By DAVID GREEN
Family reunions are serious business to members of the Rush Taylor family. They’ve gotten together for 100 years now, without fail.
Every reunion is a good one, said family member Mildred Uhler of Munson, but the recent centennial edition was a special one. Several people went to a lot of extra work and expense to make this one out of the ordinary.
The first Taylor family reunion, on Aug. 30, 1906, was attended by 25 people at the Ezra and Hannah Taylor homestead near West Unity, Ohio. Their children were Sylvester, Marion, Charles, John and Florence. Marion was the father of O.A. Rush, Marjorie and Russell. Next comes Mildred’s connection. She’s the oldest daughter of Rush.
Mildred knows she missed a few reunions. She was with her husband while he was in the service for a while and she was busy giving birth when one of the gatherings was going on.
“Most of the time I was there,” she said. “I can remember my folks taking me.”
There have been some changes over the years, a few differences that probably reflect changes in society.
“We always had the kids say their Sunday School poems and we had musical instruments and songs,” Mildred recalls. “The older people love to see the young ones show themselves off.”
There were also games of horseshoes, baseball and other activities.
“We always had a good time whenever we got together,” she said. “And do you know how much we all got along together?”
This year’s celebration was no different. Family members represented 14 states, from as far away as California and Arizona.
To begin the weekend, 75 family members met at the Ramada Inn near Bryan, Ohio, for a Friday night dinner. The next morning, 50 people attended a brunch at the home of Bruce and Leah Rutledge in Waldron. Next came a visit to the Todd and Rita Rutledge home outside of Waldron for an afternoon of swimming and games.
That night, the cousins got together at the Rush and Rhea Taylor home where Joey and Janet Taylor now live with their daughter, Lauren. The brothers and sisters met for dinner at a Wauseon restaurant—an event organized by Dee and Loree Clark. Several people attended Sunday morning services at the former family church in Munson.
It was finally time for the big event—the anniversary potluck at the Taylor homestead near West Unity, attended by 140 guests. Family member Doris Grim now lives in the house after other members pitched in to fix it up. Tours of the home were given and hayrides through the countryside were taken, including a trip through the covered bridge at Lockport.
A family tree was painted on the inside of a barn at the homestead and each family filled in its information. A ladder was needed to reach parts of branches.
In addition to the big meal, there was also home-made ice cream.
“It was a tradition that we always had home-made ice cream in tin cups,” Mildren said.
One year, the original cups were decorated and distributed as keepsakes.
A lot of planning went into this year’s festivities—a job handled by five sisters: Mildred and Loree from Munson, Ruth from Florida, Carol Jean from Mississippi and Leah from Waldron.
“We get together once a year to plan it,” Mildred said.
That might lead to a trip to Mississippi or a golf outing at De-Mor Hills near Morenci.
“Every place we’ve been we’ve had fun.”
Although former family secretary O.A. Taylor is gone—her tombstone notes her 65 years of service—others have taken her place and the annual event continues. Mildred expects future gatherings to be just as genial as those in the past.
“We’ve always had such a good time whenever we got together.”– August 2, 2006