Tuesday, August 25, 2009


-Recently (August 8th) the Calhoun family came together for a reunion. The day was intended to be a casual and fun-filled gathering of as many of the descendants of Robert and Anna Colquhoun (original Scottish clan name spelling) as could reasonably attend. We started off with afternoon drinks and snacks at the Quail Club in rural Belleville/Millstadt, and concluded with food/drinks/baseball at the Gateway Grizzlies game that evening. We were concerned about the heat being a problem on an early August day, but thankfully Mother Nature gave us a nice breeze and comfort wasn't much of a problem.

Robert Colquhoun came to this country from Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, Scotland in the early 20th century to pursue a better life. He was recruited as a soccer player by one of the local coal mining companies and used that financial incentive as his ticket to help improve his family's lot. His wife Anna, and children Bella and James, took a steamship over later to join him here in southwestern Illinois. I was able to find Ellis Island documentation of their passage in 1908 aboard the ship Caledonia which sailed from Glasgow to New York. Sons William and John were born here in the U.S. after the family settled. Another son, Robert, died as the result of a childhood accident. We enjoyed sharing the history of Robert and Anna, as much as possible, as a way of understanding ourselves better during the Quail Club gathering.

The widows of William (my Dad)--Doris-- and John (my uncle)--Catherine--were the eldest family members of the day. Catherine, at 90, is the oldest surviving member with Doris close behind at 89. We were thrilled that they both could attend and lend their personalities and history to the day's activities.

Unfortunately we were unable to make contact with descendants of the late Aunt Belle (Bella) and her late husband Harold Peters for this occasion. Her sons Bobby and Jerry Peters still live in Memphis. Son Stanley is deceased. We hope to have some of the Peters branch on hand for the next gathering. Certainly they were in our thoughts and stories of the day.

We learned much about one another, and had many a laugh, through cousin Jody Lauf's

Calhoun Fun Facts game. Brother Bob, being old enough to remember them, shared stories of Grandpa and Granny that brought a sense of history to the day.

Cousin Gary (Uncle Jim's eldest living descendant) was chosen to display the athletic prowess of the family by throwing out a ceremonial first pitch at the Grizzlies game. His 37 mph fastball (which appeared to bounce twice before making it to the plate) will likely be talked about for years to come. (Pic below--Gary slinking off the field in embarassment)

My sons Ian and Stewart were unable to fly in for the reunion. Ian is teaching and coaching at Battle Mountain High School which serves Vail, Avon and Edwards Colorado. Stewart is our actor working to break through in Hollywood. They did however record video greetings which some were unable to see in the day's hubbub...so there are links to view them below.

Those of us who worked on organizing the event were pleased that so many (around 60 total) were actually able to make it. Some came from far away (Houston, Cincinnati) to be with us and the entire day's activities turned out to be rewarding, memorable, and a whole lot of fun. As most of us know, and which was reinforced by this day, we certainly can all be proud of our heritage and therefore ourselves. It's easy to see when we're all together the great genes with which we've all been blessed. Hopefully we'll do another reunion with similar results sooner rather than later.

Click here for Ian's greeting
Click here for Stewart's greeting

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