Today’s #GenealogyPhotoaDay theme is “Cousins.” This is my maternal grandmother’s side of the family. The Wilt cousins met in Indiana on April 29, 1977 (where most of them lived) for this photo.
Left to right standing: the caption says “Eva” but I believe it is Dortha Zirkle McDonnell, Helen Zirkle Lynam, Russell Weiss, Glen R Johnson (my maternal grandfather); seated beginning in center moving clockwise: Edith Pierce Taylor, Eva Zirkle Weiss, Freda Pierce Franklin, Nellie Wilt Lilly (my great-aunt), Vesta C Wilt Johnson (my maternal grandmother), and Hurchell McDonnell.
Eva May Zirkle was a first cousin to my grandmother – Vesta C (Wilt) Johnson. Eva was the daughter of Mary Lou Wilt and Dillman Zirkle. She was born May 10, 1904 in Henry county, Indiana; married Russell Weiss on April 27, 1929 and died December 2, 1999. Helen Zirkle was Eva Zirkle’s younger sister. She was born December 20, 1910 in Middletown, Indiana; married Carl Lynam on January 12, 1935, and died January 22, 2004. Freda Elizabeth Pierce was my grandmother’s 1c1r (1st cousin one time removed). She was the daughter of Bertha Hofherr and Kenneth Pierce and granddaughter of Sarah C Wilt and John Hofherr. Freda was born Oct 23, 1918 in Salem, Indiana; married Harley Franklin on Oct 23, 1937, and died on July 16, 2013. Edith Ethel Pierce was Freda’s older sister. She was born on September 7, 1916 in Salem, Indiana; married Henry Arnold Taylor on September 12, 1936, and died February 6, 1994. My grandmother’s sister, Nellie M (Wilt) Lilly was also in town from Olympia, Washington for this event. The man listed as “Hurschul” – I believe was the husband of Dortha Zirkle (sister of Eva and Helen). (I am not positive but I believe the woman standing at the left was really Dortha and not “Eva” as marked.) Dortha was born on June 12, 1891; married Lawrence Pittsford on April 20, 1912. After he died in 1964, Dortha married Hurchell McDonnell on September 2, 1965. Dortha died on January 24, 1979.
The Wilt cousins had a reunion once a year and for many years it was held in Noblesville, Indiana. In the 1980s, the reunion was once held at my grandparents’ Dayton, Ohio apartment building in the party room and pool and once at my brother’s home outside of Dayton, Ohio. At least one other time during the year, my grandparents would travel from Dayton to Indiana to visit Wilt cousins or some of them even came to Dayton. I am thankful that I remember the reunions – even though I wasn’t old enough or appreciative enough to want to listen to stories then!