Click here to see a list of all past Thrasher Family Association reunions, their hosts and locations: Annual Reunions List
2017 THRASHER FAMILY ASSOCIATION REUNION IN ALABAMA
Attending: Bonnie Bolin of Fayetteville, GA; Nancy Cherry of Beltsville, MD; Judy Creighton from Pelham, AL; Ivy and Klaus Darnall of Atlanta, GA; Angie and Joe Grooms of Davidson, NC; Helen Raye Thrasher-Long and John Long of Birmingham, AL; Vickie Mills-Smith of Jackson, GA; Mitzi Mills-Smith of Covington, GA; James C. Moule of Berkeley, CA; Celestea Sharp of New York, NY; Caroline Thrasher Sermon of Newland, NC; Joan and Joe Stine of Orlando, FL; Elise and David Sumner of Anderson, IN; Anna and Ken Sutherland of Jacksonville, FL; Glenda and Terry Thompson of Pflugerville, TX; Karen and Hershel Thrasher of Shelbyville, TN; Juanita and Bill H. Thrasher of Live Oak, FL; Alice and David Thrasher of Montgomery, AL; Eleanor and John E. Thrasher III of Micanopy, FL; Glenda and Robert P. (Buddy) Thrasher of Columbus, MS; Paula and John Paul Thrasher of Newnan, GA; Sue Thrasher of Watkinsville, GA; Claudia Thrasher Wynne of Pensacola, FL.
Pre-meeting Activities: The group enjoyed dinner on Friday evening at Sinclair’s East Mediterranean Restaurant in Montgomery. On Saturday morning, attendees toured the state capitol building.
Call to Order: The annual business meeting of the Thrasher Family Association (TFA) was called to order by the Chair, John E. Thrasher III, at 2:06 p.m., on Saturday, May 6, 2017 in Meeting Room I of the Staybridge Suites Hotel Eastchase – Montgomery. Many attendees had brought charts, research notebooks, and interesting memorabilia of Thrasher families which were displayed around the room. John E. stated that he would follow his “sort-of agenda” based on discussions that ensued as each topic was introduced.
John E. welcomed returning members who had not been with us for some time and new attendees, including a trio of sisters, Claudia Wynne, Caroline Sirman, and Judy Creighton. He thanked David and Alice for arranging the morning tour and for hosting this year’s reunion, and he asked attendees to write their names on a paper leaf to be fastened in the appropriate column of the chart he had prepared.
Elise Sumner opened the program by singing our TFA song, “Be like John J. Thrasher, not Black Bart,” which she wrote some years ago. She has entertained us with the song twice at previous reunions, but this time her accompaniment was her ukulele rather than her guitar. She called on husband David to serve as her music stand.
Viva La Musica: Elise is a high school Spanish teacher and songwriter, and her CD with 28 original songs in Spanish is intended to help students learn the language. The CD is available on the internet. http://singspanish.com/index_alt.php.
Railroad Man: David Sumner continues to research “Cousin John” Thrasher, and he has substantially revised his book, Railroad Man and Atlanta’s Early History 1839 – 1900. He first published the Cousin John story in the Georgia Historical Quarterly, then put the story into booklet form, where it has grown from 24 to 36 pages. The newest printing includes data collected by Joe Stine on John’s term in the General Assembly, 1859 – 1863, and from Dr. Gene Ramsey’s talk at Norcross in 2015 about John’s role in the founding of Norcross.
David believes that Cousin John deserves to be better known for his kind-heartedness and for his contributions to early Atlanta and Norcross. The late Franklin Garrett, expert on Atlanta history, called Cousin John “one of the most interesting characters” in the early history of Atlanta. The city of Norcross has acquired 100 copies of the book, and David is donating copies to various libraries. He asks TFA members to suggest libraries to receive donated copies. John Paul Thrasher has a rough video of Franklin Garrett’s talk at an early TFA reunion in Norcross in June 1990. JP suggested that the video could be provided to the Atlanta History Center with David’s book to document the important role that “Cousin John” Thrasher played in the early history of both Atlanta and Norcross. The newly revised and expanded Railroad Man is available on Amazon for $5.95 in paper or $2.99 in kindle format. David brought copies to the reunion to sell and autograph.
Million Dollar Fumble: David’s second book is about Bear Bryant, the legendary Alabama coach, and his friend Wally Butts, athletic director at the University of Georgia. A story leaked to the Saturday Evening Post resulted in an article published in the magazine. This brought lawsuits from Bryant and Butts which riveted the world of college football and went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. David’s book is expected to drop later this year.
Mid-Atlantic Thrashers in the Civil War: Jim Moule presented an update to his talk of a few years ago, Mid-Atlantic Thrashers in the Civil War. He preceded his talk by showing slides of pandas, taken recently while he and wife Kathryn were in China. Kathryn had planned to come to Montgomery with Jim, but while they were with the pandas (Jim photographing and Kathryn, who is a watercolorist, sketching), Kathryn fell and suffered severe arm and shoulder injuries. The group sent its collective best wishes to Kathryn for a speedy recovery and congratulated Jim on his stunning photos. Jim will send Susie the URL for the site containing his nature pictures so that she can post it in the newsletter.
Following the discovery last year of a new branch of Mid-Atlantic Thrashers — those descended from Benjamin (born 1740) who married Sarah White and who was the son of the first documentable Benjamin (died 1740) – Jim has recalculated the number of descendants and their distribution. He has also tracked how the percentage of Union and Confederate enlistees from the family compares with the national percentages, and how the deaths on each side compare with the national average. He has found four cases of brother fighting against brother, among those was Thaddeus Thrasher of Maryland who fought and died for the Confederate side, while his brother Joseph, on the Union side, lived to return home to Frederick County. Jim’s paper will be published in a future issue of the newsletter.
African-American connections: John E. spoke of the African-American connection in his family. John and Susan Barton Thrasher’s grandson John Oates Thrasher had a “bright mulatto” woman named Scott as his companion, and the couple had four children. Their connection to John’s family line was proven through DNA testing from Ancestry.com. John said that he had been invited to a reunion of that line, held in Oklahoma. He also mentioned Alma Parker, an African-American woman and member of the TFA who for years believed that she was related to the John and Susan Barton Thrasher line through her ancestor Charles Thrasher, listed as a freedman in the 1870 Oconee County, Georgia census. After DNA testing showed no match, she wonders about her genetic heritage. Alma lives on the West Coast and for years has planned on attending one of our reunions but has not done so.
2016 THRASHER FAMILY ASSOCIATION REUNION IN VIRGINIA
The 2016 Thrasher Family Reunion was held on May 20 and 21, 2016 at Sweet Briar College, in Amherst, Virginia. Joe and Angie Grooms have met with the Elston Inn Director and have reserved 20 rooms at the Sweet Briar Conference Center. Rates $108 for 2 double beds or $117 for 2 queen beds, breakfast included. Sweet Briar College is about 4 miles outside of Amherst and about 10 miles from the Thrasher property. Amherst also has a very nice historical society center that we can visit. (a detailed map of all land patents is available showing the Thrasher property) The Thrashers had moved before Amherst was established. They were actually one of the first families in the area. Lexington, Virginia is 25 miles beyond the Thrasher property. Lexington, home of Washington and Lee University, the Robert E. Lee grave site and also Virginia Military Institute. Lynchburg is 15 miles south of Sweet Briar College, and it is home to Liberty University.
2015 THRASHER FAMILY ASSOCIATION REUNION IN NORCROSS
“That small town you read about in Southern Living”
By Joseph Stine
The Thrasher reunion in Norcross, Georgia was held June 12-13, 2015. I visited Norcross in October to check out the hotel accommodations and the historic tour of Norcross. The Holiday Inn Express is new with adequate meeting space for us to display materials and to just visit. Breakfast is included with your room at the inn. The inn is just a short drive from downtown Norcross.
Downtown is that small town you read about in Southern Living magazine. It is only one block long but packed with neat restaurants just waiting for you to try on Friday night or Saturday noon. The main street has been repaved and landscaped just for us. Plenty of parking for your car is available. The recently remodeled The Crossing, where we will dine on Saturday evening, is in the train depot built in 1909. I ate there; the food is great. By the way the train still runs through the middle of town.
Now for a taste of history: on Saturday morning we are planning a walking tour of downtown Norcross. Although the area is quite small, we are also planning an alternate mode of transportation for those who have difficulty walking. As a tour guide we have obtained the services of Gene Ramsay, one of the authors of Images of America – Norcross published by Arcadia Publishing. By trade Gene Ramsay is a consulting engineer with a doctorate from Georgia Tech in Industrial Engineering but by avocation, he is a Georgia historian. He has lived in the Atlanta area for more than twenty-five years and in Norcross for the past eight years. We had lunch together at The Crossing and talked about Atlanta area history. I know you will find him as interesting as I did. He has already found a Thrasher buried in the Norcross City Cemetery – W. A. Thrasher. Who was W. A. Thrasher? That is your homework assignment.
Norcross was incorporated by the Georgia Legislature on October 26, 1870. Four men were named as original commissioners: John J. Thrasher, Jesse Thrasher, Gorman T. Robinson and Stephen T. McElroy. We know John J. Thrasher was Cousin John. Second homework assignment: Who was Jesse Thrasher? The other two guys don’t count.
Joe Stine is a Thrasher because his mother was a Dade City Thrasher thanks to Cousin John. He was born in Sanford and grew up in Orlando. He graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Industrial Engineering and has worked in distribution and as an engineering consultant.
Norcross Mayor Spoke at 2015 Reunion
by David E. Sumner
Bucky Johnson, mayor of Norcross, was the keynote speaker for the 2015 Thrasher Family Reunion. The Saturday dinner where spoke was at “The Crossing,” a restaurant in the renovated Norcross Railroad Station. It was built in 1909 adjacent to the railroad originally built by Cousin John Thrasher in 1870.
This reunion has a story behind it. In June of 2013, David Sumner visited Tony Callaway, a friend in Decatur whom he had not seen since the 1970s. David told him about hid research on John Thrasher, the first mayor of Norcross, and gave him a copy of the little book he wrote called Railroad Man: John J. Thrasher and the Early Years of Atlanta.
His friend said, “Oh, one of my best friends, Bucky Johnson, is mayor of Norcross.” So David gave him another copy of the book to give to Mayor Johnson. A few weeks later, David received an e-mail from Cate Kitchen, director of the Norcross Visitors Center. She said, “Our mayor really likes your book, and we would like to purchase 100 copies to give away at our Visitors Center.” At that point, David only had ten remaining copies and had to order an additional printing for a second edition.
In the process of e-mailing the mayor, he invited us to hold a Thrasher reunion in Norcross. So David started bouncing the idea off other Thrashers, including John E. Thrasher in Micanopy, John Paul Thrasher in Newnan, Susie Thrasher in Athens and Celestea Sharpe in New York City. Everyone thought it was a great idea. In May, David traveled to Athens on business and stopped off in Norcross to begin making arrangements for this reunion.
Bucky Johnson has been Mayor of Norcross since 2008. Mayor Johnson is currently the Chairman of the Metro Atlanta Mayors Association. Gwinnett Magazine named him Gwinnett County Man of the Year for 2011. A native of Atlanta, he was Director of Bands and Head of the Music Department at Georgia Tech until he retired in 2002. Bucky currently works part-time in the music ministry at Oak Grove United Methodist Church. He and his wife, Janet, own and produce the Southern Star Music Festival in Atlanta and are part owners of the Southern Star Festival of Champions in Panama City.
David Sumner grew up in Dade City, Fla., and has been a member of the Thrasher Family Association since 1992. He now lives in Anderson, Indiana, with his wife, Elise. Send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. He and Joe Stine are organizing the 2015 reunion.
2014 THRASHER FAMILY ASSOCIATION REUNION IN NORTH CAROLINA
We visited the Lick Fork Baptist church during this year’s reunion. Joe Grooms shared the historic deed for 1 acre of his land to be set aside for the church in 1793. Joseph Cloud Thrasher, Isaac Thrasher, Thrasher McCollum and the Stubblefields all lived within 2 miles of the Lick Fork Church during the American Revolution!
Here is the address of the current pastor who was so hospitable to our group for those who want to send their thanks or make a donation to the church:
Lick Fork Primitive Baptist Church, c/o Pastor Elder David Underwood, 2079 Grooms Road, Reidsville, North Carolina 27320
- A driving trip to Ruffin (located about 15 minutes from the Holiday Inn), a small community where the Thrashers lived, including a tour of the Lick Fork Creek Baptist Church located on the land deeded by Joseph Thrasher in 1793. The current Minister will provide the tour and church history. Joseph Cloud Thrasher, Isaac Thrasher, Thrasher McCollum and the Stubblefields all lived within 2 miles of the Lick Fork Baptist church.
- Revolutionary War Battlefield at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park with Visitors Center, exhibits, film and a self-guided driving tour of the battlefield. Located about 35 minutes from the Holiday Inn.
LUNCH -Lunch on your own, we will have information on local restaurants.
MEETING – The meeting of the Thrasher Family Association was held about 3:00 in the conference room at the Holiday Inn.
DINNER – A buffet dinner was held on Saturday night at the Farmers Table in Reidsville at 6:00. The cost will be $18.00 per person in advance. This includes food, beverage, and gratuity. If you have not already sent your reservation in, please use the form below to send your dinner reservations and check to Joe Grooms, Box 1137, Davidson, NC 28036.
The Reidsville area was the home place of John and Ruth Cloud Thrasher and their family (sons: Joseph Cloud Thrasher, Isaac and Ruth Barton Thrasher and John and Susan Barton Thrasher during the Revolutionary War).
Just a few miles to the southwest of Reidsville is where another branch of our family lived during the Revolution. There lived William William Thrasher, the earliest ancestor of the Tennessee Thrasher/Threshers. It would be fun to seek out his home site.
Planned activities included a tour of the Guilford Courthouse Battlefield (35 minutes away) where several relatives participated (Isaac did not participate, he had not yet returned from fighting at Kings Mountain). Another option is a trip to Ruffin (15 minute away) where Joseph Cloud Thrasher lived. A visit to the Lick Fork Baptist Church has been arranged. Joseph Cloud deeded the land for the church in 1793. Joseph Cloud Thrasher, Isaac Thrasher, Thrasher McCollum and the Stubblefields all lived within 2 miles of the Lick Fork Baptist church.
2013 THRASHER FAMILY ASSOCIATION REUNION IN ATHENS
The 2013 Thrasher Reunion was held in Athens, Georgia, May 3-5, 2013 (Friday-Sunday). The reunion was jointly hosted by John Paul Thrasher, Grady Thrasher III and Celestea Sharp.
The Reunion Hotel was the Athens Holiday Inn (197 E. Broad Street) located adjacent to the University of Georgia campus in downtown Athens. The Athena Room served as Reunion Central and as a gathering spot for “the cousins” on Friday and Saturday.
FYI: In 1873, Judge Barton Edmunds Thrasher was attending the University of Georgia Law School when his wife, Sarah Hattaway Thrasher, gave birth to their son John B. Thrasher.
On Saturday morning was a tour of historic sites in Oconee and Athens-Clarke County for those interested. The tour included a visit to the Watkinsville City Cemetery, Whitlow Hill Cemetery, Barton Thrasher Cemetery and Salem Methodist Church. The tour also included some historic Thrasher homes, including the Harden Hill home that was once owned by Judge Barton Edmunds Thrasher.
For those looking for more excitement, the University of Georgia was across the street. The University has recently opened a new library to house the Hargett Rare Book collection. For those needing a break, the restaurants and shops of downtown Athens were a short walk away.
The Annual Meeting of the Thrasher Family Association was held on Saturday, May 4, 2013
Saturday night, May 4, Grady hosted a screening of his documentary film about the Thrasher Brothers Aerial Circus, “The World’s Smallest Airport,” at the Ciné Bar Cafe and Cinema in downtown Athens.
The Host Committee is working with the local DAR Chapter to see if we can get approval for a grave marking ceremony (similar to what Nancy Cherry arranged at the Maryland Thrasher Reunion) for John Thrasher, Jr. our Revolutionary War ancestor and the progenitor of the Georgia Thrashers (son of John Thrasher and Ruth Cloud). Our biggest challenge is that we do not yet know the exact final resting place of our Revolutionary War ancestor.