Arthur Cross, Emmett Porter, and Leslie Guy got together and started the first Old Settlers Reunion held in 1934. Some highlights of past years that have continued to our day: Recognition and a gift for those 70 years and older, A baseball game between country and city cousins, crowning of the king and queen (Oldest man and woman), People coming the farthest distance, the youngest baby, races for all ages, and a memorial for those who have passed on the previous year.
love, trust and respect cemented the old settler families. One only needs to attend one of the August third Saturday, "Old Settlers Reunions" at School Section Lake in Mecosta, MI to evidence the fact that a fine community relationship was born and bred in the "Old Settlers." As many as 600 descendants gathered on a single Saturday to pay homage to those from whom they came. They travel form New York State, the state of Washington, California, Washington DC and even as far as the Hawaiian Islands, just to be together for a single day.
An 87 year old son of an old pioneer family remembers with clarity some of the earliest Old Settlers Picnics. They were called Pioneer Picnics when I was a kid, Doc Lett tells: "One of my earliest memories of those picnics was a sound whippin I got for talking so bad about the preachers who ate up the chicken. At least 1 thought they ate it up," Doc continued. "I was swinging and having fun with some of the young boys, and my older brothers called me to come eat several times, but you know how children are. Finally one of my brothers said that the chicken was soon going to be gone, and sure enough, when I got there, it was." "Oh, I began to talk about those preachers. I'd heard my brothers use those words, and my mother was so ashamed of me and startled at what I was saying, she took me behind some bushes and whaled the tar out of me."
Many picnic afternoons are spent talking about the reasons Grandfathers and Great Grandfathers came to the area. Some were looking for timberland, others were looking for the freedom they never had. But if we conjecture today about the real reasons so many families left the free state of Ohio to travel for weeks, enduring trials of tribulation of the wilds, we would take a long look at the history of Ohio at that time.
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