“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

Friday, January 30, 2015

Beginnings

It's hard to know where to begin a project like this; there are so many angles and places I could start.  I figured out earlier today that I know the names of all but two of my thirty-two great-great-great (3G) grandparents (update: I have since discovered the last two. I now have a complete set!).  In most cases I know when and where they were born; when,  where, and who they married; and how and when they died.  I have this information about every relative in each of the five generations between us. A few lines trace back much further than that, and I may eventually explore them here, but for now I want to limit the research and or narrative to two or three lines and see where that takes me.

The young woman in the picture on the left is my great-grandmother, Jennie Bullock Bryant Beazley.  Miss Jennie, as she was known, was born December 10, 1889; sixth of eight children born between 1878 and 1895 to the marriage of Leonard Bryant and Ellen Virginia Smith.  Len was about 42 years old when Jennie was born.  Ellen was ten years his junior.  The children of Leonard and Ellen Bryant were:

 Haywood Harvey Bryant (1878 - 1965)
 Ardelia Lee Bryant Hubbard (1880 - 1967)
 Mary Newell Bryant (1883 - 1898)
 Ila Eugenia Bryant Weeks (1885 - 1965)
 William Thomas Bryant (1887 - 1887)
 Jennie Bullock Bryant Beazley (1889 - 1984)
 Lenora Irene Bryant Draughon (1892 - 1960)
 John Robert Bryant (1895 - 1990)

Leonard Bryant was a farmer and a cooper, living in rural Cumberland County, NC, near a stagecoach stop that would someday become the town of Stedman, NC, a few miles east of Fayetteville on state highway 24.

Fayetteville Observer, July 25, 1907.
I have never heard much about Jennie's formal education, but as a young adult it is known that she taught in a local one-room school.

In February of 1915, while Americans read about WWI escalating in Europe, Jennie's eldest sister, Ardelia, nearly an old maid at thirty-five years old, married a widower thirteen years her senior, by the name of John Edward Hubbard.

Although Leonard had suffered a stroke several years before and had been partially paralyzed ever since, it must have come as a harsh slap to the family when Len suffered another, more serious stroke io September 21, and lingered before succumbing to death on the 24th.

How these events influenced Jennie's decisions in the weeks and months to follow we will never know, but by the time she turned 27 years old in December of the following year, Jennie Bryant had traveled the width of a continent and married a man eleven years her senior whom she had only known through letters before embarking on that fateful journey.

Continue ... 

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