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Elijah Bryan's Plantation and Family

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Great-Oaks-1As 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.


Dear Editor:

I'm thrilled that Claude Reese is going to do a series on Greenwood history. However the idea, put forth by some past writers, that Andrew Jackson named Jackson County for himself is incorrect. I realized this in 2001 while doing research for the DAR cookbook, Recipes from Historic Jackson County.

Andrew Jackson received the Floridas from Spanish authorities in Pensacola on July 17, 1821. (Spain did not sign the treaty until 1822, at least six months later.) Jackson left for The Hermitage, his home in Tennessee, about the eighth of October and by November 1821 resigned as United States Commissioner and Governor of the Territories of East and West Florida.

The unified government of Florida was established on March 30, 1822 by President James Monroe, and William Pope DuVal had become the first Territorial Governor by the time Jackson County was formed by the first Legislative Council on August 12, 1822. Meeting near Pensacola the council divided the counties of Escambia and St. Johns, that had been established just over a year before (on July 21, 1821) while Andrew Jackson was Governor of the Territories of East and West Florida, thus forming the third county Jackson and the fourth county Duval.

Just so you know. Mary Neale Robbins Long Time History Buff Marianna

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