Monday, September 21, 2015

Meeting Ella Howard Bryan

I “met” Ella Howard Bryan earlier this year during a walking tour. Yesterday when I desperately needed a long walk, I headed out on my journey and ended up at Woodland Cemetery. I stopped to visit Bryan’s grave. Born in 1872 and passing in 1954, Bryan was born a little over 100 years before I was on this earth. Somehow I feel a bit connected to her… especially lately.

Bryan was a writer who used the pseudonym *Clinton Dangerfield* to publish poems, novels and short stories. She is probably best known as a writer of Westerns and pulp fiction.

Born in Savannah, Georgia, on February 19th to Confederate Army Major Henry Bryan and Jane Howard Bryan, she was born in an era when the Civil War was still on most Americans’ minds. Without question, Bryan would have been raised with nostalgia and discussions of the conflict during the antebellum period.

Like many women of her time, Bryan was home-schooled and later served as a governess in the North from 1897 until 1901 when her first story, "Behind the Veil" was published.

Bryan worked as a writer throughout her life. She returned to the South and died in Richmond, Virginia, on February 13, 1954, just shy of her eighty-second birthday.

Bryan was also somewhat of an introvert. At the end of her life, she purchased five plots. Upon her death, her will requested that she be buried in the middle plot. In Virginia, the cemetery is allowed to contact the next of kin to repurchase the inactive plots after a certain period of time; however, out of respect for Ms. Bryan’s wishes to be left alone, the cemetery has chosen to leave the neighboring plots vacant. 

Woodland Cemetery has a Confederate Section. It appears that there has recently been some surveying going on.

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