Joseph (J. D.) Bryan – The life record of J. D. Bryan, who died in Bentonville on the 25th of April, 1915, was marked by constant progress, resulting ever from the attainment of his objective in the business world. He was never content to choose the second best; his ambitions and his ideals were high and his progressive spirit unfaltering. Many lines of business activity profited by his initiative, enterprise and power of administration and his labors were at all times of a constructive nature, resulting not only in the attainment of individual prosperity but also in the advancement of his state along commercial and financial lines.
Mr. Bryan was a native of Kentucky, his birth having occurred at Jamestown on the 5th of December, 1852, and when fourteen years of age, he removed with his parents, George E. and Jane Bryan, to Iowa. In the Hawkeye state he acquired his education and in 1885, when thirty-three years of age, he came to Arkansas. In association with his father-in-law, A. McHenry, he engaged in the produce business under the firm style of Bryan & McHenry, and from its inception the undertaking proved a success. With the passing years their trade developed and the enterprise became the largest of its kind in the state as well as the oldest at the time. The original firm name was retained and the business was later operated by Mrs. Bryan, who employed an experienced manager to look after her interests. Branch houses were maintained at Fort Smith, Rogers, Fayetteville and Bentonville, Arkansas, and the business stood as a monument to the initiative spirit and marked executive ability of its founder. This, however, constituted but one phase of Mr. Bryan’s activities, and he became a dominant figure in financial circles of this part of the state, serving for a number of years as president of the Benton County Bank and also a director of the First State Bank, and he likewise dealt extensively in apples. He was keenly alive to the possibilities of every new avenue opened in the natural ramifications of the trade and in his business career was a steady, persistent, resolute, and energetic worker, keeping his hand steadily upon the helm of his affairs and manifesting at all times strong executive power.
In 1882 Mr. Bryan was united in marriage to Miss Ella E. McHenry, a native of Geneseo, Illinois, and a daughter of A. and Revira (Walters) McHenry, the former a former native of White County, Illinois, while the latter was born in Michigan. They were married in Illinois in 1885 came to Arkansas, Mr. McHenry entering the produce business in partnership with his son-in-law. Mr. and Mrs. Bryan became the parents of six children.
Mr. Bryan gave his political allegiance to the Republican party and fraternally he was identified with the Knights of Pythias. During the period of his residence in Benton County he took a most active and helpful part in the work of progress and improvement , his influence being ever on the side of advancement and upbuilding. In every relation he was true to high and honorable principles, never faltering in the choice between right and wrong and always endeavoring to follow the course sanctioned by conscience and good judgment. His integrity in business affairs, his loyalty and patriotism in matters of citizenship, his fidelity in friendship and his devotion to home and family were characteristics which won for him the high and enduring regard of all with whom he was associated. Mrs. Bryan was a member of the Presbyterian Church and was highly respected in the community where she long resided. She was the owner of a fine modern home in Bentonville and also a business block here, as well as one at Rogers, and another at Fayetteville. Mr. and Mrs. Bryan are buried in the Bentonville Cemetery. Adapted from the Centennial History of Arkansas 1922