Slave Narrative of Robert Bryant

Remembering John Robert Bryant
1850 - 1942
Transcribed by Linda Durr Rudd
Special Thanks to Anthony Neal, James Scott & Nathaniel Thomas

John Robert Bryant
Photographs Courtesy of Joyce Coleman Johnson
Great Granddaughter of John Robert and Amanda Bryant

Robert's Narrative

An old negro of the Union Church Community, at the close of the War between the States was seven years old. He was a son of John Coleman, who belonged to the late Neil McCormick; his mother was Lizzie McDaniel, who was half Indian and belonged to Mr. Johnnie McDaniel.

After they were set free they made their home together and started life, choosing for themselves the name of Bryant. Robert, the subject of this sketch, was taught to work with them, and when he was grown, he married. His wife had had some educational advantages and taught Robert to read and write. He was much interested in the welfare of his community, was a successful farmer, and owned a good home. He reared a family of good citizens. He believed in education, owned a piano, and his daughters taught music in his home.

Robert's wife Amanda P. Bryant

Robert was truly the "white man's friend." He was supposed to be a Republican, and was, in truth, one of the election managers, as in those days of Reconstruction, at least one manager on an Election Committee, was required to be of Republican belief. However, his ticket was often intercepted, and was always found to be for the Democratic candidates. Finally, Robert lost his home, as did most other farmers, and he was then cared for by his children. Well may it be said of him, 'He was a good citizen.'

NOTES: Robert was the son of John Coleman Bryant and Elizabeth "Lizzie" Bryant. Robert was born about April 06, 1850, and raised in Veto, Franklin County, MS, on the John McDaniel's farm where he, his mother Elizabeth and siblings were slaves.

Robert's father John Coleman Bryant was the slave of William Daniel Coleman of Union Church, Jefferson County, MS. After the death of William D. Coleman in 1851, Neil S. McCormick, William's future son-in-law, became the guardian of William's four minor children and their 14 slaves, one of which was John.

After emancipation, Lizzie and the children, including Robert, moved to Union Church in 1866 to live with John on Widow Cassandra Coleman's place. The family used the surnames Coleman, Mack, McDaniel, finally settling on Bryant and McDaniel. John, his daughters, and son Robert used Bryant as their surname because this was the surname of John's father. John's eldest son James used the surname McDaniel as this was the surname of his and his mother's last slave owner.

Robert married Amanda Pritchard, daughter of Thomas Pritchard, who was born about 1851 in South Carolina. The couple had several children: Artemis b. 1872, Adelaide b. 1873, Lynch b. 1877, Melissa b. 1879, Ulysess S. b. 1880, Lora E. b. 1884, Carrie b. 1887, Thomas W. b. 1890, Frizee Elena b. 1892, and Mamie June b. 1895.

In addition to the occupations listed in the narrative, Robert assited the men of Union Church and the neighboring village Caseyville, who served with the Colored Troops, with their applications for pensions.

Robert died May 11, 1942. Amanda died February 03, 1933. Both died in Brookhaven, Lincoln County, MS. They are buried in Crump Chapel Cemetery in Brookhaven.

Photograph Courtesy of Cynthia Crump

Read more about Robert's family here;
Bryant-McDaniel Family of Franklin and Jefferson Counties, MS


Daniel Mack's Federal Military Pension Records
James Mack's Federal Military Pension Records
Federal Writers Project Slave Narrative of Robert Bryant
Robert Bryant's Death Certificate - MS1942-7883
Amanda Bryant's Death Certificate - MS1933-2592
1850 Jefferson County Federal Census - MS
1850 Franklin County Slave Schedule - MS
1860 Jefferson County Federal Census - MS
1860 Jefferson County Slave Schedule - MS
1860 Franklin County Slave Schedule - MS
1860 Franklin County Federal Census - MS
1870 Jefferson County Federal Census - MS
1880 Jefferson County Federal Census - MS
1880 St Landry Parish Federal Census - LA
1900 Jefferson County Federal Census - MS
1910 Jefferson County Federal Census - MS
1920 Jefferson County Federal Census - MS
1930 Jefferson County Federal Census - MS
Ancestors of Herman Lamar Woods
Family History and Genealogy Records

Pvt. Calvin McCormick of the 6th Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery

Remembering Their Names