Hannah Smoked a Pipe

Great-great-great-grandmother, Hannah (Huey) Bryan

Last summer I visited a distant relative in Jay County, Indiana. We both descend from John and Hannah (Huey) Bryan. John and Hannah were my great-great-great-grandparents. I descend from their daughter Emily and he descends from their daughter Alta Jane.

My distant cousin had some Bryan family heirlooms and photos to show me. In return I shared my Bryan family history research with him. It was a good trade.

Some of his Bryan heirlooms were very interesting and surprising. One item was a small pipe that he said Hannah (Huey) Bryan had smoked. My great-great-great-grandmother smoked a pipe! Who would have guessed that this sweet-looking grandmother was a pipe-smoker?

The petite pipe is in good condition and I believe it is made out of clay. It did not look like the corn cob pipes I have seen.

Female pipe smoking was very popular in the 17th and 18th centuries. By the 1850s it was associated with the working class and began to decline in public. However, many women continued to smoke their pipes in secret. I wonder if Hannah smoked this pipe in secret. Perhaps behind their Jay County barn?

Hannah Huey Bryan's pipe

My cousin also showed me a number of calling cards that belonged to the Bryan family and friends. I always thought that calling cards were used by city folk. But apparently the Bryans left and received Victorian calling cards in rural Jay County in the latter half of the 1800s.

Leaving a calling card was considered part of social etiquette. Calling cards were popular from 1840-1900 and were carried primarily by well-to-do ladies. The cards were left at a home when an individual went to visit. The visiting person would leave their card in a card receiver on an entry table in the foyer or on a parlor table. They might have left the card with a servant.

Emma Bryan

Charley Bryan

Hallet B Bryan

Merida F Bryan

Sometimes the cards were folded and the folds meant different things. A folded top left corner: the visitor had come in person; an unfolded top left corner: a servant was sent; a folded bottom left corner: farewell; a folded top right corner: congratulations; a folded bottom right corner: condolence. The folding of corners went out of style by the 1900s.  A black band around the edge signified that the carrier of the card was in mourning.

Miss MC Huey

Calling card salesmen traveled around with books displaying samples of their cards. Plain cards could be ordered for about a $1/100 and fancy fringed cards sold for about $1.25/dozen. You can read more about Calling Cards on this website.

Minnie May Reid

AA Metzner

I do not know all the owners of these calling cards but I can identify a few:

  • AA Metzner: Arthur Augustus Metzner married Laura Dell Reid, daughter of Wilbur and Emily (Bryan) Reid.
  • HB Bryan: Hallet B Bryan (1853-1936) was the son of John and Hannah.
  • Emma Bryan (b.1892) may have been the daughter of Peter J. and Mary A. Reid Bryan. Peter was the son of John and Hannah. Or Emma may have been Emily Bryan Reid (1856-1940), daughter of John and Hannah.
  • Minnie May Reid was either the daughter of Daniel and Elvira (Headington) Reid or the daughter of William and Emily (Bryan) Reid. (The former 1867-1910, the latter born 1884)

I scanned these calling cards with my Flip Pal mobile scanner during my visit with my distant cousin. The scanner worked well and was very convenient to take along. I scanned photos and other items while we talked. I also used my Magic Wand scanner to scan the larger documents. I’ll show more scans of other items in future blogs.





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    • kate on January 17, 2012 at 10:39 am
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    This was interesting, I didn’t realize how much Grandma Brewster and Aunt Elva Ellenberger looked like Hannah, but then all the Brewster sisters looked alike especially around the mouth and chin. I tried to send message yesterday but must not have intered it right. Thanks for sharing.

    • Laura Homan on March 1, 2012 at 4:57 pm
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    I believe I am your fourth cousin once-removed. I am the great-great-great-granddaughter of William Wilbur Reid and Emily Ellen Bryan through their daughter Laura Dell Reid (Metnzer) for whom I was named.

    I am in the process of digitizing all of my parent’s genealogical reasearch and I’m trying to answer a few questions and fill in some blanks along the way. I was very excited to find these pictures.

    According to Mom’s notes, Minnie May Reid was the daughter of William and Emily. Daniel and Elvira were her grandparents (and William’s parents).

    That photo of Hannah Hughey Bryan looks vaguely familiar too… I think I may have seen it somewhere before.

    1. Nice to hear from you! Yes, I would certainly say we are related. I would love to compare notes with you. I will be in touch by e-mail. Karen

    • Brian Brewster on March 8, 2012 at 10:46 pm
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    Wouldn’t it be great to get all of these cousins together sometime this Summer to compare notes. Appreciate your hard work. I have found a distant cousin on the Brewster side in Chesterfield Indiana. Will get you the info later.

    1. That is a great idea, Brian! You would enjoy meeting Ed. He could probably introduce us to some Bryan relatives. Do you usually attend the Brewster Reunion?

        • brian brewster on March 20, 2012 at 7:27 pm
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