The Tolliver Reunion held June 2013 quickly turned into a Reunion Talent Show. We have always had a talent show on Friday evening with children and youth performing. This year the definition of talent took on new and broader meaning.
On Friday evening C. J. Wing (from John 1760) played his guitar and sang. Then
Erin Smith (from Wade Hampton 1815) sang. They provided a great start to the evening. John Tolliver (from Wade Hampton) sang and played his guitar. Then Lea Ann Lyon led the group in her own version of Tolliver Bingo. Meanwhile, Dr. J. D. Reeder showed a video of the drama “Bloody Rowan”that told the story of the Tolliver-Martin Feud. Dr. Reeder wrote and directed the play that was produced in Morehead in October.
On Saturday the talent continued to blossom. Tami Fonger and her sister, Starla Criser, from KS showed us the most beautiful genealogical scrapbook I have ever seen. It had photos, certificates, news articles, and all kinds of records beautifullyarranged. They also had some small quilt hangings decorated with family records. Tami and Starla descend from John Toliver b. 1760 through his son John Jr. The interesting thing is that Tami married a man in KS who descends from John Toliver b. 1760 through his son William. That makes Tami’s daughter, Ashley, a double Tolliver. Wow! It is their brother, Patrick, whose DNA matches my husband, Bill, exactly. John Jr. was formerly known as the Tippecanoe Tollivers because we didn’t know who he was until the DNA test. Starla has also written some books. She shared the book titled Timeless Love, a book for older persons.
Another new person to the Reunion this year was William Guy Tolliver from IL and KS who descends from Josiah b.1790. He has written seven books. One is his memoirs and the other six are fiction. Then we heard from Sabrina Tolliver Kiser with her book Dove’s Trail, a true story about Lytte Tolliver (John 1760) who had a horse stolen during the Civil War. Dan Capal’s book about Tollivers in the Civil War was also for sale.
Carolyn Tolliver White, a musician and fiber artist from TN, shared some of her wearable artwork. She and her sister Jane Tolliver Gamble descend from John b. 1760 through his son James and then Lytte.
As we met in the afternoon, we remembered Eleanor Tolliver Waters and John Cooper Tolliver, Jr. who had died this year. Both were long-time Tolliver researchers. Much of the information that we have comes from these two individuals. They started searching in the 1950s and continued to share all that they discovered. We will really miss them.
Donald Tolliver, from Whitesburg, KY was recognized as a Tolliver Patriarch for his continued work with Tolliver cemeteries. In 2007 when we restored the Old Tolliver Cemetery in NC, Don Tolliver and Jim Oxford took the leadership to get it done. Don has continued this work. Every May he goes back there and puts up a new flag and places new flowers on all the graves. Sometimes he makes a second trip. Steven Moxley who lives near the cemetery helps keep it clean during the summer. We appreciate these men.
Our small family groups were excellent this year. Jim Oxford, Benny Tolliver, Kim Tolliver, and John Tolliver led the groups. As I went around to the different groups, the leaders had their groups engaged. Individuals were sharing stories and asking questions. One group even made a diagram showing relationships.
Our project at this time is restoring the Jacob Finley Toliver Cemetery in Elliott Co., KY. Jacob Finley was a Civil War soldier and Prisoner of War. I have tried to get a Civil War marker for him but at this point they have rejected it because there is a community stone with the words, Jacob Finley and dates but not Tolliver. They consider that a marked grave. I disagree and we are still working on that. His name was Tolliver, not Finley. Craig Toliver from the Feud is also buried there. There are about
thirteen graves in the cemetery. It is located on Buddy Pennington’s farm. At present the new fence is almost finished and extra dirt has been placed on sunken graves at the cost of $200. Grass will be sown. We are buying a lawn mower so it can be mowed as needed. We are working on some kind of metal sign that will be placed down at the road and another larger sign that will be placed at the cemetery that will have names and dates for persons buried there. Donations are needed to cover the cost of the signs.
In the Silent Auction, we saw more talent. Some of the homemade things were pearl earrings, a walking stick, an afghan, dishcloths, and raw honey. There were many other items donated as well. Money from this is used for rent on the building, stamps, printing pictures, plates, cups, drinks, cookies, etc. Thank you for your help.
The youngest in attendance this year were Brooklyn and Elaina. Brooklyn is the daughter of Taylor and Kara Tolliver. Elaina is the daughter of Jonathan and Sierra Tolliver. Each received a Tolliver bear. An interesting note is that both Taylor and Jonathan started coming to the Reunion when they were about eight years of age.
Ken and Gail Whiteaker and Shawn Flora showed their talents at the Registration table making pictures and keeping everything in order.
Carla Eberwein organized and set up for the potluck lunch for which everyone showed their cooking skills. Mike Tolliver and Erin Smith helped her as well as several others. Thanks to everyone for the delicious food.
It appears the Tollivers are truly a talented bunch. As our song goes, “If you are proud to be a Tolliver, clap your hands…” The 2014 Reunion will be June 27-28 at Morehead, KY. Hope to see you there.
Emma Lee and William Tolliver