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Bryan-Neyland cemetery marker

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Also known as the Bryan-Williams Cemetery or the Kersting Cemetery, this family burial ground is the resting place for some of Liberty County’s most prominent citizens. Originally a private cemetery containing two families. One of the oldest graves is that of Luke Bryan (1807-1869), soldier in the Army of Texas and veteran of the Battle of San Jacinto and later, Liberty County sheriff. A granite marker honoring his service was placed in the cemetery during the 1936 Centennial. His brother Pryor Bryan (1810-1873), who fought in the Texas Revolution and Civil War, married Mary A. Merriman (1817-1861). A granite Centennial marker was erected by the State of Texas in 1936 to honor his service in the Texas Revolution. Both are buried here along with daughter Laura (1847-1927) and her husband Capt. Watson D. Williams (1838-1881) Capt. 5th Texas, Hood’s Brigade of the Confederate Army, who, with the remaining eleven men of his company, was surrendered by General Lee at Appomattox, Virginia, 9 Apr 1865. He later became a successful publisher and businessman. Williams was a member of the Trinity River Navigation Company and was part owner in every steamboat owned by that company. His newspaper was the Star State which contained news of the town of Liberty and of the steamships on the Trinity River. There are only twenty (20) known issues of this newspaper. Williams also edited and printed handbills, pamphlets, circulars of the day. Two Williams children are buried in the cemetery: Jessie (1871-1882) who died at age 11; and Wilda (1873-1928), a musician, who married Liberty County Judge William Neyland (1869-1899) in 1895. Their son Watson (1898-1963) became a world-renowned painter. Others buried here include Eugenia Mouton (1841-1915), authoress, publisher, and half-sister of W. D. Williams. Isaiah C. Day (1812-1879), the businessman and rancher for whom the town of Dayton or “Days Town” (formerly West Liberty) is named was a man of considerable wealth having more than 4800 head of cattle prior to his death and owned property in Liberty, Chambers, Harris, and Galveston Counties. Day was not directly related to anyone buried in the cemetery, but his first wife, Rachel Whitlock, was a sister of Luke, Christopher and Kindallis Bryan. “Miss Yettie” Kersting (1863-1941), neighbor and close friend of the Neylands is also buried in this cemetery. A beloved Liberty businesswoman and benefactress, Miss Kersting left her estate to the people of Liberty County to establish a hospital as summarized on her headstone, “…I dedicate and devote all the earthly wealth I may die possessed of to the relief of suffering humanity in Thy Name…...” Elizabeth Watkins whose 1853 grave is the oldest in the cemetery is also interred in this small cemetery. It is assumed Kindallis “King” Bryan (1818-1866), younger brother of Luke and Pryor is also buried here although the grave is unmarked. King served in the state legislature before the Texas War for Independence. He served during the Texas Revolution, served as sheriff of Liberty County 1848-1849 and 1852-1854; was Captain, Company F, 5th Texas in 1861, was promoted to Major by August 1862 and Lt. Col. by November of that year. He saw action in Antietam, Chickamauga and was wounded at Gettysburg and at the Wilderness, forcing his retirement on March 8, 1865. Although few in number, this small burial ground contains some of the most influential and prominent citizens in south Liberty County. The graves are given full care by the Liberty Cemetery Association.