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Book details
  • Genre:HISTORY
  • SubGenre:Social History
  • Language:English
  • Pages:390
  • eBook ISBN:9781543939637
  • Paperback ISBN:9781543939620

Bryant Acres

A Love Story

by Ann L. Patterson Early and Quinn Early

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At the height of slavery in the antebellum south, a free man of color sold himself into indentured servitude and went on to become one of the wealthiest land owners of the time. And in the process built a multi-racial community.
The story of Sherrod Bryant begins in a small village on the border of North Carolina. It's a story about a young man who had very humble beginnings. Sherrod wanted to become a gentleman farmer but would go on to become one of the most successful land and plantation owners in the south during the 1800's. The fact that he accomplished this isn't the amazing part. What's amazing about Sherrod Bryant's story is the fact that he was a successful despite being a man of color. Sherrod was raised in a village where people of all persuasions lived, worked, intermarried and had families together. Sherrod's father Silas was one of the elders and was instrumental in building this diverse community. At the age of 21, Sherrod, decides to leave the comforts of his village and travel to Virginia. Sherrod becomes an indentured servant at Cole Manor, which is owned by Jesse Cole. For six months, this would be Sherrod's home and place of employment. While at Cole Manor, Sherrod works closely with Jesse's daughter Mary Polly. Sherrod and Mary Polly soon turn Cole Manor into one of the most successful cotton plantations in the south. What Jesse doesn't know is, Sherrod and Mary Polly have fallen in love. This forbidden relationship could never be shared with anyone because doing so would mean certain doom for the both of them. Working at Cole Manor allows Sherrod to hone and sharpen his farming and managerial skills. Being a part of Cole Manor's success earns Sherrod free man papers that allows him to travel without fear of being stolen, sold or killed. Once Sherrod leaves Cole Manor, Sherrod spends several years working with Mary Polly's cousin Ruben in a neighboring town. Sherrod then moves to Nashville Tennessee where Marry Polly's brother Joel lives with his family. Once in Nashville, Sherrod helps the local economy grow through his knowledge of farming and business. Sherrod becomes a welcome part of the community, although he's still regarded as less than because of his color. Through the next several years, Mary Polly visits her brother Joel and his family but most importantly, Sherrod. Although Joel and his family support the relationship between Sherrod and Mary Polly, they know that the rest of the world wouldn't be as accepting, especially Marry Polly's parents who had complete financial power over her. Our story takes a turn when Mary Polly has Sherrod's child named Henderson. Her uncles find out about the son that Mary Polly and Sherrod are raising in secret. They decide to share the information with Marry Polly's parents. Mary Polly and Sherrod know that this is the end of their relationship as they know it, and that she would no longer be able to visit. With financial help from Mary Polly and support from the community, Sherrod purchases and cultivates more than 700 acres of land. He buys slaves who he gives freedom. Sherrod provides jobs and helps them to live as free people in Bryant Town. Many years pass with no word from Mary Polly. Bryant Town grows beyond Sherrod's wildest dreams. One day, Sherrod is paid a visit by Joel. Sherrod greets Joel and from the carriage, he hears a woman's voice. That voice now weak and feeble belongs to Mary Polly. The two are finally reunited after many years of being apart. Mary Polly is amazed but not surprised at the successful life that Sherrod has made for himself, Henderson and the people of Bryant Town. Sherrod has created a place where all free people could live in peace and tranquility, while becoming one of the wealthiest and most successful men in the south.
About the author
Ann L. Patterson Early was born on July 29th, 1937 in Nashville, TN. When Ann was a young girl, she would spend many hours with her grandmother, "Big Mama." Big Mama would tell Ann of their family history and the rich stories about her great great grandfather, Sherrod Bryant. He was a man of color who lived during the height of slavery in the antebellum South. Sherrod sold himself into indentured servitude. He went on to become one of the wealthiest land owners of the time, and in the process, built a multi-racial community. Ann promised Big Mama when she was young lady, that she would write a book about this amazing man. After many years of research, at age 60, Ann did exactly that. In 2008, Ann was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Ann's son Quinn became her primary care taker. Over the next five years, they spent beautiful quality time together. Ann shared the stories from Big Mama that she wrote in her sole authored novel about her family lineage, tying back to the brave indentured servant Sherrod Bryant and his adventures. Ann's wish was for Quinn to carry on her dream of bringing this story to life. Ann passed the torch to Quinn who began to carry it with pride. In 2013 Dr. Ann L. Patterson Early passed away from complications of Alzheimer's. Quinn Early was born on Long Island, New York. He grew up in the theater where his mother, Ann was a play write. Quinn got an education in acting at a very young age. He always knew that he wanted a career in the performing arts but had a detour along the way. The NFL became his stage in 1988 when Quinn played wide receiver for 12 years. Since retiring from the NFL, Quinn has dedicated his life to various charities and working with children. As a tribute to Ann, Quinn has started the Ann Early Intervention Foundation which focuses on brain health, preservation and recovery in Ann's name. Proceeds from the sale of Bryant Acres will go to the foundation, as well as, the Alzheimer's association.