Family Reunions


It began back in 1935. Alonzo and Fronia Kenoly with sons Marion, Dwight, and Melvin moved into their farm in Neodesha, Kansas in March 1935. They hosted the first "family-get-together" in November 1935 at Thanksgiving. Relatives came from Coffeyville and Independence, Kansas, Okalahoma,  Eldridge, Lebanon, and Boonville, Missouri. The "family-get-together" as they were referred to at that time became routine and were hosted each year by Alonzo and Fronia. Relatives would come to Neodesha on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and stay until Friday. The "family-get-together" continued to be held annually in Neodesha until the passing of Alonzo on June 1953.

When Alonzo passed away, Marion wrote a letter to Marie Turner-Kinsey (1st cousin) on a Thursday. He sent the letter to Evanston, Illinois – not knowing that Marie was living in Winnetka, Illinois. It is told that on Saturday Marie had a feeling that something was wrong and called her sister Agnes Turner in Evanston to inquire if she had any mail. The answer was, "Yes, a letter form Marion." Agnes read the letter to Marie, stating that their Uncle Alonzo had passed away and the funeral would be held on Monday. They agreed they would attend the funeral.

Marie called Albert and Theodore (Ted) North in Detroit Michigan, Basil North in Kansas City Missouri, and Paul Turner in Mexico Missouri to relay the message. Word spread rapidly among the families about the funeral.

Over the years the families had grown and spread to many parts of the country outside the Kansas-Missouri basin. There were many relatives that attended the funeral that did not know each other or had not seen each other in years. After the funeral, it was discussed, why shouldn’t or why couldn’t the families meet at other than a funeral. Alonzo and his brothers (David, Wilson, & Milton) had always been close and encouraged by their mother Hester to get together once a year.

It was decided that an official family reunion date would be the 1st Sunday in August of each year. Invitations would be extended to all families and relatives across the nation and the responsibilities for hosting the reunion would be shared by the families.

1953: Wilson Kenoly hosted the first official family reunion in Lebanon, Missouri. There were over 200 people in attendance.

The reunion was held in Lebanon three times with the Kenoly’s, Case’s, Winfrey’s, and Fitt’s families as hosts. From there to Neodesha, Kansas with Marion Kenoly as hosts, in Coffeyville, Kansas with Joe and Martha (Kenoly) Swinton as hosts, Chanute, Kansas with Marion and Lillie Kenoly as hosts, every year the reunion was held in different places. We met in Muskogee, Oklahoma with Thomas and Vada (Kenoly) Young and Vada’s sister Ruth (Kenoly) Talafor. The reunion was held twice in Fulton, Missouri with James and Eula (Case) Richmond.

We met in Independence, Kansas with Dwight and Marilyn Kenoly as hosts, also in Boonville, Missouri with Clarence and Maude (Kenoly) Hinkle as hosts. In those days the women would stay up all night frying chicken, baking pies and cakes. They had fun, laughing, talking and remembering old times.

We met in Wichita, Kansas with Frank and Myrtle (Stevens) Lollis as hosts, in Kansas City, Missouri with Basil North and family as hosts, in Bonner Springs, Kansas with Basil North and family as hosts.

1964: 1964: The reunion was held in Bayshore, New York with Edgar and Florence Haywood as hosts.

We met in Stockton, California with Claude and Quintin Kenoly as hosts, in Sacramento, California with James and Ollie (Kenoly) Edmonson as hosts, in Moss Point, Mississippi with Lillard and Louise Kenoly as hosts. We also met in Detroit, Michigan with Albert and Willie North as hosts, in Pontiac, Michigan with Mr. Bill Burns and his wife.

When we first began having the family reunion, we did not all have inside toilets and would have to go to the little house as we called it. When we would travel to California we would have to sleep in our cars (no motels to stay in). However things have changed, we can travel by car if we want to, and are able to fly and stay in nice hotels.

1989: We met in Denver, Colorado with Mr. and Mrs. Don Cheadle as hosts.

1990: The 40th reunion was held in Lebanon, Missouri with George and Eunice (Kenoly) Winfrey, their children and grandchildren as hosts.

1995: The reunion was held in Detroit, Michigan with Mildred (Winfrey) Horne and her daughter Edith Eubanks as hosts.

1996: The reunion was held in Tacoma, Washington with Geraldine (North) Merriweather as host.

1997: We went on a cruise to the Bahamas and Key West, Florida with Sandra North as our hostess.

1998: The reunion was held in Indianapolis, Indiana with Allen and Stacia (Burns) Gray as hosts.

1999: The reunion was held in San Jose, California with Pastor Ron & Travita Kenoly and Milton & Sharolyn Winfrey as hosts.

2000: The reunion was held in Kansas City, Missouri with Sandra North and family as hosts.

2001: The reunion was held in Orlando, Florida with Pastor Ron & Travita Kenoly as hosts.

2002: The reunion was held in Sacramento, California with Dee Ann Harris and Deanna Allen as hosts.

God has truly blessed us with His great mercy. He has blessed us with lawyers, Nurses, Fireman, Church Leaders, Ministers, Actors and other professions. Education is very important to our family and we are grateful for our ancestors and for their faith in God. We must not forget our past. We have come this far by faith and trusting in God's word.

Last Update: 03/12/05
Copyright 1999 by The Kenoly Family Project - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED