We had our family picnic yesterday in Asheville on Lake Julian. We started having them again on the second Saturday of June because that was the habit for most summers since the 1920’s. We stopped the picnic sometime in the early 2000’s because many of the old-timers were gone and we started having reunions that included bus tours and planned events, but those are held infrequently and don’t replace the casual visit once a year, so in 2011 we resurrected the tradition of the annual family picnic.
We also formed a family association in 2004 to help fund special events, share our genealogy research and maintain family burial sites. The association has been funded by membership dues and sales of memorabilia related to the family. I’ve been serving as the Secretary/Treasurer for the last couple of years to keep the mailing list current and the lines of communication open, but we need to form a committee to plan our next reunion. It will be one of the big ones!
Our common ancestor is Benjamin Hawkins who came to the western North Carolina mountains when the counties were being formed. He settled in just before the very first U.S. census was taken following the Revolutionary War. Benjamin was living in Rutherford County at the time of that first census (in 1790). Two years later, in 1792, Buncombe County was formed out of Rutherford and Burke Counties, so he next appears in Buncombe County in the U.S. Census of 1800. I’ll write more about him in later postings, but for now you know where the family comes from and why we still gather together.
Below is one of our pictures from the picnic last year. We have as many people interested in the genealogy as the ones interested in the food, so there is plenty to keep us busy for a few hours. One of our family members, Bill Trantham, passed away in May and I am so happy to have his picture from last year. Sharing pictures is just one of the benefits of a family gathering. You will also meet interesting cousins, catch up with the children and hear the stories from the old-timers who are so happy for fresh ears. And don’t forget, the best banana puddings are found at picnics!