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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



JOHN H. BRYANT, contractor and builder, having his office at the intersection of Northeast and Douglas streets, Bloomington, may be properly numbered among the pioneer settlers of Illinois, as he came here in 1837 with his parents, being then a young child. He was born in East Cambridge, Mass., Dec. 3, 1833, his parents being Eben and Martha (Brown) Bryant, natives of Wakefield and Charlestown, Mass. Eben Bryant was a farmer by occupation, and emigrated from the Bay State to Illinois in 1837, settling in Pike County, upon 160 acres of wild land, which he improved and cultivated and occupied until his death, which occurred in 1866. The mother survived him twelve years, dying at the old homestead in 1878. They were the parents of five children, four now living, as follows: Eben F., of Pike County; John H., our subject; Harriet and Joseph B., of Kansas City. The father of our subject was a strong Abolitionist, and both parents were members of the Baptist Church.

John H. Bryant was reared on his father's farm. and received a practical education. He remained at home until nineteen years old, and then served three years at the carpenter's trade, in Griggsville. He soon afterward commenced as a contractor, which he followed in that locality until 1859, and then came to Bloomington. Here he first established himself on West Mulberry street, removing to his present quarters in 1884. He now gives employment to from five to twenty men, and among the important structures which he has had in charge are the City Hall, Turner Hall, the German Methodist Episcopal Church and the Eagle Block, besides some of the finest residences in the city.

Our subject was married in 1855, to Miss Nancy English, a native of New Salem, Ill., and the daughter of Robert and Martha (Hooper) English, of Ohio. Mr. English was a farmer who, after coming to Illinois, settled first at New Salem, whence he removed to McLean County in 1863. His declining years were spent in Normal Township, where his death occurred in about 1865.

Mr. and Mrs. Bryant became the parents of five children, as follows: George A. is in California; Alice, now Mrs. Gilbert Eldridge, is the mother of two children -- Clare and Pansy; Frank married Miss Mary Ellen Ingersol, and they have one daughter, a babe, Ethel Frances; Arthur is doing business with his father; Charles, the youngest, is at home. The family residence is located at No. 806 West Oliver street, and is the resort of the best people of Bloomington. Mrs. Bryant is a member in good standing of the Baptist Church. Mr. Bryant is one of the largest contractors in the city of Bloomington, and both as a business man and a citizen, is one of the important factors in its business and industrial interests.

[SOURCE: Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887). Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.]


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