Rebecca Bryan, Famed Indian Hunter’ Wife, Supposed To Have Descended From Family Who Migrated Here From New Jersey
From the 1938 centennial edition of The Times-Register
Daniel Boone, the greatest Indian fighter of all time, is one of the most romantic and picturesque figures in the early history of this country. Around Boone’s name have grown up legends and tales which will make the hair stand up on the back of any man’s neck, and around his personality are many claims of identification.
Like all historical characters, the stories around Boone are so numerous and varied it is impossible to check the exact truth of many. But with Salem the probability of Boone’s identification with this section is increased many times, by virtue of Roanoke County’s location along the great trail to the West over which poured the first settlers toward the great Cumberland Gap, the gateway into the unknown.
Legend has it that Daniel Boone was a great friend of an early settler of the Salem section, one James Robinson. It is known fact that Robinson settled near the present site of the Town of Salem, probably just to the West of the city limits, for Dr. Walker, in his famous journey through this section stated that he stopped and bought corn at the cabin of Robinson.
Daniel Boone married a Roanoke county girl-Rebecca Bryan, who was of the famed Bryan family that came to the Salem section from the region of Salem N.J., it is said, and who are supposed to be responsible for giving Salem its name.
Today the most prominent relic of Daniel Boone’s wife and her family is found in the ancient West Hill Cemetery.
Inscribed on a granite headstone in the cemetery is a record of one of Roanoke County’s oldest settlers. The inscription, familiar to many Salemites reads:
Emigrant From Ballyroney,
County Down, Ireland
1685 – 1786
William Bryan, Jr., his son
1716 – 1796
Margaret Watson, wife
1724 – 1804
-Prepared by Lisa King