PROF. JOHN M. BRYAN is the capable efficient Superintendent of the
public schools of Jackson County, who makes his home in Murphysboro. A
native of Mississippi, he was born February 6, 1853, and is a son of E. W.
and Mary (Medley) Bryan. The father was born in Sparta, Tenn., and was of
Scotch-Irish descent. His wife was born in White County, Tenn., near Sparta.
For some years he engaged in merchandising in his native state, but
afterward removed to Fulton, Miss. There he served as County Clerk, was
Probate Judge, Circuit Clerk, and for thirty-five years was Revenue
Collector. In 1866 he came to Murphysboro, where he was engaged in teaching
school. Here he was honored by being many times elected as Assessor and
Collector. He died in 1884, at the age of seventy-three years. He held
membership with the Christian Church. Mrs. Bryan still makes her home in
this place. In the family were two sons and two daughters, and the surviving
members are, William M., a conductor on the Chicago & Texas Railroad, and
Our subject spent the first twelve years of his life in his native state and then came with his parents to Illinois. He attended Ewing College for two years, after which he spent one year in the Ohio Normal School of Lebanon. He also attended the County Normal School of De Soto at different times, and in 1874 he began teaching. He was employed as Principal of the schools at Mt. Carbon until 1884, and then became Principal of the east side public schools of Murphysboro, which position he held until 1890, when he was elected on the Democratic ticket as County Superintendent. In December he entered upon the duties of the office, which he has since effectively filled. In addition to having the supervision of all of the schools of the county he holds examinations at this place and issues certificates to teachers. They also hold a successful normal school each summer, lasting ten weeks, and the annual teachers' institute, which is conducted with ability by competent instructors and has therefore proved of great value to the teachers.
On the 5th of June, 1879, Professor Bryan was united in marriage with Miss Emma McGowan, and their union has been blessed with four children, Walter, Minnie, Akka and Bessie. The parents hold an enviable position in the social circles, and their friends throughout the community are many. Mrs. Bryan is also a teacher and has spent twenty years in that profession, having been associated as instructor with nearly all of the county normals. She has also filled the highest positions in the county as teacher, having served as Principal of the Murphysboro schools.
For the past ten years Professor Bryan has been Secretary of the Odd Fellows' society and has represented his lodge in the Grand Lodge. He also belongs to the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and is a member of the .Southern Illinois Teachers' Association. He is a stockholder in the Jackson County Homestead Building and Loan Association. In politics he is a stalwart Democrat. He and his wife are faithful members of the Christian Church. He has served as Superintendent of the Sunday-school and takes an active part in church and benevolent work.
Professor Bryan is highly educated and is a successful instructor. Since becoming County Superintendent of Schools, he has succeeded in securing a uniform system of text books in nearly every district and in organizing township teachers' meetings. His untiring labors on behalf of the schools of tills community have given them an excellence of which the county may well be proud.
Extracted 28 Aug 2019 by Norma Hass from 1894 Biographical Review of Jackson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 564-565.
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