Saturday, July 2, 2016


On the even numbered years, the descendants of Virge and Sarah Kilgore get together in Nauvoo, Alabama for their Kilgore Cousins Reunion.  This year’s reunion was on Saturday,
May 28 and took place on the old farm of Virge and Sarah Kilgore where they raised 9 children in a small farm house.  
Having the reunion on the old farm requires a lot of work because no one lives there.  It isn’t the same as having a reunion in an established location such as a church, a community center, or in a park.  The acreage is made up of the house which is all boarded up, two barns which are deteriorating from age and the elements, an outhouse built by daddy and Ron McKeever just for the reunions, and two large fields which are there for nature to take its course—fire ant hills, sage grass, scrubby bushes, and wild thistles.  For the last four years the field behind the old house has been attended to on a regular basis.  Until this year, my brother, Ricky has been mowing the front field and around the barns.   The back field is somewhat wild, but has  been bush hogged once is a while.  That field has a deer stand on the edge of it build my cousin, Jimmy Kilgore, who comes to hunt there during season.  

First of April 2016
A month prior to our reunion, I took a day picking up fallen limbs and twigs that were scattered all over the ground, knowing that this would have to be done first. There was no reason to wait closer to reunion time to do it. There was already a pile of limbs laid out where we have had campfires over the years.  So on top of what was already there, all I collected this day mounted up to a huge and taller pile limbs. By the end of the day, it was evident that the pile of limbs might be too big for our needed campfire.

First & Middle  of May 2016
I made two trips in my wife’s 1994 Pathfinder, hauling a large table, 8 folding chairs, two card tables, a life-size chess set, carpet squares for the board, a structured framework for a parachute tent, some tarps, and a generator.  I placed all this in the upper cottage of Mother’s with the exception of the generator.   While at mother’s, and using Daddy’s truck, I  hauled concrete blocks over to Granny’s place.  I surrounded the large limb pile with the blocks in order to ease my mind about containing that huge campfire. Late in the afteroon, I also went to a Double Springs grocery story and bought all the needed carbonated drinks and water for the reunion. Gateway was having a special on drinks and water which my cousin, Patricia Phelps let me know while I was at mother’s.  We stored the drinks in the front bedroom of mother’s.  Smart move to get those drinks.

May 23, 2016
My cousins, Jimmy and Jerry Kilgore, brothers who live in the “Shoals” area, came down to help me get the grounds ready on the Monday prior to the reunion.  We had two riding mowers available for our cutting grass around the old house and barns and in the field behind the house.  It took around 3 hours to cut the large acreage. The day went very smoothly.  Jerry and I used the riding mowers, and Jimmy used his weed eater to trim up everything around the old house.  We completed our task by 10 am.

One special thing that we did was cut a walking path through the lower field, creating a maze. One entrance  and one exit were cut into the field, with a lot of dead-end paths through the large field.  After Jimmy and Jerry left for home, I decided that the big old barn should be cleaned up before the small sweet gum bushes surrounded it took over. I spend the rest of the day doing just that. 

I should mention that on this same day, my cousin, Ron McKeever came from his home in Gardendale, Alabama to clean up the road trash along Winston County Road 21.  This is the road that goes through the Kilgore land to the Winston-Walker County line.  It is heavily traveled because it is a connecting road from highway 195 (Poplar Springs) to highway 5 (Nauvoo).  Travelers  use this road as a garbage dumping location as they discard bottles, cans and paper goods from their vehicles.  This was not a small task, and it took Ron all morning and a part of the afternoon to pick up all that trash.   Needless to say, Monday, May 23 was a very productive day.

Friday, May 27, 2016
Jimmy Kilgore and his friend, Mark McBrayer met me at the old farm to set up all the needed things for the gathering— large, heavy wooden tables assembled, chairs hauled,  the registration and welcome canopy and table set up, the generator placed, and  the parachute tent assembled.  We also set up gateway posts for the maze’s entrance and exit. 

Starting very early, these tasks were completed in record time, allowing Jimmy and Mark to arrive back home by 10 am. After Jimmy and Mark left, I walked to mother’s place and my sister, Rebecca was there loading up all the drinks and water which I had purchased a few weeks ago.  Rebecca was taking the drinks to be iced down overnight.  This was a big job.  

My mother, Pat, and I returned to the old farm to do some work—putting table cloths over the old wooden tables.  This required cleaning the tables first and then putting duck tape on them so the cloths would stay on the tables.  By lunch time, my brother Ricky, his wife, Pat, and their daughter, Holly came to set up the different games and activities which had been planned—horseshoes, volleyball and badminton, ring toss,  etc.  

One major task that Holly, Ricky’s Pat, and I did after lunch was stringing out the fence border of orange netting to separate the parking, the greeting area, and the activities area.  Stakes, plastic fencing, and pinwheels were used to divide the field located behind the old house.

With the fencing, a path was created that would direct everyone to the canopy where they would register, receive name tags, and donate for the flower fund and the reunion expenses.  B late mid-afternoon, my brother, Mik and his wife, Linda arrived.  Mike helped place the signs for parking and any other finishing touches needed.  It was a full day, and all was accomplished.  It was a family affair.

After dinner, I returned to Granny’s place after dark to camp out that night on the grounds because of all the equipment that was laid out for the taking.  I first attempted to sleep in the parachute tent, but it was too warm to be comfortable.  With my sleeping bag in hand, I moved to the front porch of the old house.  Not long after retiring, I small rain shower came in.  It reminded of my childhood days when I recalled the rain hitting the tin roof of the old house.  There is nothing like it.  I rested the night.

Saturday, May 28, 2016 Daytime
The day has arrived.  I got up early to set out the road direction signs on highway 195 and highway 5 as well as the entrance into the old farm itself.  Then I went to mother’s for breakfast.  After breakfast I returned to Granny’s to set up the sound system, all the registration materials and opened up all the chairs for use.  People began arriving around 11:00 am.  My sister arrived with all the iced-down drinks. Slowly, but surely by lunch time, around 12:45 pm we had approximately 60 people present. They came from all over the country, especially the McKleroy's from Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana. The persons who traveled the furtherest were Katie and Patrick Connell, daughter and son-in-law of Ricky and Pat Kilgore.  They live in Ohio, just outside the Detroit area.  There is no way, I can list everyone attending, but the oldest person present was my mother, Beatrice Kilgore.

 She will be 92 years old in December of this year.  It had been a while since any of the Chadwick Family (Ruby Kilgore Chadwick descendants) had attended which made it very special when Nelda Chadwick Schultz and her husband, Ken traveled from their in Gulf Shores, Alabama to attend our family gathering.  Also, the daughter of Billy Chadwick, Rachel Chadwick Tilley and husband, Mark and 5 children attended this year traveling up from their home in Camden, Alabama.  Their baby, Shepard Tilley at 5 months old, was the youngest one present.  All in all, everyone had a wonderful time.  The weather was perfect.  Our cousin, Joe McKeever from Louisiana, had a special table from where he drew caricatures of  those sitting across from him.  The activities provided interest for all ages present, and the food was the best.  The snow cone matching provided and manned by Ricky Kilgore's wife, Pat was a wonderful plus to a warm and sunny Alabama day.  

Here are some photos that capture the setting for the reunion.

During an afternoon break all the major equipment (including the fence border) was taken down by my brothers and their wives, my wife, and especially the two son-in-laws of Ricky Kilgore, Chris Prince and Patrick Connell.  

Saturday, May 28, 2016 Nighttime 
What was to follow after this break was a nighttime wiener roast and sharing time around the campfire.  My brothers, Mike and Ricky talked it over and felt it would not be good to use the huge piled- up limbs surrounded by concrete blocks as  the campfire.  Instead, their plan was to use a small campfire off to the side with some old logs that were at mother’s.  They took daddy’s truck to haul the small logs, and set up a much smaller campfire, using some of the concrete blocks.  

The evening was on.  The campfire was perfect.   James Phelps had brought his grill and cooked all the hamburgers and wieners for the evening. Chips and condiments were provided.  The food was good.  The watermelon cut up into small  wedge slices by the two “Pats” made for a perfect touch.  We also had a lot of dessert left from the noon meal.  The campfire was used to roast marshmallows.

Afterward, I had different objects on display and we used them to bring up memories from our past—a dutch oven, a piece of tin, a quilt, an old time iron, a chamber pot, a churn, and other items.  When it got dark, we concluded.  We packed up all the garbage, leftover drinks, and mosquito lamp poles, and food in the dark, using flashlights and the car lights to help us see.  All was removed with the exception of the heavy wooden tables.

Monday, June 6, 2016
A week after the reunion, I returned to Nauvoo to visit mother.  The last reunion task was to take down the heavy wooden tables.  There was no way I could do it by myself.  I also had the task of cutting the grass again on the old farm because it had been two weeks ago that it had been cut.  I had talked to Patricia Phelps the previous day about her husband helping, but in doing so, I found out that James still works in Birmingham and could not.  Her two grandsons, Jon and Josh could possible help, but they were scheduled to make a trip to Cullman.  In the middle of my grass cutting, a truck came into sight, and it was Jon and Josh.  They had come to help put up the tables.  It was great to see them, and I was so appreciative of their help.  They were heading out to Cullman, but came to help before the made the trip.  It didn’t take any time with their help to move the tables into storage, to be used in two years (May 2018) for our next Kilgore Cousins Reunion.  I look forward to it!


                10 ft. X 25 Ft. Black  Sheeting $10.90
   Adhesive                                                                 7.50
PVC tubing and fittings                                            53.09
Citronella                                                                  9.97
Canopy Tent                                                         145.26
                7 Pinwheels                                                              7.00
2 Posterboards                                                          2.00
1 Glue Stick                                                              1.00

                5 Sets of Stakes                                                        26.58
Orange Safety Fence                                               29.97
    Flat Black Spray Paint                                                 3.87
                Water Colors                                                              1.80
Tape ( most tapes was furnished)                                               1.00

DRINKS FROM GATEWAY FOODS                                          43.60

PAPER GOODS & CONDIMENTS FROM PUBLIX                      48.93

TOTAL EXPENSES     $392.47
RECEIVED FROM REUNION DONATIONS                             $245.00

DIFFERENCE                                                                         $147. 47 (cost of the canopy)