McCullah-Wasson families hold annual reunion

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Event draws 211 relatives to family land near Nixa

The 128th annual McCullah-Wasson family reunion was held July 29 to Aug. 5 at the Finley River, near the Hawkins Bridge, five miles south of Nixa.

The reunion location has been in continual use for 110 years, on a portion of the Hawkins farm. The first reunion was a surprise birthday party for Samuel Calvin McCullah, son of Alexander and Lucy (Robertson) McCullah, held north of Marionville at Samual McCullah's home in 1890. Reunions have been held every year since. Over time the date moved to the last Sunday in July until the first Sunday in August for any who could come.

There were 211 relatives and 22 visitors attending during the latest reunion. Eleven states were represented: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. More than 25 tents, campers and trailers were sent up on the grounds. Many relatives stayed in motels in Nixa and Springfield. Many living nearby attended.

On Monday a Texas Holden tournament was held. Claire Wasson was the winner. On Tuesday, Nikole St. George won the 31 card tournament. Half the proceeds from both tournaments went toward covering reunion expenses. There were science experiments for the children on Wednesday, the annual side dish contest before dinner on Thursday and a craft auction, again helping to cover reunion expenses. Cindy Simmons of Springfield won the dessert contest.

There was no float trip this year due to low water levels on the James and Finley rivers.

During the annual business meeting, Kevin St. George of Nixa was named president. Dan Hilgedick of Blue Springs was tapped as vice president. Amy Gann of Springfield was named treasurer and Jane Staiger of Billings will take up secretary duties.

Eleanor Anderson of Dallas, Texas, was the oldest member attending. The youngest member, at age nine months, was Issac Wagle, son of James and Margaret (Warren) Wagle of Wichita, Kan.

Callie (Carter) Linville led the memorial service for those who passed away in the last year: Patricia (Fitzgerald) Reed, Joe Jenkins, Patricia (Grainger) Phillips, Kathy (Hawkins) Viter, JoAnne Fitzgerald and Patricia (Comer) Sweat. Kathy Viter was one of the five Hawkins descendants who own the land where the reunion is held.

Eugene Earsom of Oklahoma City, Okla., gave a presentation about Lowell Thayer Wasson, who was killed in action in Ypres, Belgium, in World War I on Aug. 9, 1918.

The 129th reunion was scheduled for July 29 to Aug. 4 at the same location.