Florence Zula Shafer Witthoft, 1971
FORTY YEARS AGO, on September 5, 1931, the first Kilts Reunion was held on Ullman's Grove, Sharon Hill. All present were Sharon Kilts', descendants of Adam Kilts who sold his pews in the Stone Arabia Reformed Church in 1790 and moved to Sharon. The first meeting was made possible by the efforts and enthusiasm of Berdsley Kilts, Adam's great, great grandson. The meeting was called to order by the late Edward Kilts, our Herschel's father. The first President was Herschel's brother Dan, who died last September at the age of ninety.
The first Secretary-Treasurer was Alice Kilts, now Mrs. George Thomas. Alice is the one who wrote the marker dedication service and made memorable the meeting in 1966 that noted the 225th anniversary of Conrad Kilts' acquiring land in the Stone Arabia area, September 23, 1743.
About 90 were present at this first meeting. Of this group, more than two thirds have passed away. Several have continued to be regular attendants at all our later meetings, notably Rena and Alvin Lane, Alice Thomas, Dorothy Edwards, now Dorothy Post, Addie Putnam. Others are Catherine Ullman, Sylvia Lane, Pearl Wright, Harold Kilts, Beardsley's two children-Olin Kilts and Hilda Alverson. About 15 who were childrlen or young people at that time have attended frequently.
Do you wonder why the later regulars, the Shafers, Witthofts and Lykers, were not there? The Witthofts had a date with the stork and were leaving the Shafer home in Argusville that day for their home in the Bronx, and Doris Lyker was accompanying them to take care of the four Witthoft children for the weekend, just in case! Peggy was born just six days later, September 11, 1931. (Peggy's twin daughters have been our registrars for the last two or three years.)
The second meeting was also held in Ullman's Grove, but this time many from Stone Arabia were there. Most of them are now gone, except for the Albert Kiltses. At the first meeting, the president had appointed Charles J. Kilts and Floyd Kilts, both of Albany, to act with him "to investigate the Kilts history." At the second meeting, Beardsley Kilts and two Stone Arabia Kiltses - Mrs. Alice Saltsman and Mrs. John C. Kilts - were added to this committee. It was not until the third meeting that our eminent historian, the late Harry E. Stam of Brooklyn was mentioned. Mrs. Saltsman read a letter from him but the minutes say nothing about the contents of the letter.
The third meeting began the change from Sharon to Mohawk Valley places; both the Lutheran and Reformed Churches of Stone Arabia, the Otsquago Fish and Game Club, Fort Plain, and Wintergreen Park, Canajoharie. Only twice was the reunion held again in Schoharie County, in 1935 and 1956 at LaSalle Park, Schoharie.
The minutes of these early meetings mention much music and singing, but little of the formal program until the fifth year. Then Mr. Stam was present and "gave a very interesting talk concerning the ancestors of the Kilts family. Among items of interest were that the first ancestors were Conrad and Susan Margretha Kilts and that during the Revolution there were twelve Kilts members who took an active part."
These are our beginnings! We oldsters are grateful to all the youngsters who will be left to carry on for the next FORTY YEARS!
Table of Contents, Kilts
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