2009 WFA Reunion

The 5th Biennial
2009 Family Reunion Summary
June 25-28, 2009 • Butler Community Center, Butler, IL

Seated: Jessie (Ware) Hewitt and Joyce Busby
Standing from left to right: Charles, Sharon, and Melissa Unger, Marilyn (Mullins) Maccanelli, Lynn Rush, John Mullins, Mary Jean (Hewitt) Riley and Joe Heavey, Bradford Mann Smith, Freda (Lee) and Lincoln Hays, Erma Turner, Anita (Turner) Rundquist, and Karen (Turner) Nygard


Front row: Seated: Edward Ware, Jessie (Ware) Hewitt, Emily Osborn
: Jordan and Bethany Sass
Back row: Patty (Ware) Cady, Lynn Sellers, Bea (Burris) Sellers, Cindy (Snyder) Joy, Jim Osborne, Ann (Mullins) Tindall, and Sally Turner


Location of WFA Meetings & Reunions:
Butler Community Center
Montgomery County, Illinois



Cousins met in the Community Building in Butler, IIllinois in late June near Ware’s Grove where two Ware brothers, Obadiah and Benjamin, Jr., settled in the early 1800s. A tour of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum kicked off the activities on Thurs., June 25th in Springfield. A small group enjoyed lunch on site before viewing the spectacular depictions of Lincoln’s life. To commemorate the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, a timeline of his life and our Ware ancestor contemporaries was compiled. (If you would like a copy, contact us.)Our traditional pre-reunion dinner for early arrivals was held Thurs. evening at the Ariston on Historic Old Rte. 66 in Litchfield. Here we met for the first time long-time members Lincoln and Freda Hays (Rev. Daniel and Maria Ware Lee) of Nashville, TN, and new member Bradford Mann Smith (Rev. Samuel and Esther Ware Mann) of Berkeley, CA. What a delight to meet them.

On Friday morning tables at the Community Building were filled with numerous genealogical books, albums, pictures and WFA archival items displayed to share with other cousins. All in attendance studied, copied, and discussed their Ware heritage. A computer, printer and scanner were available. Lincoln and Freda Hays were given a personal tour to see the homesite of Freda’s great-great grandparents. Others visited Montgomery and Ware’s
Grove cemeteries.

After enjoying a light lunch, several chose to visit the Montgomery County Genealogical Society Research Center now located adjacent to the Harkey House in Hillsboro. A society member was present to assist searches for family information. Before returning to Butler, a few went to the county courthouse to search for deed records of ancestors. The WFA Board of Directors held their meeting in late afternoon to prepare for the membership meeting on Saturday.

A program was planned for Saturday morning, but at the last minute, Carla Barrett Miller (portraying Lucy Mack) could not travel from Arizona. Rather than attempt to have others present her story, a decision was made to postpone her presentation until 2011. Secondly, the planned re-enactment of the marriage ceremony of Pilgrim John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley was also put on hold for the next reunion. The intent was to have something in which children could participate, but none were there! All present were busy pouring over the displays and enjoying one another!

Shortly after noon, everyone enjoyed the catered dinner as we visited. Our reunion planner Marilyn Maccanelli, and her committee, made the arrangements again for a delicious meal. Following the meal, President Ann Tindall conducted the biennial membership meeting. (See minutes of membership meeting in the “Roots & Branches” newsletter.)

As dusk began to fall, Mary Jean Riley and Joe Heavey hosted a sunset wine and cheese (plus other delicious fare) gathering atop Ware’s Grove hill at the 1906 home of Frank and Nina Ware, Mary Jean’s grandparents. We were treated to a spectacular show over the prairie which was settled by our Ware family. The home was recently renovated and modernized by the couple. As night fell, there were good-byes to some leaving early Sunday.

For the first time since 2003, our schedule included an opportunity to attend a church service at Ware’s Grove Lutheran Church, founded in 1860 by the Ware settlers. The church was built on land given by Justus Ware, son of Benjamin Ware, Jr. The last to depart enjoyed brunch at the historic Hillsboro Hotel, a.k.a. the Red Rooster. The good-byes said, we left with memories of renewed friendships along with some new ones, only regretting that more were not present.