Family Photographs… and their stories: The Bryan Family Reunions

Family Photographs… and their stories

I’ve always loved the older family photographs, and every time I leaf through my albums, I always ask “what’s your story?” Every photo has one – and it’s my mission to tell them – one by one. After beginning my weekly series on Family Heirlooms, I thought… why not tell the stories on the family photographs. I won’t commit to a certain day – I’ll just surprise you…

Bryan July 1962 pic

The Bryan Family Reunions

In my photo album I found this photograph of a Bryan family reunion, dated 1962; it was taken at Uncle Clyde Bryan’s house in Waycross, Georgia; Granddaddy Paul was one of six boys in this family. Through my cousins online, we’ve identified many of the family members in this photograph, but I still have a couple more faces to identify; I won’t rest until all are finally listed.

Front Row L. to R: Leon Bryan, small boy by his side might be his grandson Steve (his daughter Helen’s son), wife Louise (directly behind him on left), next is their daughter Helen Bryan Yearwood, then Helen McKinley Bryan (my mom) in chair, girl in lap we believe to be Kathie Yearwood (Leon’s granddaughter and daughter Helen’s girl), Cindy Bryan Moore (young kneeling girl), possibe Skipper (Robert) Bryan in lap of (son of Charlie and Polly Bryan) Charlie Bryan, Myrt Bryan Poss, unknown man holding girl, young girl on man’s lap also unknown, we believe the man on the end of the front row is David Bryan (son of Charlie & Polly Bryan), girl in front touching face—me??

Back Row L. R: Charles Bryan and wife Rosa Lee, Clayton Bryan (my father), Runt Bryan (real name Jewell Bryan), woman?, John Robert Poss (peeking through – husband of Myrt Bryan Poss), Sara Kate Bryan (wife of Runt Bryan) Polly Bryan (wife of Charlie Bryan), unknown short woman – could it be Myrt’s daughter Virginia?, Tall boy in back, possibly Harold (son of Ever Lou and Clyde Bryan), Ever Lou Bryan (wife of Clyde), man Clarence (son of Ever Lou and Clyde Bryan), man on end – Clyde Bryan.

From other family members, I’m told the Bryan brothers often held reunions every year – what better excuse to cook BBQ – I’m sure there was a pot of Brunswick stew simmering in a cast iron kettle somewhere. All the Bryan’s loved BBQ and never needed an excuse to make!

What puzzles me the most about this picture is that my parents are clearly in the photo, but am I that girl in front, or am I missing? That’s really odd – as being an only child, my mother always had me within eyesight, no matter where we went; at times she practically had me tied to her coattail! I could possibly be that young girl in the front – who is touching her face and hopefully not picking her nose. LOL! I do have photos of me with short curly hair like this, maybe I need to find another picture of me around the same age. But it still puzzles me, as knowing my mother, she would have had me right up close to her. Maybe I took the photo – well, someone had to?

Mama told me once, that on the way to a Bryan family reunion in the mountains, she tied me with a rope, to a tree, so I could only just reach the waters edge of the lake where we stopped for daddy to fish. When I asked her – really? She told me that as she couldn’t swim, and daddy kept walking away looking for a good fishing spot, she wasn’t chancing me falling in the water; I was less than five at the time.

I would have been ten years old by using the date on the photo – am I really missing? Also missing was my grandparents, Paul and Evelyn Bryan. Where were they? Was granddaddy tending the pig or chopping BBQ – was grandmama cooking the Brunswick Stew? I’m sure there was a pit dug if all the Bryan brothers were there. For my grandfather not to be there if BBQ  was cooking – well it would have had to be a good reason.

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The Bryan siblings seem to always take family pictures whenever together. Front: Jewell (Runt) and only sister Myrt. Back: L. to R: Gordon, Charlie, Leon, Clyde and my grandfather Paul Bryan.

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The Bryan siblings – probably the last photo of them all together celebrating Leon and Louise Bryan’s 50th Wedding Anniversary. Front: Leon & Louise Bryan. Back L.to R.: Charlie & Polly Bryan, Evelyn & Paul Bryan (my grandparents), John R. Poss, Sara Kate(Runts wife), Myrt and Runt Bryan (Jewell), Ever Lou Bryan (wife of Clyde Bryan – deceased) and Gordon Bryan.

One of my favorite pictures below that I have received in the mail…  I received it from Uncle Gordon. His wife Marie mailed it to me with a note saying that he found it in his photo album and knew I would enjoy having it.And I do!!!

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My grandfather, Paul Bryan, (left) with brother Clyde chopping the famous Bryan BBQ! Notice the axe my grandfather is chopping with… later he began making BBQ choppers from steel he brought home from the mill.

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One of Granddaddy’s famous BBQ choppers! He never liked to see anything go to waste – so anytime he found steel discarded at the mill, he brought it home. Granddaddy showed them to me on one of my trips home and gave me this one;  I treasure it knowing he made it with his own hands. I’m told that he sold them for five dollars to friends. I have used it to chop BBQ.

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This is one of the cast iron kettles Granddaddy Bryan cooked his Brunswick Stew in (this kettle actually belonged to my granddaddy McKinley – he loaned it to him as it was smaller than his). He also made this paddle! Granddaddy was ingenious in making what was needed – as most were! Granddaddy Bryan’s larger cast iron kettle now is at cousin Charles Bryan’s home; he gave me the paddle granddaddy always used.

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