“When I, the author, was about 6 or 8 years old I went on one of my Great Maw’s (great grandmother Barker/Dodd’s) excursions with her. She, a direct descendant of Samuel and Sarah Day Boone, took me to Bryan Station. On that 1950s excursion, after much back and forth “jockeying” of Great Maw’s usual great big black (or once baby blue!) Cadillac alongside the narrow rural road, Great Maw finally stopped with my passenger side window afforded the “best” view through the shrubbery of the famous Bryan Station fort and “women at the well” memorial site.
Then she proceeded to tell me the story of how, in the face of Indian attack, the women (at least one of whom was my relative) had so stoically and bravely gone to the well to secure water to be carried back inside the waterless fort for use during the at-any-moment anticipated siege.
After imparting the details of the women’s heroism she then admonished me as follows: I was told that no matter what difficulties I would face in life it was highly unlikely that I would ever be asked to endure the harrowing circumstances that these brave women had endured. I was told that these woman had behaved bravely and with dignity and strong character under seriously adverse circumstances and that, in my life, when I thought times were difficult I was to remember these women’s story and to remember that my problems were relatively minor and to conform my behavior to emulate their poise, demeanor and strength of character. I was told that, if called upon, I could do it too.
It is amazing how many times in my life I have pondered and drawn strength from Great Maw’s Bryan Station lesson. When, in the summer of 2007, I was graciously invited to a re-enactment of the women going to the well, during the ceremony I sat on the back row between Dr. David McMurtry and Dr. Ron Bryant. As the re-enactors appeared and began their journey down the hill towards the well I found that tears uncontrollably “welled” up in my eyes and profusely ran down my cheeks. It was a very special moment in my life and one that I will never forget. I will always be grateful for the production of and the invitation to that event.