Figure of the Week

Charles Adams Bryan

Born 1849 - Died 1918

Charles Adams Bryan (1849-1918) was the son of Richard Hughlett Bryan (1821-1906) and Eliza Jennings Cropper (1823-1891) who were originally from Cecil County, Maryand.  The Bryan family came to Stafford around 1858 and settled first at Richards’ Hill (Ingleside) near Falmouth.  They were Unionists and left Stafford during the War Between the States and lost much of what they owned as a result.  After the war, they returned and settled near Stafford Courthouse.  Charles married Margaret Nelson Morton (1848-1927) who was the daughter of James Morton (1793-1859) of Spring Hill just east of Stafford Courthouse.  Margaret was a rather large woman fondly known as “Teeny Mother.”  The Bryans lived in a large frame house that stood diagonally across U. S. Route 1 from the courthouse.  They had extra rooms and during the late 1800s and early 1900s, Margaret ran a boarding house that catered to people coming for the monthly meetings of the court.  She was noted for her delicious cooking.  Due largely to the disruptions caused by the war, Charles had little formal education, but he studied on his own and became quite proficient in the law.  He became Deputy Clerk of Court in 1869 and was made Clerk of the Stafford and Circuit Courts in 1887.  He held these jobs until 1912.  He also filled various other county positions.  For a number of years Charles wrote newsy and amusing columns for the Free Lance newspaper, using the pen name Scribbler.  In 1910 he planted six sugar maple trees on the front lawn of the courthouse.  In 2014 the county cut down the last one to make way for their new brick “streetscape” project.  Charles A. Bryan nearly always wore his hat and, according to a descendant, often slept in it.  He was said to have died wearing his hat.  He was buried at Spring Hill (now Vestavia Woods subdivision), though no stone was erected to mark his grave.