Alison L Bryant

Photos from the Past

Alison L. Bryant

Alison L. Bryant was born in 1845 in Kirtland, Ohio. While his family did serve in the Western Reserve Teacher’s Seminary at the former compound of the Kirtland Mormon Temple where he was born, his parents were not Mormons. Rather, the Bryants were among a group that rented the temple grounds after running them out of Ohio because of the banking scandal, which was more heinous than any conflict with their religious doctrine.

At 13, Alison rode on horseback 1000 miles delivering a herd of sheep. Upon arriving at a store in upper Pennsylvania, he was accosted by a man sitting in a rocker on the porch, who said,son do you know who I am? That was former President Martin Van Buren. In his unpublished biography, Bryant wrote that during his early years in Ohio they knew the Garfields well, as they were neighbors. In 1860, he and his father were with James Garfield shucking corn, when Abraham Lincoln stepped out of a carriage at the Garfield’s for a short visit while on his way by train to Washington. As he was only 15 when the war began Bryant had to lie when he signed and served a three-month stint in Ohio along with his older brother, Joseph Lonson Bryant. They were in training daily in the same regiment of a very young Private and future President William McKinley.

Bryant’s family then moved to Fremont Township, now Mayville, Michigan, in 1862, where he then at 16, joined the Saginaw enlistment of the Company G, 23rd Regiment Michigan Volunteer Infantry in August 18, 1862. He was mustered into service on September 12, 1862. His honorable service as a Private was through to the end, mustering out after marching with Sherman to the sea at Salisbury, North Carolina on June 28, 1865.

Unfortunately, his brother, Joseph, was wounded on May 14, 1864 at Resaca, Georgia and died of wounds on June 14, 1864 at Chattanooga, Tennessee. Alison later honored his brother by founding the Lonson Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Post #255, in Mayville, Michigan.

In addition to a good war service record, Bryant served the GAR for 50 years. He was National Color Bearer at the 48th National Encampment at Detroit in 1914, serving with Commander-in-Chief Congressman Washington Gardner. Among the positions he held within the Michigan Department of the GAR, included Assistant Quartermaster General of the Department and Junior Vice Department Commander.

He apparently had a head for numbers and later was township treasurer and ran several successful businesses. He was solely responsible for bringing the railroad through his area of Tuscola County. In 1890, he personally wired the town of Mayville supplying power from a generator he installed in his own sawmill. He owned the power company for 9 years until it broke down and the village issued a bond and built their own power supply. He sold his businesses and retired to Lansing after his son, Harold Wynn Bryant Sr. went off to college about 1906. In “retirement” he was Sergeant at Arms in the Senate Chamber and was in charge of the Civil War collection housed in the Old State Building. Over 250 items in the collection were his own. He served and led many state parades. He probably used his own flag when he was National Color Bearer. He died in Lansing, Michigan in 1933 and was buried at Oakhill North Cemetery in Kent County, Michigan.

Photograph and information submitted by Alison L. Bryant’s great grandson, Skip Bryant, Senior Vice Camp Commander, Robert Finch Camp #14, Department of Michigan, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.

Alison L. Bryant