On June 11, 1922, the Robbins family celebrated 100 years in Decatur County, Indiana. So many people showed up that the event made the front page of the local newspaper, The Evening Times. The headline read: “1,000 People at Reunion: Sixty-Two Families Were Represented at the Robbins Annual Assemblage Yesterday.”
The actual 100-year-old newspaper was given to me by Sherrill Beck, a descendant of Jacob Robbins (1809-1896), a leader of the 1852 Robbins wagon train to Oregon. The Robbins family in Oregon kept in contact with their Decatur County relatives for many decades. In fact, Harvey Robbins, brother of Sherrill’s ancestor Levi, reportedly went back to Indiana to attend the this reunion.
The article states:
One thousand persons, it was estimated, participated in the annual reunion of the Robbins families of Decatur county held Sunday at the Liberty Baptist church and at which the one hundredth anniversary of the pioneer Robbins settlement in Decatur county was celebrated………the descendants of the pioneers who attended the reunion yesterday were representatives of practically every field of human endeavor. At the reunion 62 Robbins families were represented.
The newspaper went on to state:
One of the big features of the all day meeting was the dinner which was served at noon in the grove adjoining the church. With the exception of one table at which the elder members of the Robbins descendants were served, the dinner was served in cafeteria style. Two hay wagon loads of food were served during the noon hour. Twenty gallons of ice cream in cones was consumed during the day.
The program which was given in two sessions, morning and afternoon was excellent and included a number of exceptionally fine features. “A History of the Early Robbins Pioneers,” read by Squire William F. Robbins [a descendant of Absalom Robbins], was of special historical value and will be printed The Times tomorrow. Roy C. Kanouse, who claims he is one of the Robbins descendants by marriage [he was the husband of Elizabeth “Nell” Pleak, a descendant of William Robbins], was in charge of the program which was given as follows.
While this was a special, centennial reunion, the Robbins family had been having reunions for years and were so well organized they had officers. The newspaper reported the following were elected:
W. S. Robbins was elected president of the organization of the descendants for the coming year. Other officers elected were: Frank R. Robbins, vice-president; Earl Robbins, secretary; Mrs. J. B. Kitchin, assistant secretary; committee on time and place for holding next reunion, C. F. Wright, Frank Kitchen, and John E. Robbins of Horace; corresponding committee, J. B. Kitchin, W. F. Robbins, John E. Robbins, of Greensburg; tables and eats committee, Robert McCoy, George Robbins, L. W. Gillespie, Londa Wright, Arthur Lemmon, John Gilchrist; committee on entertainment, Roy C. Kanouse, Hal Kitchin, Harry Robbins; finance committee Walter B. Pleak and W. H. Robbins; advising and assisting committee, F. B. Kitchin, Charles M. Woodfill, John E. Robbins of Horace; committee on parking, Ira Rigby, Calvin Thornburg, William Sefton Robbins, Bernard Kitchin, and Greely Robbins.
In the summer of 2022 we may not have 62 separate families represented, nor 1,000 attendees, but those of us who attend can be assured of an unforgettable bicentennial reunion.
I might add that William F. Robbins’ History was a great resource for me getting started in Robbins genealogy. My next post will discuss the life of William and his sad death only six months later.