The Spirit Visitation By Otha Johnson Bryant

Some things just can’t be logically explained. In writing this post, I am reminded of unexplained events in my immediate family. Such as those coinciding with time of my paternal grandma’s (née Loy) father-in-law’s death; her stepmother’s death; my dad being suddenly paralyzed for a moment, later learning his father died several states away about that time; and my mom feeling her mom’s spirit in the middle of the night (in California) telling Mom goodbye, then learning next day Grandma passed away (in Illinois) approximately the same time. With this in mind, as far as I’m concerned, the family accounts in this article seem totally plausible. But beyond my opinion, I’ll leave validity for each reader to decide.

Otha “Johnson” Bryant (5 August 1878 Adair Co., KY – 24 March 1905 Adair Co., KY) was son of James “Gaither” and Mary (Loy) Bryant. Mary’s father Sellars Loy was son of Martin Luther Loy, son of John Loy, son of Martin Loy (to America 1741). On 5 January 1904 Johnson married his first cousin Patra Conover, whose mother Susannah (Bryant) Convover was Johnson’s aunt. That November they had baby son Marvin Bryant. Gaither’s, Patra’s, and Marvin’s Find a Grave memorials include their photos.

On the day baby Marvin turned four months old, his father met a tragic death. This was detailed in the Wednesday, 29 March 1905 Adair County News (Columbia, KY):


Johnson Bryant Loses His Life in a Saw-Mill.

His Head Cut Half off, one Arm Broken and Otherwise Mutilated.


   A most horrible accident occurred at Fairplay, this county, last Friday morning at 9 o’clock. Johnson Bryant, a son of Mr. Gaither Bryant, was employed in a saw-mill and the machinery was in operation. Suddenly Johnson lost his balance and he was thrown across the big wheel, cutting his head half off, breaking one arm and otherwise injuring him. He never spoke. When the accident occurred the mill was stopped and the other hands viewed the remains of their comrade in horror.
Mr. Bryant’s wife and parents were soon notified, and their anguish on reaching the scene can not be described.
Johnson Bryant was a young man of honorable and respected parents, and was very industrious. The sympathy of every body is with the distressed father and mother, the devoted wife and one child. He was buried Saturday, a large number of relatives attending last sad rites over the remains of one they loved in life.

Days later, the Wednesday, 5 April 1905 Adair County News (Columbia, KY) had this to report:

   The following remarkable occurrence comes from the late home of Johnson Bryant, who was killed in a saw-mill, near Fair play, ten days ago. It was brought to town by Mr. Joe Nat Conover who was at the Bryant home on Thursday last, hearing the story from members of the family and also Mrs. Ike Taylor, who was an aunt of the deceased. Mr. Conover states that Mrs. Taylor and another lady were sitting up a few nights ago, the family of Mr. Bryant having retired. Suddenly they heard singing, the words of the song they had never before heard, and after listening all the members of the family got up and asked if they heard the music. They could see no one nor hear the footsteps of any person, and they at once concluded that the singing was done by the spirit of the departed. The singing continued and Mrs. Bryant, the mother of Johnson, memorized the words, and now sings them. They are about heaven and the angels. Furthermore, they declare that they have seen Johnson face to face, heard him talk and then see him disappear. These people are all reliable, and say they cannot be mistaken in what they saw and heard.

2 Replies to “The Spirit Visitation By Otha Johnson Bryant”

    1. loyhistoriansavant Post author

      You’re welcome, and thanks for the encouraging comments! 🙂 As mentioned in the article, there’s also a story about when Grandma’s stepmother (Aunt Alma’s mother) died. I should mention Grandma’s dad John N. Loy and her stepmother Frances have wrong dates on their shared gravestone, their death months being “swapped.” Which is why, when I was back in Effingham in 1994, I couldn’t find their obituaries in the microfilmed newspapers; I was searching wrong months!

      According to my (late) dad, who was 9 when his step-grandmother passed away in July 1933, during her final days her sickbed was placed outside, it being a warm summer. With friends and family around her, as she was dying, she told them she saw angels and a chariot of fire.

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