Ellis family reunites
Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 11, 2003
The 45th annual Ellis Family reunion was held recently in Suffolk and activities expanded over a three-day period.
Ruth Davis Francis, publicity chairman from Hampton, said that for years the family celebrated for one day at a park or at someone’s home and in 1990 the three-day event began in other various locations.
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&uot;Everything began with my Aunt Pinkie H. Ellis Purdie who was born on July 5, 1904,&uot; said Francis.
&uot;We all called her Aunt Pinkie. We have traced our family roots back to Thomas and Angeline Ellis in 1890 in Little Surry, Va. However, the first visionary family reunion was celebrated at Aunt Pinkie’s home in Hampton on 29 Mary Peake Blvd. in July 1958. We have been holding these reunions ever since on the fourth weekend in July.&uot;
The theme for this year’s event was &uot;Building A Bridge for Future Generations.&uot; Activities planned this year included a &uot;Get Acquainted Social Night&uot; on Friday in Ryan’s Family Restaurant; a trip to Waterside or MacArthur Mall in Norfolk or a drive by the original home place of members who grew up in Suffolk.
On Saturday night a &uot;Family Open Style Talent Banquet&uot; in the East Suffolk Community Center was held. The guest speaker was Pearl O’Neil Cypress. She spoke on building strong families and keeping future generations alive.
Willie Floyd and his son, Willie Floyd Jr., both from Williamsburg provided music for the occasion.
On Sunday the family worshipped at Antioch Christian Church on Hull Avenue where the Rev. Jarvis Jones is pastor. Jones is also a cousin of family members and took part in reunion festivities.
Immediately following the service the family had a picnic at Lone Star Lakes Park in Chuckatuck. This park is well known for its 11 lakes of freshwater fishing, nature trails for hiking, a playground, horseback riding trail, archery range, a fishing and crabbing pier, shoreline fishing areas, and more.
The oldest family member who attended was 86-year-old Grace Davis from Hampton and the youngest was 3-month old Jordan Claiborne also from Hampton. He is also a member of the sixth generation of the Ellis family.
To date, reunions have been held in Surry, Williamsburg, Hampton, Wakefield, Newport News, and Suffolk.
Francis said that about 75 family members attended the event in Hampton last year and that same number attended this year and that next year they may be experiencing something a little different.
&uot;At this time it is undecided what we may do because we haven’t had a family meeting yet. However, there is a chance that we may be taking a Caribbean cruise. But no matter what we do, we try to go by four kinds of people as stated on our program – people who look at what’s happening, people who wonder what’s happening, people who watch other people make it happen and people who make it happen,&uot; she said.