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Reynolds clan reunion draws 33 members and guests

By Mark Bateman, reunion president

The 52nd annual Reynolds Family Reunion was held May 19 at the Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church near Columbia, with 33 members and guests in attendance.

The event reunited the descendants of William Reynolds Jr. and his sister Matilda Jane Reynolds Spencer, both originally from Chelsea, England. William Reynolds Jr. lived in Tyrrell County and became a Primitive Baptist preacher, while Matilda Jane Reynolds Spencer lived near Roper in Washington County and ran a local store.

Family and guests began arriving at 10 a.m, and the official business meeting started at 10:35. Mark Bateman of Ledyard, Conn., president, opened the meeting and welcomed everyone. Next, Mark read a poem on “A Family is Like a Circle” that reminds us a family connection, like a circle, never ends. This was followed by a hymn led by the president.

Two recent family births were announced: Carter Blair Barnes born in May 2018 to Gordon Winson Barnes Jr. and Stacey Kissinger Barnes of Winterville, and granddaughter of Gordon and Teresa Barnes Sr. of Grimesland; and Edgar David Anderson, fifth born to David Anderson IV and Jennifer Wilson Anderson of Charleston, South Carolina and great-grandson of Virginia Voliva of Columbia.

The minutes of the last meeting were read by the secretary Susan Reynolds Forbes of Roper and the treasurer’s report was given by Gail Reynolds of Columbia. Mark gave a report on the repairs to the Bethlehem church building. The outside water line was re-routed and repaired. More work is needed to repair rotted subflooring, as funds become available.

Next, a memorial service was led by Amanda Reynolds Frymier of Plymouth for the nine family members who died during the past year.

The program featured was “Life of Richard and Joseph Reynolds, Brothers – In Their Shoes (#4),” the story of the two middle brothers of our ancestors William Sr. and Frances Reynolds. It was presented by Cyndee Reynolds Rabil who recently reloacated to Wilmington. Everyone learned that little Richard died at just a few months of age of measles, which was prevalent at that time, and about the things going on in Chelsea, England during Joseph’s time.

Dean Bateman was recognized as having traveled the farthest to attend, 850 miles from Starkville, Miss. The youngest member was Charlotte Baker, age 11 months, daughter of John and Dawn Baker of Elizabeth City. The oldest was Virginia Voliva of Columbia, age 96. Attending the reunion for the first time were John and Dawn Baker and children Josie and Charlotte of Elizabeth City and Richard Heinig and Cyndee Reynolds Rabill of Wilmington. Colorful award ribbons were presented to each of these people.

It was noted that the annual Primitive Baptist preaching service will be the fourth Sunday in September at Bethlehem Church on September 22 at 10:30 a.m., led by Elder Johnny Ray Gardner. Also noted was that the next reunion will be held on Sunday, May 17, 2020.

The reunion meeting adjourned with the blessing given by Rev. C.L. Reynolds of Columbia. Then came a barbecue and covered-dish picnic lunch provided by the families, held outdoors on this very hot day in a shady spot in the yard of the church.  A meeting of the Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church Preservation Society followed the picnic.

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