About this Famous Person
William Jennings BRYAN
American politician, 41st United States Secretary of State
Source : Tim DOWLING
William Jennings Bryan was born in Salem, Illinois, to Silas Lillard Bryan and Mariah Elizabeth (Jennings) Bryan.
Bryan's mother was of English heritage. Mary Bryan joined the Salem Baptists in 1872, so Bryan attended Methodist services on Sunday morning, and in the afternoon, Baptist services. At this point, William began spending his Sunday afternoons at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. At age 14, Bryan attended a revival, was baptized, and joined the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. In later life, Bryan said the day of his baptism was the most important day in his life, but at the time it caused little change in his daily routine. He left the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and joined the larger Presbyterian Church in the United States of America.
His father Silas, of Scots-Irish and English descent, was an avid Jacksonian Democrat. Silas won election to the Illinois State Senate, but was defeated for re-election in 1860. He did win election as a state circuit judge, and moved to a 520-acre (210.4 ha) farm north of Salem in 1866, living in a ten-room house that was the envy of Marion County.