August 20, 1953

 

This Article Appeared In The Times

But Was Not Actually Titled Calís Column

 

Gregorys Meet At Sycamore Valley

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†† On last Sunday morning, fairly early, members of the Gregory family or north Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky began to meet for a day of reunion, at Sycamore Valley Baptist church, located about ten miles southeast of Lafayette. The church extended an invitation some years ago to the family to have their reunion with this congregation of Baptists. The church responded in a wonderful way, with plans made for caring for the cars, ice water to drink and a long wire table 110 yards long on which to spread the lunch.

 

†† The editor of the Times served as master of ceremonies, which began about ten thirty o'clock and consisted of songs, prayer, introductions, including that of the oldest Gregory present, Jack Gregory, of Gallatin, now almost 86 years of age and nearly blind; and talks by various persons, including a speech by E. L. McDonald, whose mother, Sarah McDonald, was a Miss Gregory prior to her marriage to Edward Greene McDonald. The editor gave a brief account of the lines of descent of the two brothers, Thomas and John Gregory, and also exhibited a tie he had received as a present from a Mrs. Straub, of Champaign, Illinois, a relative, who spent some time recently in Scotland where she obtained the tartan from which the tie was made. The tartan or large piece of goods was known as Scotch plaid and was woven by our MacGregor relatives in Scotland.

 

†† On account of the fact that the editor was scheduled to hold a funeral Sunday afternoon, he refrained from wearing the Scotch plaid tie because of its having so much red in it.

 

†† Shortly after twelve o'clock, we dismissed for about two hours for lunch. The noon hour was spent in eating from the long wire table, with enough food on hand to have fed perhaps three times as many as were present. The crowd was estimated at about 600 persons, practically all of whom were either Gregorys or closely related either by blood or marriage.

 

†† The afternoon session was presided over by Elder Arnett G. Gregory, son of Otha Lillard Gregory, son of W. C. [Dock] Gregory, son of John Gregory, son of Ambrose Gregory, son of Bry Gregory, son of Thomas Gregory. The editor left at one thirty o'clock for a funeral service near Lafayette and regretted to miss that part of the service, which in some respects was the most important. It was decided to form an organization, to meet annually, with a president, secretary and treasurer and a historian. Elder Clemons Gregory, brother of Arnett, was chosen as secretary and treasurer. The Times editor was elected, in his absence, as historian. The next meeting is to take place on the third Sunday in August, 1954, with fairfield church, near Russellville, Ky., Elder Arnett Gregory was elected president.

 

†† It is planned to get out a program next year, the Lord willing, with a number of speakers, including some from Crawford County, Indiana; Halifax, Lunenburg and Mecklenburg Counties, Virginia, and elsewhere. We also hope to have Comgressman Gregory, of Mayfield, Ky., with us next time. We had hoped to have William L. Gregory, president of the firm of Easton-Taylor Trust Co., of St. Louis, Mo., with us on last Sunday. At the last minute, as it were, he notified the editor of the Times of his inability to be on hand. Next year, we count on his having a leading part in the program.

 

†† Some have wondered why we met at Sycamore Valley Baptist church. The reasons were numerous. Peyton's Creek is the name of the stream that flows down the valley in front of the church house. The ground on which the church building stands was owned many years ago by Curtis Gregory, born in 1813, and who donated the land to the church; near the church is the spot on which stood the large dead tree cut down in the year 1814 for wood to heat saltpeter from the cave nearby, to make gunpowder in the war that began in 1812. The felling of the tree crushed to death Ansil Gregory, who lived near enough to the place where his son was killed to take his mule and sled and take the body to his home. However, we have sought in vain to find exactly where he lived in that year. The church stands on the banks of the stream on which the very first Gregorys in Middle Tennessee lived as early as the fall in 1791. Peyton's Creek was also the early home of practically all the Gregory family. From this section some of them went to Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Texas and other States.

 

†† Peyton's Creek rises seven miles east of Lafayette, at the dividing ridge. At the place where the road descends from the Highland Rim is the Mima Gregory Hill, named for Jemima Gregory, widow of Ambrose Gregory, son of Bry. About a half mile from the Mima Gregory Hill is a narrow field once covered with sugar trees, as they were called long ago, but now known as sugar maples. Jemima had a large family to care for, left dependent on her efforts by the early death of her husband in 1827. She used to "tap" the sugar trees in that narrow bottom and catch the flowing sap in wood troughs, boil it down to "maple sugar." Now and then the trees would "run" on warm nights in the late winter. On such occasions Jemima would bring her children to the grove, build a big fire to keep the wolves from her family; and, taking a torch of hickory bark, go from tree to tree and gather up the precious sap from which she could have a small amount of sweets. This was before the day of sorghum making and the sweets that were obtained thereby. It was long before the era of white sugar made from sugar cane or beets as of today. It has been said that the wolves could be heard howling in the woods not far from Jemima and her children as this loyal, faithful and industrious widow provided for her children in a day and time long before "welfare groups" were even dreamed of. Many of those in attendance Sunday were descendants of Jemima and Ambrose. They have a right to be proud of the woman who, against odds that would appall a man of today, succeeded in rearing her numerous children to manhood and womanhood and through whose sons and daughters, she proved that "where there's a will, there's a way."

 

†† Curtis Gregory, the donor of the land on which Sycamore Valley church house and also the school house stands, was the son of Smith Gregory, the son of Squire Bill Gregory, the son of Thomas Gregory.

 

†† The above facts are set out to give the reader the reasons why we met on Peyton's Creek in our first reunion. Here's hoping that many more will be present next year at Fairfield church near Russellville, Ky.