LOOKING BACK: Old Settlers’ Reunion celebrates our county’s heritage

In preparation for the Old Settlers’ Reunion, the following persons assembled on Aug. 28, 1877: D.B. Adams, Calvin Moser, A.S. Anderson, William Marcum, Lawson Hopper, Alfred Williams, David Crouch, John McDonald, Sen. Thomas Waltman, George Heines, Milton Fleener and Howard Arwine. Adams was made chairman. It was then decided to conduct the first reunion at Georgetown on Sept. 22, 1877, and to invite Judge Hester, Alfred Williams and William Mason to address the multitude they expected would attend. Gov. J.D. Williams and the Hon. D.W. Voorhees also received an invitation to be present. William M. Waltman was elected to deliver the address of welcome to the Old Settlers Reunion.

A committee of three from each township was appointed to record the names of all persons living therein who had been in the county 30 years or more and bring the list to the first reunion to be read aloud and recorded.

A beautiful handcrafted cane was promised to the oldest man who had lived in the county the longest and was over 60 and a hickory rocking chair to the lady longest in the county and over 50. All were asked to bring old and interesting relics.

On Sept. 22, 1877, an enormous crowd gathered at Georgetown, coming from all points of the compass.

The exercises were opened by the Nashville Cornet Band and prayer by the Rev. Benjamin Woods.

The cane was awarded to Edward David, who was 92 years old and had lived in the county 64 years, and the chair was awarded to Margaret Graham, who was 80 old and had lived in the county 63 years. The old gentleman, as if but 40 instead of 92, exhibited his activity and appreciation of the gift by dancing a jig to the tumultuous applause of the large crowd. Old-fashioned speeches were delivered by many old settlers present. Cornelius McCoy was dressed in hunter’s suit and armed with rifle, tomahawk and knife.

The meeting of 1878, 1879 and 1880 were held in Nashville. The reunion of 1881 was held at Goshen.

After all these years, the Old Settlers’ Reunion has made a full circle. In 2007, a group of citizens formed in order to save the reunion. That year, on Sept. 22, the reunion was held at the Brown County Fairgrounds. The next year the reunion was invited to the Bill Monroe Music Park and continued there for a few years. A few years ago, the Brown County Historical Society became involved and the reunion has been held at the Pioneer Village in Nashville since that time — which brings me to the point of this article.

This year the Old Settlers’ Reunion will be Saturday, Sept. 30 at the History Center, Pioneer Village.

This reunion is for everyone who loves Brown County, young or old, newcomers or descendants of old settlers. It is a day meant for everyone to come and enjoy a day of fun, visiting with old friends or making new friends. Share stories of the days when your parents took you, as a kid, to Old Settlers’. Maybe you climbed the greased pole or caught the greased pig, participated in the sack race or played horseshoes. Let your families know about the Old Settlers’ Reunion.

— Brown County Historical Society