Finding Your Folks: Seeking living descendants of William Redding Byers

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

Most people who write to the column are looking for their ancestors who died long ago. But this week we're looking for living descendants so we can have a proper tombstone dedication.

Shannon Byers of Lilburn is planning a dedication service for her ancestor, William Redding Byers, and needs all the living descendants she can find for a worthy and respectful service. The service will be held at the Tanner's Baptist Church in Ellenwood, Clayton County, in September.

Shannon had already placed a message on the Rootsweb email list and message board (which I saw as it came across). She also had contacted Steven Bramlett who is a dedicated researcher and keeper of records for the East Point Historical Society. Steven found an old obit which was pertinent to our cause. It appears below.

Shannon actually is seeking living descendants of Thomas Byers, William Byers' son, who lived on the south side of Atlanta.

Shannon wrote:

"I am having a tombstone dedication service for my husband's 3rd great-grandfather who was a Civil War vet (served in South Carolina and then moved to Georgia) and he never had a tombstone.

"Long story short, since January I have been planning this service and have gotten help from the Jonesboro SCV camp and they have enlisted the help of the Frankie Lyle UDC camp so that this service can be all that it can be. 

"I have not been able to find living descendants for three of (William Redding Byars') children, one of which lived in Clayton and then I believe Fulton County.  He died in Milledgeville in 1958 and his body was brought back to East Point for burial. Unfortunately, we do not know the cemetery." [Maybe we do. See below.]

"I am desperately trying to track down any descendants he might have to find out if they would be interested in attending their ancestor's dedication service next month. Steven (Bramlett) seems to think that they 'might' be related to the Byers that owned the ice cream company in East Point at some point and he is looking at that aspect for me.

"Anyway ... when you have time, if you think this is something you might find interesting for your blog, I will be glad to provide what information I have.

"Below is what I sent out to some of the Rootsweb mailing lists today that Steven responded to:

"Looking for any living descendant of Thomas Francis Byers born around 1878 in North Georgia, son of William Redding and Elizabeth Banks Byers of Pickens County, S.C.  I know in 1920 Thomas was in Clayton County, Ga. and I believe he died in the state hospital in Milledgeville around 1958. His wife's name was Annie and they had (to my knowledge) Lola Bell, Charles Thurman and Mary V. Byers. I believe Charles Thurman Byers passed away around 1982 but I know of no descendants for him.

"Also looking for a living descendant of Lula A. Byers Martin, b. 1882 in north Georgia, who married Samuel B. Martin in 1903 in north Georgia and had the following children: Cleo, Burl, Otto, Austin, Ira, George, Moline, Judge and Hoyt Martin. To my knowledge, Lula and Sam stayed in the Dawson County area (Ducktown) but I have no idea where the children migrated.

"Lastly, I'm looking for a living descendant of Mary Amanda Byers, b. 1866, married George A. Roper in 1879 in Dawson Co., Ga. They then moved to Arkansas and had the following children: Emma, John, Jesse, Julia, Richard, James, Lula, Thomas and Carlos Roper.

"We are having a tombstone dedication service for their father, William Redding Byers, in September in Clayton County, Ga. and would love to find a living member of the family to represent Thomas, Lula and Amanda at the festivities. We already have the other four children represented but would love to find more of those families as well. 

"If you are, or know of a member of this family please contact me as soon as possible.

"Shannon Byers, Lilburn, Ga. ("

Shannon and I corresponded several more times and she sent the obituary Steven found on Thomas F. Byers in an old issue of the Suburban Reporter, a local newspaper published weekly in East Point years ago. The Byers obituary appeared in the June 19, 1958 issue and read:

"Funeral services for Thomas F. Byers of 237 Harlan Dr. S.E. were held Sunday, June 15 from the Chapel of Howard L. Carmichael and Sons. Rev. Herman Allison and Rev. George O. King officiated.

"Born in Bartow* County, Mr. Byers had lived in the Atlanta area since 1918. He was a member of the Mt. Zion Methodist church.

"Mr. Byers was a retired farmer and a former member of the Woodmen of the World. He died June 13th at a local hospital after an illness of about six months. He was 78.

"Survivors include daughters, Mrs. M.D. Pruitt of East Point and Mrs. M.L. Wallace of Atlanta; a son, Charles T. Byers of Atlanta; six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren."

*Shannon says that Thomas was born in Dawson County, not Bartow, where he was one year old in the 1880 census. His World War I Draft Registration Card gives his birth date as 17 Feb. 1880. She also said that Mrs. M.L. Pruitt in the obituary was Thomas' daughter, Lola.

Steven Bramlett said he thought Mt. Zion Methodist was on Metropolitan Parkway, formerly Stewart Avenue, and it has a large cemetery.

If you are a descendant of this family or can help Shannon in any way, please contact her at the above email address. Here's hoping she has a great turnout for her dedication ceremony.

Stories about your families who lived on Atlanta's south side are always welcome. Send stories to or Mail to The Citizen, P.O. Drawer 1719, Fayetteville, GA 30214. All letters and e-mails I receive are subject to being used in the column.

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Submitted by shanifaye on Sun, 08/10/2008 - 7:08pm.

Thru a series of events starting at the Mt. Zion Methodist church cemetery yesterday, I have tracked down and talked to two people from Thomas Byers' family!! Evidently his daughter Lola married Madison Pruett, they had a daughter Annette who married James Thomas Briant and it seems the Briant family settled in the Fayette County area!! Of course any other descendants that read this are welcome to contact me as well, the more the merrier!!!

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