Thomasson descendants stage annual family reunion

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 14, 2010

As a long-standing tradition the Thomasson Traces Family Association stages a reunion on the first Saturday in August each year. This year was no exception with the 108 relatives and guests who attended enjoying a fun-filled and historical occasion. The site was the fellowship hall at the Cedar Grove Church of Christ, which is located on the Brooklyn Road just south of Andalusia.

The relatives came from all across the country with Michael Thomasson of Spokane, Washington, being recognized for having traveled the farthest. Michael is a great great great grandson of Thomas Randolph and Sarah (Roach) Thomasson, who are the ancestors who brought the Thomasson family to Alabama during the 1830s. They arrived and settled in Covington County in 1854 when they acquired some of the government land that was being made available for $1.25 per acres. They located first near Red Level and later, near Rose Hill in the Burnout community.

Upon arriving at the reunion, the kinsmen registered to update contact information and pinned nametags, which also showed the child of Thomas and Sarah from whom they descend. Many were found checking the large ancestral tree, which was displayed for convenient reference. From this everyone began to mix and mingle with others present to renew former acquaintances and meet new relatives.

Other morning activities included preparations for the meal and the auction scheduled for the afternoon. Many brought special items to donate for the auction. They ranged from novelty items, homemade crafts, needlework featuring the Thomasson monogram, quilted wall hangings, books, prints with some framed, and Confederate memorabilia. The item bringing the highest bid was a framed portrait of Cornelius Starr Thomasson in his Confederate uniform.

At noon, Curtis Thomasson, local coordinator of the reunion, gave an official welcome, reviewed the schedule for the day and gave instructions for the meal. Osborne Thomasson, great-great-grandson, worded the invocation after which he sang “The Lord’s Prayer” in his rich bass voice with others joining him.

The meal was a truly Southern feast featuring fried chicken, ham, fried salt pork and all the other dishes. The deserts were spectacular, and the UDC members, guests of the family, found it a challenge to select a single dish to be recognized. Their decision was for a special award to go to Gracie Thomasson Davis of Pine Level for her fried salt pork and a prize to Christine Thomasson of Panama City for her homemade caramel cake with pecans. Prizes for the winners were gift bags filled with a variety of goodies, which were prepared by Muriel Thomasson of Sun City Center, Fla.

Following the meal, the program began with several recognitions in addition to those already mentioned. Muriel Thomasson was presented a red rose corsage by the Thomasson Randolph Thomasson Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Muriel’s dedicated work throughout the past year toward making the reunion a success was acknowledged along with the fact that her husband and two sons are members of the local Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. There were at least six members of that camp present, and there were eight active members of the local Thomasson UDC chapter present.

Charlotte (Thomasson) Thompson of Foley made a special presentation to Curtis Thomasson. She, being an avid quilter, had quilted a wall hanging in the design of the Thomasson family crest. She stated that the gift was an expression of appreciation for Curtis having helped her secure a portrait of her deceased father, John Iran “Beau” Thomason, whom she never knew. The quilted crest will be used at future reunions and any other special Thomasson family events.

Gracie Davis at 87 years of age was identified as the oldest relative present and was presented a second gift bag as her prize. The crowd had awaited the arrival of Delano Drake Gillian of Greenville, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday. Also, her first cousin, Oleta Frazier Williams, of Opp was honored by her family on July 25 in recognition of her 100th birthday. They are both great granddaughters of Thomas and Sarah.

Special gift bags were presented to the youngest boy, Gabriele Paulk, son of Jessica Thomasson Paulk, and youngest girl, Lillian Clink, daughter of Pam Thomasson Clink. They are great grandchildren of James Thomasson who is a great-great-grandson of Thomas and Sarah Thomasson.

The festivities continued with the beginning of the awaited auction of donated items. Jordan Thomasson, a resident of Chino Hills, Calif., and son of Oz and Muriel Thomasson, did an outstanding job as auctioneer. More than $11,000 was raised from the sales and generous donations from individuals. These were for the reunion expenses and mostly for support of the Thomasson Cemetery and other family projects.

Those in attendance were recognized by their ancestor who was a child of the early ancestors, Thomas Randolph and Sarah (Roach) Thomasson: Trezevant Fernandes Thomasson, 4 descendants present; Lorenza Marion Thomasson, 3 descendants; James Franklin Thomasson, 2 descendants; Cornelius Starr Thomasson, 49 descendants; Jefferson Sylvanus Thomasson, 35 descendants; Mary Ann Abbagail (Thomasson) Henley, 9 descendants; and 6 guests.

Following the auction, the program was concluded with a series of trivia questions for the descendants of each family line. These were taken from Volume II of Thomasson Traces—Narrative, the family’s recorded history. Those who were able to answer the question first won an attractive potholder, hand-knitted by Muriel Thomasson. This exercise was to encourage everyone to read about and remember his family’s heritage.

It was announced that Darrell Thomason of Attalla is researching further into the history of Thomas Thomasson, the ancestor who immigrated to Virginia from England during the 1600s. Darrell and his close family, descendants of James Franklin Thomasson, were unable to attend the reunion due to the critical illness of his brother-in-law, Bill Manis of Panama City. Darrell hopes to share additional history of the early Thomasson ancestors at future reunions.

This writer, Curtis H. Thomasson, is a great-great-grandson of the ancestors, Thomas and Sarah Thomasson, who brought the family to Covington County. He may be contacted at the following addresses: 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or Email:

Cornelius Starr Thomasson, son of Thomas Randolph Thomasson and Sarah Roach.