Friday, April 3, 2015

CRAZY? or just LAZY?

In 1934 Byrd Worthington Ryland (my maternal grandfather) died in the Colorado Springs Psychiatric Hospital of either a) tuberculosis of 1 year + or b) Epilepsia, of 40+ years.  Colorado Springs had always been known as a haven for people with breathing problems, and through Byrd's life he often moved the family from Mulvane, Kansas to the Springs for his health.

In 1929 his wife and mother of 7 children filed for divorce on grounds of cruelty to her, and stated he was not fit to be custodian of the children.  Once the divorce was granted, my Grandma packed up the family and moved to California.

With the records available, it is hard to say if he was certifiably crazy.  But if you look at the time line I prepared for him in the course of my research, perhaps he was just lazy (he had a rich father, so he had lots of leeway in a vocation), or maybe he just drove his wife crazy moving all the time with 7 kids!  What'dya think?  Take a peek.


  • 1900 - Kansas - 1900 Census, student
  • 1902 Jan - Kansas - Postal carrier 
  • 1905 Mar - Kansas - Quit job to take up "Dakota" claim.
  • 1905 Apr - Kansas - Married Jessie C. Davis
  • 1906 Kansas - Baby Nevalyn Eugene Ryland born
  • 1907 Jun - Colorado - Entry in baby's baby book says "first trip"
  • 1908 May - Kansas - Business Card "Keeling & Ryland, Real Estate, Loans, Inc."
  • 1908 June to Oct - Idaho - Entry in baby's baby book says long vacation
  • 1908 October - Denver - Still on vacation per above
  • 1909 - Kansas - baby Florence Ryland born
  • 1910 - Kansas - 1910 census - selling real estate
  • 1911 - Colorado - baby Virginia Ryland born
  • 1911 - Colorado - Virginia's birth certificates says he was a druggist
  • 1911 - Colorado - newspaper ad says he worked at Spot Cash grocery, his father-in-law's grocery store.
  • 1915 - Kansas - baby Marie Ryland born
  • 1918 - California - moves family to Newport Beach.  Virginia attends 1st grade.
  • 1919 - Kansas - baby Byrd "Bert" Ryland born. Birth certificate says "Farmer"
  • 1920 - Kansas - 1920 census does not list an occupation.
  • 1921 - Kansas - baby Hugh Ryland born.  Birth Certificates says father is "Farmer"
  • 1926 - Colorado - baby Marjorie Ryland born.  Birth Certificate says "Grocer" (Father-in-law long dead, so it's not at his store.)
  • 1927 - 1929 - Colorado - City Directory gives no occupation.
  • 1929 Apr - Jessie files for divorce.  
  • 1929 Nov - Divorce granted
  • 1934 - July - Byrd M. Ryland dies.

I never knew this grandpa.  He died the year before I was born.  None of his children, my mother and my aunts and uncles, EVER would say a word about him.  Not a good word nor a bad word.  No word at all.  I did get my mother to say, in one of her more reflective moments, "Well, I was a teenager and pretty wrapped up in my own life.  I just recall that he kind of made life tough for all of us."  That was the extent of what she would say about him.

Many years after my mom died, I asked my dad if mom had ever said anything to him about her dad. He said she did not, and he never asked, but he did say that when Grandma Jessie, then living in California, got the news of his death, she cried as if her heart was broken.  I suppose one would most always have a tiny place in her heart for the father of her children.

Crazy? or just lazy?  We'll never know.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I keep trying to post a comment but it isn't as easy as it looks.
    Thank you, Bobbie, for posting the photo. I have never seen my grampa's face. There is one other photo somewhere but it is at a picnic outdoors and Grampa's face is in the shadow. From this photo I can see he has the delicate features that some of us inherited. My mother Marie had some fond memories of him -- especially at Christmas time. Maybe his children were aware of his fragility and kept a protective silence. I know he brought joyful times to my mother as well as sad ones.

  3. Steven Scott especially looks like him.