons Thomas and Samuel. Standing at her grave was one of the most emotional moments of any of my research trips.
I do not know where she was born or when she came to Tennessee. Son Thomas stated she was born in Pennsylvania in the 1880 census. Son Samuel said Virginia. I do not know if Carson was her mother's maiden name. I suspect not since the only mention of her in the family record is of her death in a listing where the other women are listed by their married names. I have no information on her father beyond his presumed existence and death. I have never found any documentation that names a John Bryson or Margaret Carson that I could tie to Ibby's parents. I am not even certain of her date of death, for she is nowhere to be found in the 1850 census.
I cannot connect her with any of the established Bryson or Carson families found in the area. I have not made any DNA connections that point clearly to Ibby, though she is high on my most wanted list. I assume she was Scots-Irish, assume she was associated with the Presbyterian church, though her second marriage was performed by a Baptist minister. I hope to learn more about her parents, but their lives on the 18th c. frontier make that problematic.
Written for Amy Johnson Crow's blogger challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.
- 1880 U.S. census, population schedule, Tennessee, Washington, District 16, enumeration district (ED) 035, p. 549A, dwelling 6, family 6, McAdams, Samuel; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 Feb 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 1284.
- 1880 U.S. census, population schedule, Tennessee, Washington, District 17, enumeration district (ED) 035, p. 663B, dwelling 263, family 272, McAdams, Thomas C.; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 Feb 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 1284.
- FamilySearch, "Tennessee Marriages, 1796-1950," database, FamilySearch (http://new.familysearch.org : accessed 14 Feb 2014), entry for Izabel Brisson.
- FamilySearch, "Tennessee, Marriages, 1796-1950," index(www.familysearch.org : accessed 14 Feb 2014), Joseph Hale and Ibby Mc Adams.
- Washington, Tennessee, Probate Court Books, 1795-1927 Vol. 00: 328, Hugh McAdams Estate, 6 Nov 1815; digital images, Family Search (www.familysearch.org : accessed 14 Feb 2014).
- Washington, Tennessee, Probate Court Books, 1795-1927 Vol. 00: 342, Samuel Brisons Estate, 22 Oct 1816; digital images, Family Search (www.familysearch.org : accessed 14 Feb 2014).
- Washington, Tennessee, Probate Court Books, 1795-1927 Inventories, 1844-1857, Vol. 02: 530, Joseph Hale Estate, 24 Jan 1856; digital images, Family Search (www.familysearch.org : accessed 29 Jan 2014).