Mary Florence (Clevenger) Bryant
Published: Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mary Florence (Clevenger) Bryant, 89, a native of Cocke County and a resident of White Pine since 1995, died November 19, 2012, under hospice care at her son's home in Nashville. She had suffered a debilitating stroke in January.

She was born August 18, 1923, in Newport, the daughter of Dan and Essie (Kyker) Clevenger.

Mary was preceded in death by her parents, husband James, infant son Glen Daniel, sister Georgie Ball, and brothers Stanley and Ernest.

She is survived by her son Charles Eugene (Gene) Bryant, Nashville, and family friend David Hamblin, Nashville; brother William Royce Clevenger, Morristown; sister Ina Ruth Ball, Russellville; and special niece Pat Coffey-Trotter, Russellville.

Mary and James Bryant were longtime residents of the English Creek community. They operated James Bryant Grocery on the old Cosby Road during the 1970s and 1980s. After James died in 1994, Mary moved to White Pine. In recent years she had divided her residency between White Pine and Nashville, where Gene provided care throughout her declining health.

Family and friends will gather in the Manes Funeral Home at 6:00 p.m. Saturday, November 24. A memorial service will begin at 7:30 p.m. with the Rev. Dr. Dan Rosemergy, minister of the Greater Nashville Unitarian Universalist Congregation, officiating. Visitations may continue briefly after the service.

Gene will eulogize his mother, focusing on her life since his father's death, including the last six years she spent with him in Nashville. He will also highlight his parents' Clevenger-Bryant and Cocke County heritage.

Mary is the third generation great-granddaughter of Thomas and Psyche 'Sitche' Clevenger, who migrated from Shenandoah County, Virginia in 1795 as the first Clevengers to settle in present-day Cocke County (on land now owned by ConAgra on Edwina Road, where two-centuries-old family headstones still exist).

James was the second generation great-grandson of Tarlton Bryant, who came from South Carolina around 1805 and settled along English Creek in the vicinity of present-day Bogard and Friendship Roads.

Mary is also the second generation great-granddaughter of 18th-century German immigrant Kuonrat Keicher (Kyker), whose grandson (Mary's great-grandfather), Joseph Jackson Kyker, settled in the Bogard community around 1850.

The service will cite history of the Big Pigeon Primitive Baptist Church, the first church in Cocke County and the spiritual home for Clevengers and Bryants for almost two centuries. Mary joined the church in 1948, a little more than a decade before that congregation eventually disbanded.

Mary will be buried beside her husband in the Bryant-Sisk Cemetery in the English Creek community.

Family and friends may register online at

Manes Funeral Home in charge

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