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Byrd family reunion celebrates 65 years

Published 8:35am Tuesday, August 20, 2013

By Cain Madden

The Tidewater News

FRANKLIN, VA — Every year, since 1948, with records going back to 1952, the descendents of William Henry Byrd have gathered in the area to celebrate and fellowship on the Nottoway River near Franklin.

With 80 to 100 members attending each year, Dan Carr, who is an organizer, still thinks there is room for more. So he is seeking out descendents of Mary Jane “Molly” Roberta Hines, who was Byrd’s first wife. She had six children.

“Well, out of 14 children from the patriarch, we really only have a connection with family from the last eight children,” said Carr, speaking of the children born of Byrd’s second wife, Lula Ashley Futrell. “If it is the William Byrd Family reunion, and we are going to call it that, it would be ideal to have the entire family.”

The children born out of the first marriage are William Emmet Byrd, Luther Robert Byrd, Lillian Olivia Byrd, Oda Norella Byrd, Charles Vernon Byrd and Euna May Byrd. Carr said it was his understanding that Hines’ family owned a buggy company near Ahoskie. Hines died at a young age of unknown causes, and Byrd later remarried, Carr said.

Any relatives from the Hines clan is invited to reach out to Carr at hubbrider@yahoo.com.

The reunion takes place every year at approximately the same time, and this year it fell on Aug. 11.

“We basically just eat, fellowship and keep it going. We have T-shirts, and I play a slide show where we look at family tree stuff,” Carr said. “It has been that way for a long time — I’ve been going there since I was a kid. It is the same weekend, almost the same day of the year.”

He said meeting for fellowship was very important.

“We keep the memory of our relatives alive, and it brings family members together, which creates family cohesion,” Carr said. “It’s good to see everybody. Another reason why it is important is to find out all of the children that have been gained in the family, as well as other relatives that passed away. Not everyone gets word, but you find out at the reunion.”

While Carr said he didn’t know much about Byrd’s life when he was married to Hines, he said Byrd was a farmer in Conway, N.C. later on.

“His location of being buried is on that farm, even though the farm has changed hands since then,” Carr said. “We went back to the homestead recently, and one of his children’s home is still there.”

Carr said family is very important to he and all of his relatives.

“I can remember going to the same thing as a kid, and I never thought as a child that one day I’d be helping maintain it,” he said. “But I enjoy it. I enjoy researching the family tree and the genealogy.”

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