Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.
This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt is a photo of typesetters. Surely technology for printing newspapers in 1929 was more advanced than when workers sat before a tray of dirty lead tiles to formulate titles and paragraphs. Setting type the old fashioned way was labor-intensive, even for such a brief article as this one recounting the events of one Jollett Reunion:
Shenandoah, Sept 5 – The fourteenth Jollett reunion was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. James F. Jollett, near Harriston, Va, on Sunday, Sept 1st in honor of James F. Jollett’s 94th birthday.
The members of the family began to gather around the large and beautiful spring about 9 a.m. and continued to come until 1:30 p.m. and it was indeed a great pleasure to see Mr. Jollett greet each of his relatives as they began to gather in and as it has always been in the past they were greeted with a smile and many kind and loving words spoken to them and many tales of olden time were told to each with each hand clasp.
At 1:00 p.m. lunch was spread with GrandFather Jollett offering up praise and thanks to God for the wonderful repast set before him and for sparing his life and each one present so that they may again enjoy the company of each relative and friend.
Business meeting was called to order by President Millard Davis at 2:30 p.m. and it was decided to hold the Reunions yearly at the home of Mr. and Mrs. James F. Jollett as long as the Lord spared Mr. Jollett’s life and permitted him to be present. The meeting opened with the song “Blest be the Tie That Binds” after which Miss Virginia Maiden of Dayton College, Va gave a reading followed by Prayer by Mr. W. J. Sullivan. Mr. James F. Jollett and Dr. A. L. Maiden of Dayton College each gave an address and from the expression on the faces of those present they more than enjoyed each of their remarks. The meeting then came to a close by singing “God Be with you Until We Meet Again” after which the crowd began to wind their way to their respective homes each promising to meet the other at the next reunion and each promising to try and make the next reunion as near 100 percent in attendance as it is possible to do so.
|Probably the oldest photo of a Jollett Reunion|
maybe 1916 based on clothing
and assumed ages of those pictured
The report in the newspaper gives a glimpse into the importance the Jolletts attached to the event. A BUSINESS meeting complete with a presiding officer hints at the formal structure needed to pick a date and place, find someone to offer a prayer, and arrange a program of sorts.
|Standing: Burton Lewis Jollett, Victoria Jollett Breeden, |
Sallie Jollett Clift, Mary Frances Jollett Davis, Leanna Jollett Knight,
Laura Jollett Sullivan, Emma Jollett Coleman
Seated: Eliza Coleman Jollett, James Franklin Jollett, Ulysses Jollett
This article is informative but a tad confusing. The home “near Harriston” and the “spring” confirm that the reunion was held at Jollett Springs, James Franklin’s home known for its natural springs. People used to bring jugs to fill at his place. September 1 fell on a Sunday in 1929. If the reporter was correct about its being the fourteenth reunion, the first was in 1916. So far so good. The birthday celebration is questionable though. James Franklin’s birthday was in November, so while combining the reunion and birthday might seem likely, in 1929 he would have turned a spry 93, not 94. Of course, that error can be attributed to either a typo or miscalculation by the family spokesperson.
The promise to meet again in 1930 at the Jollett home in Jollett Springs was likely not fulfilled as James Franklin Jollett passed away in June, three months before the annual September reunion. The reunions may have moved to the home of Burton Lewis Jollett in Greene County for a time, but he died in 1934. A summary of the 1940 reunion appeared in the Daily News Record (Harrisonburg, Virginia). Since that one was held at Verbena Park in Shenandoah, Virginia, I suspect Verbena had become the new designated home of the Jollett Reunion.
|Opening paragraph of the 1940 article|
The rest is just a list of all those who attended.
The two news articles tell me more about the Jolletts. The prayer and singing of hymns reveal their spiritual side.
|Arthur Maiden delivering the prayer|
James F. Jollett and Emma J. Coleman
|4 Generations 1925|
Orvin Davis, Mary Frances J. Davis,
Orvin Davis Jr., and James F. Jollett
Photos of family groups and the different generations - especially 4-generations together – are proof of what I have always heard about how close the Jolletts were.
|4 Generations 1923|
Standing: Minnie Coleman Maiden
Seated: Emma J. Coleman, James F. Jollett,
The "Younger Generation" of cousins 1919
Standing: Orvin Davis, Johnny Coleman, Russell Coleman, Alda Clift, Violetta Davis, Elta Sullivan Farrar and husband Lewis Farrar, James Mitchell Morris with Reba Coleman Morris, Millard Davis and wife Edith
Sitting center: probably Wes and Minnie Sullivan Breeden
Sitting front: Raymond Clift, possibly Vessie Jollett, Leota Sullivan, Velma Davis, possibly Mattie Coleman
The Spouses at a reunion before 1928
Will Sullivan (Laura), Decatur Breeden (Victoria), James Mitchell Knight (Leanna), Sadie Lam Jollett (Ulysses), Walter Davis (Mary Frances), Jack Coleman (Emma), and James Franklin Jollett
This new insight into the Jollett family has inspired my next book, which will be called Jollett Reunion. Chapters will be devoted to James Franklin Jollett, his wives, and each of his children. In the coming weeks and months (I hope not YEARS), I will be researching and writing. As in the past, the stories on this blog will be the stories that comprise the book. I am thankful for programs like Blurb so that no one will have to sit at a tray of lead tiles to typeset it.
To see what news others have to share, follow the links at Sepia Saturday.
© 2016, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.