The Legacy of Molly Graham-Sally Graham-Bryant Descendent Grandson Jake Bryant Sr.


As we continue to tell the story about Molly Graham, a former slave, we highlight Jake Bryant Sr. Who was Molly Graham’s grandson. He was Frank and Sally (Molly’s daughter) Bryant’s son. Jake Bryant married Rebecca Jerideau and they were blessed with seven children.

Like his grand parent and his parents Jake Bryant was a businessman and farmer. Jake was also a botanist, landscaper, a laborer at Ashepoo Sawmill, a Church leader, and a Community Leader.

As a young man Jake left home at an early age. He went South to Tallahassee Florida, looking for work and to start a new life. All his other siblings went North to New York and New Jersey. His experience in Tallahassee, Florida was basically the same, or just as bad as it was, in Green Pond, S.C. He ran into hard times while seeking employment with no money.

Later he was able to find a job working on the waterfront at a shipyard in Tallahassee Florida. He wasn’t satisfied and decided to leave Tallahassee Florida. He boarded a cargo ship that was headed to Savannah Georgia. He climbed inside one of the cargo boxes that was loaded with sugar cane. He hid himself under the sugar canes leaving only enough room to breathe.

After the ship had docked in Savannah Georgia, Jake, left the ship. He stayed in Savannah Georgia for a very short period, and the only job that he was able to find while living in Savannah, Georgia was being a Taxi driver driving a horse and buggy.

That didn’t work out, so he decided to leave Savannah, Georgia, and returned to his home in Green Pond, S.C. When he returned home to his mother Sally told him that his father Frank was dead and buried. Jake found a job working as a flagman for the railroad, he got hurt almost losing his leg; a metal plate was placed inside the leg to replace the damaged bone. Jake remained in that job between twelve and fifteen years. Sally asked Jake to stay home and take over the farm. His mother turned all the property and land to him.

After he had returned home to Green Pond, S.C. he found the love of his life and married Miss Rebecca Jerideau.

He was appointed a Steward and a Trustee of Mount Olive African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Green Pond, S.C. He had a saying, “You must separate God’s money from your money. You must take God’s money out first before you go to (Town) Walterboro, S. C. on Saturday. It was alright to leave your money in Town, but you must bring God’s money to Church on Sunday.

Jake and wife would place their tithes and offerings for church in a coffee cup and placed the cup on the mantlepiece until Sunday. They always put God first. They walked to Church almost every Sunday. Sometimes he got a ride and was never late. They never seem to worry about anything.

Before he voted for the first time during the Civil Rights Era in Colleton County, Green Pond, S.C., His wife Rebecca begged him not to go. She was afraid that some of the white men may kill him. Because some of the white men had ask him to vote for them while some of the other white men threatened to kill him if he voted. Jake stood up so that we could stand up! He voted.

A few white men wanted to buy his property, but Jake and his mother refused. Some white men burned all his hay for feeding his mules and cows. They also killed his two mules to prevent him being able to work the land and plant a new crop of corn and hay that was destroyed. They knew that Jake would not have the means to pay his financial debts, he would lose his property.

They wanted to take his land away. However, with God’s blessing he was able to purchase two new mules. Jake was able to plant new crops of corn and hay, along with a large vegetable garden, He also raised hogs and chickens. As God would have it that was the most productive crop that year. He was able to sell some of his farm produce from his vegetable garden. He sold corn, cotton, hogs, and vegetables, to obtain the finance he needed to provide for his family, pay his land taxes and his farm debt.

Jake Bryant didn’t complete his high school education, but God blessed him with wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Like his father he brought more land and increased the size of the farm. He had the intelligence and insight to know that owning property was power, and power will bring about changes.

Because of Jake Bryant spirituality he was able to produce a large farm and in turn he was able to share with families who were less fortunate and destitute in the community both blacks and whites. Yes, he may have saved their family lives.

He was raised with interracial understanding and with the knowledge that racism exists, but without racial divisiveness. Everyone in the community both Black and Whites knew him as Uncle Jake; but to his family, he was Papa.

Jake Bryant was a well-known and respected person within the business and political community. He could get anything that he wanted and didn’t have to pay for it right away or make any down payment. For example, one of his grandsons, along with other community youths asked for the help to purchase the necessary equipment for them to have a baseball team, Jake simply asked the question of how serious they were of wanting to play and form this team without having the money. He told them to go to Brown’s Hardware Store in Walterboro and tell “Mr. Brown that Jake Bryant sent you and to give you all the baseball equipment that was needed and that I will take care of the bill when I get the next opportunity to get to town (Walterboro”) that store was 15 miles away. Politicians, who wanted to get support from the community would say, “You must talk to Uncle Jake first.”

One year during harvest season Jake Bryant took a truck load of cucumbers to the market to sell, and they told him that the stock market price for cucumbers had dropped, and they could not pay him the regular stock price. Jake said load my cucumbers back on the truck, l will take it back home and feed it to my hogs.

Jake Bryant never cheated anyone. And he didn’t let anyone cheat him. All those who had worked for him picking his cotton, he would show them the weight for the scale did not have lead poured in the center of them to make the scales heavier on the balance and the pound of cotton lighter in their sack which would be less than they had.

God continued to bless him with financial blessings, and he was able to purchase a riding plow to cultivate the land (tilling the land) and prepares the land for planting and seeding. He also purchases a riding hay cutter and a hay rack. He was a hardworking man with two mules he would work one from six in the morning and change to another mule in the afternoon. He also purchased a third mule, because the riding plow required two mules to pull it.

His financial blessing from God enables him to purchase more land that he could afford. He made the sacrifice not to sell any land but to pass it on to the children because he knew that the Lord was not going to make any more land in the future. Like his parents, he knew that the Lord blessed him with good health, a wonderful wife, and seven healthy children to help on the farm.

He would invite the entire community to help him harvest the produce, based on whatever amount you picked, the helpers took half, and the other half was for him.

Also, when it was hog butchering time, He would butcher at least twelve hogs at a time and some of the community people would come and help him clean and butcher the hogs and he would share with them. The community knew that they could ask him for almost anything, and he would give it to them.

He had a large barn that was always filled with corn, and a large vegetable garden that produced a high yield of different kinds of vegetables that he shared with others as well. Everyone in the community would say that he was blessed with a green thumb.

Jake Bryant was blessed with acres of land, and cows, no matter what he planted, the harvest was great. Jake used to raise the largest hogs around and grow the biggest, sweet potato. People within the community would talk about how large the sweet potatoes were that he had grown or how many bushels of corn he produced per acres or how much cotton he had planted.

Later he brought himself a motorbike for transportation. His family was afraid that he would get hurt or even kill himself because he could only stay on his motorbike while traveling in a straight direction. His problems were turning and stopping. He would jump off the motorbike and let it fall to the ground and stop itself.

He always put God first in his life and maintained his commitment to the needs of his family and his community family. He would say to them that as we advance in this life, we must learn the limits of our abilities and only then will we be able to understand fear, because we are growing up in the new south. His faith in God was strong and unwavering. He was a humble man, a strong individual and a role model for his family and his community family He serve his community well. He didn’t let his fear become bigger than his faith in God.

He would say that he didn’t ask to be a great person or accomplish great things, he just wanted to be a servant of his Heavenly Father. To love his family, his community family. He knew that faith and hope will nurse a burning desire for you to achieve a Godly life.

God had blessed him with great instinct to succeed in life, and yet he was just an ordinary person who was blessed to do extra ordinary things. Molly Graham and her descendants were just simple people that achieve great things through God’s unlimited blessings.

He stood up so that we could stand up. He was not just teaching his family but his community family as well that as we continue to raise and build a life in the new south, that we must, and they must be the vanguard for their future and the future of their children like they did for their family.

He said, to accomplish this, we must remember our heritage, know our strength, our ability, faith in God, and never submit or surrender to any man again. Because GOD has blessed him with wisdom, knowledge and understanding. And understanding is the source from which independent thinking is the path for success. Thanks Be to God.

Molly’s Legacy Continue…Read more the next edition.