Last summer I visited a distant relative in Jay County, Indiana. We both descend from John and Hannah (Huey) Bryan. John and Hannah were my great-great-great-grandparents. I descend from their daughter Emily and he descends from their daughter Alta Jane.
My distant cousin had some Bryan family heirlooms and photos to show me. In return I shared my Bryan family history research with him. It was a good trade.
Some of his Bryan heirlooms were very interesting and surprising. One item was a small pipe that he said Hannah (Huey) Bryan had smoked. My great-great-great-grandmother smoked a pipe! Who would have guessed that this sweet-looking grandmother was a pipe-smoker?
The petite pipe is in good condition and I believe it is made out of clay. It did not look like the corn cob pipes I have seen.
Female pipe smoking was very popular in the 17th and 18th centuries. By the 1850s it was associated with the working class and began to decline in public. However, many women continued to smoke their pipes in secret. I wonder if Hannah smoked this pipe in secret. Perhaps behind their Jay County barn?
My cousin also showed me a number of calling cards that belonged to the Bryan family and friends. I always thought that calling cards were used by city folk. But apparently the Bryans left and received Victorian calling cards in rural Jay County in the latter half of the 1800s.
Leaving a calling card was considered part of social etiquette. Calling cards were popular from 1840-1900 and were carried primarily by well-to-do ladies. The cards were left at a home when an individual went to visit. The visiting person would leave their card in a card receiver on an entry table in the foyer or on a parlor table. They might have left the card with a servant.
Sometimes the cards were folded and the folds meant different things. A folded top left corner: the visitor had come in person; an unfolded top left corner: a servant was sent; a folded bottom left corner: farewell; a folded top right corner: congratulations; a folded bottom right corner: condolence. The folding of corners went out of style by the 1900s. A black band around the edge signified that the carrier of the card was in mourning.
Calling card salesmen traveled around with books displaying samples of their cards. Plain cards could be ordered for about a $1/100 and fancy fringed cards sold for about $1.25/dozen. You can read more about Calling Cards on this website.
I do not know all the owners of these calling cards but I can identify a few:
- AA Metzner: Arthur Augustus Metzner married Laura Dell Reid, daughter of Wilbur and Emily (Bryan) Reid.
- HB Bryan: Hallet B Bryan (1853-1936) was the son of John and Hannah.
- Emma Bryan (b.1892) may have been the daughter of Peter J. and Mary A. Reid Bryan. Peter was the son of John and Hannah. Or Emma may have been Emily Bryan Reid (1856-1940), daughter of John and Hannah.
- Minnie May Reid was either the daughter of Daniel and Elvira (Headington) Reid or the daughter of William and Emily (Bryan) Reid. (The former 1867-1910, the latter born 1884)
I scanned these calling cards with my Flip Pal mobile scanner during my visit with my distant cousin. The scanner worked well and was very convenient to take along. I scanned photos and other items while we talked. I also used my Magic Wand scanner to scan the larger documents. I’ll show more scans of other items in future blogs.