One Family’s Pain

By Stephen D. Bowling

March 11, 1941 – Losing a child is difficult and even harder to understand. I know. We live it each day. Every person who experiences loss suffers and survives in their own way. As with each death, you never really get over the absence, but somehow you find a way and a reason to get through each day.

Scattered throughout the pages of The Jackson Times and many other local papers are efforts by families to eulogize and honor their deceased family members. There are poems, expressions of “thank yous,” heartfelt prose, and detailed obituaries. An occasional picture is included. One grieving family printed their lament in 1941 to inform the world of the loss of their five-year-old daughter.

Obituary of Hazel Bryant

Our little daughter, Hazel Bryant, died March 11, 1941. She was born April 23, 1936. She was laid to rest in the P. S. Lutes Cemetery. Complications of diseases caused her death.

She is survived by her father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. H. C. Bryant and four sisters and three brothers: Mrs. May Mason, Cincinnati, O.; Maggie Evers, Marie Brown, and Earl Bryant of Pontiac, Mich.; Junior Bryant and Charles Bryant of West Line, Pa.

She was sick only a short time and we mourn her passing. She was the only child of the family at home with her parents.

We can never forget her sweet smile and way of making friends, although she was less than five years of age.

God gave and took her away, but we must wait with patience on the Lord for His works none can hinder.

We wish to thank our many friends who helped us in time of our sorrow, during the sickness and death of our dear daughter.

H. C. Bryant and family. 

The Jackson Times, April 3, 1941, page 2

Little Hazel was born to Hiram Clay Bryant and his wife, Grace Keller Bryant, at their home on Upper Twin Creek near Oakdale, Kentucky. Family information indicates that she was small and was a “low-weight” baby when she was born a few weeks early.

The 1940 Breathitt County Federal Census showed the Hiram Bryant family living in house #48 on Oakdale Road. Hazel Bryant, the youngest in the household, was five years old.

She struggled at times early in her life with health issues but by 1940 had recovered. She was an active and outgoing child. Then she caught whooping cough. Her final battle with a case of whooping cough was made more severe by the complications of an enlarged heart which caused, ultimately, cardiac failure from the stresses placed on her small body by the illness.

Kentucky Certificate #6383 lists differing birth and death dates for Hazem Bryant.

She was buried the following day, on March 12, 1941. The Bryant Family lot in the P. S. Lutes (now known as the Lutes and Brewer) Cemetery on Highway 52 near the mouth of Clover Fork has numerous unmarked graves of small children. There is no doubt that little Hazel Bryant lies there.

There are several small children’s graves in the Bryant section of the Lutes and Brewer Cemetery. None of them still have readable markings that would indicate the burial location of Hazel Bryant.

The family never forgot little Hazel Bryant. They lived with the pain of her departure for the rest of their lives- but they went on as all who experience the pains of separation caused by death.

There is great comfort in the words of her obituary for those suffering from loss: “God gave and took her away, but we must wait with patience on the Lord for His works none can hinder.” So we wait for happy reunions.

© 2023 Stephen D. Bowling

About sdbowling

Director of the Breathitt County Public Library and Heritage Center in Jackson, Kentucky.
This entry was posted in Breathitt County, Health and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to One Family’s Pain

  1. annaleveridge says:

    This is sad. It reminds me of Aunt Serena Hardin. She had Alzheimer’s later in life, but lived to be almost 100. She could remember way back, but had difficulty with short-time memory.

    I asked mom one time if there was ever an incident that happened that perhaps started her memory problems. She was such a kind and loving soul, her whole life.

    When Aunt Serena was younger, she lost one of her children. Mom said he was a beautiful little boy, about 5 years old at the time.

    He was out playing with one of the neighborhood boys. They got in a little scrap, as little boys will often do, and then they’re buddies the next day.

    The other little boy went home crying to his dad. This grown man came out and shot Aunt Serena’s son. Of course, the man went to prison for life, but it didn’t bring Aunt Serena’s son back, leaving her with a terrible heartache and started her memory problems, but it also left his own family in dire straits during the Depression era.

    Such a tragedy that could have been prevented if the man would have had more self-control and kindness in his soul.

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