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 Ernest Leroy “Little Dad” Bryant

Ernest Leroy “Little Dad” Bryant

Michigan, USA
Death 18 May 1971 (aged 86)
Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA
Burial Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA
Memorial ID 45398259 · View Source
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Biography In Brief - Ernest L Bryant

Born in Michigan and raised from young boyhood in Washington state, Ernest L Bryant, struck out for himself in young manhood in California and then came to Florida.

Back in 1911 he tried Miami, for just a little more than a year, when he decided that Jacksonville was the Florida metropolis.

He had "cooled off," however, each noon in the blue waters of Biscayne Bay at the foot of the present E. Flagler Street and had gotten bay bottom sands in his toes. And so he couldn't stay put in Jacksonville. He visited Miami at least once, sometimes several times, each year. And watched the Magic City spring into a metropolis beyond his own imagination.

By 1939 he could stand it no longer and so he resigned his job as official court reporter for the Duval Circuit Court, piled his family and his belongings aboard his 30-foot cruiser and headed the bow back to the green warm waters of Miami's Biscayne Bay.

He bought a homesite on the Miami River at 2524 NW North River Drive not far up the river from a lot he owned back in 1912. He is an ardent boatman and fisherman. Has been ever since spending his early boyhood days on the Great Lakes. He was seven years old when he moved to the Pacific coast and became acquainted with that great expanse of water. His wife and daughter enjoy the boat and the waters of south Florida.

Bryant, at 54 years, says of Miami: "I have been at the four corners of this country and every section has its drawbacks but everything considered I don't think anything compares with this area."

He came here to become associated with H E Coleman, in the court reporting firm of Coleman and Bryant, and last week he was appointed official Dade Circuit Court Reporter by Gov. Spessard L Holland.

In his early Miami days he was reporter and law clerk in the law office of the late J L Billingsley.

Bart A Riley, Miami attorney, at that time was the official reporter but he was stationed at Key West and it was long and hard traveling to Miami from that city in those days.

Frank B Shutts, former publisher of The Herald, promised to obtain the Miami appointment for Bryant if he would stay but Bryant thought his opportunity was to go to the Jacksonville law office of the late Gov. Jennings.

"The waters here are too cold," he told Shutts. He didn't mean the waters of Biscayne Bay. He meant the business waters. His term is indicative of his love for the boatman's life.

Bryant reported his first case here for the late G A Worley, Sr, father of the present state attorney, who was defending several Nassau negroes in a murder case. Court reporting in those days was a far cry from the present, which has speeded the work up at least thrice, he says. The court reporter formerly transcribed his own notes and turned out his transcript whenever he could. Now, he dictates his shorthand notes into a dictagraph and while he is taking down the next session's testimony an operator in his office is typing his work, making daily copies available to attorneys.

He was in Jacksonville when the first World War broke out and served as paymaster and chief clerk at the site where Camp Johnson (now Camp Foster) was constructed.

In 1921 he went to Palm Beach, serving as official court reporter for the circuit including Fort Lauderdale and Okeechobee City until the fall of 1923, when he returned to Jacksonville. He was deputy court reporter there until 1934, when he free-lanced for three years before receiving his commission there in 1937.

He served as one of the two examiners in the famous Beulah Croker estate case at West Palm Beach, which called for a total of 5,000 pages of testimony.

He and Coleman took some 8,000 pages of testimony during the 3-1/2 months' Federal Court trial of the Highway Construction Company's $1,500,000 suit against the City of Miami, providing daily copy.

Bryant was the reporter also in the six months' litigation resulting from boatmen's claims as the result of a fire which destroyed nearly 70 boats at the Pilkington Boat Works' docks at Fort Lauderdale covering 5,222 pages of testimony.

Miami as Bryant first saw it offered no promise of such voluminous court reporting work. Cases then were few and far between and testimony covered comparatively few pages. Indeed, the waters did look cold then, but Bryant says they are "plenty hot now."


Ernest L. Bryant, 86, of 825 North West 129th Street, passed away May 18, 1971. A resident of this community for 40 years coming from Jacksonville, Florida. He was a Court Reporter. He was a member of the F.&A.M. Soloman Lodge number 20 in Jacksonville, and the Mahi Temple, Miami, Florida. He was a 32nd degree Mason.
Survived by his 2nd wife, Annie, and daughters Mrs. O.B. Partridge of North Miami, and Mrs. Gloria Elston of Miami.
Friends may call 2-4, 6-9:30 P.M. Thursday.
Services will be at 2 P.M. Friday at the Carl F. Slade Hialeah-Miami Springs Funeral Home.
Interment will be at Graceland Memorial Park, Miami, Dade, Florida.

Miami Herald Newspaper

Family Members


  • Created by: Sgt Ed Elstan
  • Added: 13 Dec 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 45398259
  • Sgt Ed Elstan
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Ernest Leroy “Little Dad” Bryant (5 Jan 1885–18 May 1971), Find A Grave Memorial no. 45398259, citing Graceland Memorial Park, Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA ; Maintained by Sgt Ed Elstan (contributor 47188165) .