Blanche and Margaret Bryson

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

June 18, 19, 20:  These days are filled with uneventful proceedings not worth mentioning.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma didn’t write anything today, I’ll share some information about two of Grandma’s friends—Blanche and Margaret Bryson.

Milford, Margaret, Bertlet, and Blanche Bryson
Milford, Margaret, Bertlet, and Blanche Bryson

One of the things that I enjoy most about doing this blog is the opportunity to meet wonderful people—and to reconnect with people in the community where I grew up. I recently spent a wonderful evening with three of Blanche’s descendants—Jane Shuman (her daughter), Pam Cooper (her granddaughter), and Janet Shuman (her granddaughter-in-law). We looked at pictures, shared stories, and reminisced about people we knew.

This is what I learned about Blanche and Margaret–

At the time of the diary, Blanche Bryson was a teacher at the Keefertown School. It was one-room schoolhouse in a very tiny hamlet about 5 miles northeast of McEwensville. Today, Keefertown wouldn’t be considered a town at all, but just a cluster of several homes along a country road. During the week, Blanche boarded with the Frank Menges family so that she wouldn’t need to make the daily trip out to Keefertown from her family’s home.

Building that once housed Keefertown School. An addition and second floor were added after it became a home.
Building that once housed Keefertown School. An addition and second floor were added after it became a home.

About two years after the spot we are at in the diary, Blanche married O.W. (Oscar William) Kramm. Blanche and O.W. lived on a farm in Turbot Township for about 7 years, then moved to the Gaston Farm (near old Gaston School – now a chicken coop) on the Turbotville Road between McEwensville and Turbotville. They moved to McEwensville in 1939.

Their daughters, Ruth and Jane, were attending college in Bloomsburg by that time. Later Blanche taught the primary grades at the McEwensville School. She also taught a short time at Owltown (near Shamokin), Dewart, and the 8th Street School in Watsontown.

After she retired in 1962, she was a substitute teacher in the Warrior Run School District. (Small schools in the area became part of the Warrior Run District in the late 1950s).

Margaret was the youngest of the Bryson children and had a twin brother named Milfred (called Babe). There was also a brother, Bertlet, between Blanche and the twins. Margaret was always called Sis by family members. She married and divorced twice. Her first marriage was to a policeman, Heber Wolfe. They lived in nearby Milton and had two children.

Margaret was a nurse. She worked at the Muncy Women’s Prison, and also did hospital and private duty work. The prison is about 12 miles from McEwensville. It still exists, and is now called the State Correctional Institution—Muncy.

Both Blanche and Margaret lived well into their 80s, and according to Janet, “The Bryson girls remained close throughout their long lives.”

Milford, Blanche,Bertlet, and Margaret Bryson (1910)
Milford, Blanche,Bertlet, and Margaret Bryson (1910)

22 thoughts on “Blanche and Margaret Bryson

    1. I agree–It is wonderful how the web enables us to connect information and stories that otherwise never would come come together.

  1. Each of your grandma’s friends has a story. .How wonderful that you can gain access not only to your ancestors but to their extended families too, and they all enrich your own grandma’s story. 🙂

    1. Yes, each individual has a story. And, when we can find linkages that go across stories, it enriches the story for each of the individuals.

    1. I’ll probably never find the time to research it, but it would be really interesting to know more about the history of the prison.

  2. That’s really remarkable that you have so much detail about the lives of people in a diary 100 years ago, and a photo! Bravo for their lifelong friendships.

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