Mike and I look forward to celebrating the roots of our Gaither heritage with you. We have many stories to share about the first generations of Gaithers as we visit the very places those events occurred almost 400 years ago! What a wonderful way to commemorate our Society's 35th anniversary. Historic Annapolis is the perfect setting for our celebration. Here are a few pictures I took the other day, on my morning walk, to give you an idea of the fun in store. Hope to see you at the Reunion!
Nancy Jones - 2018 Reunion Host
For the 35th Reunion, the family will return to Annapolis, Maryland, the city where the Society of John Gaither Descendants was formed in 1984 and to where John Gater fled in 1649 to escape the religious intolerance of Virginia. If you haven't registered yet, don't delay and don't miss the deadline. Click here for more information and registration.
With our upcoming Reunion taking place in Annapolis, Maryland, you may ask yourself - - why was it that John Gaither relocated to Maryland from his Virginia homestead? What could possibly have forced him out of that valuable holding, which he settled as virgin land, and had held for 14 years? Was it a natural disaster, need for better land, adventure? The answer is a broken promise of freedom.
At our June 2018 Reunion in Annapolis, Maryland, a highlight of our activities will be visiting "Abington", the Gaither family seat beginning in 1649 - - 369 years ago!
John Gaither and Robert Proctor were the original patentees of the 875 acres of what they named "Abington". Its size and Gaither family ownership has waxed and waned over the succeeding centuries. While I have not yet completed my research into the chain of title for the property, as late as 1855, a Thomas and Rebecca Gaither sell 46-1/2 acres of Abington, which were conveyed to them by Rezin and Sarah R. Gaither in 1853. Gaithers, by far, have enjoyed the longest period of ownership at over 200 years!
Today, Abington is a horse farm in private hands, with a fraction of the original acreage remaining under that name. In 1975, it was accepted into the National Register of Historic Places. The land's wonderful fundamentals, which surely motivated John Gaither's astute selection, are still apparent.
We hope you'll join us at the 2018 Society of John Gaither Descendants' Reunion in Annapolis, Maryland, June 14 - June 17! We've planned an exciting time in the land of our earliest forefathers. Visit historic sites where John Gaither, and his children from whom we all descend, made their home in 1649 - - 369 years ago! As a 'first family' of Maryland, we all share our deepest American roots in this region.
We'll kick-off on Thursday evening with a delicious barbeque dinner at Mike and Nancy Jones' house to 'meet and greet' and stoke ourselves for a packed itinerary over the next three days.
Friday, we'll celebrate our heritage with a visit to the historic All Hallows, Old Brick Church where over 60 Gaither births, marriages and deaths are recorded from its establishment in the 1600s. We'll then have lunch at a classic Maryland Crab House on the shores of the South River, in the heart of South River Hundred. This is where John Gaither and Robert Proctor chose their 875 acres of land after leaving Virginia. A highlight of the day will be our visit to that original Gaither homestead, which they named "Abington," at the headwaters of the South River. Remarkably, "Abington" was occupied by Gaithers for at least 200 years.
Catherine Osborne Gaither, 94, passed away Sunday, February 11, 2018. Catherine was born in Rowan County on June 29, 1923 to Robert Charlie Osborne and Merlie Safley Osborne. She married Willie Lemuel Gaither, son of James Martin Gaither, grandson of John Martin Gaither and in the line of Greenberry, Jeremiah, John V, John IV, John III, John II, and John Gaither I.
She was a homemaker, a member of Midway Baptist Church and was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Willie Lemuel Gaither (12/08/2009), a daughter Beverly Lorraine Gaither and a grandson Mickey Durham. Surviving are her sons, Tony Gaither (Debbie) of Clemmons, Gene Gaither (Brenda) of East Bend, Mike Gaither (Debbie) of Winston-Salem; daughters, Irene Durham of Mocksville, Gerry Hartsell of Winston-Salem, Colleen Hunt (Winfred) of Winston-Salem, Nell Benoist of Reeds, Winona Gaither of Winston-Salem, Elaine Richardson of Lexington, Faye Gaither of Lexington; sisters, Blanche Misenheimer of Salisbury, Frances Ennis of Newton, Juanita Guessford of Salisbury; 32 grandchildren, 68 great-grandchildren and 26 great-great-grandchildren.
Elizabeth “Lib” Koontz Woodward, 87, formerly of Country Lane, Mocksville, North Carolina died Sunday, October 22, 2017, at Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem. She was born March 11, 1930, in Davie County to Marshall Wilson and Laura Hesseltine Campbell Koontz. Lib was the grand-daughter of Mary Ellen Gaither, great-granddaughter of George Washington Gaither, in the Gaither line of Basil E, Walter, Basil, Edward, Benjamin, John II, and John Gaither I.
Mrs. Woodward was a member of First Baptist Church of Mocksville where she was very active as long as she was able. She was a member of the Mocksville Garden Club and loved to cook for her family and friends.
Past SJGD president Robert L. Kaplan passed away on December 3, 2017. Bob Serviced as president of the Society from 1993-1995. He was born October 5, 1928 in Long Branch, New Jersey. Bob married Jean Gaither on March 18, 1960 in Suffolk, Virginia. Burial will be at a later this year at West Point, New York.
Charter SJGD member Jerry Forrest Gaither, age 89, passed from this life on Wednesday, December 28, 2016 after a brief illness. Jerry is the son of Jesse Edward Gaither, grandson of Isaac Raines Gaither, in the Gaither line of Amos F, Edward, Benjamin, John IV, John III, John II and John Gaither I.
He was born on a farm in Auburntown, Tennessee as the youngest of ten children to Jesse Edward and Jodie Nugent Hawkins Gaither. He graduated from public school in Auburntown, graduating from Auburn High School in 1945. Immediately upon graduation he joined the U.S Navy and served until the end of WWII. He graduated from MTSU with his undergraduate and later Masters Degree in Education.