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Sunday, March 25, 2018

#52ancestors Post Twelve: The Bryan Cemetery in Bienville Parish - History, Photographs, and Disrepair

Whit Criswell Bryan, my father and great-grandson of Reddick and Elizabeth Regan Bryan, in the Bryan Cemetery, Bienville Parish, Louisiana.
September 1981

Reddick Bryan purchased 400 acres of land in the vicinity of the Bryan Cemetery in 1839 - Township 15-N, Range 9-W, Section 25. He was considered one of the early settlers in that area. John Knight purchased land to the west several years before and land to the south was purchased by John Fuller. Eventually, William Wimberly and later, James Bryan, would own land to the north of the cemetery. Son, Joseph Bryan, purchased land to the east around 1850.

Click here to see the Bryan Cemetery on Google Earth. 
The earliest marked burial in the Bryan Cemetery of Bienville Parish is that of Reddick Bryan who died in 1864. Was this the earliest grave or just the earliest stone marker surviving?

As in most old cemeteries, there are probably unmarked graves.  Elizabeth Regan Carr (daughter of John and Martha Regan) wrote in a pension request that husband, John Carr,  was buried in the Bryan Cemetery. His grave is not marked. There are several Bryan family members with no known burial locations. 

Another descendant of Reddick and Elizabeth Bryan remembers a black iron fence around the cemetery with graves around the fence. She remembers many unmarked graves and tells of a road crew destroying graves while putting in a road. 

Bryan Cemetery 1981

Note the gravestones behind the chainlink fence in the cemetery photo. This is a second cemetery, the Iverson Cemetery. African-Americans are buried in this cemetery. Was this always two cemeteries?  I have seen reports of burials in the Iverson Cemetery as late as 2010. In obituaries, the Iverson Cemetery has been referred to as the Iverson Cemetery, the Bryant Cemetery, and the Bryant-Iverson Cemetery. 

In 2007, while visiting the Bryan Cemetery near Ringgold in Bienville Parish, I was told that the cemetery was cared for by the Iverson family. I later determined that Iverson is the surname taken by many of those who were once enslaved by the Bryan family. Read more of what I learned about the Iversons by visiting Slavery and the Bryan Family, Records of Slavery found in North Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana.

In 1957, cemetery markers in the Bryan Cemetery were transcribed by Mrs. Alex Bloch and Mrs. Ina Cook Bryan. A copy of this transcription was found in my father's notes. Fifteen persons were identified as buried in the Bryan Cemetery. This included two Iverson family members. 

My father completed a survey in 1981. He did not have the two Iverson family members in the survey, but William R. Bryan passed away after the 1957 survey and was added to my father's list. Dad's list identified 14 people buried in the cemetery. 

Dad's map of the Bryan Cemetery.
For an unknown reason, the Iverson Cemetery is labeled King Cemetery. 

Today, at Find A Grave, 18 individuals are listed as buried in the Bryan Cemetery. If you go to the site, 19 individuals are listed; however, Georgia Ann Frances Bryan Pitman Wimberly is added twice. The stones for John Regan and his wife, Martha Davis must have been added after Dad's visit in 1981. The two Iverson graves for Charles Iverson and Walker Iverson are included on the site. 

Charles and Walker Iverson are also included at Find A Grave for Iverson Family Graveyard African American Memorials.  I don't have photos of these Iverson's graves, but do know Charles was most likely enslaved by the Bryan family. A Charles remained with Elizabeth Bryan after Reddick’s death. Charles is probably the child of Mourning Iverson who also remained with Elizabeth. In 1880, Charles Iverson was living in Bienville Parish with his family which included his 75-year-old mother, Moarning Iverson. Walker Iverson, born in 1874 was too young to be enslaved, but his father, Miles, was probably enslaved by the Bryans. 

Other known persons buried in the cemetery are listed below. 

Reddick Bryan and his wife, Elizabeth Regan Bryan, are my great-great-grandparents.  

Reddick Bryan 1793 - 1864
Elizabeth Regan Bryan 1798 - 1877

Georgia Ann Frances Bryan Pitman Wimberly, daughter of Reddick and Elizabeth Bryan outlived both husbands; James S. Pitman was killed in battle in 1863 and Ezekiel Wimberly died in 1897. 

Georgia Ann Frances Pitman Wimberly 1839 - 1908

Tillman Capers Bryan and his wife, Mildred Rebecca Manning Prothro Bryan, are buried in the cemetery. Tillmon was the son of Reddick and Elizabeth Bryan. In my father's notes from the 1981 visit, he wrote, In the Bryan Cemetery there is a broken cast-aside stone (Masonic Symbol) T. C. Bryant b. 9-13-1820 d. 6-16-1899. This marker is not over a grave, but leaning against the fence. 

Tillman Capers Bryan 1830 - 1899
Mildred Rebecca Manning Prothro Bryan 1839 - 1912

These graves are that of the children of the younger Tillman C. Bryan (son of the elder Tillman Bryan and his wife, Mildred) and his wife Mary Elizabeth McDowell. 

William Rufus Bryan, son of Tilman and Mildred, and his wife, Margie Pate are buried in the cemetery. Chester, only 8 days old, is said to be the child of William and Margie.

William Rufus Bryan  1876 - 1960
Margie Pate 1883-1906
Chester - 8 days

Mrs. W. E. Smith (Mary Mildred Prothro) and Richard Prothro are the children of Edward H. Prothro, son of Mildred Bryan and her first husband Hartwell Prothro. 

Edward H. Prothro  1855 - 1885
Richard H. Prothro -  Died as an infant in 1880
Mary Mildred Prothro Smith 1876 - 1912

John Regan, his wife, Martha Davis, and their daughter, Marie are buried in the Bryan Cemetery. John was the son of Elizabeth Regan Bryan and her first husband, Joseph Regan. 

Marie M. Regan 1882 - 1884
John Regan 1816 - 1882
Martha Ann Davis Regan 1818 - 1899

This week's writing prompt for #52ancestors is misfortune, defined by Google's Dictionary as an unfortunate condition or event. When I visited the cemetery in 2007, I was surprised the stones had remained intact in this isolated cemetery. However, a few months ago, I received these photos from another Reddick Bryan descendant showing the unfortunate condition of the Bryan Cemetery. There was a bad storm last year and a huge tree fell and damaged the fence.  It is possible this is what damaged Reddick's and Elizabeth's cemetery stones. 

Elizabeth's stone looks as if it can be repaired.

Can Reddick Bryan's stone be repaired? 

Here are some questions. 

Are other cemetery stones damaged?

Should these be repaired or replaced? 

What do other communities do about small isolated cemeteries such as this one? 

If you are reading this and live near the cemetery, would you mind taking photos to share? 

Are there businesses near Ringgold that repair cemetery stones?

Is anyone currently maintaining the grounds?

I will post this on my Facebook page and also in two Facebook Groups; Living Histories of North Louisiana Families and History of Bienville Parish. If you have suggestions, please comment or send me a message. 

NOTE: As of June 2018 several of us have contributed funds to repair the cemetery and repairs have begun. Click here to read more. 

If you want to know more about the families I research, click here to like my Facebook page where you will see each post and other genealogical finds.  


© 2018


A Footstep In Time. Infant Son of T. C. & Mary E. Bryan. Find A Grave. 2008. Web. 24 Mar. 2018. <>.

A Footstep In Time. Lorena Bryan. Find A Grave. 2008. Web. 24 Mar. 2018. <>.

Brittain, Julia and McMichael Frances. "Descendants of Reddick Bryan." Houston, Texas.

Collins, Nancy. John Regan. Find A Grave. 2008. Web. 24 Mar. 2018. <>.

Collins, Nancy. Martha Ann Davis Regan. Find A Grave. 2008. Web. 24 Mar. 2018. <>.

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

Family photographs and documents from the collection of Marguerite Cook Clark. Accessed April 28, 2014 and September 14, 2014. Used with permission.

First Landowners Project ( Web. 6 Jan. 2018.

Mary Mildred Prothro Smith (1876-1912) - Find A Grave Memorial. 2008. Web. 24 Mar. 2018. 

Memorials in Bryan Cemetery - Find A Grave. 2005. Web. 25 Mar. 2018. <>

Quinn, Diana Bryan. Slavery and the Bryan Family: The First Ones. Blogger. 13 Feb. 2013. Web. 25 Mar. 2018. <>.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Friday's Photo: Is This Really the Tillman Bryan Born in 1830?

This photo, a tintype, was found in Terrell and Harriet Albritton Bryan's bible. Under is written Tillman Bryan. It was assumed this was Tillman Capers Bryan, born in 1830 and brother of Terrell Bryan, my great-grandfather. He was the son of Reddick and Elizabeth Regan Bryan of Bienville Parish, Louisiana. 

A few years ago, when trying to identify three Confederate soldiers in a photo, I consulted Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective.  Along with the photo of the soldiers, I sent her many photos of Bryan family men for comparison. The above photo was one of them. 

Maureen did not believe this photo was Tillman, born in 1830. Clothing indicated this photo was taken in the 1870s. Tillman would have been in his 40s and in the late 1870s close to 50. The man above is much too young. Could this be a young man, possibly 16 or 17 years old? Tillman's son, also Tillman, was born in 1863. 

The below photos are those of the older Tillman (born in 1830) with his wife, Mildred Manning Prothro Bryan. Maureen Taylor noted he had a very long face and the young man in the photo above does not. 

The writing identifying this photo was that of Maggie Martin. Tillman was her grandfather's brother. They lived in the same community in Bienville Parish and Maggie, born in 1887, would have known Tillman as she was about 13 years old when he died. 

Cousin Julia was my first Internet contact in the genealogy world. She sent me Xerox copies of family photos and her family tree. This was 1999 and we still used paper. Here are two of her photos of the younger Tillman and the photo from the bible. I see enough similarities to believe my bible photo is Tillman Bryan, born in 1863. 

What do you think? 


© 2018


Brittain, Julia and McMichael Frances. "Descendants of Reddick Bryan." Houston, Texas.

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

Family photographs and documents from the collection of Julia Brittain. Received in 1999. Used with permission. 

Family photographs and documents from the collection of Marguerite Cook Clark. Accessed April 28, 2014 and September 14, 2014. Used with permission.

Quinn, Diana B. "Moments in Time, A Genealogy Blog: Friday's Photo - Three Civil War Soldiers."Blogger, 18 Sept. 2015. Web. 5 Aug. 2016. <>.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

From the Files of Marguerite Cook Clark: William R. Bryan

William Rufus Bryan
May 23, 1876 - August 10, 1960

William Rufus Bryan was the son of Tillman Capers Bryan and Mildred Manning Prothro Bryan of Bienville Parish, Louisiana. He married Mary Margeana "Margie" Pate sometime between 1900 and 1906. Margie died in 1906 and is buried in the Bryan Cemetery.  William and Margie are said to be the parents of Chester Bryan who died at the age of eight days and is also buried in the Bryan Cemetery in Bienville Parish. 

By 1908, William was in Haskell County, Texas as he married Eva Hicks on September 20, 1908. They were living in Wichita Falls, Texas in 1918 where he was working as a meat cutter in the 1920s.  

William cannot be positively located after 1927; however, his obituary indicates he might have lived in Ringgold before his death. 

If you want to know more about the families I research, click here to like my Facebook page where you will see each post and other genealogical finds. 

© 2018


Brittain, Julia and McMichael Frances. "Descendants of Reddick Bryan." Houston, Texas.

Family photographs and documents from the collection of Marguerite Cook Clark. Accessed April 28, 2014, September 14, 2014, and November 9 to 11, 2016. Used with permission.

U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 for William R Bryan., 2011. Web. 21 Mar. 2018. <>.

U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 for William Rufus Bryan., 2005. Web. 21 Mar. 2018. <>.

W R Bryan in the Texas, Select County Marriage Index, 1837-1965., 2014. Web. 21 Mar. 2018. <>

Sunday, March 18, 2018

#52ancestors Post Eleven: The Bryan Family Bible

The writing prompt for #52ancestors this week is lucky. I had plenty of ancestors who could be seen as lucky for a variety of reasons; however, I am the lucky one. So many other family members shared photos and research. My parents saved old family photos and both had some research to share with me. One item I was very lucky and happy to receive was the Bryan family bible. It contained names, dates, photos, newspaper clippings, and other mementos. 

A transcription of this bible is on my Rootsweb pages; however, all Rootsweb pages are down and when and if they will be back online is unknown. 

This Bible was originally owned by Terrell and Harriet Albritton Bryan, my great-grandparents. They were both born in Georgia but grew up in Bienville Parish, Louisiana. Terrell Bryan was the fifth child of Reddick and Elizabeth Span Regan Bryan, both from North Carolina.  Harriet Louisa Albritton was the daughter of Peter and Hollon Albritton, both from North Carolina. She was the youngest of six known children.

Terrell and Harriet had ten children. Seven were born in Bienville Parish, Louisiana and the three youngest were born in Erath County, Texas. Terrell and his family settled in Erath County in 1878. Terrell and Harriet are buried in the West End Cemetery in Stephenville, Texas. 

The bible was passed on to Redic Eli Bryan, son of Terrell and Harriet, and his wife Myrtie Hairston Bryan. Their youngest son (and my father), Whit Criswell Bryan, passed it on to me.  










Published by Zeigler, McCurdy, & Co.



Terrell Bryan & Harriett L. Albritton was married the 20th Feb. 1855

Redic Bryan & Myrtie Hairston was married Feb. 7, 1900, Stephenville Erath Co Texas


Terrell Bryan was borned the 17th November the year 1836

Harriet L. Albritton was borned the 15th August 1836

Joseph H. Bryan was borned the 18th Feb. 1857

Frances L. Bryan was borned the 13 Feb. 1859

Terrell L. Bryan was borned the 13th July 1861

Hollon S. Bryan was borned the 24th Aug. 1865

Alice A. Bryan was borned the 21st Novmbr 1867

Reddick E. Bryan was borned the 2nd Aug. 1870

Dollie E. H. Bryan was borned 17th of January A. D. 1873

Willie A. Bryan was borned 21st of August A. D. 1875

Laura L. Bryan was borned April 28th, 1878

James T. Bryan was borned Feb 2nd 1884

Myrtie Hairston borned July 9, 1880  


Father, Terrell Bryan died May 12, 1920, Bronte, Tx

Mother, Harriet L. Bryan, died Feb. 9, 1909

Frances L. Bryan died Dec. 24, 1894 Age yr35 mo10 da11

Mrs. H. S. Latta died Sept 1, 1906 age 41

Willie A. Bryan died Oct. 26, 1878 age y3 m2 d3

Laura L. Bryan Keith died July 18, 1908 age 30 years 2 months and 20 days

James T. Bryan died March 18, 1884 age six wk

Mother, E.S. Bryan died 12th of February A.D. 1877 age 78 years

Mama, Bryan Died May 3rd 1927. age 46 - 9 - 24 {this was Myrtie Bryan}


The following Bryan family information was written by Redic E. Bryan, son of Terrell Bryan:

Terrell L. Bryan Married J. D. Biggs

H. S. (Hollan) " " Lon Latta

Allie " " J. R. Hammett

Dollie " " T.S. Wylie

Laura " " Harve Keith

Redic " " Myrtie Hairston

Redic and Myrtie Children

Marie Borned June 21, 1901

DeRay " March 11, 1904

Hairston Buster Jan. 24, 1906

Willie Mae April 16, 1910  

Redic Bryan wrote the following about his grandfather’s family in Bienville Parish, Louisiana:

grandfather Bryan

Reddick Bryan


E. S. Bryan

James Bryan - no children

Baker Bryan - no children


John Reagan

Spann Reagan


J. B. Bryan

T. C. Bryan

Terrell Bryan

D. E. Bryan Davis Hammett

C. A. Bryan Watts Thomas

G. F. Bryan Pitman Wimberly - no children

These uncles and aunts all buried in Bienville. Louisiana 

<signed>R. E. Bryan

My mother Harriet Albritton was born Aug. 15, 1836, was married to Terrell Bryan Died Feb. 9, 1909  

This is family information written by Myrtie Hairston Bryan.   P. A. Hairston and L. W. Hairston were the parents of Myrtie Hairston Bryan. Myrtie Marie, Monte DeRay, Hairston Albritton, Willie May, and Redic Eliy Bryan Jr., were all children of Myrtie Hairston and Redic Eli Bryan.  The last two children born to Myrtie and Redic, R. E. and Whit Criswell, are not listed.

P. A. Hairston was borne July 12, 1853

L. W. Hairston was borne June 4, 1856

Myrtie Hairston was borne July 9, 1880

Baby Boy borne January 9, 1870 die 23

Myrtie Marie was borne June 21, 1901

Monte DeRay " " March 11, 1904 

Hairston Albritton January 24, 1906

Willie May born April 16, 1910

Redic Eliy Bryan Jr., born April 8, 1913

Criswell family information written by Lodema Walker Criswell Hairston (born 1856), mother of Myrtie Hairston Bryan. Lodema’s parents were William Moore and Mary Anne Evans Criswell.

W. M. Criswell was born May 4, 1822

Mary Ann Criswell was born June 9, 1829

E. H. Criswell was born July 10, 1848

W. H. Criswell was born June 27, 1849

N. J. Criswell was born Nov. 24, 1851

One girl born and died Nov. 16, 1863

S. A. Criswell born Nov. 1853

L. W. Criswell born June 4, 1856

J. C. Criswell born March 2, 1858

B.C. Criswell born March 26, 1860

C. A. Criswell born Dec. 28, 1861

T. L. Criswell born Jan. 18, 1864

F. C. Criswell born March 28, 1867

U. G. Criswell born July 25, 1869

M.C. Criswell born March 2, 1871

W. M. and M. A. Criswell was married Sept. 27, 1847

M. A. Criswell died May the 30, 1883

 W. M. Criswell died March the 7, 1881

If you want to know more about the families I research, click here to like my Facebook page where you will see each post and other genealogical finds. 


© 2018


Family photographs and documents from the collection of  Diana Bryan Quinn

Sunday, March 11, 2018

#52ancestors Post Ten: Bridget Brannelly Quinn

The Quinn family on the Ireland Census, 1911. Only five children remained at home.
Mary Ann and Margaret Mary (Maggie) were living in the United States. 

This week's writing prompt for #52ancestors is strong woman and Bridget Brannelly Quinn is one of many, many strong women found in the families I research.  Bridget's husband died leaving her with seven minor children. She managed to keep a roof over their heads and her children attended school. Eventually, all but two of her children left Ireland for the United States. Her family was involved in the Irish Uprising and her home was burned. She moved on, rebuilt her home, and remained in that home until her death. 

Bridget Brannelly married William Joseph Quinn on March 9, 1886 in Beagh Parish, County Galway, Ireland. Bridget and William were my husband's great-grandparents. 

I know nothing about Bridget's life before her marriage to William Quinn. I can only estimate her birth year (about 1855) using her death record and census records. Her parents are unknown. 

The wedding of Mary Anne Quinn (daughter of Bridget)
and Lawrence Meaney (both on the right) in Louisville,
Kentucky. Mary Anne's cousin, Catherine Keaney and Lawrence
Meaney's brother, William are also pictured. Catherine Keaney's
parents are Michael Keaney and Mary Brannelly. Could Mary
be Bridget's sister or cousin? When Mary Anne Quinn arrived
in the United States she stayed with her Aunt, Mrs. Dwyer in
nearby Jeffersonville, Indiana. Could Mrs. Dwyer be a Brannelly?
Bridget had eight children; John (thought to have died at or near birth), Mary Ann, John Patrick (went by John Joseph), Margaret Mary (Maggie), William Joseph, Peter, Celia, and Bridget (Delia). When her husband died in 1903, she had seven children between the ages of 2 and 14. The two room home was owned so the family had a place to live. William Quinn had been a farmer. Did Bridget continue farming? 

Mary Ann, John Joseph, Maggie, William, and Celia left Ireland for the United States. I cannot imagine how it would feel to know I might never see my children again. I know Bridget never saw her oldest daughter, Mary Ann, after she left Ireland in 1905. William visited in 1928 and John around 1924. Visits by Maggie and Celia are not known. 

Bridget's son, William didn't leave for the United States until April 1921. Two months prior to his leaving, his family's home was burned. This article, found in the Connacht Tribune - Saturday, February 19, 1921, appears to be Bridget's account of the burning of her home. 

(From Our Correspondent)
            On Friday night, the 11th inst. a party of men, numbering about fourteen, visited the house of Mrs. Bridget Quinn, widow, Caheraroneen, Kinvara. The party wore false moustaches and beards. On entering the house, where about nine young men were card-playing, they ordered’ “Hands up!” and questioned each man.  Then they searched the house, and put the men outside the door.  As each man passed the threshold he is alleged to have been ill treated. When the last man had come out, all were placed against a wall and ordered to take off their clothes. At this moment two of the men made good their escape by running away, seven or eight shots being discharged in their direction.
            The remaining seven men had to take off their clothes, which were then placed in a heap and burned to ashes.  Meanwhile the dwelling-house was set on fire, and when this was done the barn and two stacks of corn were burned. The barn contained oats, potatoes, machinery, etc. in the stable were two horses which had narrow escapes from the flames. 
            The owner, Mrs. Quinn, implored the raiders to allow her to free the animals while the buildings were burning, and they did so. Fowl fled to and fro in the yard, and were killed.  While the young men’s clothes were burning, they had to lie on the road, face downwards. After about an hour, when the second party of raiders came from another house {Patrick Glynn’s home}, the men were ordered to stand up, and, it is alleged, they were marched about one-and – a – half miles to where two lorries were situated, and compelled to sing “God Save the King,” the words being repeated after one of the men in charge. Ultimately they were told to “clear off,” several shots were fired after them. The flames from Mrs. Quinn’s house lighted up the village.  The young men were scarcely able to move after the terrible ordeal they had gone through. 
            Mrs. B. Quinn, in an interview stated: “When the raiders arrived my daughters and I were placed in a room, and instructed to stay there. The outer door was locked on us, and they began to set fire to the house. We were told to go out the back door.  There was no back door to the house; so I informed them of this.  We were then allowed to go out the front door.  Immediately the house was set on fire, and then the barn, stables, and two stacks of corn were burned. While all were burning the young men who were at my home were being badly treated on the road.  My two horses were badly burned, as it was with great difficulty I was able to loose them from their stalls.  The raiders stated they were looking for the murderers of police. No murder of Crown forces has taken place in this district.  I am now left with my house and everything inside it burned, and I did not get one moment to take out anything.” 

To see more about the house burning click here. 

On August 7, 1922, the Freeman’s Journal reported a brief list of those who applied for reconstruction loans “in respect of injury to property in pursuante of the Irish Provisional Government’s Public Notice No. 10. dated 14th May 1922” Bridget Quinn’s loan # 123 for £450 was for property described as “Dwelling-house and out-houses, Caheroroneen, Kinvara, County Galway.”

Bridget built this larger two-story home some distance away from her original home.  

The home was vacant in 1981. 

The home was being used for storage and had attached outbuildings in 2016. 

Bridget Brannelly Quinn died on September 19, 1929 in Caheravoneen at the age of 74. 


If you want to know more about the families I research, click here to like my Facebook page where you will see each post and other genealogical finds. 


© 2018


Bridget Quinn in the Ireland, Census, 1911.  Web. 11 Mar. 2018. <

Family photographs and documents from the collection of Diana Bryan Quinn

Family photograph from the collection of Mary Margaret Meaney Weber. 2007. Kentucky. Used with permission.