Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 459-61.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  Velorus A. Bryant

Velorus A. Bryant is now living retired in Storm Lake.  Various business interests have claimed his attention at different times and just prior to his putting aside all business cares he was for more than a quarter of a century connected with farming interests in Buena Vista county.  Since 1895 he has lived retired, enjoying the comforts of life furnished by an ample competence, which he acquired in his previous industry and well directed labor.  He was born in Ellicottville, Cattaraugus county, New York, September 12, 1835, and in the paternal line came of English ancestry.  His father, Ansel D. Bryant, was born in 1812, in Cattaraugus county, the family being founded in America when this country was still numbered among the colonial possessions of Great Britain. From the same ancestry William Cullen Bryant, the well-known New England poet, was descended.  Ansel D. Bryant devoted his life to the occupation of farming.  On leaving the east he removed to Huron county, Ohio, about 1837, and there resided until 1862.  In that year he took up his abode near Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he lived until 1867, when he came to Iowa.  From that time until his death he was a resident of Bremer county.  Always a citizen opposed to slavery he was connected with the Abolition party at an early date, and was one of the workers on the underground railway prior to the war.  His religious faith was that of the Methodist Episcopal church and his life was in consistent harmony with his profession.  He died in the year 1892. His wife bore the maiden name of Lydia Vining and was born in the state of New York and came of Scotch-Irish ancestry, although the first representatives of the name in America settled here at an early period in the colonization of the new world, and when the yoke of British oppression became intolerable there was [sic] those among the Vinings who bore arms in behalf of the cause of liberty.

Mrs. Bryant, like her husband, was a consistent Christian and held membership in the Methodist Episcopal church.

Velorus A. Bryant was the oldest of a family of six children and the home farm was his training ground for life's practical duties.  He worked in the fields during the summer months and in the winter seasons attended the district schools, later becoming a high-school student.  He continued to work on the farm until August, 1862, when he put aside all business and personal considerations in order to aid his country then engaged in civil war.  He enlisted with the Twenty-fifth Michigan Infantry, as a member of Company H, and served until the dose of hostilities, during which time he was promoted to the rank of' first lieutenant.  He engaged in the battles of Knoxville, Atlanta, Nashville, and others of minor importance and took part in the Grand review at Washington.

When the war was over and the country no longer needed his aid Mr. Bryant left the army and entered the service of the Dubuque & Sioux City Railroad Company as agent.  He opened the station at Iowa Falls in 1867 and remained there as long as the station was the terminus of the road.  He then opened the station at Fort Dodge, the road becoming the Illinois Central, and at that point continued for a year and a half.  Later be accepted the superintendency of the Holiday Creek Railroad & Coal Company, with headquarters at Fort Dodge, and acceptably filled that position for three years, but desiring to engage in business on his own account he established a general store at Coalville, Webster county, continuing the business for three years.  On his removal to Buena Vista county in March, 1878, he settled on a farm in Hayes township and continued its cultivation until 1855.  He made the fields a rich and arable tract of land, added many modern improvements to the farm and equipped it with all of the conveniences and accessories which are found upon the model farm of the twentieth century.  He was quite successful in his undertakings and as the years passed he gained a measure of prosperity that enabled him to put aside further business cares so that he is now enjoying well-earned rest.

On the 26th of February, 1862, just prior to his enlistment as soldier of the civil war, Mr. Bryant was married to Miss Jennie N. Waldron, of Huron county, Ohio, who died April 17, 1892, at the age of fifty-two years.  On the 23d of December, 1894, he wedded Mrs. Ida Olive Rockfeller, a native of Burlington, Vermont.

In his fraternal relations Mr. Bryant is a Mason and he also belongs to Baker Post, G. A. R., of Storm Lake.  He thus maintains pleasant relations with his old army comrades and enjoys recalling the scenes and events which occurred upon the battle-fields of the south, when he followed the stars and stripes in the civil war.  He is a stalwart republican, having always supported the party which stood as the defense of the union during the darkest hours in our country's history, and which has always been the party of reform and progress.