Saturday, January 11, 2020

Sepia Saturday: The Reunion That Started It All

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.

This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt is the ever-popular GROUP PHOTO. The oldest such photo in my collection is from 1914. The occasion was the first Jollett Reunion. Likely it was held at the home of my 2X great-grandfather James Franklin Jollett in Harriston, Augusta County, Virginia.

Jollett Reunion 1914

It was not a good photo. Fortunately, some were better than others enabling me to identify a few of the people. Since my grandaunts Violetta and Velma were there, I can assume my grandfather was likewise, but I do not see him.
Jollett Reunion 1914
Reunion 1914
It is clear from the pictures taken over the years that the group photo was an important tradition.

The WHOLE Group
Jollett Reunion 1921 or 23
1921 or 1923
Just the “Children”
Jollett Reunion 1914
Children of James Franklin Jollett
Standing: Burton Lewis, Victoria, Sallie, Mary Frances (my great-grandmother),
Leanna, Laura, Emma
Seated: Eliza Jane (James Franklin's 2nd wife), James Franklin, Ulysses
Jollett Reunion 1921 or 23
1921 or 1923
Standing: Ulysses, Laura, Leanna, Mary Frances, Sallie, Victoria
Seated: Emma, James Franklin and wife Eliza Jane
The “Children” and Spouses
Jollett Reunion 1919
Standing: Decatur Breeden and Victoria, Jack Coleman and Emma,
Sallie Clift, Laura Sullivan, James Franklin, Mary Frances Davis,
Eliza Jane, Walter Davis
Seated: Will Sullivan, Ulysses and wife Sadie
Jollett Reunion 1934 at the latest
1934 at the latest
Standing: James Knight, Sallie Clift, Leanna Knight, Walter and
Mary Frances Davis, Decatur and Victoria Breeden,
Laura and Will Sullivan
Seated: Jack and Emma Coleman
4 Generations
Jollett Reunion 1925
My grandfather Orvin Davis
with his son, mother, grandfather
Orvin Jr., Mary Frances, James Franklin Jollett
The Jollett tradition lives on in my family today but not at a reunion. We take a group photo every Christmas Eve. Each one is now a record of family coming and going, weight gain and loss, and, of course, happy times.

Our Christmas Eve parties are not like most people’s holiday gatherings. We have a theme each year. Sometimes the theme suggests a specific way to dress. Although I never intended for the party to become a costume event, sometimes we can’t help ourselves. Take a look:
2010 - Black & White Party
2012 - Redneck Shindig
We were wearing plastic "Bubba teeth."
We laughed so much that it was hard to get a picture.
2015 - Christmas in Whoville
2016 - Christmas PJs
2018 - Groovy Christmas
2019 - Putting on the Ritz
(the girls did better than the guys)
Please join the group at Sepia Saturday. There is always room for one more.

© 2020, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. What great group photos...and you are lucky to be able to name all those generations! But you didn't do the later ones on Christmas Eve...though the themes are hilarious and I'm sure helped people decide what to wear (at least the women!)

  2. Your family's lucky to have continued the reunion for generations.

  3. Love the pictures of your family at Christmas with the different themes! So cute people go along with it for picture taking! Great to have family pictures like this. My brother would do it whenever the whole family got together but that rarely happens these days :)


  4. What a crazy fun idea to have themes for the family gatherings! My favorite? Christmas PJs, although the Groovy Christmas looked like a kick and the guys seemed to do better with that one.

  5. I love this family tradition, and the holiday season is a colorful time to keep it going! How fortunate you are to have so many of these photos chronicling your family's history.

  6. The old time photos are fine examples of how the camera changed family events. "Let's put the old folk in the center and see how many kin can fit into the view finder." But your new family tradition is 21st century family fun. I bet the theme committee discussion gets a bit crazy.