Saturday, December 17, 2016

Len and Sallie, the Bryant family that wasn't.

Thurman J Hubbard III w/ Jennie Beazley, 1966
My great-grandmother, Jennie Beazley, my dad's maternal grandma, always maintained that her father had donated the land upon which Magnolia Baptist Church stands, however, the authors of, "A Guide to Historic Churches of Cumberland County," offer a slightly different account.
"On November 13, 1855, Randall McDaniel deeded two acres to William Bryant, Hardie Jones and Owen Jones, trustees for the Baptist Meeting House on Buck Creek. The original building... was located in front of the present church building."
Leonard Bryant would have been about eight years old when Magnolia Church was being organized.  He obviously didn't contribute any land, nor did anyone else in the family, but his father, William James Bryant, is more than likely the William Bryant mentioned in the quote above as a founding trustee of the church.  William's occupation is listed in the 1860 census as constable.
1860 census

The William J. and Nancy Jones Bryant family probably lived fairly close to the site of the modern church, given its close proximity to the Bryant family cemetery, less than a mile south and across the road.

The small house that the community built many years later for Jennie and her two small children, after Captain Beazley's untimely death, stood near the western edge of a large agricultural field behind where the modern church stands today.  The last home of Jennie's youngest brother, John Robert Bryant, still stands adjacent to the family cemetery.

Jennie Beazley's claim that her father gave the land where Magnolia Baptist church stands today does not hold water under scrutiny, but the information discovered in debunking that myth leads us to another story, perhaps more interesting and certainly more important to Leonard Bryant's descendants today.

Remember Hardy Jones, one of the other two founding trustees of Magnolia church?  Hardy and his wife, Martha Jessup Jones were farms who lived and raised eleven children not too far from Magnolia Church.  The children of Hardy and Martha Jones were:

Marriage certificate, Len Bryant and Sallie Jones
  Mary Jones (1843 - 1932)
  Owen Dallas Jones (1846 - 1864)
  Marshall Jones (1848 - 1921)
  Sallie Jones Bryant (1850 - 1873)
  Salome Catherine Jones Bryant (1853 - 1892)
  William Judson Jones (1855 - 1929)
  Rebecca E Jones (1857 - 1879)
  Theodosia Jones (1860 - 1886)
  Harriet Jones Strickland (1862 - 1954)
  Alice V. Jones Godwin (1865 - 1951)
  Carson E Jones (1869 - 1906)

Hardy Jones was Nancy Jones Bryant's brother;  Hardy and Nancy's children's were first cousins.

On March 11, 1869, Leonard Bryant married his first cousin, Sallie Jones.  A few years later, Len's younger brother, John Bunyon Bryant, followed suit, marrying Sallie's younger sister, Salome Catherine Jones.  That pair produced three daughters, all who lived to adulthood, married and had families of their own.

Len and Ellen Bryant, circa 1878
Len and Sallie were not so blessed.  Sallie died in childbirth, along with her child, on July 12, 1873.  Len must have been devastated, having lost both his father and his bride within a five year period, but by 1878, Leonard had found a new bride, this time a bit further from home.

He married Ellen Virginia Smith, a daughter of Thomas Melvin Smith and Harriet Newell Harvey Smith of Bladen County, North Carolina, and she bore him eight children. Six of those children survived to adulthood.  Len and Ellen had eight children, six of which survived to adulthood.

  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)

Sallie Jones gets little mention at most family gatherings, but had she lived, these stories wouldn't be about any of us.

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