|Whit Criswell Bryan, my father and great-grandson of Reddick and Elizabeth Regan Bryan, in the Bryan Cemetery, Bienville Parish, Louisiana.|
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.|
|Bryan Cemetery 1981|
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.
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
|Edward H. Prothro 1855 - 1885|
Richard H. Prothro - Died as an infant in 1880
Mary Mildred Prothro Smith 1876 - 1912
|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.
A Footstep In Time. Infant Son of T. C. & Mary E. Bryan. Find A Grave. 2008. Web. 24 Mar. 2018. <https://www.findagrave.com/user/profile/47345816>.
A Footstep In Time. Lorena Bryan. Find A Grave. 2008. Web. 24 Mar. 2018. <https://www.findagrave.com/user/profile/47345816>.
Brittain, Julia and McMichael Frances. "Descendants of Reddick Bryan." Houston, Texas.
Collins, Nancy. John Regan. Find A Grave. 2008. Web. 24 Mar. 2018. <https://www.findagrave.com/user/profile/47113696>.
Collins, Nancy. Martha Ann Davis Regan. Find A Grave. 2008. Web. 24 Mar. 2018. <https://www.findagrave.com/user/profile/47113696>.
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 (HistoryGeo.com). Web. 6 Jan. 2018. https://www.historygeo.com/
Mary Mildred Prothro Smith (1876-1912) - Find A Grave Memorial. 2008. Web. 24 Mar. 2018. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/31366744/mary-mildred-smith
Memorials in Bryan Cemetery - Find A Grave. 2005. Web. 25 Mar. 2018. <https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/67089/memorial-search?page=1#sr-31366516>
Quinn, Diana Bryan. Slavery and the Bryan Family: The First Ones. Blogger. 13 Feb. 2013. Web. 25 Mar. 2018. <http://slaveryandthebryanfamily.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-first-ones.html>.