Hamilton County Pioneers - the Ryall Family

Sunday, September 16, 2007 - by John Wilson

Lamb Ryall made his way from his native Ireland to Hamilton County in the 1850s. The scenic section where he lived in East Brainerd had several springs that were a popular campmeeting spot and picnic area for many years.

According to his tombstone at Concord Baptist Church, he was “born in Ireland” in 1822. His name on the stone is given as Lemuel, and he is sometimes called Liam, but most often Lamb. He married Mary Jane Simpson, whose parents, Robert and Mary Duncan Simpson, also were from Ireland. The Simpsons settled along South
Chickamauga Creek, and the 700-acre Ryall Springs property was passed down from the
Simpsons to the Ryalls. Lamb Ryall's training was as a tailor, and he had no experience in farming.

The Ryalls had two daughters before the war, Mary and Elizabeth. A son, Thomas, was born at Cartersville, Ga., in 1866. The other children were Robert Samuel, James, Catherine, Edward and Alexander “Aleck.” The Ryalls built a comfortable two-story frame farmhouse near the springs. It had many fine features, including a handsome staircase. Many religious meetings continued to be held at the springs, and it was a
resort where many people gathered their drinking water and had family gatherings. Steps led down from East Brainerd Road to the springs, and basins were built around the bubbling waters. A pond fed by the springs was nearby. Though Ryall Springs was a Methodist campground, the Ryalls were Baptists, attending at Concord Church.

Lamb Ryall enlisted with the Confederacy's Co. H of the Fourth Tennessee Cavalry on Aug. 11, 1861, at Chattanooga. He was discharged after a year of service.

During the yellow fever epidemic of 1878, many families retreated out to Ryall Springs, including the Gus Woods, the N.P. Nails and the Bush and Engeldow families.

Lamb Ryall died July 30, 1894. Mary Jane Simpson Ryall lived until Sept. 14, 1915. She was then living at the community of Whorley with her eldest daughter, Mary, who had married E.H.M. Poe. Whorley was on East Brainerd Road in the vicinity behind the present P&S School Office and Art Supply.

Elizabeth married Frank J. Cornelison, and they were also at Whorley. Catherine married
Charles Jay. The Jays lived at Whorley and later at Ringgold. Hamilton County Commissioner Bill Hullander is one of the Charles Jay descendants. James Ryall moved to Arkansas, living at Jonesboro and Whitton.

Edward married Hattie Taylor, and they stayed at the Ryall homeplace with his mother.
Edward helped build the Morris Hill Baptist Church nearby and furnished lumber for it from the Ryall lands. He was a charter member, and some other Ryalls switched from Concord since Morris Hill was closer. Edward died in 1920 in the flu epidemic. A son, Ralph E., had died the previous year at age 4. A daughter, Cecil Lee, married John B. Schmitt. Hattie lived until 1952.

Aleck married Mary Etta Key in 1896 at Dalton, Ga. She was from Ellijay, Ga. They moved into Highland Park, and he worked as a carpenter, including many years at Scholze Tannery. Their large family included Pirnal who married William Hogan, Edward LaFayette who married Vina Helton, Flora Isabel who married Martin Miller Burt, Jackie who married Gabriel DeFord, Troy Roosevelt who married Ethel
Faye Edwards, Bessie Marie who married Elmer B. Carnes, Virgil Lemuel, Juanita Cate
who married Jeptha J. Edwards, Dee who married Homer H. Parker, Frank LeVirge “Toby” who married Edna Lowe, and Mary Elizabeth who married Fred C. Brand. Edward, Troy and Virgil were ironworkers, while Toby was a bus driver. Troy resides at Patten Towers.

Thomas Ryall stayed at the Ryall Springs property, building a log cabin home. He built
other homes near the springs, including a fine residence by the pond. He also operated a grocery store across from the springs. He was an early promoter of the McCallie Avenue tunnel through Missionary Ridge and was for improvements to Brainerd and East Brainerd roads. He was a district road commissioner in James County. His first wife was Rauzy Fowler, who was from Georgetown. She died in 1914 when she was 34 after a long illness with tuberculosis. She left sons, William, John “Jack” and Leo.
The second wife of Thomas C. Ryall was Lucy O'Neal, and she raised the three boys. Thomas Ryall died in 1944. Lucy lived until 1966. William married Ardie Newbill, and he was an engineer living in different parts of the country. He died at Arlington, Va. Jack lived at Memphis, Atlanta and later at Oak Ridge. Leo married Fern Brouhard. Leo died in 1940, but Fern still lives at Ryall Springs. Her son, Thomas Leo Ryall, also is still at Ryall Springs. He married Sandra Elmore. Their daughter, Laura Ryall, is a teacher at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. Another daughter, Mary, married John
Loftin. Thomas Leo Ryall also has a son, Eric. A daughter of Leo and Fern Brouhard Ryall is Sylvia who married Charles White.

The Ryalls gradually sold much of their extensive property around the springs. Subdivisions were built, including Mountain Shadows, and erosion clogged the springs until they and the steps and basins were covered over. There has been talk of having a work crew dig down to uncover historic Ryall Springs, but that has not yet materialized.

The original Lamb Ryall home at 1727 Morris Hill Road was owned for many years by John Collins. It was handsomely restored by Dr. and Mrs. George Mathis. Their grandson, Dean Clements, resides there.


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