Barney S. Bryant

            El Monte’s first constable was Barney (“Bud”) Bryant who came to California in about 1854 and who was among the first pioneers of this district.  He was born in Milan County, Texas, December 19, 1840, accompanying his parents to California when in his early teens.  No record is available concerning his parents, and little is known of his early life.  Information acquired is to the effect that the family settled on a tract of land north of El Monte, which they farmed for many years, and Bryan Road which passes the old homestead was named in honor of the family.

            Barney, or “Bud” as he was more familiarly known, soon became active in public affairs which resulted in his appointment as the first constable in El Monte.  Due to a fire, which destroyed the early city records, the date of his appointment is not available.

            Although the date of Barney Bryant’s marriage is not definitely known, it was in about 1858, and occurred at Ozark, Arkansas.  His wife was in maidenhood Jane Burke, a native of Texas.  No information relative to her people was obtainable.  To this union were born five children, namely:  Jessie, Roxie, Bell, Josephine, deceased; and Alice (Mrs. Goodnight) of Covina.  The mother died February 16, 1887.  Jesse, the eldest of the living children, spent most of his life in El Monte, moving to Pasadena in 1916.  His death occurred in 1936, while his wife, Sarah, died in 1937.

            In religion, “Bud” Bryant was a member of the Christian Church and in politics a staunch Democrat.

            It is unfortunate that a more complete sketch of Mr. Bryant and his active and important part in the El Monte’s early history, is not available.  His life was a colorful one, and he contributed much to the establishment of law and order in the early days.

            His death occurred on October 5, 1908, while visiting in Gilroy, California.

            Samuel Bryan, a brother of “Bud”, also lived in the vicinity of El Monte for many years.  He finally moved to Los Angeles and later became a member of that city’s police force.  He was thus employed at the time of the infamous Chinese Massacre in 1871.  A few years later he was a member of the posse detailed to capture the notorious Mexican bandit, Tiburcio Vasquez.  Samuel Bryant’s death occurred in April, 1937.

Submitted via email this additional information:

About your excellent bio on Barney Bryant, I can add that he had a very famous father in Texas, Benjamin Franklin Bryant , hero of the Battle of San Jacinto. Your article about Barney Bryant stated that "No record is available concerning his parents, and little is known of his early life." Here is some of that missing information.

Ben had a wife named Roxanna Price who was buried as a dignitary with him at the Austin State Cemetery. My mother went from Bryant Station to Austin as a child to attend the re interment ceremony. Unfortunately the grave of Ben's mistress, Rebecca Parker cannot be found. What a shame! She is mother of your hero Samuel Houston Bryant who helped capture Tiburcio Vasquez.

© Copyright 2002 by Ray Ensing

Last modified: 4 Oct 2012