Bryan Cemetery is tucked away just off of I-40 and some say it is rich with Tennessee history. Angela Berrier helps oversee the cemetery and is a direct descendant of Peter Bryan, who the cemetery is named for.
“This cemetery was established back in probably the late 1860s. The property was given to Lucy Bryan by her father Thomas Bryan, who happened to be the son of Peter Bryan,” Berrier said.
Bryan was a revolutionary war soldier, and signed the Tennessee Constitution in 1796, bringing the state into existence. He is also credited with being instrumental in the development of Sevier County.
Berrier and the rest of the Bryan family have a number of ancestors buried in the cemetery, including two of Bryan’s children. Some of the graves date back to the Revolutionary War.
The Bryan family was concerned after learning the potential plan for a new Exit 408 shows the ramp going straight through the cemetery. Berrier also said the ramp may displace some of her family members that live nearby.
“The westbound exit would come right through here and would clip the corner and go right through this area here,” she said.
The goal for the additional exit ramp is to alleviate traffic and help with growth in the area. Berrier said they support development in the county, but hope those planning the ramp will thoroughly research the land they plan to use.
“We’re not opposed to progress by any means, what we do want to do is have our cemetery respectfully preserved. It is still an active cemetery, our last burial was in August of 2021,” she said.
The family reached out to the Tennessee Governor’s Office and was directed to the Tennessee Department of Transportation, which stated, “Our TDOT Region 1 Project Management in Knoxville has advised that the caller’s concerns and suggestions will be taken into full consideration during the planning process of this future project.”
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The plans are not finalized and will depend on the governor’s budget.