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Sunday, January 19, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #3 Monte DeRay Bryan

DeRay is 3rd from the left. I have other pictures of the women in this photo, but cannot positively identify anyone except DeRay.

No Story Too Small

By 1929, at age nine, my father was an orphan and his sister, DeRay, became the breadwinner of the family.  Here is her story in photographs, documents, and newspaper clippings. 

Monte DeRay Bryan, the daughter of Myrtie Hairston and Redic Bryan was born March 11, 1904 in Erath County, Texas.

In 1905, DeRay's family, along with her grandparents Phillip and Lodema Criswell Hairston, moved to Baylor County, Texas. DeRay (on the left) is pictured with her sister, Marie. 

DeRay's family lived in Baylor County for most of her childhood; living in Levelview and later Seymour. For a short period they lived in Big Springs in Howard County and later, briefly lived in Stamford in Haskell County, Texas. I am not certain where or why this picture was taken. Are these friends or family? DeRay is said to be on the first row in the center. The tallest girl, behind DeRay, is said to be Millard Ray Latta, a Bryan cousin who lived with the family in Baylor County. 

DeRay graduated from Seymour High School in 1920. She gave
the salutatory speech "Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Maintaining
Our Political Institutions. 

DeRay attended Simmons College (now Hardin-Simmons University).
Found in the Baylor County Banner, March 23, 1921.

This unsigned teaching contract was offering DeRay $100 monthly to teach in Seymour, Texas. In addition, she would agree to not participate in dancing during the contract term except during Christmas holidays. In 1924, DeRay taught third grade at Seymour Elementary School.  In 1926, she was teaching at Amherst in Lamb County. 

 In 1927, DeRay moved to Borger, Texas where she taught until 1941. Dad said that she went to Borger because they had a teacher shortage and were paying more than any other place in Texas at the time. You can read a brief story that DeRay wrote about her initial trip to Borger and a little about her life in Borger in History of Hutchinson County, Texas 104 years 1876 -1980

With the exception of one brief meeting in 1959, I only knew DeRay through gifts and correspondence.
Pictured - DeRay, my father - Whit Bryan, and their sister, Marie, in Virginia Beach, Virginia

Monte DeRay Bryan died on August 16, 1987.
She is buried, with her sisters Marie and Willa Mae, in Westlawn Memorial Park in Borger, Texas.


© 2014


Baylor County Banner [Seymour] 23 Mar. 1921: Microfilm.  

Family photographs and documents from the collection of Diana Bryan Quinn. 

Stanley, Edith Guynes . "Find A Grave - Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials." Find A Grave - Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Jan. 2014. < page=gr&GSln=BRY&GSpartial=1&GSbyrel=all&GSst=46&GScntry=4&GSsr=2041&GRid=48102309&>. Used with permission. 

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