Friday, 19 September 2014

Week 38 - Mary Simms Bryan

Mary Simms Bryan (1884-1948)

Mary was born on March 9, 1884, the daughter of County Antrim, Ireland immigrants, Agnes McAllister and William Simms in Mountain, Ontario. At 20 years old, she married 28 year old Ezra Bryan in Dundas County in 1904.  He was an also of Irish descendant, the son of nearby farmer Daniel Bryan and his wife Chrsitina Hall.

Mary was the older sister of my grandfather, Alexander Simms.  He left their family home in Ontario in 1903 and didn't have the opportunity to return before his death in 1941.

Ezra and Mary were farmers but I found in a Ottawa Journal Newspaper from February 1940 where Ezra had been appointed school attendance officer and poor warden for Mountain Township.  There was also an interesting article in the same paper in 1934 giving Constable Ezra Bryan credit for solving the crime of a theft of $31 from the Feed and Seed Store in Mountain Station.  He had suspected who was involved with ongoing thefts while the store closed for noon hour and set up a "sting" where the thief was caught with marked bills!  His name is mentioned again in a 1949 edition where it tells of a night time fire at the home of Lester Bryan and his wife and two young daughters.  The family were saved from certain death after being alerted to a fire in their home by a passing motorist.  Ezra was in the home as well and just managed to escape with the pajamas he wore.  
Ezra and Mary - perhaps their wedding photo from 1904
Luella Bryan - born 1906
The 1911 Ontario Census finds the Bryan couple and two daughters at lot 9 concession 6 in Dundas County.  The family are declared to be Methodist.  They went on to have three more sons after this census.

Children of Mary Simms and Ezra Bryan: 
  • Agnes Luella (1906-1996) married Benson George and had 1 daughter and lived at Long Sault, Ontario
  • Ralph (1908-1910) died of appendicitis before he was 2 years old 
  • Dorothy Christina (1910-1997) married Harold Link and had a family of 7; 4 boys and 3 girls  and lived in the Cass Bridge community near Ottawa
  • John Lester (1912-1996) married Hilda Cassidy and had 3 daughters and 1 son; farmed in Mountain area
  • George Clifford (1917-1996) married Shirley Ball and had 2 children, one boy one girl; was with Air Force in WWII and trained at Rivers Air Base in Manitoba; later lived in Edmonton
  • Carl Beggs (1921 - 2013) married Fern Baker and had 3 sons and 1 daughter; was a dairy farmer in the Hallville area

The photos below are from a collection from my cousin Marilee whose mom Gwennie went with Aunt Dodie to visit family in Ontario in the summer of 1945.  The Bryan cousins were very welcoming to the girls, as Dodie's diary tells.  There were picnics, picture shows and afternoon teas.  It was a very memorable trip and Dodie often reminisced about that time at the end of WWII.

Mary and Sharon Bryan
Ezra Bryan

Fern Baker and Carl Bryan
Lester, Hilda and Sharon Bryan
Cliff Bryan
Shirley George
Benson George
Luella Bryan George


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