Last week I showed some photos of a few Bryan family heirlooms that I photographed last fall while visiting my distant cousin Ed.
The John and Hannah (Huey) Bryan family lived in Bear Creek Township, Jay County, Indiana, in the latter half of the 19th century. I found it surprising that they had calling cards in rural Jay County back then.
Ed also showed me two autograph books that his great–grandmother Alta Jane Bryan once owned. Alta Jane (1866-1946) was the daughter of John and Hannah.
These two autograph books contain short verses written by Alta Jane’s family and friends. The verses were hand-written by her father, mother, two of her sisters, Byantha and Emily, and others. Emily (Bryan) Reid, was my great-great-grandmother. How interesting to see what their handwriting and signatures looked like. It is also interesting to read what they wrote to Alta.
One of the small autograph books has a blue velour cover. The books are a little over 5 x 3 inches.
Have courage Alta and do not stumble
Though your path be dark as night
There is a star to guide the humble
Trust in God and all is right.
December 12, 1887
May peace and plenty be thy lot
May conscience ever be thy guide
May God above forget thee not
As on life’s stormy waves you glide.
Your Dear Mother
Rockford, Mercer County, Ohio, July 17
Troubles never last forever
The darkest day will pass away
Water falling day by day
Wears the hardest rock away.
Sister Emily Reid
Hark, the voice of Jesus is calling
Who will go and work today
Fields are white and harvest waiting
Who will bare the sheaves away.
Loud and strong the master calleth
Rich reward he offers thee.
Who will answer gladly saying
Here am I gladly waiting.
A verse by Alta’s other sister:
Westchester, December 28 1888
Remember me in the hours of leisure
Remember me in the hours of pleasure
And if forgotten in the hour of care
Remember me in the hour of prayer.
From Your Sister, Byantha Saxman
These lines from Alta’s autograph books show the Christian faith of the Bryan family. I also found it interesting that my great-great-grandmother Emily (Bryan) Reid was living in Rockford about 1888. Rockford is only a few miles from where we live.
You never know where you will find information and clues about our ancestors.