Volunteers clean up historic Bryan Cemetery

ABERDEEN – The historic Bryan family cemetery of Peter Grantham Bryan and his wife, Maria Wright Bryan, was abandoned circa 1920 because people simply could not get to it anymore.

In the early 1980’s the Corps of Engineers built the road to the west side of the Blue Bluff Lock and Dam and this road is close to the Bryan Cemetery. Arriving from Coontail Road, it is located up from the second utility pole on the right. On Nov. 9, Earl Sturdivant, Emory Morgan and three hard working jail inmates cleaned the cemetery and placed a gravestone at Henry Smith Green’s grave.

A temporary foot bridge was placed across the ditch next to the road, but you must still go up a fairly steep bank, so wear shoes that will give some grip. The Corps Park Ranger has given permission for this foot bridge to remain until Thanksgiving weekend.

Among the great-grand children of Peter and Maria Bryan there are 71 different surnames, so there are hundreds of descendants. Many grave stones were destroyed by falling trees in the 1920 tornado, so this will explain the long concrete cap over many graves with the names of the person underneath molded into the concrete.

The concrete was placed by Dr. G. S. Bryan of Amory. The most historic grave is that of Phoebe Boggess Bryan. Her father, Bennett Boggess, was a veteran of the American Revolution; and her husband, Allen Ludwell Bryan, served with Gen. Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812. He knew Andrew Jackson, not well enough to call him a friend, but they were reputed to get along.

Allen Bryan is buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery at Big Cove on the south side of Huntsville, Ala. The graves of Peter Grantham and Maria Bryan are at the feet of his mother, Phoebe Bryan. This Bryan family is documented at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland all the way back to Cas Mac Tail who was born in year 347 and is on file in the Congressional Library.

Again, enter the Blue Bluff Park Road from Coontail Road. At the second utility pole on the right side, you will not see the foot bridge until you are opposite it, then follow the cleared path.