Mt. Vernon IL Register (Weekly) - May 5, 1886
Old Settlers Meeting
A relic of the last century there was exhibited a "Sum Book", the property of
J. C. SUMMERS, of Spring Garden Township, formerly the property of his grandfather SUMMERS.
This production ante-dated the American Revolution and for mechanical execution in the style
of penmanship and general "make-up" is unsurpasssed by this day and generation.
It was made in North Carolina........ A bouquet from Mrs. W. B. THORN was presented to
Mrs. Annie MOSS, the oldest lady present - born May 6, 1798 in Louisa County, Virginia. -
a citizen of Jefferson County, without intermission from the 17th of April, 1819, to the
present time....... Also, a bouquet from Mrs. J. O. CHANCE was ordered to be presented
to David MCCONNAUGHAY, the oldest man present, he being 90 years of age.
Mt. Vernon IL Register (Weekly) August 4, 1886
Last Thursday Mr. J. R. MADDUX of this city, visited Walnut Hill in Marion
County and interviewed a number of the parties who are organizing a colony
to emigrate to Oregon. Mr. MADDUX says that they have an organization and
a set of officers. They hold meetings every Saturday, which are usually
attended by hundreds of people and are in correspondence with parties all
over Indiana and Illinois who desire to accompany them to Oregon. They have
applied to the L. & N. railroad at this point for transportation rates.
Mr. MADDUX reports the condition of the farmers of that part of Marion County
much worse than here in Jefferson.
Mt. Vernon IL Register (Weekly) - August 4, 1886
Attention is called to the notice of the reunion of the GASTON family in another
column of the paper. This reunion is to take place in August and will be one of
the largest ever held by one family connection in this part of the country. The
ancestry of this family can be definitely traced back to Wm. GASTON, an old
Revolutionary War Soldier. From him the entire line of families included in the
reunion are descended, and number among the hundreds. Very many of the principal
families of the county are connected with the GASTON family, for instance the entire
KELL connections, Seymour ANDREWS and others, of Centralia and vicinity. Descendants
are to be found in nearly every State in the Union. Notices have been sent from South
Carolina already of attendance from that State. The same can also be said of Missouri
and other States. Prominent speakers have been procured for the occasion, and every
preparation necessary to the comfort and convenience of guests has been made.
The reunion will be held at the Covenanter Church for the reason that grandfather,
father and four sisters lie buried there, while an aunt of the elder living GASTONs
located that burying ground, and was the first person buried there.
Mt. Vernon Register Weekly - August 18, 1886
Uncle Fletcher JOHNSON has a cow whose family ties run back 68 years,
the ancestral mother having been brought from Tennessee by James JOHNSON--
his father--68 years ago. When Uncle Fletcher went to keeping house his
father gave him a cow of this family, and he has been in possession of
decendants ever since. Although the original blood has perhaps about
disappeared the cow is still a decendant. Who can beat that?
Mt. Vernon IL Register (Weekly) - August 18, 1886
On Wednesday and Thursday of last week occurred the reunion of the
GASTON - BOGGS - TELFORD - ANDREWS - CUNNINGHAM, and family at the Old Covenanter Church,
northwest of Rome. It was a remarkable gathering - about 900 persons, and at least 600 of
these kin folks. The record shows that there are alive 9 children, 55 grandchildren, 330
great-grandchildren, 670 great-great-grandchildren and 159 great-great-great-grandchildren
-- total, 882.
The above named families and some others not mentioned, all early settlers, have so intermarried
that the family relationship is perhaps the largest to be found in Southern Illinois. By common
consent the head of this family was Wm. GASTON, Sr., who was a soldier under WASHINGTON in the
Revolutionary War. He and his sons and grandsons and great-grandsons and great-great-grandsons
have since then answered to roll-call in every war in which the honor of the country had to be
defended -- the War of 1812, the Blackhawk War, the Mexican War, and the late war against rebellion.
He had six sons in the Mexican War, and only four of them returned. In the late war he had nine
grandsons and thirty-six great-grandsons. Not only have these worthy descendants of an illustrious
sire been patriotic, but they have in every respect been good citizens. None of them have ever
been convicted of crime or charged with drunkenness or immorality. The greater number of them
have been tillers of the soil, while a few have been preachers, and a few physicians, but none
lawyers. The female part have been the salt of the earth in the circles in which they have moved.
The reunion was one of the most enjoyable occasions it has been the writer's good fortune to attend.
Everybody present was entertained with genuine old-fashioned hospitality. On the first day by
invitation, Ge. PAVEY addressed the gathering. His talk was of the home-made kind and just sited
the occasion. He had some manuscript in his pocket, but forgot all about it until he had finished
his speech, and it was a good thing that he did, for his talk was from the heart, and that is always
worth more than paper talk. Many camped out that night and remained on the ground the next day, when
the crowd was still larger. Rev. J. M. GREEN was the speaker for the second day, and he never fails
to interest his hearers. Others also made appropriate remarks beside what was said by the family.
In addition to this there was music, amusements, refreshments, and everything calculated to make
all forget the drouth and difficulties of life, and make them feel that they were resting at the
half way place between heaven and earth - Paradise. It was the largest family fathering we ever
attended, and at the same time the most enjoyable one - a miniature type of the grand assembling of
the hosts of Israel on the other shore - where death, weariness, parting, and the burden and heat
of the day will never again disturb the enjoyment of this remarkable family. An interesting scene
was enacted when, upon the request of Mr. BREEZE, upward of a dozen gray-haired persons stood up in
the audience representing the remnant of scholars who together had gone to school near the old church,
when the country was a wilderness and they had the bare ground for a floor, in the middle of which
a fire was built, the smoke finding its way out of the chink holes and other apertures.
An old arithmetic, all of which was written, and the book made one hundred and forty years ago,
was exhibited. It was made by Robert GASTON, and the matter it contained as well as the quaint hand
in which it was written, attracted great curiosity. To make one think of the olden time a fife and
drum corps was present and played the old tunes which over a hundred years ago made the heart of
the colonial settler stir with patriotism.
The reunion was a grand success, a commingling together of the children of the children whose
fathers and grandfathers fought and bled for the country in the early days they had sought as a
refuge from oppression, an asylum of freedom, in the perpetuation of which they at all times and
stages contributed by their deeds of daring and their deeds of patriotism. The inscriptions on
the monuments in the cemetery close by shows that a large part of the relationship have already
crossed the flood. And part are crossing now. May they all have a safe anchorage.