Well it's that time again. We had the Bates dinner at the Giantfest in Seville, Ohio last night. And you know what? It felt like a reunion this time.
Our cousin, Rhonda Turner, heads up the Bates dinner working with the festival organizers in Seville. She lives in Knoxville, Tennessee but keeps up with everyone thru emails, phone and snail mail.
At last night's dinner she gave us some history that she had learned about our Bates family. Her research shows that the first Bates in America was Clement Bates who came over on the ship Elizabeth and settleed in Massachusetts abot 1635. His wife was named Ann, and they had 5 children. She also told us about other interesting Bates family members and ones she has an inkling about but haven't quite pinned down their place in the family.
I had not heard the name Clement before although I knew that there were some in the Bates Family of Old Virginia who believed the Massachusetts Bates were part of our line and others who did not accept that. I thought everything Rhonda said was interesting and can't wait to follow the research she has done.
Rhonda's mother accompanied her this year. Rhonda says they are also best friends. I thought the definitely looked more like sisters rather than mother and daughter.
A change this year was that the dinner was held in the Westfield Town Hall rather than the Baptist Church that the Bates attended during their time in town. Rhonda said the organizers have their eye on another site for next year so keep in touch with Rhonda so you will know where to go for the dinner. She needs to have a headcount so they know how many to prepare the dinner for. It was $10 this year, but a great value since it covers the rent -- if any, the drinks, dinner and dessert. The volunteers who serve and set up everything are invaluable and make it possible for us to concentrate on getting to know our Bates relatives.
Rhonda also planned some games and we found out who had the largest shoe size in the men and women as well as who was the tallest and oldest family members to attend. Rhonda's research told us that the Captain was a size 19 and Anna was a 16 (correct me if I remembered that wrong, Rhonda). Our winner was a size 14 in the men's but he just barely came to six feet tall.
It's appropriate that the last blog I wrote was about the passing of Elinda Bates Wing. She attended the dinner and festival last year and passed away. Rhonda arranged a short memorial service to rememer Elinda. Elinda's husband Steven Wing and her son, Nick were in attendance last year as well as this year. Nick wrote several songs in the year before his mother's passing and after. He put them on a CD for us and also played one of the songs in person. It was a very moving tribute. Steven talked about his love for Elinda and her passing and the scholarship and internship that had been set up in Elinda's honor at the University of Kentucky.
Among other relatives that were at my table were the McIntires. They and the Wings all come through Jesse Bates, a brother to Martin Van Buren Bates. One of the McIntire couples lives in Centerville near by brother and the other in Monroe. Diana McIntire is also a Mullins relative.
I didn't get a chance to talk to them, but I also heard the names Tackett and Rhonda's mother has married again after the death of her first husband and is a Webb. So there were other connections family wise that could have been there.
I also wanted to show you something I came across this year. Last year I showed you the picture of a ring that the Historical Society in Seville put out which is a size 22 --- the size Martin Van Buren Bates wore. Dad came across a ring at a yard sale in Ohio which he bought because of the size. The lady who had it said it came from someone who was in a circus. Hmmmmm.
I am hoping the lady who actually had one of Anna's rings is at the festival. I would like to compare sizes with her. I doubt this was one of Anna's, but it could be another of those rings that was sold at the circus as a souvenier. I like it regardless.
Off to the festival....... I will post pictures when I get back this afternoon.