by George J. Dance


Daniel Bryan (1795-1866). Courtesy Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore.

Daniel Bryan (?1795- December 22, 1866) was an American poet, lawyer, and politican.


Bryan was born in Rockingham, Virginia, the son of Major William Bryan. He attended Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) in 1807,[1] but did not graduate.[2] He was a Colonel during the War of 1812.[1] In 1813 he published by subsciription his first collection of poetry, The Mountain Muse, which included a 5,600-line epic of frontiersman Daniel Boone.[2] The Mountain Muse had a wide circulation, with over 1,300 subscribers, and being osold in at least ten states.[1]

In 1815 Bryan was practicing law in Harrisburg, Virginia, and married Rebecca Davenport. She died in 1816, and he married Mary Thomas Barbour, sister of two Virginia Congressman. Bryan was elected to the Virginia Senate in 1818. In 1820 he cast the only vote against a resolution on admitting Missouri into the Union as a slave state, delivering an impassioned speech against slavery.[2]

In 1821 Bryan became postmaster of Alexandria, Virginia, and his Senate seat was declared vacant. Shortly thereafter he began publishing poetry regularly, in periodicals and several more books. He also won a reputation as an orator.[2]

He remained postmaster until 1853, when he accepted a position in the library of the U.S. Treasury. He continued to live in Alexandria through the Civil War (which he opposed), moving to Washington only in 1866, shortly before his death.[2]


Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Daniel Bryan (1795-1866) Strangers to Us All: Lawyers and poetry, College of Law, West Virginia University. Web, May 4, 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Daniel Bryan (cx.1789-1866), Encylopedia of Virginia, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Web, May 4, 2016.
  3. Search results = au:Daniel Bryan, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, May 4, 2016.

External linksEdit

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