JOHN BRYTE

Was born in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, July 20, 1800. Michael Bryte, his father, removed to Jefferson County, Ohio, in 1807. The family consisted of three boys, John, Nathaniel, and David, and three girls in 1815, Michael Bryte died. John, after the decease of his father, returned to the Forks of the Youghiogheny, where he remained nearly four years, attending a district school in the winter, and laboring in the summer season. In 1819 he accompanied Mr. Nathaniel Bailey, a relative, to Clearcreek Township, walking all the way from the "Yoh." On the route he passed through New Lisbon, Canton and Wooster, then new villages. Mr. Bailey had located in 1817, and Mr. Bryte, for a time, made the house of Mr. Bailey his home. When he entered the township the names of those who preceded him were; Nathaniel Bailey, Abraham Huffman, Daniel Huffman, David and James Burns, Abraham Clayburg, Jacob Foulks, Richard Freeborn, John and Thomas Henney, Abel Bailey, John Bailey, Thomas Ford, Elias Ford, John McWilliams John Aten, Robert McBeth, and possibly a few others. At that period a great many Delaware Indians made annual visits in the spring and fall of the year to make sugar and hunt deer, which were white numerous along the Black and Vermillion rivers and the branches of Mohican. They often encamped in different parts of the township, but were harmless and never interfered with their white neighbors. In these excursions the hunters were often accompanied by Thomas Lyons and Isaac George, two rather noted old Indians. Mr. Bryte frequently met the eccentric, but inoffensive, Johnny Appleseed, alias John Chapman, as he meandered over the country planting apple seeds and cultivating nurseries. Mr. Bryte was the second clerk of Clearcreek township, and held the office eleven years, the township having been organized in 1820, he was also trustee a number of times, and was a warm friend of the common school system at all times, being one of the earliest teachers in the township. He was a man of benevolent feelings, and in 1856 was appointed trustee of the Central Ohio lunatic asylum at Columbus, by Governor S. P. Chase, and continued in that position until 1862. In 1820 he became an active member of the Baptist church, near Ashland, and in 1835, united with the Christian church, and has been one of its speakers nearly forty years, and has adorned his profession by an upright life.
In 1824 he married Miss Elizabeth Ford, daughter of Thomas Ford, and in 1826 purchased a part of the farm section twenty-six, on which he deceased. On this land he found an ancient earthwork containing over three acres. It is now nearly obliterated from long cultivation with the plow. In 1874, Mr. and Mrs. Bryte celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of their wedded life, having all their children and friends present. In August 1874, he went to California with his son Michael, who for many years had been a resident of that State. He returned in the fall, and until his decease loved to dwell upon what he saw and learned during his visit to the Pacific. He related the scenes and incidents of his journey in a manner so entertaining and earnest, that he never failed to deeply interest all who heard him. At the organization of the pioneer and historical society of Ashland county, on the tenth of September 1875, Mr. Bryte presided temporary president, and became an active member of the association. During the summer his general health began to fail, and he was confined to his room for some time. He again rallied, and hopes were expressed that he might be spared many more years; but he was again seized by sickness. He died of pneumonia, on Saturday evening, February 17, and was buried at Byte's church, in Clearcreek Township, on Monday, February 19, 1877. In his death Clearcreek lost a valuable citizen, and society an influential and exemplary member. Mr. Bryte was noted for his strong common sense, his integrity and love of truth and fairness between man and man. The pioneer society misses him very much, because he possessed an extraordinary memory, and remembered the history of his township very clearly. The obituary committee of the society adopted the usual resolutions concerning his decease.

contributed by
Russ Shopbell