By Elizabeth Roughton Meriwether
Dr. George Washington Bryan was born February 19, 1837, in
Columbia, Boone County, Missouri. He was the son of
Pearson M. Bryan and Elizabeth Coleman. His parents and two
sisters moved to Missouri from Cynthiana, Harrison County,
Kentucky before his birth. His father died when he was a very
small child and the family moved back to Kentucky. The Bryan
children grew up in their grandfather, Edward Coleman's home
When he reached manhood, he returned to Missouri and it was
there that Dr. Bryan received his medical education. In 1862,
he came to Austin County, Texas to join the Confederate Army.
He joined the 16th Texas, commanded by Col. Flournory.
While still a private, he was sent to Galveston to take charge of
the Confederate Hospital that had been established there. After
a short sojourn in Galveston, in the company of Dr. William
Orby Cocke, of Bellville, Austin County, he was sent to Little Rock, Arkansas, and there the two
were assigned to service as surgeons in the Army. Dr. Bryan was next sent to San Antonio,
Texas, to be with Capt. Edgar's Artillery, all of who were soldiers in the regular United States
Army, but who joined the Confederacy. After a short while, Dr. Bryan was transferred at his own
request to the Lamar County Artillery (9th Texas Artillery) , commanded by Capt. James M.
Daniels of Paris (Lamar County, Texas). He remained with this command until the close of the
war, during which time he saw active service in Arkansas and Louisiana. After the cessation of
hostilities and acting upon the advice of his friend, Dr. Cocke, he decided to continue his
profession in Texas.
He returned to Austin County to Buckhorn where he met Mary Louisa Stone. She was the
daughter of Absalum Benjamin Stone and Sarah Elizabeth Hood. Mary Louisa was born
February 25, 1847, in Montgomery County, Alabama. Dr. Bryan and Mary Louisa were married
in Buckhorn on May 21, 1867, and the ceremony was performed by her uncle, Rev. John H.
Stone. After their marriage, they moved to Caldwell, Burleson County, Texas for a short time
and then moved to Navarro County, Texas.
Dr. Bryan, for fifty-three years was a resident of Navarro County, and practiced his profession in
the Drane community. The Bryans reared five children: Mary Emma Horton, Callie Florence
Roughton, Eunice Elrod, Alonzo Liston Bryan and Alice Blanche Jordan. Dr. Bryan delivered all
of his own children and all of his grandchildren with the exception of the youngest one. The
Bryans were active in the Methodist Church there.
In the service of the Confederacy, he established a reputation as a surgeon and physician that
lasted him through a long career. He was a quiet dignified gentleman, and was a reader and
student throughout his long life till the infirmities of old age put an end to physical activities.
Even long after he ceased the practice of medicine his mind was as active as ever, and he kept
abreast of the times and was always interested in his fellow man. He had a sunny disposition, and
even in extreme old age was a most agreeable and entertaining person.
His wife, Mary Louisa died January 16, 1924. He was totally lost without his dear "Manie" and died four months later on May 8, 1924. They are both buried in the Campbell Cemetery not far from their home in the Drane community in Navarro County, Texas.
[The above was taken from family knowledge, the family bible,
Confederate Army records, and Dr. Bryan's obituary.]
This picture is (left) Dr. William Orby Cocke and (right) Dr. George Washington Bryan in their
The following letter was written by James H. Wright, former 2nd Lt. of the battery, and friend to
George after the war was over.
July 4, 1867
My Dear Bryan,
Permit me in acknowledging, the receipt of your most welcome favor to congratulate you
upon your sweep in the matrimonial line. May you and the fair one who has thus cast her lot
with you be happy. Yes, may you be to each other as the stately oak to the vine. As the oak
with living care supports and protects the vine, so may you support and protect this fair young
creature; and as the tindles twines itself with loving and affection confidence around the oak,
so may she twine herself affectionately about your heart, making life for you one continued
source; of gladness and joy. Althought I am still, and have ever been a warm supporter of
Bachelorism; and when now while I write I am in the full enjoyment of its glorious
institutions underneath my own roof. Yet I cannot for the life of me refrain from envying you
your happiness. But laying all jokes aside, "Old Fel", I feel that you have done your duty and
that I have been remiss in mine. Conscience, Man's applauder when he has done a good
action and his accuser when he has committed a bad one, does not acquit me. While I feel
perfectly secure in my bachelor retreat from any invasion of my rights. I at the same time feel
a consciousness of a vacancy that so far I have be unable to fill. I have at last become
satisfied that man was not made to thus drag out his existence alone. Thence have resolved to
attempt-at-least to win the affections of some fair creature and celebrate the rights of
matrimony. There is now one in Paris that I believe would fill the bill. She is indeed one of
the most beautiful creatures that I have ever beheld. I shall speak with her upon the subject
some time this fall if I have no bad luck in the draw here. I was at Paris a few days since and
found things moving along the same as ususal. My stay was too limited to admit of my
visiting any of the fair sex, hence I was compelled to satisfy myself with the report of one of
my faithful confederates. I shall be there again perhaps this fall and then I desire to bring
affairs to a crisis or in other words "Make a spoon or spite a ______". Daniel is here in
Jefferson engineering the Rail Road, his hands are at work on it now. I suppose that in the
course of two years it will reach our little busy Paris. Sam Wright passed through this place a
few days since, on his way home. He has been to Louisville, Kentucky, to see Miss Maddie. I
supposed that he would bring her home with him but he did not. Sam Hamilton was at Fort
Smith the last I heard from him learning the saddles trade. J. J. Wilson is living down on
Pine Creek raising babies, pigs, and ____ and seems to be quite a happy man. Pat Chisum
was in New Mexico the last I heard from him. What has become of Allen I have not heard
whether he ever got home or not. While I am now writing, strains of Martial music may be
heard from the business portion of our city. The Negroes are celebrating the Fourth of July
with a barbecue and are marching in a procession through the principal streets of the town. I
have not been down yet but will go in a few minutes and see what in the devil they are doing.
Damn the music, I wish they'd stop it for I never care to hear a drum or fife again.
Jefferson's quite a lively little town during the business season, though quite dull now. When
you reply, direct your letter to this place as I will probably remain here for sometime. Please
remember me kindly to Mrs. B. I hope that I will someday have the honor and pleasure of
seeing her ladyship. Write me soon. With many good wishes for your happiness I remain.
J. H. Wright
I forgot to tell you that Lt. Brook of West's Battery married Miss ____ of Mansfield and is
now selling drugs in this place. Do (Ditto) John Talbot also married her sister and is selling
goods here. But excuse me for a short time, I must go down to see what in the devil all that
noise is about. Well Dr., I've got back at last. The Negroes are having a jolly time of it.
Dressed in every imaginable fashion they presented a rather a grotesque appearance. They
marched through all the principle streets and then went out in the suburbs where they had
dinner ________. After the dinner they called on Judge Mabry for a speech, he made them a
talk which I am told was quite appropo. They marched all over the town and finally about
night dispersed. So far they have behaved very prudently but I fear that this will not last long.
The Banks are registering voters here now. Two white men and one Negro are handling the
registering. Do not fail to write soon.
J. H. W.
P.S. excuse mistakes & C. for I haven't time to look over & correct this letter.
J. H. Wright
©Ron Brothers and Elizabeth Roughton Meriwether, All Rights Reserved, 1999.
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June 20, 1999