Sketches of the Eighth May Generation
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In September 2002, descendants of John and Sarah Phillips May journeyed from their homes in thirteen states to meet long-lost cousins and renew old friendships at May Lodge in Prestonsburg, KY . An updated compilation lists 100 attendees - 74 direct May descendants and 26 spouses - at the weekend events. Represented in the festivities were descendants of five of John and Sarah's eight children: Samuel, Thomas, Elizabeth, Mary and Reuben. At the last reunion in 2000, the 56 attendees were all from the family lines of Thomas and Reuben, brothers who lived and died in Eastern Kentucky. This year, the descendants of Thomas (23) and Reuben (35 ) - and their spouses, were very pleased to welcome descendants of Samuel (9), Elizabeth (3) and Mary (5) - and their spouses.
The recent series of reunions began about six years ago at the suggestion of Jack A. May of Mt. Sterling, KY and the first three were organized by his daughter, Nancy. This is the fourth renunion in this series. May Lodge, named on honor of Rep. A. J. May [1875-1959], has proven to be a great place to assemble. Again this year we were treated to a tour of the Samuel May House in Prestonsburg - getting to see the ongoing improvements to this fine historical home - and visited grave sites of some of our May ancestors.
Col. John William May of Texas A&M University in College Station, TX and Dr. Jeffery Scott May of Marshall University in Huntington, WV led the pledge of allegience and brothers Roy and Robert Smathers of Jackson and Terry, MS gave the benediction for the evening sessions on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Displays of family photos and memorabelia and informal discussions were popular features throughout the weekend. Impromptu addresses, such as those by Libby Flannery, Sam Hatcher [president of Friends of the Samuel May House] and Jean Watson, to the assembled relatives added to our overall enjoyment. On Saturday night Ethel May Ratliff, who celebrated her 95th birthday in January, was recognized as the oldest May descendant at the reunion. We were also pleased to see a number of octogenarian descendants who attended with their families.
Roberta Cannoy Daws presented to Friends of the Samuel May House a wide angle photograph of the May reunion held on August 23, 1931 at the home of her uncle, William Greenwade at Cliff, KY, north of Prestonsburg. A few of the 2002 attendees were among the children at this large reunion over seventy years ago. Newly elected U.S. Representative, A. J. May, was a guest speaker at the 1931 gathering.
the most successful outcome of the reunion was the generous donation
of funds on Saturday night to purchase and install a stone on the
graves of our common ancestors, John and Sarah Phillips May, on
Shelby Creek. Eldon May of Pike County is in contact with monument
companies to get final bids for an appropriate stone. Various
suggestions on the type of stone to select and the inscriptions it
should bear were openly discussed. Final decisions will be made in
the coming months.
Master of Ceremonies: Marquita Sivis Otis
pm: Group photo
May compiled a 79-page booklet of his talks and made copies
available to the attendees.
Notes on attendees by branch of the May family:
Descendants John May (Jr) [1781-1849] and Mary Catherine Hanson & Elizabeth Hanson:
A number of descendants of John May (Jr.) expressed regrets that they couldn't attend, but we can look forward to them to being represented in future reunions. Some of the earliest genealogists of our May family were from this branch of the family: James Hanson, perhaps the first family historian who wrote a brief account of his genealogy in 1876; Homer Eiler, who printed his research on the family in 1929; and Mrs. Howard W. Woodruff, who printed her research in 1967.
Samuel May [1783-1851] and Catherine Evans:
Over the past few years, a number of genealogists have contributed to our records of the descendants of Samuel May. This year we were very pleased with the representation of this branch of the family by descendants from Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Kentucky. Mattie Burnett Hollifield Stuphin, is descended from Samuel's daughter, Amanda, and the others are descended from his son, Col. A. J. May. Others expressed regrets that they couldn't attend this year.
Thomas May [1787-1867] and Dorcas Patton:
Descendants of Thomas came from Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Texas, and Missouri. Helen Maloney Lauhon - 85 year old widow of my oldest first cousin, Thomas B. Lauhon [1917-1988] - traveled from Kansas, City MO with her daughter, Diane. Edna May Clevinger - one of the oldest attendees at the age of 87 - hiked up to the grave sites of John May and Thomas May in Pike County and recalled incidents of her youth on Robinson Creek. Eldon May - past president of Pike County Historical Society and one of our most dedicated genealogists - has led the effort to acquire a new grave stone for our common ancestors, John and Sarah Phillips May.
Ongoing research on the life of Col. Reuben May - oldest son of Thomas May - is being led by Sharon L. Sternberg. Her husband, Dale, gave a brief overview on Friday evening of the facts they have discovered about this very interesting man.
Elizabeth (Betsey) May [1790-1884] and James W. Little:
A book entitled "We, The Little People" about the descendants of Elizabeth (Betsey) May, wife of James W. Little, was compiled in 1987. We had the pleasure of hearing from the author, Juanelle (Sandy) Smith Sewell, an after-dinner speaker on Saturday night. Due to her work, we now have information on this branch of the family and are in contact with a number of Betsey's descendants - many of whom live in the South, from Florida to Texas.
Daniel May [1791-aft 1839] and Margaret (Peggy) Allen:
Mary (Polly) May [1791-aft 1839] and John Hamilton:
Contacts at the reunion with descendants of Mary May Hamilton, who lived in Morgan County, KY throughout her married life, have opened up new contacts for information on this branch of our family. Soon after the reunion, a large book on this branch - compiled in 1993 by Helen Cantrell Hunt of Ashland, KY - was located and will add extensive data to our records of the family.
Reuben May [1800-1840] and Sarah (Sally) Allen:
Descendants of Reuben came from Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Texas and Mississippi. Members of this branch of the family have been very active over the past few years in organizing and supporting our May reunions and probably constitute the largest number of descendants still living in Kentucky. We owe a debt of gratitude to Marquita Sivis Otis and her sister, Barbara Sivis Fanning - great-great granddaughters of Reuben and Sarah Allen May - for their untiring efforts to make this 2002 reunion a success. Also in attendance with them was their 85 year old mother, Helen May Sivis, of Mt. Sterling, KY.
of Tlepolard (Phillip Pollard) May [1805-1839]: