Submitted by Barbara Blake Goddard.
When Essie Blake Nickerson and husband, Chick, and daughter Margaretta, moved from Elm Grove, WV, to a farm in Carroll County, Loudon Township, on Jewett R.#2, October 4, 1927, they started the Blake and Nickerson reunion on July 4, 1928.
They had a big yard, long and slanting and scattered with locust trees here and there, a nice house and a big barn and lots of farmland to wander over. The yard was like a grove and Chick built several lengths of a picnic table from rough lumber and dug it into the ground to be stationary. They whitewashed the stones and trees and fences every year and had lots of pretty flowers. And everyone enjoyed it when they got there.
Essie always had country fried chicken and Peg made the noodles, mashed potatoes and good fresh green beans cooked with good ham, homemade butter and buttermilk, fresh cottage cheese and applebutter...and with all the good food the City Folks brought it was like sitting down to a King's Table. I can see Uncle Ira getting into our cream can and drinking it fresh and thick just like he liked it, and Aunt Bell yelling at him.
How we got up early to get the milking and work done so we could sit on the back porch and watch the cars come down the hill blowing their horns and yelling as they went apast the house to the lane into our yard. The dust flew with each car - something we hardly ever see anymore.
There was a little run across the road and the little ones would wade and fish. There was a nice field where we could play ball, in between the cow piles. There was a swing, horseshoe pitching, horseback riding, group singing and Dad always hitched up the wagon and put hay on it for a hayride around the farm. Square dancing in the barn and Aunt Mame always took her teeth out and did the jig.
Some years the men would help bring in the wheat, which was usually ready by the 4th of July on a good year. We had some folks come the night before and they helped weed the garden. They came from Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia.
One thing I remember that was funny - Uncle Dyke tore his pants right down the middle and Aunt Mame took him around the house and sewed up the torn part with him in the pants.
When we sold the farm, they moved to Hopedale as I was married then to Paul Albaugh and had Mistie Mae. We divorced and I met Merrick Morris and we got married, then the reunion went to Wheeling Park. They dropped the Nickerson and called it the Blake Reunion, but the Nickersons kept coming until all have died off but Evelyn Walter Craig, whose mother was Clara Nickerson, and she still comes.
The reunion was held at Wheeling Park for a number of years. They always had a good program. There was always a cakewalk everyone enjoyed. I can see Oogie and Myrene doing the jitterbug dance, and Wilda and I doing the Charleston. They enjoyed swimming, ballgames, horseshoes, and what fun we all had when we tried to get the peanut in the scramble. Geneva also played her accordion. There was always a good program.
It was held at Wheeling Park until August 16, 1975 and we couldn't get any other place, so we went to a new park in Benwood, WV, which is a beautiful little place for us. It rained all day, and we mostly had to stay under the shelter, but some of the younger ones went swimming anyhow. We are looking forward to being their August 21, 1976. I always put the news in the paper and sent cards as long as we had on the farm. After that, someone else did it.
Typed and Prepared by Kathleen (Blake) Capito.