Jackson County Times

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Friday, July 2, 2010

Antebellum Greenwood

Claude Reese, well known local “History Buff” will begin a special series of featured writings on the history of Greenwood, the early families who settled that community, and the historical homes they left behind. The first writing in this series which involves the beginning of “Great Oaks”, is presented on page A6. We hope you enjoy it.

Antebellum Greenwood

Elijah Bryan’s Plantation and Family

By Claude Reese

As you go north from Hwy 90 on State Road 71, about two blocks before you reach the Caverns Road, you enter the Bryan’s plantation. The southwest corner is about two blocks south of the Caverns Road on the United States Road.

The northwest corner of Hwy 71 and Caverns Road is the corner of the Marianna Airport which was the Army Air Corps base from 1942 to 1945. It was called Graham Air Base from 1952 to 1961.

When you get to the fire rescue station you are at the airport entry. After that you are passing the residential area of the air base which is now Sunland Training Center.

When you pass its entrance, the great green area was the parade ground. Between 1942 and 1945 and between 1953 and 1961, the cadets passed in review there every Saturday morning.

If you look across the parade ground into the trees, you can see two white buildings, the Chapel and Headquarters. They date from WW II. They are still used for the same purpose. This was the location of the Bryan home at that time which burnt in 1960. Hamilton then built a new home for his mother and sisters which is now known as Great Oaks.

Here I want to list the family members with their birth and death dates. I want you to get acquainted with them because they will show up at times as we go forward. This information comes from their family Bible.

Bible Family Record – 4th Generation

Elijah Bryan married Elizabeth Penelope Bryan, Jan. 1824

(father of) Elijah Bryan born Nov. 17, 1793 – died May 25, 1852

(mother of) Elizabeth Penelope Bryan born April 25, 1808 – died August 12, 1870

Edwin Norval and Ann Elizabeth died in infancy

Harriet Mary, born Aug. 28, 1826 – died Nov. 21 1886

Joseph., born 1830 – died 1906

Hamilton G. born August 26, 1831 – died October 21, 1886

Franklin, born 1832 – died Dec. 25, 1848

(Lost his life – drowned at University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.)

Penelope A., born March 18, 1835 – died August 18, 1857

Georgia C., born March 10, 1837 – died June 23, 1909

Annie, born Feb. 7, 1839 – died October 27, 1912

Laura Virginia, born Jan. 25, 1841 – died March 14, 1914

Emily M., born November 10, 1842 – died March 25, 1915

Robert Blackshear, born 1846-1885

Elijah James, born November 9, 1848 – died June 8, 1915

Elizabeth Jenette, born September 1852 – died May 8, 1908

The plantation extends on north to the traffic light in Greenwood. Think of this area as one great farm. Notice how nearly level the land is. It has no drainage problems. Also think how wise Mr. Bryan was to select this particular site. He was only 33 years old when he got his first land (1826) and 63 when he died.

Next week we will continue about the family and begin the restoration of Great Oaks.

We have received the following information from Mary Neale Robbins which will be a good lesson for us all and I wish to share it with you. Please see the Letter to the Editor to the right.

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