Thomasson family holds 41st anniversary reunion in 2019

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 10, 2019

Thomasson family holds 41st anniversary reunion in 2019

Family reunions are a most important means of preserving a family’s heritage by educating, encouraging communication and teaching the younger generations.  The local Thomasson family had a strong tradition of staging reunions for many years. The current series was begun in 1978 when Margie B. Malloy and Curtis Thomasson teamed to plan the reunion and begin a drive to collect genealogical data for publishing a family history.

The first volume named Thomasson Traces—Lineages was completed and published in 1990. With wealth of data it became necessary to plan for a second volume, which would include family stories, anecdotes and pictures. This volume, Thomasson Traces—Narrative, includes 1002 pages of history plus about 50 pages of indexing, was published in 1995. All copies of both were eventually sold, and the first volume has been reprinted. A few copies of it are still available for purchase at $40 each.

In keeping with the tradition, the 2019 Thomasson Traces Family Reunion was held on Saturday, August 3, in Andalusia, Ala., at the Cedar Grove Church of Christ fellowship hall. The 75 or so present came from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, and as far away as Forest City, Ark. The attendees were primarily descendants of Thomas Randolph Thomasson and his wife, Sarah (Roach). They were the ancestors who migrated from York District, S.C., to Madison, Morgan County, Ga., and eventually settled in Covington County, Ala., in 1854. They were the parents of 11 children, 10 sons and one daughter, but those attending reunion were from five of those: Trezevant Fernandes Thomasson, Lorenza Marion Thomasson, Cornelius Starr Thomasson, Jefferson Sylvanus Thomasson and Mary Ann Abbagail (Thomasson) Henley.

Those attending began to arrive around 10 a.m. and continued until around noon at which time a welcome was given by Curtis Thomasson, a great, great grandson. He also gave an overview of the day’s activities and pointed out the family memorabilia on display. In addition to numerous photos, there was a painting by Dot Burkett of the family crest. Dot and her husband, Roger LeCompte, were present as guests, and Dot was recognized as an honorary cousin. There was also an intricately quilted wall hanging of the crest created by Charlotte Thompson, a descendant of Cornelius Starr Thomasson. And a framed water color painting of the first Thomasson house, located in Louisa County, Va., painted by Martha (Thomason) Richey of Birmingham and a descendant of Trezevant Fernandes Thomasson.

Other items included a large wall hanging of the Thomas Randolph Thomasson family tree which was drawn by Curtis Thomasson. Two special items were an encased stone that came   from the site of the Thomasson house in Virginia and an encased Confederate Battle Flag. These were donated by Stephen Hise, a descendant of Cornelius Starr Thomasson, who visited the site and collected the stone and traced the steps of his Confederate ancestor as he fought during the Battle of Gettysburg. He carried the flag as he walked through the battle field and then had it prepared for display at family events.

Among the photos was a framed print of the Thomasson School, which was located about three miles east of Rose Hill just inside Covington County along County Hwy 43, the old Three Notch Trail. The school building was constructed from lumber cut on the property of Jefferson Sylvanus Thomasson who had it built for his and other children in the community. It is believed to have begun being used before 1870 and closed during the late 1800s or early 1900s. In more recent years, owner of the property, currently known as Walden Farms, renovated the deteriorating structure and created a farm office or camp house in it. It is believed to be one of only two one-room schools still standing in the county.

After the announcements, Roddy Thomasson, great, great, great grandson, voiced an invocation. Everyone then enjoy a typical “Southern style” feast, which was followed by a program of family history.

Those present were introduced chronologically by the family line of their ancestor who was one of the children of Thomas Randolph Thomasson. There were several descendants descended from Trezevant Fernandes Thomasson and two first time attendees from Lorenza Marion Thomasson. It was pointed out that Lorenza was a minister of the gospel and the genealogist of the family. In honor of him, the group sand his favorite hymn, “The Unclouded Day.” Next, there were several descendants of James Franklin Thomasson and Cornelius Starr Thomasson recognized. The next ancestor, Jefferson Sylvanus Thomasson, had the most descendants present for this reunion. Finally, there was a good representation of the descendants of Mary Ann Abbagail (Thomasson) Henley in attendance. In addition, there were three descendants of Beverley Daniel Thomasson, a brother to Thomas Randolph, who came from Arkansas. A few other special guests were present and recognized.

It is always interesting to acknowledge those who meet special criteria. Stuart and Helen Ruth Towns from Forest City, Ark., had traveled the farthest. Audrey (Thomasson) Wilson was the oldest at 89 years of age, and Chappell Thomasson Clanton was the youngest at eight years. There was a noticeable absence of children this year as well as missing older relatives who have enjoyed the reunions so much in the past.

As an officer in the local Thomas Randolph Thomasson Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Tammie Evans, recognized those present who are members. She also reported on the activities of the chapter to preserve Confederate history and heritage. Curtis Thomasson, commander of the Covington Rifles Camp #1586 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, introduced the compatriots present of the 10 Thomasson descendants who are members of the local camp. These men have chosen to honor the service of their ancestor during the War Between the States.

Helen Ruth Towns, a member of the UDC and resident of Forest City, Ark., gave a brief biography of her ancestor, Beverley Daniel Thomasson (1805-1885), who migrated from South Carolina to Georgia and later in life to Prescott, Ark. He received a fine education, and after settling in Georgia, he taught school, practiced law, was Solicitor General of the Tallapoosa Circuit, served as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives, and was Judge for the Superior Court of Carroll County, Ga. He practiced law at one time in the Town of Greenville in Butler County, Ala. He served as a First Lieutenant and later as a Major from Coweta County, Ga., during the Seminole War in Florida. He even found time to preach in local Methodist churches and became a Mason. He and his wife, Sarah Tompkins (1813-1896), daughter of Nicholas Thompkins (1796-1860) and Catherine Griffin (1794-1836), were the parents of 11 children. At their deaths, they were buried in the De Ann Cemetery in Prescott, Nevada County, Ark.

Curtis Thomasson then shared some results of research being done by Bruce Thomasson of Little Rock, Ark. Bruce, a family genealogist, is examining some records of possible earlier ancestors in England who predate the documented ancestor, George Thomasson of Sudlow, Cheshire County, England. There are also some hints of even earlier ancestors originating in the Scandinavian countries. He will share his findings to the family at a later date.

Several members of this family have had their DNA tested by various testing companies. Others were encouraged to do this to allow more comparisons with potential relatives and the degree of kinship.

Janice (Richey) Snow, who is involved in scrapbooking, volunteered to organize all the previous reunion pictures in a scrapbook for better preservation and easier viewing. Her results will be on display at future reunions.

Everyone was encouraged to make plans for the 2020 reunion to be held on Saturday, August 1, at the same location. A member of each ancestral line volunteered to promote the reunion among his particular family.

The program was concluded with the singing of “Dixie,” after which there was more good visiting and fellowshipping. Anyone who is not currently on the emailing list is requested to send his contact information to this writer at the address below.

Anyone who might have questions regarding the reunion or who is interested in purchasing a copy of Thomasson Traces—Lineages, volume I, is encouraged to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: