This is a very special location as it is the place
Pierre Chastain settled when he arrived in Virginia Colony in 1700.
We visited several important landmarks associated
with our ancestor, Pierre Chastain!
At last year's reunion, the only representatives from the family of the Brothers of Chastain Central was brother Tim Chastain and sister Valorie Chastain Ford. This year, however, there were six from the immediate Chastain Central family: the three Brothers Terry, Tim, and Tracy; Terry's wife, Judy; Tim's wife, Marilyn; and our mother, Movaline. In addition, our first cousin Roy came from Alabama with his girlfriend Betty.
We were particularly excited about this meeting because it was at Pierre's stomping grounds, and none of us had ever been there before.
The hotel's continental breakfast area was right in the lobby, so throughout Thursday, Chastain cousins greeted each other as we checked into the facility. While the Brothers were on hand to meet new cousins and reconnect with those we already knew, the ladies went sight seeing. Judy and Marilyn drove to the mountains and visited a cavern; Movaline and Betty drove to Williamsburg.
Most attendees arrived on Thursday, though a few came in on Friday and Saturday. We were surprised at the turnout, which was considerably lower than we expected, especially considering the field trips planned to the excellent Chastain-related sites nearby. The official count was 29. However, the low number did not reduce the spirit of the group nor their enjoyment of the meetings and activities. On Thursday night, we attended the scheduled story-telling time. President Bill Fenn led with some interesting genealogical information, followed by historian Bob Leishman, who contributed information on a different line.
The continental breakfast was from 6-9, so on Friday we had plenty of time to talk and fellowship before we left for a prepared ten o'clock tour at the Virginia Historical Society Museum: The Story of Virginia, an American Experience. Terry Chastain had produced Chastain Central caps for the Brothers and brought along additional caps in case anyone might be interested. Were they ever! During the breakfast period, Terry sold all the caps he brought except for two solid white one's. We were pleased, of course, and learned that in the future we could omit white caps!
The historical tour was extraordinarily interesting, especially from the settlement period through the Civil War. We learned things that threw more light on our own family, such as the migration out of Virginia just after the Revolutionary War. Our family's departure from the state was simply part of the general exodus due to the economic decline in Virginia caused in part by the exhaustion of the land from constant production of tobacco without rest or rotation.
Friday night was the Officer's Board Meeting. All were invited to attend, though, of course, only the board could participate in the business. Afterward, the brown books were opened and people were able to research them. Tim Chastain brought some old difficult-to-find Chastain genealogy resources and a number of people did research from those. He had Brock's Huguenot Emigration to Virginia, Avilla Farnsworth-Milligan's Chastain Kith and Kin, Claude Cook's Little Otter to Lost River, and Lowell Chastain's Virginia Chastains, as well as the three volume Pierre Chastain and His Descendants and Cameron Allen's reprints which are available from the PCFA.
Saturday was filled with activity. After breakfast, we went to the library at the Huguenot Society of Manakin. There were excellent displays, but for me the book resources were absolutely thrilling! I looked at a couple resources I knew, but had never seen, and I took very helpful notes from the book that is number one on my want list.
Historian Bob Leishman was also successful. He found a treasure trove of information on the Witt descendents of Pierre Chastain, for which we previously had only scant data. He made notes for hours. The PCFA brown books were available for research at the library, and a number of people took advantage of them.
On the grounds adjacent to the library is the old 1895 building of the Manakintown Anglican Church (see videos), which Pierre helped establish in 1700. It was fabulous, and a spontaneous quartet gathered around the old organ and sang a hymn from the songbook.
After leaving the library and church, we visited Pierre's grave and the house he built and inhabited. Pierre's wooden house now serves as the back portion of the current home. In the photo, one can see the newer brick structure of the home in the background. The owners were very gracious. The Brothers of Chastain Central made short videos of the property which can be seen at Pierre Chastain.
From there we returned to the library for the full member business meeting. We discussed several pieces of business, put plans in action, and elected J.D. Chastain to fill the empty office of Vice President.
Our last official event was dinner at Angelo's Italian Pizza and Restaurant on Saturday night. Tracy had to fly out for California on Saturday evening. The remaining Brothers of Chastain Central pre-loaded our cars on Saturday night for an early five-thirty a.m. departure.
If you did not attend this meeting, you really missed a productive and enjoyable time. We hope to see you next year!
These cousins attended the 2007 Pierre Chastain Family Association Reunion.
|PCFA President Bill Fenn, of Herndon, Virginia, arranged the excellent activities and led the group throughout the weekend. He also presided over the business meetings. Bill's consistent message to us was the need to re-invigorate the association, and he suggested a number of action steps to accomplish it. In addition to his work with PCFA, Bill is an officer with the Huguenot Society.|
|Virgie and Herschel Chastain are the Librarians for the PCFA. Virgie was very active during the reunion as an assistant to the president. She also sold a number of sets of Pierre Chastain and His Descendants to those eager to own this definitive resource. Every Chastain interested in genealogy should have this set. You can order it from the PCFA website. Virgie and Herschel are from Dallas, Texas.|
|Carrie Chastain, from Siloam Springs, Arkansas, is our Publicity Chair. She provided support and personal energy to the program. J.D. was elected to fill the vacant position of Vice President of the PCFA. We have been without a functioning Vice President for quite a while, so it will be great to have this position active once again.|
|Robert Leishman, historian for the PCFA, is from Tampa, Florida. He answered many questions and provided a lot of insight into our genealogy. On story night, he presented a great genealogical review. During our visit to the library, Bob found a treasure trove of information on the Witt descendents of Pierre Chastain, and he made copious notes.|
|For the second year in a row, Beverly Rasor served as recording secretary in the absence of the official secretary who had a family emergency and was unable to attend. She and Doug, from Idaho, were again among the attendees who traveled the farthest to the reunion.|
|All three Brothers of Chastain Central attended the reunion this year. Terry is webmaster for Chastain Central. He prepared Chastain Central caps for the Brothers and brought additional ones in case others might be interested in them. And they certainly were! Terry and Judy drove in from Osteen, Florida.|
|Tim Chastain of Altamonte Springs, Florida is the primary writer for Chastain Central. He brought a number of out-of-print Chastain genealogy resources for attendees to use, and several members spent time in books they had not previously been able to research. Marilyn took photographs at the reunion including all those on this page.|
|Tracy Chastain, the third Brother of Chastain Central, flew into Orlando from his home in Sebastopol, California to ride up with his brothers to Richmond, thereby giving competition to the Rasors as the farthest travelers to the meeting. His wife, Donna, was unable to attend.|
|Every group of brothers must have a mother, and the mother of the Brothers of Chastain Central is Movaline Chastain of Sanford, Florida.|
|Roy Chastain of Northport, Alabama is first cousin to the Brothers of Chastain Central. He was accompanied by his girlfriend Betty. This was Roy's first PCFA exposure and he was very pleased. He joined the association and purchased a set of PCD books.|
|Kay Knight Clark came to the reunion alone from Llano, Texas, but she discovered the Chastain Central group right away and we all decided she was one of us! Of course she interacted with everyone, but we were happy to have the greater share of her company.|
|Lila Chastain Oliphant is the sister of J.D. Chastain, and she was at the reunion with her husband Leo. They are from Newnan, Georgia.|
|Onita Copeland of Fayetteville, Arkansas is also a sister of J.D. Chastain.|
|Frieda Anne and John Liston joined us from Taylors, South Carolina.|
|Charlotte Newton joined us from Travelers Rest, South Carolina. She is the sister of Frieda Anne Liston. She is shown here with two other Charlottes: Charlotte Joh and the Charlotte in the painting behind them.|
|Mel Chasteen and his daughter, Karen Chasteen are from Winchester, Virginia. They were the only Chasteens at this year's reunion.|
|Charlotte, Victoria, and Abraham Joh are grandchildren of Virgie and Herschel Chastain. They live in Franklin, Georgia.|