Saturday, December 20, 2008

Family Reunion

(Reynolds, GA) Family reunions are definitely made for Christmas. And for birthdays. It is especially neat when you can gather to celebrate Christmas and a birthday at the same time.

Daniel Whatley was born on December 25, 1744. He actually lived to be almost 113 years old. That’s a very long time especially when you understand that medical science wasn’t quite as advanced during his era as it is today. My goodness people died from such things as dysentery in those days. I also couldn’t help but notice this Whatley patriarch was 31 years old when the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Thanks to the work of his great great grandson, Julian, Daniel Whatley can now celebrate Christmas and his 264th birthday with a son and daughter in law and a couple of his grandchildren.

But more importantly, Whatley descendents for generations to come can now ride out to Little Vine Cemetery and remember the folks who gave them their DNA. And then they can ride over to Hillcrest Cemetery and visit a few more generations of their ancestors.

The idea for the “Whatley Project” was birthed at a "live" Whatley family reunion. The project was to clean up an old cemetery and to preserve a very rich family heritage. When the cleaning began, Julian found more ancestors than he realized existed at Little Vine Cemetery. He had the existing monuments cleaned and aligned in proper order and installed new concrete ledgers. He then moved the monument of Daniel Whatley from an isolated and grown over little cemetery on the other side of town and placed it next to his family members.

There is still more cleaning to be done and a few more final touches to be added before the project is completed. But the family gathering has taken place. Just in time for Christmas and just in time for the birthday of the man who brought the Whatley’s to middle Georgia.

I think Sir Daniel would be quite proud of the way his family turned out. And I am quite certain the surviving Whatley’s are proud that his memory and those of their other ancestors will now live on in a more tangible way at Little Vine Cemetery.

I can tell you a real family reunion has taken place there.

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