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THANKS to all who attended the 2008 Ward – Riley Family Reunion on July 12th in Echo, AL. Over 75 people were there and I hope everyone enjoyed meeting and talking to relatives – some new to the reunion and others who have attended prior. We had notices printed in the Ozark Southern Star newspaper and the Dothan Eagle newspaper. Our reunion was also listed on the Community Events on Channel 4, WTVY, Dothan TV station, open to any Ward or Riley in the Dothan area.
Roy Strickland, Tallahassee, gave everyone a detailed report on the Riley Headstone project at the Old Center Methodist Church Cemetery, cost $2,465. New granite headstones were installed for John, Sr. & Mary Whitaker Riley, Edward R., Sr. & Mary Outlaw Riley, Daniel, Mary Ann Brannon & Lucinda Eural Riley, Moses & Sarah Enfinger Riley. Edward, Daniel and Moses were the sons of John & Mary Whitaker Riley. The following contributed to this: Roy Strickland, Jim Riley, Peter Unger, Dr. Melanie Strickland Renfroe, Sharon Strickland Carvalho, Mark Riley Strickland, Michael M. Strickland, Matthew B. Strickland. Thanks to all who contributed to the project.
After the tremendous ‘pot luck’ luncheon, a great presentation was made by Dr. Peggy Venable, Director at Tama Tribal Town, Whigham, GA. She talked about the history, myths & legends of the Muskogee Creek Indians. She brought some of her Indian clothing, tapes and books for everyone to look over. She ended the talk by singing a cappella a song – Heleluyan: Hallelujah, Trail of Tears. A very interesting and entertaining presentation.
We recognized the oldest person who attended the reunion. She was Thelma Faison, Dothan, who turned 85 on July 4th ( Riley descendant ). We also recognized who traveled the farthest to attend . He was Clark Chapman, Rockford, IL ( Ward descendant ). Another relative traveling quite a distance was Linda Englert & her husband, Michael, of Colonial Heights, VA ( Riley descendant ).
THANKS go out to Nina McDaniel, Ozark ( Echo ) for obtaining the use of Echo United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall. She is a member of the church and we have met every reunion but one at this church.
THANKS are in order for Manonia Snell, the well known genealogist and author, who is writing the family history book for the Wards and Rileys. She really needs the updates on the current generations so it can be as accurate as possible. Please send her your updates – P. O. Box 233, Skipperville, AL 36374. Remember, this book will be used as reference for generations.
We are still trying to locate a copy of the old tin type picture of Elender Riley Ward dressed in full Indian regalia, as a number of people have seen.
When asked about a chairman for the next reunion, no one objected to Bob White being Chairman again and Donna Burke being Treasurer again. Both have held these positions since 2004.
It was decided that the reunion would be moved to the 4th Saturday in June. It will be June 27, 2009, IF the family history book is published and ready to purchase. You will be notified by early April if the reunion is in 2009 or 2010. If the book is not ready in 2009, the next reunion will be the 4th Saturday in June 2010.
There is a website, maintained by Pete Unger, with a great deal of the history, pictures and numerous other items -- www.johnriley-sr.net. There are a number of contributors to the website.
Any comments or suggestions, please contact Bob White at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-881-1046, ext. 106 or fax 407-260-1275.