Thomas and Laura Bryant

This lovely photo is of the Thomas and Laura Jane Hunley Bryant family. It was most likely taken in Montana, in about 1919-20. Howard Manning, the youngest, was born in 1918. The family from left to right is: George Uhel, Laura Jane, Sadena Ellen, Thomas holding Howard Manning, and Thomas Glen "Glen", sitting down in front. About 4 or 5 years after this picture was taken, in 1924, the family moved to Longview, WA. Howard lived in Kingman, AZ, where he died in 2001.

Here are excerpts from a book Glen Bryant wrote about his family while living in Longview, and circumstances leading up to their arrival there. I will not give it all at once, but in sections.

"While living in Montana, Dad and Mother had been getting literature about a place called Longview, Wash. - "a city that vision built." A large lumber company had bought several thousand acres of mostly swampy land (the tide ebbed and flowed on a lot of it and when the Columbia River flooded, it covered all the land). They were building a town with the largest sawmill in the world. They were building streets and houses and put a twenty-mile dike around the land and built a YWCA, the first schools, a beautiful church and a large theatre. Part of the YWCA was used as Longview's first theatre and also for wrestling matches. Later the company built a beautiful theatre and community church. On the edge of town, was a large suction dredge making a lake that spewed out thousands of yards of sand that was used to fill low spots in and around town. Some of them as much as twenty feet deep. We arrived at Longview in June 1924 and set up our little tepee tent at the edge of town. Dad and a banker looked the town over and finally Dad found two acres of land about four miles from town. We moved our tent out there and Dad bought a bigger tent and built a wooden floor for it so we could have a stove and a place inside that was comfortable. Very soon Dad had a neighbor, and the only carpenter in town built us a house, and Dad went to work at the saw mill.

"We needed water, and I guess at first we hauled it from somewhere, but we had to have a well. I, being the youngest, dumbest, and wanting a "BB" gun, offered to dig it. I dug one 18 feet deep; Mother was usually my helper. She'd pull the dirt out of the well with a rope and bucket. It was hard work.

"I think the next year they started to dig (by pick and shovel) a water line past our property. I watched them dig a day or two and thought they needed a water boy, so I caught the boss and he readily gave me my first job for $30.00 a month. To find water I'd find little creeks with little pools of water and once in a while even a well, nobody was ever poisoned or got sick. Guess they had strong stomachs. The line finally got three or four miles past our house and turned into the valley where there was no water or wells or people living, and I'd have to walk a long ways. One day the boss drove up beside me in a new 1924 Model T Ford and said "use this from now on to get water." I guess like all kids I'd sit in cars and turned the wheel, but I'd never driven. I was thirteen years old, but I got in and after a bad start used the car the rest of the summer."

Submitted by: Kathy Jo Bryant