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Derrich-Berckenhoff Hold Second Reunion

The second annual reunion of the Derrich-Berckenhoff families was held on Sunday, September 5 at the V.F.W. Hall.

Thirty-five families registered, representing approximately 150 people.

Special recognition was given to the following: Kassie Annell Riha, 5 months old, youngest member present; Henry Berckenhoff, 75 years old, oldest member present; Lad Michalek family of San Antonio, traveled the farthest; Raymond Machart family and Rudy Berckenhoff family, largest families, with twenty members present.

A dinner was served before the business meeting.

The 1971 officers were: Edwin Derrich Jr., president; Lloyd Kurtz, vice-president; Edwin Derrich Sr., secretary-treasurer; and Wanda Bruce, reporter.

The officers for 1972 are Charles Kurtz, president; Lloyd Kurtz, vice-president; Edwin Derrich Sr., secretary-treasurer; and Wanda Bruce, reporter.
Throughout the evening a three-member band furnished music for dancing.

Families from El Campo, Wharton, Bay City, Houston, San Antonio, Yorktown, Moulton, Schulenburg, Katy, and Sweet Home were present.

Next year's reunion will be held on Sunday, September 3 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Wharton.

Probably El Campo Leader-News, Sep 1971
Submitted by Matt Cross

Derrich-Berckenhoff Have Annual Reunion in Wharton KC Hall

The third annual Derrich-Berckenhoff reunion was held recently at the KC Hall in Wharton with 41 families being present.

New officers for next year's reunion were: Rayburn Stavinoha, president; Melvin Machart, vice-president; Norma Wasek, secretary-treasurer; and Patsy Matula, reporter.

The group decided to have next year's reunion on September 3 at KC Hall in Wharton.

Special recognition was given to Raymond Machart, age 67, the oldest present at the reunion; to Jennifer Kalinec, 12 days, the youngest member present; to the Rudy Berckenhoff family with 36 members, the largest family; to Kevin and Steven Cross, 11 months, the only twins in the family; to the Mike Riha family of Waco, the family who traveled the longest distance to the reunion; and to the outgoing officers: Charles Kurtz, president; Edwin Derrich Sr., vice president; Mary Ann Derrich, secretary-treasurer; and Evelyn Warner, reporter, for organizing the reunion.

From 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. Western dance music was furnished by A.J. Bennetsen, Pete Bennonestes, Ricky Bennetsen, Daniel Bennetsen, Ed Tennart and two members from another band.

Entertainment continued into the evening with music by the Sunset Playboys from Columbus.

Probably El Campo Leader-News, Sep 1972
Submitted by Matt Cross


Hardisons Have Family Reunion Near Altair

The Hardisons celebrated their family reunion at Richard Hardison’s place Sept. 1, opening with the song “What a Fellowship,” a prayer by Nancy Davis, a welcome by Ima Jean Austin, and remarks by the president and vice president. The history of the Hardisons was read.

The menu was barbecue, potato salad, pickles, beans, onions, bread, cake and punch.

The reunion will be held in 1964 on the same Sunday in September at the same place.

There were 109 relatives present and 35 guests. Nancy Davis was oldest member present and A. Lightfoot and family from Dallas came the farthest. Other relatives were from Houston, Eagle Lake, Altair, Sugar Land and Garwood.

Jeff Davis is president; Mary Coleman, vice president; B. Parker, secretary; A. Williams, assistant secretary; Ruth Austin, reporter and Clarence Davis, treasurer.

Colorado County Citizen, September 12, 1963, page 4


Heinsohns celebrate 50th reunion

The Heinsohn Family kicked off its 50th annual family reunion at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 17, at the square in Fayetteville with a ?Heinsohn Heritage Tour?. About sixty cousins participated, including Arthur Fenner of Kenedy, who was elected vice-president of the first Heinsohn Reunion held in Cuero back in 1955.

Rox Ann Johnson of Austin, one of the reunion's historians, began by explaining that six Heinsohn brothers had immigrated to Texas from the area around Varel in Oldenburg between the years 1845 and 1850. Ray Heinsohn of Pasadena told what he has learned of the family's origins in Germany in his years of research. Mrs. Johnson gave a brief overview of the Fred Heinsohn family of Galveston and the families of Heinrich and John Heinsohn who settled in Austin County, before describing the Gerhard Heinsohn family's connection to Fayetteville.

The group then caravanned through Willow Springs and across the Colorado County line to the home of Bernice Heinsohn, where the oldest Heinsohn brother, Wilhelm, established a farm in 1867. Mrs. Heinsohn greeted her guests and then turned the program over to her daughter, Wanda Cernosek of San Antonio, who described how her mother came to the farm as Wilhelm's grandson's young bride in 1935 and how she managed to keep farming even after being widowed with five young children. She talked about the early buildings on the farm and how Wilhelm Heinsohn had run a broom factory.

Mrs. Johnson gave a brief history of Wilhelm and Meta Heinsohn's children, displaying their photographs and telling where they lived. Clyde Heinsohn led the group to a barn to look at old, numbered and notched timbers, which are thought to be from an early Heinsohn cabin.

The next stop was the Anton Heinsohn Family Cemetery, where the youngest of the Heinsohn brothers and several of his descendants are buried on the farm he purchased in 1868. Leander Pflughaupt and Shirley Evans of Houston described growing up on the farm and told what they knew about the family cemetery. A short history of Anton and Nancy Stoeltje Heinsohn?s family followed with photos of his children who had mostly spread out from Colorado County to Lavaca County and Bartlett.

Those assembled then drove to the Heinsohn Country Store at Frelsburg, which has been owned by Leslie Heinsohn's family since 1920. Everyone enjoyed seeing the wide variety of old-fashioned merchandise there.

The final stop was Trinity Lutheran Church where Pastor Mosley gave a brief history of the church, aided by Mildred and Teddy Schultz. The Heinsohn cousins enjoyed seeing the stained glass windows donated in memory of family members and then visited the cemetery where the graves of forty-nine Heinsohn descendants and their spouses were marked with American flags and sunflower bouquets.

Saturday morning's family golf outing was not so well attended, but a foursome led by Chuck Cassidy of Henley did play a round of golf at Frisch Auf! Country Club in La Grange.

About sixty Heinsohn cousins met that afternoon at Park Prairie on Lake Fayette. Cousins swam, boated, played games and looked through family history books before enjoying bowls of hand-cranked homemade ice cream. Nancy Bessent of Austin, Jay Brakefield of Dallas, and Earl Heinsohn of Shiner all brought instruments for a family jam session.

At 6:30 about 120 cousins gathered at Baca?s Pavilion in Fayetteville for a catered barbecue supper organized by Cheryl Heinsohn of Austin and Linda Cassidy of Henley. After the meal they danced and enjoyed the country western and polka music of the "Sound Connection", which includes the talents of Jimmy Heinsohn of Sugar Land.

On Sunday the reunion began at 10 a.m. at the V. F. W. Hall in La Grange. Dawn Heinsohn of Highlands and Dorothy Albrecht of La Grange greeted guests and sold family T-shirts and DVDs as reunion fundraisers. At eleven, Nancy Bessent taught the assembled children the German song, "Mein Hut, der hat Drei Ecken," while the adults visited, bid on items for the silent auction, contributed to the family time capsule, or poured over the family history notebooks and charts. Cheryl Heinsohn coordinated both the silent and live auctions. Wyatt Johnson of Austin made balloon hats for the children.

Over 130 cousins gathered for a panoramic photo at noon. Gladys Gresser of Austin then led the family in a German table prayer before enjoying the extensive assortment of dishes prepared for the family?s traditional potluck lunch. Following the meal, Don Heinsohn of Huntsville auctioned numerous items donated to benefit the reunion.

President Cathy Hord of Georgetown opened the business meeting and welcomed those attending for the first time. Dawn Heinsohn read the minutes and gave the treasurer's report. Historian Rox Ann Johnson, who was also chairman of the fiftieth reunion celebration, gave a report on Saturday?s activities and recognized those cousins who had attended the first Heinsohn reunion in Cuero in 1955.

She also recognized the many cousins whose efforts helped make the 50th reunion a success. Planning committee members had met for almost two years preparing for this special weekend. They included Dorothy Albrecht, Nancy Bessent, Linda and Chuck Cassidy, Ruth Eckols, Jane and Logan Friedrich, Marlene Halamicek, Elaine Haevischer, Cheryl Heinsohn, Dawn and Jesse Heinsohn, Ray Heinsohn, Ted Heinsohn, Cathy Hord, Rox Ann Johnson, and Judy and Charles Vana.
She thanked Anita Johnson of Austin for photographing the reunion and for producing a DVD entitled "Our Heinsohn Roots" as a special 50th reunion fundraiser. It features an interview with Ray Heinsohn describing what he has discovered about the Heinsohn family in Germany, as well as a slide presentation of the first generations in Texas.

Cathy Hord recognized the youngest boy and girl present, 4-week-old Colby Green and 9-month-old Aubrey Paige Pflughaupt. The oldest lady in attendance was Wilhelminia Friedrich and the oldest gentleman was Moody Heinsohn. Moody and Glemma Heinsohn of Pasadena were the longest married couple and Donna and John Burg of Richardson were the most recently married. Out of state attendees were Fay Woolrich of Kalamazoo, Michigan; Margarita Quihuis, Robert and Benjamin Eckols of Palo Alto, California; Richard and Suzanne Hillman of Vail, Arizona; and Jim and Joan Robinson from Clemmons, North Carolina.

Mrs. Hord also awarded several door prizes.

Gladys Gresser led the memorial portion of the program. The following cousins have passed away since the last reunion: Melvin Christen, Alice Buegeler Coldewey, Walter Ehlers, Hilton Elstner, Mabel Koonsen Friedrich, Raymond Friedrich, Layne Grasshoff, Grace Heinsohn, Erna Schroeder Horne, Erwin Jahn, Adolph Kainer, Bernita Heinsohn Kalinowski, Christina Ladewig, Harry Polkinghorne, Evelyne Gersbach Shumake, Billie Bob Dorsey Ward, and George Wyckoff.

After Cheryl Heinsohn announced the silent auction winners, Nancy Bessent led the group through "Mein Hut, der hat drei Ecken" and the lovely "Wie Wohl ist Mir am Abend" sung as a round. Gladys Gresser and Don Heinsohn concluded the program with the Benediction.

The next reunion will be held on Sunday, July 17, 2005 at the V.F.W. Hall in La Grange.

Cuero Record Online, 4 Aug 2004
Submitted by Matt Cross


McGrews Have Family Reunion Aug. 25 In Altair

Heirs of John B. and Lear McGrew had their annual family reunion Aug. 25 at the home of Ed and Arie Hewitt in Altair, where 87 guests registered. Jane Wicks was the oldest family member attending and her grandson, Harold Wicks, was the youngest.

Louise Hurd of Los Angeles, Calif., came the farthest with her family to the reunion and was its most honored guest, receiving surprise gifts.

A short program was conducted by E. Ola Davis, vice president of the family group. After songs and a scripture reading by Jeri Hill, a prayer was offered by Lear B. Hewitt. Arie Hewitt, hostess, gave the welcome.

A basket dinner of barbecued chicken, sausage and beef ribs was served at noon. The day was spent visiting, playing ball and joy riding.

Those present included Laundry McGrew, Limmie McGrew, Mahalia McGrew and Alvera Wilson and children and Gerod Lowe and family, Altair; John B. McGrew Jr. and wife of Houston, Ernest Hurd Jr., wife and children of Los Angeles; S. J. Thomas, wife and children, Thomye Wright, Wilma Jean Hicks, Christene Janett Hicks, Pamela Hewitt and Leon Brown’s wife and children, Andrew Booker, wife and children, Houston; Estella Brown, Kendleton, and Jane Wicks and children, East Bernard.

Also, Rev. Oscar E. Hill, wife and children, Lear Hewitt and children, San Antonio; Alma Hewitt Houston; Leira Fulton, Daisy Dillsworth, Rev. Isaac T. Hewitt; wife and children, Eagle Lake, and Rosa Lee Harderson and children of Sugar Land.

Colorado County Citizen, August 29, 1963, page 6


Reese Family Has Reunion Here Sunday

Miss Lillian Reese, daughter of the late Sam H. and Keron Townsend Reese, was hostess at her home Sunday to a reunion of 125 relatives on the paternal side of her family. The gathering was promoted by Mrs. Woodson F. Tottenham, daughter of the late Kinion Reese.

After everyone had gathered, Miss Reese gave a historical sketch of the original Reese family, beginnng with Mervyn Ap RodriMawr, king of Powys and Wales in 876 and on through Davis Reese, signer of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence in 1775, to the present time. She also described the Reese coat of arms.

Among those present were relatives from California, including movie actress Joyce Reynolds and Mrs. Mary Reynolds of Calsbad, N.M. Others were from Missouri and Colorado and most were from Texas towns.

The oldest person present was Mrs. Luther Wade, daughter of Sarah Whittington, great-aunt of Miss Reese.

The group decided to form a family organization and elect officers in the near future.

Lunch was served on long tables in the Reese garden, shaded by pecan and fruit trees. An abundance of good things such as fried and baked chicken, baked ham, salads, vegetable and desserts was served.

Miss Reese expressed her thanks to her friends who assisted her in giving the party and who sent flowers for the occasion.

Colorado Citizen, May 27, 1954
Submitted by Deborah Smith

Reese - Whittington Families Gather Here Sunday

A large number of descendants from the Reese and Whittington families gathered Sunday at the home of Miss Lillian Reese for their 2nd annual reunion.

Because of bad weather, tables which had been built in the Reese garden for the affair could not be used and several tables were improvised inside the house.

Each guest brought a "covered dish", all of which added up to a "groaning board," with such good things are huge platters of barbecued meat, fried chicken, baked ham, salads, relishes, fruits, vegetables, devilled eggs, a hot Mexican meat dish, tortillas, a variety of cakes and kolaches and hot coffee, served buffet style.

After lunch a formal meeting of the family was called to order by Mrs. Erett Reese Watwood of Brenham, president of the family organization. A message prepared by 86-year-old Mrs. Luther Wade, who was present, was read by Miss Lydia Tottenham of Austin.

Willard Hollingsworth was barbecuer and general food manager for the occasion.

Colorado County Citizen, June 2, 1955
Submitted by Deborah Smith


Seifert Clan Gathers

The descendants of the Anton Seifert family gathered at Andel’s Guest House for a family reunion Sunday, June 23. Attending were third, fourth, fifth and sixth generations from various surrounding areas.

Anton Seifert was born to Anton and Josepha Seifert in Schlesingen, Germany, on July 14, 1850. He came to America with his parents, brothers and sisters in 1869, the family settling in the Frelsburg area. He married Mary Halfmann in Frelsburg in 1874. He operated a gin, blacksmith shop and post office for four years and then moved to the Osage community, the first home for the Seiferts in the Weimar area.

In 1897 the Seiferts moved to Weimar and bought a gin, and lived where the present Henry Seifert home stands. In 1907 they purchased the home and land of John Banse, which was a part of the old homestead of J. T. Holman. This is presently the home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward J. Seifert.

The Anton Seifert children were Anna Seifert Macha Rotter, Bernard Seifert, Magdalena Seifert Heller, Henry Seifert, Wilhelmina Seifert Anders, twins Joe and Frank Seifert and Tillie Seifert Till.

After the guests enjoyed a fried chicken dinner, a short meeting was conducted by Edwin “Buck” Seifert. It was agreed by all present to continue reuniting yearly in Weimar. Each third-generation descendant introduced his or her families.

Leonard Rotter, whose mother was Anna Seifert Macha Rotter, introduced his wife, son, daughter and families, who reside in Poth and Karnes City.

From the Magdalena Seifert Heller family, Annie Kusey introduced her daughter, son and families; Clara Heller, her son and wife; Susan Heller Stanzel, husband and daughters. The Henry Seifert family was represented by Elizabeth Seifert Wendel, husband and daughter; Herbert and his wife, daughter and her family; Mildred Seifert Lenertz and husband; Ray Seifert; and Edward “Blackie,” wife, son, three daughters and families.

The Joe Seifert family was represented by Wilma Seifert Schindler, husband son and wife; Lawrence, his wife, son and family and daughters; Edwin “Buck,” wife two daughters and families; Joe, his wife, daughters and son and A.J. and his wife.
Representing the Frank Seifert family were Van Lee Seifert Darnell, husband, son and families; F. C. “Buddy,” wife sons, daughter and families.
The Tillie Seifert Till family was represented by Harris Till.

Weimar Mercury, January 27, 1985
Transcribed by Judy Talkington


Stapletons Honor Ancestors At 33rd Annual Reunion Here

Descendants of Seaborn and Catherine Nave Stapleton congregated October 13 in Eagle Lake at the Howell and Nell Rowe home for their 33rd annual family reunion.

Some 78 adults and 65 children were present; the oIdest member attending, Dewey Strane (76 years), is the grandson of Seaborn and Catherine Stapleton.

Seaborn was the son of William and Malinda who settled in Borden in 1838 from Marlborough County, South Carolina. The house which they built was the only one between Columbus and La Grange at that time, and William, with two other men, was responsible for building Colorado County's first schoolhouse, located at Borden.

The relatives came from various parts of the state for the reunion; Grace Stapleton Harigel of Wetumpka, Alabama was the member coming the greatest distance.

After the reading of last year's minutes, the re-election of last years officers, and the discussing of new business, everyone sat down to a large covered-dish dinner.

After dinner, most of those attending the reunion drove to the old Stapleton cemetery at Borden for the formal dedication of a plaque recently installed there by the family. The plaque reads "In memoriam to our pioneers and to those who lie here in unmarked graves we dedicate this memorial tree."

After the ceremony, the group broke up with plans to reunite once again the second Sunday in October of 1975. R.

Weimar Mercury, October 24, 1974, page 3


A few weeks ago a family reunion of Whittingtons and relatives was held near Weimar. There were some fifty-four or fifty -five persons present, all related to one another, and being from several different portions of the state. F. S. Wilson, the boss photographer, was on hand and succeeded in taking a splendid likeness of the group See photograph
Weimar Mercury, August 22, 1891



Oakland Notes

Captain and Mrs. J. M. Woolsey of this place, who have been married fifty-three years, had a dining last Sabbath and a reunion of the family, which consists of eleven children--six brothers and five sisters--all present at the reunion except Mrs. (W.) A. Nichols and Mrs. J. T. Eason, who were prevented by sickness.

Colorado County Citizen, February 2, 1893
Submitted by Deborah Smith

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