Biography – David Bryden

David Bryden (19 Feb 1792 – after 1858) was the son of David Bryden and Janet Halliday. He was born in Dumfries, Scotland. Details of his early life are unclear. Family Histories state that he was from Dumfries, and that he had two brothers, Christopher and James, who immigrated to Boston. His parents are buried in St Michael’s at Dumfries.

David Bryden came to Canada sometime in the early to mid 1820s. Family histories state that he was in Upper Canada to visit two friends from Dumfries, John and Robert Newall, who worked the family farm in Cornwall County. He married their sister Agnes in January 1827, and they welcomed their first daughter, Nicholas (1827-1903) in June of that year. Their daughter Agnes (1830-1915) was born a few years later. They settled in Williamstown, Glengarry, Ontario.

In his marriage entry David is listed as a saddler, an occupation that he continued to practice during his lifetime. He also owned a general store. During the late 1820s and early 1830s David was involved as a defendant in a couple of lawsuits over business. His wife was also listed as a primary witness, and his brother in law John was a co-defendant in one. Despite this, he seems to have enjoyed a comfortable life, with a sturdy house in the town.

David died after about 1859 but before 1864. He was buried in St Andrew’s Church cemetery at Williamstown. His tombstone was severely damaged in the 1980s, and portions were lost (including his death date). It was replaced in 1995 by Elizabeth Leitch, with partial information.

David Bryden
David Bryden


Tressa Leitch – The Leitches and Brydens, 1940

Census of Canada – 1851

Upper Canada Marriages

Cemetery of St Andrew’s Williamstown

Map of Glengarry (as seen at the Nor’Westers and Loyalist Museum, Williamstown)

Transcriptions of gravestones, St Michael’s Churchyard, Dumfries

Ontario Archives, Court Records, Stormont division