I plan to change topics whenever the mood stricks me or I have time to sit and put my thoughts on paper. I have two reunions a year that I coordinate, an annual Easter egg hunt for the grandchildren and friends, a Christmas Ladies Luncheon, the Vinson Christmas party, Finley Christmas and my Christmas with the children. We also love to go camping and fishing with the family.
: Reunions Calling all Smiths & Walravens 75 years & going strong in 2014. Smith/Walraven Family Reunion willl be held on Saturday, September 13, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. til ??? at the home of Patsy Vinson in the Prairieville Community in Van Zandt County, Texas. Notices by email and regular mail will be sent out in August. Lunch will be at 12:00 Auction - 1:00 p.m. Activities: Playground and swimming pool for whoever wants to use them. There will be horseshoes, basketball, and games like Sequence, Dominoes, or cards. Each family brings a vegetable, dessert and auction item. You can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Smith Walraven ReunionFacts
The best estimate of the original reunion of both families was in September, 1939 and held at the Laird Hill, Texas residence of Charley and Della. Della's brothers, William Alfred "W.A." and Robert "Edgar" Walraven were usually present with their families for this reunion. Della's sister Mary "Etta" Walraven Mitchell's family attended, too. After the death of Charley in 1954, the children of Della began holding the reunions at their homes or in community centers. The locations were Laird Hill, Overton, Liberty City, Kilgore and other places.
In 1999, we had the reunion in Liberty City with Richard and Janie Smith acting as host. There were only about 20 people present on that Sunday. We discussed changing the day to Saturday for the family that had to travel long distances and moving the location. It was decided and voted on to have the 2000 reunion halfway between Kilgore and Ft.Worth which would be Canton, Texas area. I volunteered to let them have the reunion at our home in the Prairieville community as I had plenty of space and large trees in a country setting.
We have had the reunion at Prairiville since 2000 which makes this the 13th year. In the past 13years, we have had at least 52 family and friends present. We also began having an auction to raise money for the supplies and some of the food. Everyone loves the excitement of the auction (even the children). We eat at noon, then at 1:00 we have the auction with door prizes for adults and children.
September, 2001 - 47 present
September, 2002 - 52 present
September, 2003 - 61 present
September, 2004 - 50 present
September, 2005 - 55 present
September, 2006 - 50 present
The Smith-Walraven family reunion was held on Saturday, September 8, 2007 at Prairieville Community, Mabank, Texas. This reunion is a celebration of the birthdays of Charley Stewart (Sept. 24) and Ida Idella "Della" Walraven Smith (Sept. 29) who were my great grandparents.
Families present in 2007 were: (50 present) Hosts-Vinsons-Patsy, Bob, Suzie, Eddie,Joe, Nathan, Jason, Matthew,Heather & Ruth Finley from Prairieville; James Cagle from Duncanville; Geneva Lois Smith from DeSoto; Edith Leffingwell & Henry Petty from Lake Livingston; Charlotte, Tanya & Sheila Keeland from Ferris; Mary Jewell Smith (90 yrs) with daughter Glenda Aaron and graanddaughter, Felicia Zuniga from Kilgore & daughter, Jan Baird from Gladewater; Lois Yocum from Gilmer; Wynell Choate, sister Kathy Adkinson & Kathy's grandson, Jake Register from Ashdown, Arkansas; Dessie Goretska and sister, Helen Colburn from Ft. Worth along with Helen's daughter, Terry Faglie & 2 Faglie grandchildren from Canton; Iva Nell, mother of Lou & Joan Turano from McKinney along with another son, Jim and wife Patty Turano from Frisco; Nikki Harris and father, Bill Finley from Eustace; Cathy Thompson from Payne Springs; Bud and Mellye Darden from White Oak; Joann Conway, Joyce Simms, Jerry Lockaby and wife, Melissa Yang with sons, Josh & Zack, Teresa and Billy Simmons all from Ft. Worth and Oneta Johnson from Saginaw.
The September, 2008 reunion was small due to a hurricane coming into the coast near Galveston. We only had 20 people present, but enjoyed visiting with family members. Present were the Vinsons, Finleys, Keelands and 2 Smith members.
September, 2009 brought a lot of the family together again even with the light rain that was falling off and on during the day. The grandkids and others enjoyed swimming in the pool. Also, the auction raised enough to provide for supplies and meats for next year. The auction is always a lot of fun especially with Lois Darden Yocum wanting to know who is bidding against her. We had 42 present.
September, 2010 - Light rain or a mist was present, but we still had a great time. There were 42 family and friends present. The children still went swimming and used the playground.
September, 2011 - Present 58 with beautiful weather in the 90s and a light breeze. Of course, my house has a lot of strong wind all year around. Sometimes the umbrellas around the pool turn inside out when the wind is about 20 mph. In the past two years we have raised enough money to furnish all the meats, supplies, drinks, mailings & door prizes.
September 8, 2012 - Present 35 with warm balmy weather. The children had a ball in the pool and in the play area. We again raised enough money with our auction to furnish the meats, utensils, drinks and misc. item.
September 14, 2013 - Present 43 with beautiful weather (no hurricanes). We lost Bud Darden..one of the first cousins this year.
September 13, 2014 --75 years of Smith/Walraven reunions which were started by Charley Stewart and Della Walraven Smith to celebrate their birthdays in September and has continued to today.
Finley Reunion Note: Due to Deaths in older generation the 2011 reunion was the last time the Finleys gathered to celebrate our family.
2011 -- 14th Annual Finley Reunion was held at Lake Hugo, Hugo, Oklahoma. The Vinsons rented two spots and family members came to visit during the 4th of July week-end.
The Finley Reunion was held on June 12 & 13, 2009 at Forest Park West on Lake Pat Mayse in "C" section. We rented two spaces that were very large.
On Friday night, we had hamburgers and hot dogs with trimmings. Since our campsites were on the water there was swimming, tubing, fishing and just general fun.
On Saturday, we had lunch at 12:00 with Briskets, ham and sausage. Every one brought a veggie and dessert. The only complaint was that it was just two hot to eat. We had the raffle and raised money for next years reunion. Everyone agreed that we should have the reunion again in June. We are going to shoot for the 2nd week-end which will be June 11 & 12.
However, we will be scheduling our Saturday meal for 6:30 p.m. instead of noon. That way it will be cooler for the older members of the family and small children.
We had 45 adults and children present this year which was a very good turn out due to the change. Next year will be our 14th year to hold our present reunion.
Present were: Patsy, Suzie, Eddie, Shannon, Joe, Shyanne, Heather, Jason, and Matthew Vinson along with Grandma Ruth Finley (only surviving spouce/sister-in-law/aunt of the children of Martha J. and George W. "Dick" Finley, also present were: Lynda & Wayne Finley & mother-in-law (Mrs. Gray), Linda Britt Jett, Johnnie Faye and Lloyd Horton, Kathy and Danny Perry, Tonya Horton with children, Michaela and Ashley Copeland & 2 step-children; Amy Finley, Teresa Finley, Shane Horton, David Horton, wife and child; Donna & Henry Fowler, Justin Fowler with wife and baby girl; Johnnie Lee McLemore; two friends of Linda Jett; friends-Brandi, Scott, Haley & Casey Hudson; and four others.
2008 --13th Annual Reunion was cancelled to a later date due to death of Robert "Bob" Vinson.
2007 --12th Annual -Descendants of Norris and Margaret A. Peggy Hall Finley Reunion will be held on Saturday, September 22, 2007 at Lake Pat Mayse, Powderly, Texas. Children of Norris and Peggy Finley were: Melinda A. Finley Jernigan Graybill(oldest) from Fannin and Grayson Counties; William Thomas Finley (the oldest son-2nd child)from Fannin County, Texas; George Washington Finley, Sr. (2nd son - 3rd child)from Fannin County, Texas, Manda E. and Mary E. (last two children)lived in Fannin until 1862 when father died-what happened to them is unknown at this time. There was one story about their guardian taking them back to family in Arkansas where there was a fire and both girls died in the fire.
Melinda Jernigan Graybill is buried at Porter's Chapel Cemetery near Whitewright in Fannin County, Texas. She only had one son by James Jernigan. Some of her descendants lived in Grayson, Fannin and Lubbock counties in Texas.
William Thomas and Margaret Bellew Finley are buried at Odd Fellows (IOOF) Cemetery at Ravenna, Fannin County, Texas. Their 13 children lived in Texas and Oklahoma.
George Washington "Cowboy" and Virginia E. "Jenny" Spence Finley were residents of Ravenna, Fannin County, Texas most of their lives. George was a farmer and sometimes they went to West Texas to pick cotton to earn more money. They were the parents of 9 children, two of whom were twins and died in infancy.
Several of the lines from John (1724-1803)and Anne Norris(1738-1785) have worked with me on these lines and through process of elimination, we believe that William "Bill" (1788-1790) and Elizabeth Law (1790) were the parents of Norris (1821-1862)Finley. On the 1850 Izard Co. Arkansas census, Norris is living next door to several of the John and Anne Finley descendants on of whom was Uziah "Uz" who was the father of William "Bill" Finley. Descendants of John and Anne have join us for this reunion and we invite any Finleys to come join us for fun and fellowship.
The Finleys have had reunions off and on since the 1950s, but we have now had 12 yearly reunions since 1995. The Pavillion is located on top a rise near the lake. You can see the dam and a large area of the lake from there. Email me for more details. All Finley lines are welcome to join us. We are descended from John and Annie "Linney" Norris Finley from Greene Co. Georgia.
We have everyone bring an item to raffle to raise money for the next year. This year we have lost two of the older generation, Uncle Frank Finley and Aunt Glennie Maree Hyatt Finley.
Family members present were: David Horton & friend, Adam Jones from Commerce, Texas; John Horton, Dezmon, Austin, Jessica, Tim & Jero from Paris; Linda Jett, Lynda & Wayne Finley & Ima Gray, Paris; John Finley, Ft. Worth; Terry and Diane, Lancaster; Tonya & Greg Pilkington with children, Ashley & Michaela Copeland, Paris; Kathy and Danny Perry, Paris; Shane Horton, Aubrey, Texas; Lloyd and Johnnie Horton & Taylor(grandson),Powderly, Texas; Janet Horton Dunigan and Johnnie Lee McLemore, Paris; Terri & Dakota Hudson & Nick Weist, Spencerville, OK; Sandy, Shanda, &Joseph Person, Grant, OK; Mary Finley, Grant, OK; and Patsy & Robert Vinson, Mabank, Texas; Suzie Vinson & Dorothy Max, Tool, Texas; and Jason, Heather & Matthew Vinson, Mabank.
If anyone else would like to post their reunion on this page, please email me. Send me your reunion details and I will be glad to post them on this page. Happenings of the Vinson Clan
The Vinson Clan has been busy trying to survive in this recession the U.S. is experiencing. As you know the building industry is very slow, but we have been able to hang in there.
We have added several new babies to the Vinson clan. We had a gathering at the Nutt residence in May to celebrate Debbie's 50th birthday.
2009 - 2010...brings more grandbabies to our clan. This year in 2009, we had about 7 small children compared to 2008 when we only had one.
2010 - Find out my sister-in-law had cancer and was on everyone's prayer list. We had a surprise birthday party for her.
2011 - My sister-in-law has been in remission for about 6-8 months, but they found a spot on pancreas. She has surgery to remove it in February to see if it is cancer or tumor.
Our family just seems to keeping growing with all the great nieces and nephews having children to add to our number. My oldest grandson, Nathan was married in December and headed to Virginia to live.
These are my "tree grandchildren". Every few months I take a picture of them in this tree that stands next to the front porch. The three older ones had to learn to grab a lower limb and walk up the tree by themselves. This is their special tree. So in a few years 'lil Matthew" will have to learn to walk the tree. This tree was planted in 1989 when Nathan was 3.
Top: Joe, Nathan; bottom: Shyanne and Matthew.
This next shot is from Thanksgiving 2011 in front of my sister-in-laws tree in Garland. Tne Bob & Patsy Vinson Clan
This note about how to preserve a husband was given to me by my cousin, Kathy Horton Perry of Paris, Texas.
How to Preserve a Husband
Be careful in your selection. Do not choose too young, and only such as have been reared in a good moral atmosphere. Once decided upon and selected, give your entire thought of domestice use. Some wives keep them in a pickle; others constantly get them in hot water. This makes them sour; hard and bitter. Even poor varieties may be made sweet, tender, and good by covering them with patience, well sweetened with love and seasoned with kisses. Wrap in charity; keep warm with fire of devotion and serve with peaches and cream. This way a husband will keep for years.