Thursday, July 13, 2006

Motts Reunions

Part two in the How to Stuff a Long Weekend series is the two Motts family reunions in Ohio. [The other parts are here and here.] My paternal grandmother was Mildred Motts before she married my grandfather, L A Haslup, and these are her relatives. Saturday was the 100th anniversary of the Fahl-Motts reunion first held in 1906. Sunday was a smaller, but still sizable, get together for descendents of my great-grandfather, Eli Motts.

The Fahl-Motts Reunion


The invitation shows my great-great-grandfather, Michael Motts, and his wife Mary (Fahl) Motts.

This was the main event of the trip -- the reason we drove all the way to Ohio. The various Mottses, Fahls and Motts-Fahl descendents in the area have been having a family reunion there longer than anyone present has been alive. This year was the hundredth anniversary and it was well attended. The organizers had to rent the adjacent room at the community center to fit all the attendees. In recent years the attendance has run at around forty; this year, because of the hundredth anniversity thing, they had three times that many.

You'd think that having so many relatives in one room would be daunting but it was actually less intimidating than a smaller gathering. When there are one hundred thirty-odd relatives no one expects you to know who they all are. It's sort of a "get out of jail free" card for the forgetful. And who are you? you ask. My sister? Yes, yes, of course I knew that. It't just that there are so many people here to sort out...

My brother was taking pictures at the Fahl-Motts dinner and I left my camera behind so any photos of the event in this blog will come later as an update if at all. There was also an attempt to take a group photo and I will add it in if I get a copy since it will make a nice contrast to the following photo of the reunion in 1909.


This is from a Xerox and the quality is poor. If I get a better copy I will replace it.

The photo came with a typed list of who's who in the photo by the numbers. About half of the people in the photo were unknown but here is my great-grandfather Eli Motts [5] and great-grandmother Annie (Houts) Motts [6].


My Grandmother Mildred Elizabeth Motts [19] was ten years old in the photo...


... and her sister Nadine Motts [11] was a bit older.


This was the first time I have been to a Fahl-Motts reunion but I did once get a copy of the reunion cookbook from a couple of years back. It was one of those spiral-bound things where everyone on the mailing list is asked to contribute a favorite recipe and half of them send in the same thing. That year the most popular recipe was "Cheesy Potato Bake" which was made with frozen hash-brown potatoes, sour cream and schredded cheddar cheese. The 2006 reunion was a covered-dish affair (we took some pies and other pastries from the Hotel restaurant) and I had several opportunities to sample official Fahl-Motts cheesy potato varieties and other sturdy, easily reheated fare. There was a lot of food there. Never has the spectre of starvation seemed farther away -- and the goals of my diet seemed more unattainable.

Apparently, it will also be the last time I attend a Fahl-Motts reunion. There was a brief business meeting after supper where everyone was thanked for coming, people who had worked hard to make the affair a success were recognized, and the decision was confirmed that one hundred years were enough and there were no plans for a next meeting.

There were a number of suggestions made for ways for the reunion to continue -- they mostly came from the Eli Motts descendents -- my group. But of course the encouragement would come from us. We are scattered all over the country, none of us are local to the Canton, Ohio area and there is no way that any of us could volunteer to take over the work -- no one expects us to do it because it can't happen. We'd like for the reunion to go on -- we still have people who'se last name is Motts in our group; but in some of the other families the last Motts ancestor died before the oldest living family member was born and they have other family reunions to plan.

One of the events surrounding this hundredth, and last, reunion of Michael Motts family is the publication of a book of geneaological information which one of my distant Motts cousins has put together for the occasion. I think I'll buy a copy.

The Eli Motts Reunion was a Sunday brunch held at the Atwood Lake Lodge southeast of Canton, Ohio. The event was to start promptly at 9:30 and, the Atwood Lake Lodge being a half-hour drive from the hotel, we had been told we needed to leave no later than 9:00 am to be on time. Since we were going to head on to Arlington from the Lodge we needed to pack bags and car and check out before we could leave. Adding to the sense of urgency was the fact that no-one in our group had any idea how to get to the Lodge so if we missed the 9 am caravan we would be up the creek.

After considerable rushing through our morning rituals, hurrying one another along, and a last-minute realization that we had forgotten to include dad in the rushing and hurrying (because he was staying in another room) we were finally ready to go -- and only ten minutes late. We threw the last few bags in the trusty Subaru and headed to the lobby to look for the other members of the caravan. We had a few nervous minutes when we discovered that there was no-one in the lobby and thought we might have been left behind but we quickly discovered that the reason there was nobody there is that nobody else was ready to go yet (except for Aunt Sue who had already left for the Lodge to reassure them that we were coming.)

This was one of those junctures where your humble proprietor and the Teleospouse take different points of view. Upon finding out that everyone else in the family is running even later than I am I tend to think aahhh, I am off the hook and relax. The wife, on the other hand, is driven half-mad by this sort of family farbling, and on this occasion I worried that she might need to be restrained and sedated for her own good and for the safety of others. But somehow we made it through that extra half-hour that was required for maps to be located and Xeroxed, and for various siblings to finish packing and certain nephews to get out of the shower, and we departed for the Lodge where we arrived without incident.

The Atwood Lake Resort and Conference Center is pleasant, if slightly tired looking place with a lovely view of the Ohio countryside and the lake. Brunch was a very servicable hotel-food buffet and we had a nice private room in which to eat and visit. When everyone was finished eating we headed out to the lawn for the obligatory group picture. I took a number of photos and have put some of them ( <= click to view) online for other family members who have asked for copies (and for you, gentle reader, if you like). Here is the group photo.

Click the photo for other sizes.

This photo is a composite that I have assembled from three different photos. I didn't have a tripod so I couldn't use the self-timer to get into the picture and one of the photos was taken by one of the other people in the picture. I spliced together the part that has him in it (near the left of the photo, squatting) with the part that has me (just right of center in the rear). While I was at it I spliced in a better copy of several figures at the right end and grabbed one head from an individual family group photo for a relative who is only visible as a tuft of hair in any of the overall group shots. The original shots from which I built the composite are all included in the photos in my account that can be accessed using the link above.

No comments: