The American Revolution in North Carolina

Needham Bryan

Colonel over the Johnston County Regiment of Militia - 1775-1776

On September 9, 1775, the NC Provincial Congress appointed Needham Bryan as Colonel/Commandant over the Johnston County Regiment of Militia. Col. Needham Bryan led the Johnston County Regiment of Militia at the battle of Moore's Creek Bridge on February 27, 1776. He resigned soon thereafter and was replaced by Col. William Bryan. Needham Bryan had earlier been a Colonel over the Colonial Militia of Johnston County.

The son of Needham Bryan and Annie Rambeau, Needham Bryan II was born on October 31, 1726. He married Nancy Ann Smith on February 5, 1748, who died in 1760. He married a second time to Charlotte Moore. He was a member of the Colonial Assembly from 1760 to 1769 and again in 1773 to 1775. He represented Johnston County in the First Provincial Congress at New Bern on August 25, 1774, to the Third Provincial Congress at Hillsborough in August of 1775, and the Fourth Provincial Congress at Halifax in April of 1776. In 1777, he was elected as a NC Senator from Johnston County.

On April 23, 1777, Needham Bryan introduced a bill in the NC General Assembly to establish the town of Smithfield, VA. He died suddenly in 1777.

The following information was provided in July of 2019 by Mr. Steve Beaty. Some info is not entirely accurate, but I leave it to the reader to decide what to use and what not to use. Not Mr. Beaty's fault, but the originators.


Needham Bryan, Jr. was a member of the Provincial Congress, a delegate to the Congress of Halifax and the Constitutional Convention, 1774. He also served as Colonel of the militia, 1774-1775. Son of Needham and Anne (Rambeau) Bryan. He was married 3 times. Husband of Nancy Ann (Smith) Bryan (1st wife). Their son, Needham Bryan, III, "Rev War Sol.", #28583092 (m. Sarah Ann Hinton)

***************************** The Needham Bryan Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution

The Needham Bryan Chapter of the NSDAR was organized in February 22, 1915, in Mobile, Alabama. It was named for Colonel Needham Bryan of Johnston County, North Carolina, a Revolutionary War ancestor of the organizing Regent, Mrs. Harry Tutwiler Inge (Belle Peterson). The members felt the name honored a patriot who was connected to the Colonial, Revolutionary and War of 1812 periods.

Needham Bryan was born October 31, 1725, to Needham Bryan (Sr) and Anne Rambeau of Bertie County, North Carolina. On February 5, 1748, he married Nancy Smith and settled in Johnston County, North Carolina. She was the daughter of Colonel John Smith, a Revolutionary War patriot, and his wife, Elizabeth Whitfield. After her death he married Charlotte Moore.

Colonel Bryan was a member of the Colonial Assembly of North Carolina in 1762 and 1771. He represented Johnston County in the first (1774), second (1775), third (1776) and fourth Provincial Congresses. In 1776 he was in the Battle of Moore’s Creek and elected to the Constitutional Convention which met in Halifax, North Carolina. On April 4, the fourth Provincial Congress resolved that “the delegates of this Colony in the Continental Congress be empowered to concur with the delegates of the other colonies in declaring independence of Great Britain.” The Constitutional Congress in November adopted the first constitution for North Carolina.

During the Revolutionary War he was a leader among a band of liberty-loving Americans called the Regulators and was a Colonel of the Minutemen in 1775.

Chapter Charter Members: Evelyn Correll, Anita Gaillard Croom, Mary Padgett Gwinn, Annie Chapman Hoffman, Marie Ilett, Belie Peterson Inge, Clara Walkley


• Name: Needham Bryan II
• Title: Col.
• Birth: 31 OCT 1726 in Snowfield Plantation, Lewiston, Woodville, Bertie Co, NC.
• Death: BEF AUG 1777 in Johnson Co, NC. Poisoned by the slave "Jenney"
• Event: Military Col. of local Militia
• Event: Fact DAR Patriot Index Centennial Edition, Col PS North Carolina



Service Source: NCDAR, ROSTER OF SOLS FROM NC IN THE AM REV, PP,498-500, PP 502-503; HAUN, JOHNSTON CO NC CO CT MINUTES,1767-1777, BOOK 2, PP 103-104.





Needham and Anne Bryan's two sons, Needham Bryan II and William Bryan, both owned large plantations in Johnston County and they were neighbors to John Smith Sr. and his wife Elizabeth Whitfield. There are numerous land deeds available in Johnston County for all of these people. Needham Bryan II owned thousands of acres of land in this area. The present town of Smithfield, North Carolina is located where John Smith, Needham Bryan II and William Bryan's plantations once stood.

Needham Bryan II and William Bryan married daughters of John Smith and Elizabeth Whitfield. Needham Bryan II married Nancy Ann Smith and William Bryan married Elizabeth Smith. The town Smithfield was named after John Smith, Sr.'s son John Smith, Jr. who donated the land for the original town. Needham Bryan II on April 23, 1777 introduced a bill in the Colonial Assembly to establish the town of Smithfield, North Carolina.


Johnston County, NC History

The delegates from Johnston to that band of patriots which convened at Newbern on 25 August 1775 were Needham Bryan and Benjamin Williams. The delegates to Hillsborough August 21, 1775 were the same with Samuel Smith, John Smith, William Bryan. The delegates to Halifax 4th of April 1776 were Samuel Smith, Jr., Needham Bryan, Jr., and Henry Raines.

Needham Bryan II died quite suddenly before August 1777 in Johnston Co., NC. He did not leave a will. Needham Bryan II deeded thousands of acres of land to his oldest son Needham Bryan III in Johnston County before his death.


The will of Needham Bryan II's father Needham Bryan Sr., probated in 1777 in Bertie County, is not the only evidence that Needham II was deceased. The Johnston County court minutes of August 1777 gives the settlement of Needham Bryan II's estate and he is named as deceased in the same court records. The orphans of the said deceased Needham Bryan were also named in this estate settlement and they were mainly the children of his second wife Charlotte Moore. Needham Bryan II's children from both his wives were: Needham Bryan III, Kedar Bryan, Winifred Bryan, Nancy Bryan, Charlotte Moore Bryan, Rigdon Bryan and Esther Bryan. All these children were alive in 1777 when Needham Bryan II died. There is a reason for Needham Bryan II's sudden death. He was poisoned and killed by one of his slaves named Jenney. Needham's brother William Bryan and William's oldest son Lewis Bryan were poisoned and killed by the same slave about two years later, in January 1780. The Johnston County court minutes in the November term 1780 gives an account of the trial, conviction and execution of the party accused of poisoning and killing Needham Bryan and other members of his family. The slave Jenny was burned at the stake in Smithfield, North Carolina for the poisoning and murder of the three members of the Bryan family.

Married Nancy Smith (and her sister married his brother William). They had 3 children: Kedar, Needham, and Winifred. This Needham was Col. of local militia NC. His daughter Winifred married Nathan Bryan, probably cousin. The 3rd Needham Bryan was born 1750 in Johnston County, NC- married Sarah "Sallie" Hinton in 1768. This Needham was a delegate to the Provincial Congress at Halifax and to the Const. Conv. of NC. He & Sallie had 4 children: Lovard, Clement, Benjamin and Sally.


Father: NEEDHAM BRYAN I b: 23 FEB 1690 in Isle of Wight County, Virginia

Mother: ANNE ROMBEAU b: 7 MAR 1691 in Helstroff, Lorraine, France

Marriage 1: Nancy Ann Smith b: ABT 1728 in Bertie Co, NC. Married: 5 FEB 1747 in Johnson County, North Carolina.


1. Needham Bryan III b: 1750 in Johnson Co, North Carolina
2. Kedar Bryan b: 1752 in Johnson County, North Carolina
3. Winifred Bryan b: 5 MAY 1755 in Johnston Co, North Carolina
4. Nancy Bryan b: 1756 in Johnston Co, North Carolina

Marriage 2: Sophia (maiden name unknown). Married: AFT JAN 1762. Marriage Ending Status: Death of one spouse.

The proof about the second wife, previously ignored by Bryan researchers, is found in a deed, undated but received by the Johnston County court in August 1769, wherein Joseph Hinton, son of William Hinton deceased, received from Major Needham Bryan, guardian of Joseph Hinton, Joseph's share of William Hinton's estate. Needham's brother William Bryan witnessed, and Needham's son Needham Bryan, Jr. and stepson Joseph Bryan signed the decree. Needham Bryan and "wife Sophia" deeded land to "my son" Needham Bryan, Jr., undated but probably shortly after part of this property was patented in December 1763. The deed to the land was probably filed, the date not indicated, before Needham Bryan III had reached his majority ca. 1768/69. See Deed Book E-1, p. 43. Sophia's name does not appear on another document and had evidently died by early 1764 before the third marriage. From Dr. Barry Hayes.

Marriage 3: Charlotte Moore. Married: AFT 1764 in North Carolina.


1. Charlotte Moore Bryan b: 2 APR 1765 in Johnston County, North Carolina

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