|An old photo of the Bryan Cemetery. Behind the fence is the Iverson Cemetery.|
Throughout my Bryan family research, I have heard of or seen references to slavery. From family letters, it appeared that the Bryans were a kind, loving, and close-knit family. They were hard workers, active in the Methodist church, and proponents of education. The Bryan family plantation was void of columns and southern charm. Found in the book Louisiana Plantation Homes, Colonial and Antebellum by W. Darrell Overdyke, the Bryan plantation home was a two-room dogtrot log cabin. I had hoped that the Bryans were benevolent slave owners, but have learned that not all were caring and compassionate. To the descendants of persons enslaved by the Bryan family, I hope that you will share your research and stories.
I created the blog, Slavery and the Bryan Family - Records of Slavery found in North Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana in 2013. The blog still exists but I found I would not be able to research this subject or post regularly and want to ensure the information remains so am posting it on this regularly updated blog.
I began the original blog after finding first names and birth dates in a transcription of a Bible record once owned by my great-great-grandfather, Reddick Bryan. I could not imagine researching families without the possibility of birth dates and last names. Additional names were found in Reddick Bryan’s probate record and in deed records. I have added anecdotal information based on census records.
I begin with records of 43 enslaved persons. These persons will be listed in possible family groups. Most records cited were found in Northwest Louisiana where my Bryan family settled in 1838. I will add to this if more information becomes available. On the 1840 census, Reddick Bryan reported owning eight slaves indicating that the majority of the enslaved persons he owned at his death in 1864 were acquired or born in Louisiana.
The First Ones
I will begin this list with a deed record from Reddick Bryan to his son Joseph B. Bryan found in Bienville Parish. This transaction, that took place on November 15, 1850, transferred 19 slaves to Joseph B. Bryan for a sum of $7,600. It should be mentioned that not even a month prior, Reddick Bryan reported owning 19 slaves on the 1850 U.S. Federal Census Slave Schedule taken on October 17, 1850. It should also be noted that in April of the following year, Reddick Bryan purchased the same 19 slaves for $7,600 from his son, Joseph B. Bryan. I am assuming that this was to avoid some type of tax. However, the importance of this document is not about the taxes or the transaction, but that some enslaved persons appear to be grouped by families.
Note: Elizabeth Regan married her cousin Joseph Regan in North Carolina. They moved to Pulaski County, Georgia in about 1818. Joseph Regan died in December of 1820. Elizabeth married Reddick Bryan, presumed to be a widower, on September 13, 1821 in Pulaski County. They lived in Reddick’s home in Twiggs County and later moved to Houston County, Georgia before relocating to Louisiana in 1838.
Note that Emily was listed in the bible transcription twice, once born in 1855 and once in 1857. I am making an assumption that there was only one Emily, but research could prove this wrong.
|Some Iverson families living in Bienville Parish, Louisiana in 1880|
While visiting the Bryan Cemetery near Ringgold in Bienville Parish, I was told that the cemetery was cared for by an African American family named Iverson whose family cemetery was directly behind the Bryan Cemetery. I later determined that Iverson is probably the surname taken by many of those who were once owned by the Bryan family. The daughter of Larry Martin, a descendant of Reddick Bryan, wrote the following in June 2003:
*These names and dates were found in a transcription of the Reddick Bryan Bible found at the DAR library in Washington DC by Diana Bryan Quinn on July 7, 2010. This bible record was submitted in 1950 and found in Louisiana Bible Records (1950), Louisiana DARGRC report S1v25. These records were submitted by Mrs. John Newton Pharr of the New Iberia Chapter of the DAR. There doesn't appear to be a connection between Mrs. Pharr and the Bryan family. It was stated that the Bible originally belonged to Reddick Bryan of Georgia. It was published in 1824. At the time of the transcription, it was owned by James Bryan Cook. The location of this Bible is not currently known.
Ancestry.com. 1930, 1920, 1910, 1900, 1880, 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT: MyFamily.com, Inc., 2004. Indexed by ProQuest from microfilmed schedules of the [1930-1870] U.S. Federal Decennial Census. Data imaged from the National Archives and Records Administration. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.
Deed of sale from Reddick Bryan to Joseph B. Bryan. 15 November 1850, Bienville Parish, Louisiana. Deed Book A, page 380.
Overdyke, W. Darrell. Louisiana Plantation Homes, Colonial, and Antebellum. New York: American Legacy Press, 1981.
Smith, Edith, and Lehman, Vivian. No Land -- Only Slaves!" Volume 8:
Slave Conveyances Abstracted from the Deed Books of Bienville Parish, Louisiana. 2004. [slaves.8m.com].
Will of Joseph Regan. 18 December 1820, Pulaski County, Georgia. Will Book A, page 56.
Wimberly, Vera Meek. Wimberly Family History: Ancestors, relatives and descendants of William Wimberly, pioneer from Georgia to Louisiana, 1837. (Houston, Texas: D. Armstrong Co., c1979).