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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Bryan, Charles Shepard

by Gertrude S. Carraway, 1979

16 Nov. 1865–28 Mar. 1956

Charles Shepard Bryan, army officer and financier, was the son of James Augustus Bryan and Mary Spaight Shepard, grandson of Congressman Charles Biddle Shepard and Mary Spaight Donnell, great-grandson of Judge John Robert Donnell and Margaret Elizabeth Spaight, great-great-grandson of Governor Richard Dobbs Spaight, Sr., and Mary Leech, and great-great-great-grandson of Colonel Joseph Leech and Mary Jones. He was born in New York City, where his parents lived for a brief time, and was christened at Calvary Church by the Reverend Dr. Francis L. Hawks. He grew up in New Bern and went to Princeton College, where he was graduated in 1887 with the A.B. degree. Much of his adult life was spent in New York City, where he was a member of a firm on the stock exchange. In 1908 he sold his membership on the exchange and engaged in the fertilizer business. In 1916 he was commissioned second lieutenant in the Ordnance Department, and early in World War I he served for sixteen months with the French army. For gallantry in the Battle of Verdun he won the Distinguished Service Cross, Croix de Guerre with palm, and Military Cross of the Legion d'Honneur. For the remainder of the war he served as a colonel in the ordnance branch of the U.S. Army. He was graduated from the Army War College in 1923 and retired from army service in 1931.

Following his retirement, he lived in Asheville. He continued to own the land on which the Cherry Point Marine Air Station is now located. He undertook family genealogical research and historical writing and restored the Spaight cemetery at the old Clermont plantation near New Bern, erecting a tablet with the names and birth and death years of the eleven Spaight and Leech family connections buried there.

Bryan was a Mason for sixty years and was a member of the Sulgrave Institute and the University Club of New York City.

On 6 Feb. 1889 he married Annie Adams MacWhorter (20 Oct. 1866–28 Dec. 1940) of Augusta, Ga. They were the parents of one son, Gray MacWhorter, and two daughters, Mary Spaight Shepard (Mrs. Harold Hartshore) and Margaret Donnell. After Bryan's death in Asheville, his cremated remains were interred with Masonic honors in his father's lot in Cedar Grove Cemetery, New Bern.


Bryan Family Records (in possession of Charles Hall Ashford, Jr., New Bern).

Minutes of St. John's Lodge, No. 3, A.F. & A.M. (New Bern).

Tombstones, Cedar Grove Cemetery (New Bern).

Emma Morehead Whitfield, comp., and Theodore Marshall Whitfield, ed., Whitfield, Bryan, Smith and Related Families, bk. 2 (1950).

Additional Resources:

"Memorials: Charles Shepard Bryan '87." Princeton Alumni Weekly 56, no. 30 (July 6, 1956). 44. (accessed December 11, 2013).

Bryan Family Papers, 1704-1940 (collection no. 00096). The Southern Historical Collection. Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (accessed December 11, 2013).

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