Although the 1878 biography by his grandson S.L.Thorne is still quoted, a modern 256 page biography was published in 2007. Details are given here for the information of researchers.
No biography of the founder of the Bible Christians had appeared since 1878, when Samuel Ley Thorne published William O’Bryan, a biography of his grandfather.
It was a useful summary, albeit not up to the standards of a modern biography and
completely ignoring the United States life after 1831. The late Rev Tom Shaw three times set out to write a modern biography, but never got very far before he died in 2001.
In 2002 Rev Colin C Short took over Tom’s materials, and used them, and his own studies
and resources to present a complete biography, which appeared in 2007:
Shaw, T and Short, C.C. ‘Feet of Clay : The life and ministry of William O’Bryan
founder of the Bible Christians’. Porthleven: Colin C Short 2007. A5. 256pp. ISBN
This is now the most complete biography.
On 2015, Rev Short added to the knowledge of William O’Bryan just prior to his 1829
separation from the movement O’Bryan had founded, when he gave the annual Cornish
Methodist Historical Association Lecture on ‘William O’Bryan: A Study in Flawed Leadership.’ This was subsequently published in the Cornish Methodist Historical Association Journal for 2016, Vol.12 No.2.
Editor’s note (CH 07/21): The content of this page was originally a downloadable document – The Modern biography of William O’Bryan