Mary Ann “Polly” <I>Wilemon</I> Ryan


Mary Ann “Polly” Wilemon Ryan

Alabama, USA
Death 19 Jul 1935 (aged 92)
Oneonta, Blount County, Alabama, USA
Burial Oneonta, Blount County, Alabama, USA
Memorial ID 15634439 View Source
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Mary Ann "Polly" Wilemon married 1) Francis Marion Hathcock on 15 Sep 1861 in Blount County, Alabama. He died 24 May 1863 in Civil War. She married 2) James M. "Jim" Ryan 5 Jul 1866 in Monroe County, Mississippi.


Mrs. Mary Ann Ryan, aged 93, died at her home on route 4, Oneonta last Friday. Her death was due to colitis. Mrs. Ryan was one of the oldest citizens of this county. She was a member of the Methodist church and had a host of friends in this section of the state who will regret to learn of her death. She is survived by two sons, J.T. Ryan, of Akron, Ohio and Charles Ryan of route 4, Oneonta; two daughters, Mrs. Mary McConnell and Mrs. Louisa Whited, and one sister, Mrs. Patsy Tolbert. Funeral services were conducted by Rev. W.A. Murphree at Antioch Saturday, with Wade in charge of burial.
[The Southern Democrat, July 25, 1935]

From "The Heritage of Blount County,"... 'In 1861, Jack Brasher was elected a delegate to the Secession Convention when Alabama seceded from the Union, and he vehemently opposed the measure, utterly refusing to abide by the decision. In fact, he took the stump and advocated that Blount and several other adjoining counties withdraw from the Confederacy and form their own independent state, but this movement was soon lost in the maelstrom of war. Jack became the center of a movement to avoid military service. Thus, a band of nearly fifty men allied themselves together to form what is known as the "Hid-Outs." They left their homes and dwelt among the cliffs on the banks of the Little Warrior River near the community. The valor and courage of Aunt Polly Ryan is not to be overlooked. At this time, however, she was Polly Ann Hathcock, wife of one of the "Hide-Outs." After his death, she married a Federal soldier of the Civil War, Jim Ryan. Aunt Polly Ann was the daughter of Uncle Pliney Wileman. We are told that one very dark night after the Home Guards had passed house, she saddled her pony and rode about twenty miles through the darkness alone to warn her friends that the Home Guards were in the community. Upon receiving her warning, they went immediately to the bluffs of the Little Warrior. In a very short time, the Home Guards were back through and took Uncle Pliney Wileman's horse. They carried it to some point in St. Clair County. The Hide-Outs learned of its location and tried to recapture it. In the battle with the Home Guards, Frank Shadwick was killed. They failed to accomplish the purpose for which they had gone, and finally gave up. The body of Frank was brought back over the journey of several miles on a two-wheele4d cart. The men had meant to bury him at Foster's Chapel upon their arrival, but because night overtook them, they were compelled to wait until the next morning. A Mr. Bowman, the leader of the band, asked if there were any two men in the crowd that would watch the body that night. Mark and Henry Adkinson agreed to watch. The body was wrapped in a blanket and laid in the open church house. Mark Adkinson chose to watch from a branch of nearby bushes. Henry climed an oak tree in the edge of the churchyard and watched all night. As early as possible, the men met the following day to dig the grave and bury the dead. They worked hard and fast, with their leader Bowman standing over them with the constant command to hurry. When the grave was ready, the body was laid in ... its only casket being a blanket. Aunt Polly Ryan was the only woman present at the funeral.

Stories remembered by the family indicate that Polly was very competent. Polly once traveled to Springville to purchase supplies. Returning up the mountain, wolves picked up the scent of the meat and/or the horse. She cut pieces of meat and dropped them along the way to occupy the wolves so she could escape. One of Mary Ann's granddaughters related, "She always wore a bonnet. For special occasions, it was a black one of real silk taffeta made by one of her daughters-in-law. It is said that she enjoyed a "little nip" now and then. Of course, it was for medicinal purposes. She also smoked a pipe, until one of her grandsons introduced her to little cigars, called Cheroots of Swisher Sweets." Polly was well known in her community as a "granny" woman. By giving her grandchildren a few pennies now and then, she enlisted their help in collecting herbs, barks, leaves, and grasses from which she concocted many remedies for various sicknesses and injuries. Many Blount county residents could thank Polly, a midwife, for her assistance at thier birth. She loved children and always gave them a piece of candy which she kept in her apron pocket.


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  • Maintained by: rhm
  • Originally Created by: Matt
  • Added: 5 Sep 2006
  • Find a Grave Memorial 15634439
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Mary Ann “Polly” Wilemon Ryan (9 Nov 1842–19 Jul 1935), Find a Grave Memorial ID 15634439, citing Antioch Methodist Cemetery, Oneonta, Blount County, Alabama, USA ; Maintained by rhm (contributor 46886229) .