Nathan Bryant

Researched by: William Brackett


Nathan Bryant was the son of Lewis and Susan F. (Hatch) Bryant.  The following information for the article carried in the Niles Daily Star was his.
This is substantiated by the fact that he is seen in the 1850 census of Berrien County living in the household of D. B. Cook who was a “Printer”. 
The article indicates it was from F. N. Bryant but this should read N. B. Bryant. Nathan B. Bryant died two months after this article was published and
is buried in the Memorial Cemetery in Le Mars, Plymouth County, Iowa.

The article was published on 08 Aug 1929 and it reads:

“MAN BORN NEAR NILES IN 1835 WRITES ABOUT EARLY EVENTS OF LIFE

Word of the plans for the Niles Centennial celebration has reached an old timer out in Cresbard, South Dakota, who was born in 1835,
lived his first few years at Terre Coupee Prairie, Ind., and now at 94 recalls many of the early day scenes about Niles, where he became a printer. 

With a letter to Miss Alice Quimbly, 621 E. Main Street, the writer, F. N. Bryant, enclosed an article written in a neat hand telling of things that took place
in this section of the middle west when Niles was an infant village.  His article says:

‘My earliest recollection of a political campaign is that of Harrison, the ‘log cabin’ candidate for president.  It was the year 1840.  I was five years old. 
My father and others spent one week making a log cabin on trucks and taking it from Terre Coupee Prairie to LaPorte, Ind., 25 miles, with 20 yoke of oxen. 
Cattle were more plentiful in those days than autos are now.

My father moved from the farm to Niles in 1847.  In the spring of 1848 I began a four-year apprenticeship to learn the printing trade with D. B. Cook. 
I always shall remember the good advice given the boys by Mrs. Cook, a grand, good woman. 

I read in the papers there are only 11 left of the soldiers that fought in the Mexican War.  I distinctly remember the war with Mexico. 
There was a company recruited in Niles, and the fife and drum was classical music for the boys, and we were there in full force.  Charles E. Stewart was appointed captain. 
He was publishing a Whig paper in Niles, and he dropped the composing stick for the sword. He was a bright, smart man, and when word came that he had fallen from the
deck of steamboat and was drowned, the grief of his widow and son was extremely sad.

The business interests of Niles had such representative men as R. T. Twombly, Jacob and William Beeson, G. W. Platt, H. A. Chapin, Samuel Griffin, James Lewis,
W. G. Ferson, Stephen Norse, J. C. Larimore, J. Tuttle and others.  The legal profession was represented by Nathaniel Bacon, judge of circuit court, Charles Jewett,
Frank Muzzy, Emory M. Plimpton, Edward Bacon and James Brown, who was judge of probate and whose writing looked like a haystack struck by a cyclone. 
I was stuck trying to get one of his legal notices in type and went to his office for assistance.  He looked at the manuscript awhile and then said, what d---n fool wrote this?
Poor Jim (A victim of too much corn juice that was sold over the counter for three cents a glass).

The medical fraternity was represented by Dr. Finley Richardson Bonine, (father of Dr. Fred N. Bonine), Saxie and a little pill doctor whose name I have forgotten. 

In 1859 George M. Dewey and I bought the printing plant of Monroe G. Carlton, Dewey was a fluent writer but a crank on the temperance question, and would abuse his best friend . 
When I saw him near a saloon I saw where the business was drifting to, sold out to him and bought a farm at Terre Coupee Prairie.

When it was known I was going to farming H. A. Chapin came to me and said he had just bought an elevated cook stove and wanted to sell it to me.  I bought it.

In the spring of 1865, the 14th of April, I drove the length of State street in Chicago, in a covered wagon on my way to Iowa, when State street was a vast street of mourning
for the great and lamented Abraham Lincoln.

I could recall a great many more time of my early life in Michigan but as I left there 61 years ago I don’t think there are many left that my rambling notes will interest. 

I think every year will be my last, but I still live on.  I have voted for 18 presidents, can see to read without glasses and could drill in the militia if I were not so lame.”

Mr. Bryant went from this section to LaMarr, Iowa, where he settled for many years.  In a letter to the LaMarr Sentinel he relates how he went to
Washington, D. C., in February, 1865, to try to get two brothers transferred from army hospitals to Michigan state hospital.  While at the capital he shook hands
with Lincoln in the White House.  That was two months before he drove through State street, Chicago, which was in mourning for the dead chieftain.”

LeMars Sentinel
October 1, 1929

DAD BRYANT HEARS CALL
A Beloved Old Resident of LeMars Answers Final Summons
Was a Nonagenarian
Prominent in Daily Life Here For Many Years

Dr. R.M. Figg, of this city, received a telegram Sunday announcing the death
of N.B. Bryant, of LeMars, at Cresbard, S.D., where he has been making his
home the last four or five years. His death was due to old age and marked
the passing of a spirit, which embodied the characteristics of a real man,
who lived and labored, had a sane view of life, and was endeared by ties of
friendship to a large number of people living in LeMars and vicinity.

Mr. Bryant had reached the age of 94 years, exemplifying the scriptural
saying that the days of a good man are long in the land. The sobriquet “Dad”
by which he was called for years is tribute in itself to his qualities and
indicates the regard in which he was held in the community.

His life covered a long span and saw the making of much history, and Mr.
Bryant, in the course of his existence, was an observer of events and kept
in touch with the doings of the world until the last. His unbounded faith in
the general honesty of human kind was one of his tenets and one which
affected his monetary interests in later life.

BORN IN OHIO

Nathan B. Bryant was born in Butler County, Ohio, June 16, 1835, where his
parents, who came from New York, were early settlers. When he was a child
they moved to Michigan and carved a home out of the timber.

Nathan Bryant received a meager education in the country schools and helped
on the farm. With an inquiring mind and prosperity for reading, he
gathered a smattering of knowledge which in after life became well-grounded
with additional information gleaned by an open mind.

BECOMES A PRINTER’S DEVIL

When a lade of thirteen years of age in 1848, he went to work in a printing
office in Niles, Mich., and worked at that trade until 1860, when he quit
the art preservative, and returned to the work of the farm.

Mr. Bryant, while farming in Michigan, made trips to Chicago and used to
relate early experiences when that metropolis was budding. He was in Chicago
when the news of the assassination of President Lincoln was received and
well remembered the pall of gloom which overcast the country when the great
leader was stricken down by the hand of a crazed murderer.

COMES TO IOWA

Mr. Bryant was married to Susan Currier, of Rockingham, New Hampshire, in
1865. She was a member of a family several members of which were closely
connected with political and social life in Washington D.C., for many years.
She died in 1897.

The year of his marriage Mr. Bryant came to Iowa and bought land in Buchanan
County, where he farmed successfully for fourteen years and then moved to
Benton County where he lived eight years. From there he went to Faulk
County, S.D., where he lived a year and then came to LeMars and bought a
well improved farm in Marion township where he prospered. In 1903 he moved
to LeMars and purchased a fine home. Living in well-earned retirement and
with a comfortable competence he listened to friends who told of fortunes
quickly made. Mr. Bryant made investments which failed to turn out as
presaged.

With altered fortune he was the same gallant gentleman as ever and never was
heard to utter a murmur or a complaint.

While residing in LeMars, Mr. Bryant was active in political and community
affairs and served two terms as a member of the city council. He was one of
the men instrumental in bringing the first Chautauqua to LeMars. He was a
member of the Congregational Church and of the LeMars Lodge of Elks.

He is survived by two daughters, Mrs. Otis Swift and Mrs. Marion Olin, of
Cresbard, S.D., and two sons, Frank, of Assiniboia, Can., and Lewis Bryant
residing in Saskatchewan.

The remains were brought here for burial, arriving last night and the
funeral will be held this afternoon at 2 o’clock at the Beely undertaking
parlors.

Members of the LeMars Lodge No. 428, B.P.O.E. will be in charge of the
funeral. Dr. C.A. Mock, president of Western Union College, will deliver the
sermon.

Return to Index Page