His followers dubbed him "Prince William of Ireland" William Smith BRYAN immigrated to America about 1660. William Smith BRYAN and wife Catherine MORGAN were the parents of eleven sons. William was a landholder in County Claire, Ireland, at the time of the British Invasion of Cromwell; and for taking the side of Ireland, William was transported in 1650 to the colonies as a "rebellious subject" along with his family.One of his eleven sons, Francis III, returned to Ireland in 1677 and endeavored to recover his hereditary titles and the County Claire Estates. He was persecuted by the British Government had to seek refuge in Denmark.
William was probably born in the early 1600's in County Claire, Ireland, and lived during a time of great religious and political turmoil. When much of England's ruling class followed the Crown in the break with the Pope in Rome, the growth of Puritanism again split the nation which culminated in the English Civil War. This war in began in 1642 and ended in 1651 with the establishment of the Commonwealth by Oliver Cromwell, and the beheading of King Charles I. The war was also referred to as the "Puritan Revolution" because so many of the King's opponents belonged to the Puritan Party of the Church of England. During the Puritan rebellion he attempted to gain the throne of Ireland, and was deported by Cromwell in 1650. A landholder in Ireland, probably Claire Co., when Cromwell invaded Ireland in 1650. This brief sketch of English History is related only because of the impact it had on our Bryan family, since William Smith Bryan supported the losing side. The defeat of the King resulted in his exile to Virginia in 1650 "as a rebellious subject." Thus the family of William Smith Bryan, including eleven sons and three daughters along with a shipload of chattels, landed in Gloucester County, VA, on the York River across from present day Yorktown.
We presume that William and wife Catherine lived here for the remainder of their lives, and that most of their children melted into the growing Colonial society. The exception was their oldest son, Francis III, who returned to Ireland. William Smith Bryan was the pretender to the Irish throne (he schemed to become an Irish King), he was declared " a troublesome subject" by Lord Cromwell and deported in 1650. His 21 sons and grandsons "settled Gloucester County" and is credited by an article in the Thoroughbred Record with "being among the first to bring horses to America." His eldest son attempted to return to the family estates at County Claire Ireland, but was so persecuted by the government nt that he was forced to seek refuge in Denmark. William Smith was an original proprietor in Gloucester County, VA . Bryan He was the son of Sir Francis Bryan, a prominent man of Ireland. William Smith O'Brian is said to be the ancestor of Sir Edward O'Brian of William O'Brian and Lord Ichquin. It has been said that the family tree of the O'Brians bends beneath the weight of its royal ancestry, "on every branch hangs a monarch" was almost too true at one time. Kings of Thomound, of Munster and Limrick, Earls of Ichquin and Barons of Tadcaster are of this line. The Monarch, Brian Bour, Killed at the battle of Cloutart in 1014, is said to be responsible for the name Bryan as the surname, the "O"meaning the son of decedent of Brian.William Smith O'Brian is said to be the ancestor of Sir Edward O'Brian of William O'Brian and Lord Ichquin.
More About William Smith Bryan: Burial: Unknown, VA.437
More About William Smith Bryan and Catherine Morgan: Marriage: 1620, Claire, Ire [Denmark].438, 438, 438, 438, 439
Children of William Smith Bryan and Catherine Morgan are: