The Society of John Gaither Descendants visits Gaither’s at Myrtle Creek Farm

 
 
COVINGTON — Every year since 1984, the Society of John Gaither Descendants has held a special gathering hosted by a different member. This year, Roy Gaither was in charge of planning the event and chose to have the lunch at Gaither’s at Myrtle Creek Farm in Newton County.
A total of 22 members attended, including Clinton Daly from Baltimore, Marilyn Gaither Ray from Leesburg, Virginia, and Steve Beardslee from Seattle.
 
Attendees were given a tour of the Gaither farmhouse as well as the church and other sites on the property.“It is important to know your family history,” said Beardslee. “I remember when my son asked me where do we come from ...That’s when I decided to find out.” 
 
The Society of John Gaither Descendants is a family organization, founded and incorporated in 1984 in Maryland. In most instances, the Gaither family members in America can trace their ancestry back to John Gater I.
John Gater I, born 1599, was the first Gater/Gaither in America, arriving on the ship “George” in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1620, where he appears on the Muster in 1623, sixth on the list under Sir Francis Wyatt, governor, and again in 1636 on the “Assurance” when resettling in Maryland at the invitation of Lord Baltimore.
It is believed Gater’s first wife was named Joan Morley, and they had two children: Elizabeth, born 1632, who married first John Freeman and later Robert Proctor, and John, born 1634, who married Ruth Beard, daughter of Richard and Rachel (Robbins) Beard. The family remained in Maryland until about the time of the Revolutionary War when some members moved south or west.
Next year for the 400th anniversary, the society will have its annual gathering in Jamestown, Virginia.
To learn more about the society, visit www.johngaither.org.
 
Gaither’s at Myrtle Creek Farm, previously known as Gaither’s Plantation, is a Wildlife Management Area and events facility owned by Newton County where a number of festivals and private events take place.
Newton County acquired Gaither’s Plantation in 1996, and there have been several attempts to make it a more marketable events facility. The property is described as one of a few remaining examples of mid-19th to late 20th century farms and cotton plantations in northeast Georgia. On the site are the Gaither house, circa 1855, a church building, a cabin and some barns. Some of the buildings were moved to the site from other parts of the county. There are also two 19th century cemeteries, the Gaither family cemetery and a slave cemetery. 

Hunter Terrell

Covington native and proud Valdosta State alumna, Hunter has previously worked with The Covington News and Valdosta Daily Times. She started working for Rockdale/Newton Citizen in June 2018.
Roy D. Gaither
 

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Annual Meeting

The Society of John Gaither Descendants
Annual Meeting/Reunion
Stone Mountain Park, Georgia
June 20-23, 2019
Time to make your plans
Arrangements have been made at The Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort, Stone Mountain Park Georgia, for June 20-23, 2019. A special room rate of $160.00 plus state and local taxes (currently 16%) and a $5.00 Georgia Hotel/Motel fee per night has been locked in for all Society Members. Rooms are standard rooms either 1 king or 2 double beds. Continue reading

It’s time to sign-up for the 2018 Gaither Reunion!

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

Why Annapolis, Maryland?

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.

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Abington – The Gaither Family Seat Since 1649

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.

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President’s Message

Charting a new course.  That’s what Gaithers will be doing when the Society holds its next reunion in June 2017 on an Alaskan cruise.  The 34th Reunion and Annual Meeting will be held aboard Celebrity Cruises’ ship, the Infinity.  For seven days, Gaithers will be cruising the majestic Inside Passage and visit Sitka, Juneau, Ketchikan, as well as the Hubbard Glacier.

Shaped by the staggering force of massive glaciers millions of years ago, Alaska’s Inside Passage boasts wildlife-filled fjords and lush island scenery — habitat for bald eagles, sea lions, porpoises and whales.  Its mountains are carpeted with majestic forests. Inside Passage Alaska is home to Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian Indians whose history is reflected in towering totem poles.  Russian settlers left a legacy of onion-domed churches gleaming with icons.

Tall, wide and generally massive, Hubbard Glacier is a mesmerizing natural wonder framed in striking glacial blue.  The largest tidewater glacier in North America at a whopping 76 miles long and 1,200 feet deep, Hubbard has been nicknamed the "galloping glacier" because of how quickly it's advancing toward the Gulf of Alaska through Disenchantment Bay.  Rapid advancement results in major calving -- the dramatic breaking off chunks of ice at the edge of a glacier.  Watching ice melt has never been so exciting! This area is also rife with wildlife

This is a great opportunity to take a trip of a lifetime and combine it with a family reunion.  If you have not attended a Gaither Reunion, this is your opportunity to chart new opportunities that you will cherish for a lifetime.  And if you have attended before, make this an extra special event by getting your immediate family, close cousins, and even friends to join you. 

I promise you’ll have a wonderful time, meet new cousins and make so many great memories.  Check out the details here on this website and register soon.

Best wishes,
Mack Gaither

2017 John Gaither Society Reunion Location Announced

For the first time ever in the history of the Society, the 2017 Reunion & Annual Meeting will be held at sea on an 8-day Alaskan Cruise. The Society's Board of Directors decided at their quarterly meeting to break from tradition and to set sail June 18, 2017.  This is an excellent opportunity to combine the Gaither Reunion with a dream vacation to Alaska.

Gaze in wonder at the steep Inside Passage and visit the bucket-list wonder Hubbard Glacier. Tour the last frontier town, Ketchikan, famed for feisty salmon and Alaskan culture and Sitka, considered Alaska’s most beautiful seaside town.  Lastly, you depart from and return to Vancouver, BC, named the Top Destination in Canada in TripAdvisor's 2016 Travelers’ Choice awards. Arrangements are under way and details should be announced here within the next few weeks.

2016 Annual Reunion was “Outstanding”!

pensacola bch aerialAll that attended exclaimed the 33rd Annual Reunion as “outstanding”. Plenty of socializing, sightseeing, and dining occurred over the three days in Pensacola Beach, Florida, world-famous for its sugar-white sand beaches and emerald-green waters. Hosted by J.D. and Sandra Gaither, with the _DSC5016help of their adult children, Rebecca Yates and Frank Gaither, this year’s event attracted an impressive 36 attendees with one-third attending their first reunion ever. This included the two youngest attendees, Dylan and Logan Rothe, 10 and 8 years old, respectively. Also, you can see the record-breaking number of photographs taken throughout the event by clicking here.

Welcoming Party
547067_532241_1463884234839A pizza party kicked off the Reunion Thursday night in the Reunion’s Hospitality Suite, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico from the ninth floor of the Hilton Pensacola Beach. The sound of Gaithers becoming acquainted with newly found cousins and catching up with long-known ones filled the rooms. The party lasted until late into the evening.

Getting to Know Pensacola Beach
547067_532241_1463883959652The next day, rain and wind battered Pensacola Beach for most of the day, but that did not deter many of the Gaithers from exploring the areas many sites, restaurants, and history. By mid-afternoon, the skies had cleared, and the clan took to the water and cruised Pensacola Bay. Highlights of the expedition included many dolphin sightings, seeing historic Fort Pickens and the Pensacola Lighthouse. After the cruise, Gaithers found many of the area’s best restaurants to quench their thirst and satisfy their appetites, including McGuire’s Irish Pub, famous for “Feasting, Imbibery, & Debauchery” and over one million dollar bills hanging from its ceilings. Continue reading