The weekend of the 4th of July 2014 ushered in the celebration of the 91st Annual Roberts Settlement Homecoming in Atlanta, Indiana. Descendants from Michigan, California, Iowa, Georgia, Maryland, New York, Alabama, Missouri, as far as the country India and all points in between gathered to celebrate their heritage at this occasion steeped in tradition.
The event was ignited Friday night, July 4th, with the hotdog roast/ hayride. President, Paula Gilliam greeted eager arrivals while the charcoal and hardwood simmered in the barbecue pits. Shortly, everyone was ushered into the chapel to view the recently created documentary short film: Southern Seed, Northern Soil: The History and Legacy of Roberts Settlement based on the book written by Dr. Stephen A. Vincent. After the viewing, young and old(er) folks headed outside and skewered a hotdog which was charred to the proper degree of doneness. It was a time to chat and catch up on life’s events since the last homecoming. The fellowship continued under the big white tent. The hotdog feast was capped off with the marshmallow roast in which some went a step further, adding a Hershey’s chocolate bar sandwiched in between two graham crackers creating a delectable s’ more.
On Saturday, the annual golf scramble, basket dinner and program were held. Crystal clear weather permitted the golfers to gather at Stony Creek Golf Course in Noblesville just after dawn to enjoy a round of golf. At noon, Jerry and Teresa (Newsom) Granger began registering attendees, issuing name tags and accepting generous donations while Lezli (Glover) Davis provided pedigree charts in order to update the Roberts Settlement current genealogical information. John Elson, Beverly (Newsom) Taylor and Ruth Baltimore were recruited to place biographical information graveside of a few ancestors. Meanwhile, a group photograph of the homecoming held in 1949 was circulated among the crowd to help identify those that were in attendance that year. Tonja (White) and Sam Goodloe with the assistance of others mounted the expansive genealogical chart outside on the eastside of the tent and chapel’s exterior siding walls while others arriving placed their prepared dishes on the tables inside.
After the hearty potluck dinner, everyone assembled in the chapel at about 4 p.m. for the program. Paula rendered the welcome address followed by the congregation singing in unison the hymn: All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name. Prayer was delivered by Rev. Mallory Tarrance. The names of deceased descendants in the past year: Milton Baltimore, Jr., Yvonne Scott, Sharon Kinsey and Rita Day were spoken by a relative before placing a carnation in a vase in their memory. Denise (Baltimore) Glenn read the minutes from the first formally celebrated Homecoming in 1924 and the names of the attendees on that day were read by Carolyn (Duvall) Bond, Jackie (White) Champion, Sheila (Baltimore)Tignor and Tonja (White) Goodloe.
A medley of armed forces songs were then played while each attending veteran in the audience stood with pride during their respective military anthem. Coming next, various family members stood and shared the past year's accomplishments of kin by summarizing their achievements. The program festivities concluded with a final prayer and a group picture was taken by Mark Edwards outside the church for a treasured attendance keepsake.
As the morning mist cleared, hugs were exchanged and goodbyes uttered. Roberts Settlement, 90th Homecoming Reunion becomes a memorable part of the archives!