Jim Long's Garden: Bear Creek Reunion 2015

Jim Long's Garden: Bear Creek Reunion 2015

Bear Creek Reunion 2015

I haven't been to the Bear Creek Reunion since I was about 17 years old. My grandmother Harper, who never drove a car, asked me to take her to the Reunion one year. So it was fun to reconnect with the few people who I know there, and meet lots and lots of new people who are all my relatives. Following here is a short tour of what I think is a kind of amazing place. It's a church that was founded by several families including my own (Garrison, Harper & Wisner ancestors) along with Johnstons and others). Founded in 1856, this Methodist church remains active, alive and thriving today.
Bear Creek Methodist Church, est. 1856.
Inside the church.

One of the original pews that was saved from the remodeling some years back. 

Behind the church is the cemetery, well-maintained, with many of my relatives buried there.

Surrounding the church and cemetery is almost a park, old oak trees for shade. At the edge of the grounds is a band shell/stage with words over it, "Make a Joyful Noise." It is the spot of weekend music from time to time - there is even a Bear Creek Band from time to time. People bring their lawn chairs and listen to the local musicians who come to play.
Under the shade of the park-like setting is a very long table, permanent, for reunions, family dinners and their annual pig roast and fish fry - both of which are fundraisers that go to help local, needy families. For the annual Reunion, this table, probably 60 or 80 feet long and 4 feet wide, is almost groaning with food. My family likes to eat!
Food of every description and kind.
Yes, real fried chicken! Barbecued ribs, chicken and noodles.
I lost count of the desserts but 20 or 25 kinds. More than anyone could sample all of, but some tried!

To prove our family likes picnics, potlucks, food in general, here's my great grandfather, George Washington Garrison, about 1930 with my aunts, uncles and others, gathered around a picnic.
Yes, note, all my relatives have plates and food in their hands!
After lunch, people visited, milled around, shared photos, stories.

Musicians played. Music is always a big part of any reunion at Bear Creek Church.

John and Minerva Wisner
John and Minerva Wisner
John Adam and Lora Wisner 1836-1907
Harpers, 3 generations. My grandfather, James Edward Harper is center, back, age 16.

Three of Richard Garrison's sons, circ 1846-1850
Being at Bear Creek Reunion was a very satisfying and reassuring experience. Almost every person there was related in some way. Nearly all of us descend from the Wisner, Harper, Garrison, Cassity or related families. We all share DNA, we are all descended from the early pioneers, and every one of our ancestors came as immigrants from another country.