Brown County, Indiana Old Settlers Reunion
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The 1941 Old Settlers Reunion

What was the Old Settlers Reunion like in 1941?  The following is based upon copies of newspaper articles published during the 1930s and 1940s.

W. E. “Nick” Brummet was president of the organization that prepared for the Reunion and Sylvester Louden was secretary.  They were probably optimistic about the 1941 Reunion because the 1940 Reunion has been reported as the “largest and most successful ever held”.  The 1935 attendance had been estimated at “between six and seven thousand people” and there had been large crowds in 1936-1939.  Pre-event publicity called the Old Settlers “Brown County’s most popular event for the youngsters and grown-ups as well.”

The 1941 Reunion was held on the September 5 and 6 in the Waltman Grove near Beanblossom (sic).  “Rev. Warren C. Chafin, a Brown countian by birth but who now resides near Bloomington” gave the welcoming address. The afternoon address was made by Rev. Norman McCormick of Spencer.  The program included other speakers and “good music”.

There was an important change at the 1941 Reunion: “This year better arrangements are being made to supply the crowd with pure water. The public cup, in use for so many years, has already made its last appearance and paper cups are being purchased in their place.”

Mrs. Emmaline Ping of near New Bellsville received the prize as the oldest lady present.  She was “86 years old and was born December 28, 1850” (sic).  The oldest man was John A. Brown, 86, who was born July 4, 1855.  He was a grandson of Ned David, one of the pioneer settlers of Brown County.  He formerly lived in Hamblen Township but in 1941 was a resident of Franklin. There was to be a prize for the family with the most generations present but “no contestants presented themselves as candidates for the prize”.

After the Reunion, it was reported that it had “as usual served its purpose as a place of enjoyment for the youngsters and oldsters alike.  Many renewals of old friendships were made and the attendance was equal or surpassed any former years. Many persons attended on Friday evening and again on Saturday.”

Most of the Reunion’s expenses were paid via “concession rights”, selling space for organizations and/or merchants to set up a stand.  Officers of the organization that prepared for the Reunion were unpaid, but in some years the income from concessions was not enough to pay for the year’s expenses and it was necessary to draw on the surplus from prior years.  That proved to be the case in 1941.  There were not as many concession stands as in prior years; receipts were $165 and expenses were $178.