Some of my earliest memories involve family reunions – whether they were impromptu gatherings with the local family members on the weekend or planned affairs requiring travel to another city or state. There were reunions that continued throughout my childhood and reunions that began during my childhood. Before I came along there had been others.
On the paternal side of the family, what once had started as the Amore-Werts Reunion became the Amore-Baker reunion. Originally, it was to bring together the families of my Great-Grandfather William Henry Amore and my Great-Grandmother Mary Angelina Werts. The very first reunion was held May 25, 1924 in Roscoe, Coshocton County, Ohio at their home with about 100 persons attending. This is the newspaper clipping about the gathering:
Other reunions were held and by the time I began attending (in the ’60s), they had changed to the Amore-Baker reunion. This merged the Amore family with the Baker family (my grandfather’s sister – the only daughter of Henry and Annie Amore – married a Baker).
These reunions were held at the Grange Hall on the Coshocton Fairgrounds in July each summer. There was plenty of good food, games (horseshoe, softball, frisbee) and family chat interspersed with the normal “business” part of the reunion – election of the following year’s officers, reading of the business minutes, a treasurer’s report, and planned entertainment. Up to 80 persons attended these reunions.
My dad’s siblings held a reunion once each summer as well. The first one was at my Uncle Paul’s home in St. Clare Shores, Michigan in the summer of 1967 attended by all but one of the children of Lloyd and Ella (House) Amore and their families. Each summer the Descendents of Lloyd and Ella Amore met at one of the sibling’s homes. The second year we held the reunion at our home outside of Dayton.
(Left to Right: Norman, Gene, Gail and Paul Amore)
My grandmother’s family had the annual Wilt reunion every year. For many years it was held in New Castle and some times at individual homes. A newspaper clipping about the 1959 reunion follows:
(Left to Right: Clifford, Vesta, Nellie and Clarence Wilt)
When I was close to adolescence, my grandfather and his two first cousins, Glen O. Blazer and Ada Blazer Black, decided to hold the Johnson-Blazer reunions. Most of the time these were held in Urbana, Champaign County, Ohio at the home of Glen and Nina Blazer. Once we hosted the reunion at our home.
(Left to Right: Glen Johnson, Glen and Nina Blazer, Ada Black Blazer)
The descendents of my 2nd great-grandparents – Emanuel Bushong Stern and Nancy Caylor Stern – (Stern Reunion) was held at Beaverton, Michigan in the early in July 1972. It was held on a descendent’s farm.
Long before I came along, there was also the Caylor reunion for the descendents of Abraham and Susannah (Miller) Caylor. The only information I have about these reunions is a few pictures with the words “Caylor Reunion” on the back.
My grandfather’s family also held reunions prior to my time. They ended about 20 years before I was born. These were the Johnson-Shively reunions. I have as much information about these as I could hope since I have the actual Reunion Book in my possession. It includes minutes from each reunion held, those invited, births, deaths and marriages recorded each year, and addresses.
One of my Johnson cousins scanned the photo taken at the first Johnson-Shively reunion and shared it with me. I don’t know who the photographer was so I would like to thank my cousin, Virginia, for allowing me to have a copy of this.
Minutes (transcribed) from the Minute Book:
Organization Aug 16 – 1915
Johnson and Shively reunion organized Aug 16, 1915 at the home of J.L. Johnson 99 Indiana Ave. Anderson, Indiana. Several relatives and minds were invited to this home in honor of J.W. Johnson. “J.L. Johnson’s father”. It being his birthday. He being the oldest of the Johnson family now living.
A great number of relatives responded from all over the state and a general good time was enjoyed by all.
At the noon hour a sumptious dinner was served. This being one of the most important events of the day was enjoyed by both young and old to the fullest extent.
Before departing for their several homes it was decided that we meet yearly and the following officers were duly elected
President J Milton Johnson, Lapel, Ind.
Secretary Frank Shively, Anderson
A motion was made and 2nded to meet the next August at Riverside Park, Anderson, Indiana.
Business being concluded all departed for their homes thinking it a day well spent.
In July 2002, the 1st “Cousins” reunion was held for the Descendents of Glen Roy Johnson and Vesta (Wilt) Johnson – my grandparents. It was held at my cousin’s home outside of Dayton, Ohio and attended by all but two of the cousins and their families.
Other gatherings that we generally don’t consider “reunions” are when we are in Ohio or Missouri to visit. This past summer most of the family gathered at my in-laws’ home to celebrate their 60th Wedding Anniversary. The last time most of my husband’s side of the family was together were either at funerals or the 50th Anniversary celebration of his parents. In Ohio, most of my cousins gather together for a pot-luck meal so we can all visit.
Amore-Wertz Reunion: Coshocton Tribune, 550 Main St., P.O. Box 10, Coshocton, OH 43812; May 5, 1927
Amore Family Has Reunion: Xenia Daily Gazette, 30 South Detroit Street, Xenia, OH 45385; August 22, 1968
Wilt Reunion: Anderson Daily Bulletin, 1133 Jackson St.; Anderson, IN 46016; September 8, 1959
Johnson-Shively Reunion: Unknown newspaper; clipping emailed from a cousin.