458 Meylert St Laporte PA 18626
TOURING SULLIVAN COUNTY’S MUSEUM
. . . while dusting
Today we’re going to take one of Bill Sick’s “slow walks around” but we’re going to do it outdoors and you have to use your imagination. This is a hike, so mentally put your waders on. We’ll be walking to the west bank of the Loyalsock Creek, about a quarter mile south of the junction of Big Run or about 2 to 2 ½ miles south of Forksville. In 2001 to 2008, Mike and Debbie Krause did research for Bob Sweeney’s site about the Bryan Cemetery. If you’re walking up the west bank of the Loyalsock or crossing it, an old what may have been a skid road forks off to your left (walking in the direction towards Forksville) and beyond that you’ll (perhaps literally) stumble upon the remains of a haphazard rock piled wall. This originally measured 24 x 24 in what used to be a field which was part of original Bryan homestead. The museum has a copy of two plot maps for the Bryan cemetery and background about it from Evelyn McCarty (Ira) Bryan concerning her husband’s family history in association with this location. In one interview with Evelyn she talks about the replacement of corner stones of the wall “which is so close to the creek. Speculation is that high water was the culprit”. This was interpreted as the creek ran closer to what is now Route 87, meaning that the cemetery wasn’t originally as close to the creek as it now is. As you look onto the final resting place of this family you’ll see broken and fallen stones, many of which were originally just field stones. This isn’t unusual to any old cemetery but can still be heartbreaking to see today. Stone engravers or tombstone makers weren’t plentiful in populated areas, let alone for early generations of Sullivan County. And it wasn’t unusual to put up a fieldstone, perhaps hand etched on, with the intent of placing a tombstone later on but that never materialized. So, for this cemetery, Evelyn’s rendition of a plot map can carry with it as many questions as it does answers. Also, because many families intermarried and there were second marriages which could mean a “yours, mine and ours”, these family connections can become more than confusing.
Ira Bryan was a descendent of Samuel Bryan (1762-1841) and his first wife “Miss” McCarty (assumed to be Elizabeth, from the Silas McCarty line) and his grandparents Benjamin Franklin Bryan and wife Edith Farrar.
Now, you’re looking at a copy of the plot map that you’ve brought along on this walk and down on the ground for corresponding location – here are just some of the problems:
“Margaret Black “age 29, 1852”. She died in childbirth. Her baby is beside her. She was my grandfather’s (Al) full sister.” [dau. of Samuel and Catherine Hinkle Bryan]
The footnote deductions are that Margaret’s maiden name was Bryan since Evelyn’s grandparents were Albert and Elizabeth Campbell Bryan.
“Three Norton children, who lived on the farm above us – Bare [Bear] Mt., died in an epidemic one winter. Mr. Norton married a Bryan woman. These were the children of Samuel and Catherine Ann (Bryan) Norton. She was the first daughter of Samuel and Catherine Hinkle Osler Bryan.” And “Norton’s hired man, died in the same epidemic the children died.”
These two excerpts are just a small portion of the information contained in this family genealogy and its corresponding cemetery compiling.
As you can see, following the connections and decadency can be quite difficult and in this case we give many thanks to Evelyn for the difficult task of ‘unraveling’ the who’s who for this particular family. This walking adventure can be a sojourn in any cemetery but when it’s your own family history, the time spent can be well worth the effort.
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The Sullivan County PA Historical Society and Museum is a registered 501(c)(3).