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Chambers reunion marks a milestone

July 3, 2014
By J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

The Chambers family hit a milestone on Saturday as 61 family members gathered at Firestone Park in Columbiana to celebrate 125 consecutive years of family reunions.

The reunion is doing more than just calling relatives and saying lets get together. It is orchestrated by a family committee with officers and members bringing historic items to display. Serving as president for the past 13 years is retired Boardman police officer Dale Chambers.

''We used to hold the reunion at a church in Ashtabula, then we moved it to Atwood State Park,'' Dale said. ''When I became president, we moved it to Firestone Park and have kept it there ever since.''

Article Photos

Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
The photo of when it all began for the Chambers family 125 years ago. Pictured sitting are Daniel and Eliza Chambers, and standing are children Hamilton, Maggie, Lewis, Annabelle, John, Minnie, Hosea and George.

Karen Hansen, secretary for the committee explained how the whole thing got started. She said back in 1889, Daniel and Eliza Chambers' son, Hosea, was going to wed Rosa Post. The wedding brought all the children together in Ashtabula for the event.

Everyone agreed they should hold a reunion every year to bring the family back together, and thus began the long tradition.

The youngest to attend this year's reunion was one-and-a-half-year-old Daniel Chambers from Niles. The eldest was 96-year-old Esther Small, who made the trip from Louisiana.

While Small had a good distance to cover to get to Ohio, she was not the furthest family member to attend. That honor went to Tanya Yildirim, who made the flight from Cambridge, England.

''This is my second trip to the reunion,'' she said. ''The last time was in 2007. But because of flight delays, I missed the reunion. This year I made it.''

Yildirim said she met many relations for the first time at this year's event. And she was impressed with the amount of history that was on display.

One of the displays was a huge seven-panel family tree that listed everyone from the fifth great-grandfather who came to America with LaFayette and settled in New Jersey, to the newest addition.

''The family tree was originally put together by Karen Hansen's mother in the late 1950s,'' Dale said. ''It was 24 inches long.''

Dale and his wife, Nancy, redid the family tree into six sections that stretches 40 feet.

Along with the panels, there were artifacts and photographs dating back to the first reunion. Family members could look at them and put their own history together.

Dale said the reunion is a special event, but it doesn't end there. Afterwards, the Chambers family headed to the Dutch House for dinner and the traditional game of dominos.

''It is our tradition to go to the Dutch House,'' Dale said, ''and to play a sometimes vicious game of dominos.''



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