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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Census Sightings: Terrell Bryan, 1870

Terrell Bryan, my great-grandfather, was a fairly easy guy to find. I have his bible so important dates are at my fingertips. I have followed his family's trail from NC to GA and LA. I have his military service record from the CSA, his application for a Confederate Pension, and bits and pieces about his life in local and national newspapers. 

Terrell is found in the 1850 Bienville Parish, Louisiana census as a teenager and in the Erath County, Texas censuses of 1880, 1900, and 1910. In 1920, he was living with his daughter, Dollie Wylie, in Bronte, Texas. The 1860 census for Bienville Parish is considered lost and most of the U. S. Federal Census for 1890 was burned. However, where was Terrell in 1870?

During the last 10+ years, my searches for Terrell and his family in the 1870 census have been unsuccessful. I assumed that Terrell and his family were omitted by chance or, maybe, by choice. 

However, when searching for former slaves that Terrell inherited from his father's estate, I came across the Thomas Briant family in the 1870 Bienville Parish census and I believe that it is Terrell and his family. 

My reasons are as follows:
  • In 1864, Frances and her four children, Emily, Caroline, Sam, and Mary were listed in Lot #1 on Reddick Bryan’s Partition of Slaves and this lot was drawn by Harriet Bryan for her husband Terrell. Many former slaves were living with former slaveholders in 1870. Look at the document above to see a Frances and four children living with Thomas Briant's family. 
  • A Thomas Briant was not on any other census record in Bienville Parish. And, I did not find him in the deed index even though the census record indicates that he owned land.  Terrell Bryan did own land. 
  • We are looking at a copy of the original or even a copy of a copy when we look at a census record. The person who copied this has legible handwriting  but I suspect that the actual census taker, H. J. Twitchell, did not. Terrell's half-brother, John Regan, was written as John Cregan, my great-great-grandmother is listed as Sarah instead of Elizabeth, Wimberly is written as Wimbly throughout the census, and many, many names were butchered on this local census record. 
  • The number of children is a perfect match. All ages matched except Hollen (listed as Sarah) who was listed as five years old on the census, but would not have been five for another month. I listed the ages of family members as of the date of the census, July 6, 1870, on the comparison below.  

What do you think? Is this the Terrell Bryan family? 


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