Archiver > CHRISTMAS > 2011-07 > 1311968692

Subject: [CHRISTMAS] Christmas in July family reunion in Warrenton, NC
Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2011 12:44:52 -0700 (PDT)

      I attended the Christmas in July family reunion in Warrenton, NC with
my sister, Mary Christmas Wooten, her daughter, Debbie Apple, and Debbie's
husband, Brian.  Fifty-file people attended, coming from Virginia, New Jersey,
New York, Washington, DC, California, Indiana, and, of course, North
Carollina..  (Sorry if I missed some.)
     When we arrived at the hotel, Tonya Hobson-Williams  (who organized the
event) and her family greeted us on the sidewalk outside the hotel.  Her little
9-year-old son (my estimate)  is just precious!  At the Meet and Greet that
evening, we were all walking around and mingling when he walked up to me and
asked me if I'd like

some  cookies.  I said, "No thank you, I don't believe I care for any right
now."  He said, "I fixed them myself."  (I guess he meant he put them on the
plate.)  I told him how nice that was of him and thanked him for doing it.  He
said, "It' was my pleasure, Mam!"  He was such a cutie.         
       Also, a car full of blacks was leaving as we first pulled into the hotel
parking lot..  At the Meet & Greet that night, this one lady said to my niece,
Debbie. "We were in that car that was leaving as you pulled in this afternoon.  
My husband commented, "I bet those people are my cousins."  She said she poked

him and said, "Oh, don't be silly!"  (we are white.)  Then she said she noticed
Debbie's little nose piercing and tattoo and thought ---  "Well, you know, they
could be his cousins.  With the piercing and tattoo, she's sure does have
Soul!"   (HA!  I thought that was so cute!)
     All the people were so nice.  It was just like being with family!  Many
seemed to be very well educated.  Tonya is a lawyer and judge (elected position)
in New York.  Her husband is an investigator,  One guy had taught music at
Hampton University in VA for 22 years and was associated with William
and Mary.  Another had graduated from Harvard and MIT.  It was a very impressive
     Bob Ranson brought a huge chart showing Christmas descendants.  It was  the
center of attention at the Meet and Greet Friday evening.
     Saturday morning we went to Warrenton and had our picture taken in front of
the court house by a

photographer from the local newspaper.  While we were waiting, Jim Ransom, who
grew up in Warrenton, told about how things were when he was growing up.  There
were two water fountains standing in front of the court house, one on each side
of the walk going from the sidewalk to the court house.  (They are still there,

incidently.)  He said the blacks drank from the one on the left and the whites
drank from the one on the right.  He also told that when he was in high school,
they were building a restaurant and the word was -- it would be for whites
only..  He said he and his high school buddies laid down in the middle of the
street to prevent the truck that was hauling lumber from entering the area.  He
said the police came and hauled them off to jail.  The next morning
representatives from the NAACP came and got them out of jail.  Another guy said
he was the first in his family to go to a school that wasn't "all black."  He
said they didn't like him being there, but "That was ok!"
   Then we visited some Christmas grave sites.
    We stopped at one grave where the grandparents of several in attendance were
buried.  They were reminiscing about them.  Their grandpa was a little man, but
happy and always laughing, they said. "He never worked a day in his life but he
always had money; he fared well down at the pool parlor."  They said he always

had chocolate drops to give his grandchildren.  
      We also visited the gravesite of Lewis Yancey Christmas, (He was my great
gr gr gr grandfather's cousin's grandson).   He kept the children in the big
house with him and the mothers took turns caring for the children.  Lewis Yancey
left a will leaving $10,000 to his children to share and his slaves were to be
freed.  The brothers and sisters contested the will.  The fight continued for
years.  The brothers and sisters ended up winning the court battle; Lewis
Yancey's children received one dollar each! 

      Anyway, Lewis Yancey Christmas was buried on at the site of his
plantation.  The house no longer stands.  A 2 foot tall wall of rock surrounds
the grave of the mother and two other unidentified graves.
Lewis Yancey's grave was alone, on the outside of the wall!  I think that said
something!   He had an old tombstone which was broken, but you could still make
out the name.
      We returned to the Ambassador Inn for lunch.  The blessing for the meal
was given with an abundance of "Glory, Glory"'s, "Praise the Lord"'s, and
"Amen"'s.  That is different from what I'm accustomed to in prayer, but it was
really neat.
       On our own, we saw the Ashland Plantation that belonged to Richard
Henderson.  William Christmas  who laid out the towns of Warrenton, NC, Raleigh,
NC and Boonesboro, KY for Daniel Boone, learned his surveying skills from his
cousin, Richard Henderson    (The relationship must have been on the mother's
side of the family -- does anyone know  ??)    Henderson, NC (where our hotel
was located) was also named after Richard Henderson.
     In addition, Thomas Christmas, who fought in the Rev. War and was the
grandfather of Lewis Yancey, gave 100 acres of land for the town of Warrenton. 
They say his home still stands but is covered with vegitation; we couldn't find
      Debbie and I volunteered to host the reunion  next year at Santa Claus,
Indiana.  So reserve July 23, 24, and 25th on your 2012 calendar and tell your
families  We asked a few people if they would come to Indiana next year, and
they all said "Yes!"    
     And a big "Thank You, Tonya".  The Christmas in July family reunion in
Warrenton, NC (2011) was great!"   

     Hope to see you all next year (2012) at the Christmas in July family
reunion in Santa Claus, Indiana,   
     God bless -- Donna Christmas

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