Monday, August 17, 2015

Bartley Family Reunion This Saturday, August 19 (in 1939)

From The Pittsburgh Press on Tuesday, August 15, 1939.

The distance between Bruin and Pittsburgh is about 60 miles.  Without modern highways or the speed of our current cars and speed limits, the drive could have taken the better part of 2 hours in 1939.  It was a surprise to find the announcement in a Pittsburgh newspaper but a large city newspaper would have had a wider circulation than any of the local Butler County papers.

The reunion date was Saturday, August 19, just four days after the publication of the announcement.  For people learning about the event for the first time in the newspaper, the announcement didn't give much time to plan ahead.   Since it was announced as an "annual" reunion it's possible that it was held every year on the third Thursday in August, in which case attendees would have already known the date.

Sometimes write-ups about reunions are published in local newspapers after the event.  They may give details about who attended, the food on the menu, and the activities of the day.  I wasn't able to find a newspaper account of this or any other Bartley reunion.

The location of the reunion was Dixon Bartley's farm near
Bruin, shown below in 1909.

My known ancestors who could have attended were
> Lee Doyle, my father, and his soon-to-be wife, Audrey Meinzen
> Elvira (Bartley) Gerner, daughter of Dixon

Dixon's grandchildren / Elvira's children who could have attended were
> Alfonzo Gerner
> Alonzo Gerner
> Lana Gerner Snair
> Della Gerner Fletcher
> Alma Gerner Kitch
> John Gerner
> Leota Gerner Holland
> Mabel Gerner Bannon
> Warren Gerner
> Brendice Gerner Davis
> Paul Gerner

Of course, the Bartley reunion would have included all of Dixon's children and grand- and great-grandchildren and could have included descendants of Dixon's siblings, too, since it was announced as a "Bartley family reunion."

This photo of Elvira and her sisters may have been taken at the reunion in 1939.  If other photos were taken they have not fallen my way but have either been dispersed among other family descendants or may have been discarded.

I wish I could step back in time.


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  1. That is the best picture and the cutest house. I imagine it must be one of your favorites. I have a couple news accounts of the Jollett reunions, and it seems they always had a "meeting" conducted by the "president" of the family. However, I have no clue what business they discussed.

    1. Yes, I love the house photo, Wendy. I think I've used it too often but it's the only one I have (except for a recent one with a riding mower sitting on the lower porch). Like you, I have several newspaper accounts of reunions (for another family) and there were reports of the meetings conducted by the president, and I think there was a secretary. Maybe the president and committee arranged the location, sent announcements/invitations, organized part of the meal like beverages or dessert. Maybe.

  2. What a wonderful photo, no one seems to be staged (although they were, I bet). I love the house. The man on the very left side, what does he do, cut the lawn? ;-)

    1. It does look like a casual photo, Karen, and I never even wondered if it was posed/staged. I just assumed that people were doing things and the photographer asked them to stop and look his way. I wish I had more information about the photo and a clearer image in which I could see the people's faces. I'm sure my grand- and great-grandmothers are there. Yes, it looks like the man on the left has his hands on a lawnmower. A strange thing to see, considering all the people on the lawn.


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