Stewart reunion marks 110 years

Published 11:27 pm Thursday, August 4, 2011

Richard Stewart, left, is the patriarch of the Stewart family, who will be celebrating their 110th family reunion in August. This is the oldest photograph of a member of the Stewart family. (Photo submitted by Sharon Haithcox)

The relatives of Joseph Andrew Stewart will celebrate their 110th Family Reunion Saturday, Aug. 13. This event marks the anniversary of the first family reunion, which took place in 1901 at the Calvin Community Chapel in Cassopolis, and was hosted by Stewart in memory of his parents.

Sharon Haithcox, great-granddaughter of Joseph Stewart, works to continue the family reunion tradition by helping to organize the event each year.

“According to relatives, there were only about 20 or 30 people at the first reunion,” Haithcox said. “Now there are usually a couple hundred people who show up. It is a milestone for our family.”

The reunion will be held at the house of her brother, Robert Curtis, where it has been for the past 30 to 40 years.

Haithcox stated that having annual reunions brings her family closer together.

“By doing research, we keep finding new cousins,” she said. “We keep finding new information and our family tree just keeps growing.”

Relatives of the Stewart family come from all over the United States, including California and Utah.

The Steward family settled in Michigan after traveling from Virginia, through Tennessee, North Carolina and Ohio to get there.

The 110th Family Reunion will begin at 1 p.m. on Cassopolis Road in Cassopolis. Family members are asked to bring a dish to pass around to include in the potluck lunch. Activities include hayrides and a campfire to roast hot dogs and s’mores.

“We’ve learned a lot about our history,” Haithcox said. “Personally, it’s fun to hang out with the whole family.”

All descendants of the Joseph Andrew Stewart family are welcome to attend the reunion Aug. 13. For more information, contact Sharon Haithcox at (269) 699-7022.