|2010 – Florida Mashburn’s 145th ReunionMay 21–A family lineage of seven generations, the Mashburns, will have its 145th reunion Saturday [May 22, 2010], once again at The Mashburn Memorial Park on Econfina Creek. Dating back to May 1866, the origin of this traditional Mashburn family reunion picnic began to honor the return of Confederate soldier Richard Byrd Mashburn.In consequence of the Civil War, Mashburn endured one year from 1864-65 as a captured prisoner at the Rock Island Prison of Illinois. He was released in May 1865. Mashburn’s journey home to the Econfina community lasted another year to get back to his family, working for food along the way, mostly walking and sometimes able to hitch rides. After all this, he was considered lucky to be alive, and the Mashburn family continues to designate this reunion to commemorate his survival through the war.The war was called a brother’s war. The second son of this family, Steven Edward Mashburn, ran from home to dodge being conscripted into the Confederate Army. Then, on his runaway boat headed toward the St. Andrews Bay Pass, he found it was blockaded by Union gun boats where he had to surrender and join the Union Army. Since 1841, the original Mashburn clan has occupied their home frontier on the eastside of Econfina Creek and will be gathering another year to celebrate their family heritage and the history that follows.
“This has been an uninterrupted family reunion for decades,” said Patty Mashburn Meredith, Jack Mashburn’s cousin.
Jack believes it is the oldest reunion in the area.
“It’s a phenomenal history. Any family that can have a reunion for a 145 years without killing each other is an accomplishment,” said Jack, great nephew of Richard and grandson of Steven Edward Mashburn.
Jack said usually about 80 percent family members attend the reunion, and 20 percent are friends and neighbors. He estimates there to be between 185 to 200 people who will come this year. “It’s going to be a big year. We have got cousins scattered all over the states now from Dallas, San Diego, Ohio, Indiana and even some in Alabama that have never attended the reunion yet,” Jack said.
At 10:30 a.m., The Grasscutters bluegrass band will kickstart the event with some Southern tunes. This year there will be gift attendance prizes, some for $50 to $100, and the drawings begin at 10:15 a.m.
Jack, a beekeeper, has made several jars of honey, prepared to give out to many of the family members who will have traveled great distances to the reunion. “It will sweeten their way back and make them feel good about coming,” Jack said.
Jack also plans to donate copies of the book “The Econfina Mashburns of Bay County, Florida” that he compiled together along with help from his cousin Patty and his sister, Eva Mashburn, who served for many years as the matriarch of the Mashburn Clan. A work in progress still, this book covers the past six generations of the Mashburn ancestral lineage.
Preserving the ongoing family tree, it reflects Jack’s great-grandfather, James Manon Mashburn, and his wife, Clara Rebecca Sealey, their children, where they were born, who they married and when they died.
Another important aspect of this reunion is all the children.
“We want the children to enjoy themselves and make good memories of these annual reunions so they will carry on the responsibility of this family tradition,” Jack said. The children will have many games to play, a moon house, a water slide and one or two-legged sack races during the event. A family whose name originated in Scotland, “burne” meaning a pool of water in Scottish terms, and “mash” having been used for whiskey making, was able to have survived the Civil War, the yellow fever that hit Port St. Joe, and migrated from Georgia by wagon and foot, were some of the first people who contributed to the development of Bay County. [WEBMASTER NOTE: for a more accurate etomology of the MASHBURN surname, please see the surname section on this site.]
Members of the Mashburn family, for example, operated the first post office and ferry transportation on Bear Creek. In the early 1850s, it has been documented that the Mashburn Plantation was in charge of selling 5,000 pounds of hand-twisted tobacco and 300 bushels of peanuts one year, providing for their community.
The Mashburn family intermarried amongst other families such as the Gainers, Porters, Evans, Crooms and Lassiters. They will be meeting for fellowship on the banks of the Econfina Creek.
The reunion officers, including President Jimmy Mashburn, Vice-President Pat Bush, Secretary Valerie Shelton and Treasurer Sandra Tuten, will begin setting the reunion up at 3 p.m. today. Anyone who is interested to come and help may join them. Families are asked to bring plenty of food, including a meat, vegetable, salad, dessert and beverage, as well as chairs and lunch tables.
On the 320 acres of the original plantation that James Manon Mashburn, Jack’s great-grandfather, had cleared in 1851, there will be an old-fashioned dinner at noon.
Kafonek, Lindsey Lailey. “Family tradition: Mashburns’ 145th reunion,” The News Herald (Panama City, FL, Fri, May 21). Retrieved on 12 June, 2010 from http://dailyme.com/story/2010052100003808/family-tradition-mashburns-145th-reunion.html