Highlights of the Reunion

Thomas B. Gleaves Reunion
October 15 & 16, 2010
Clarion Hotel, Elk City, OK

A very special thanks to Chad Gleaves for the videos of the reunion meetings.  He recorded them and loaded them to the web (no easy task).  Now we can relive those moments.  Thanks, Chad!

The reunion got off to an early start on Thursday evening with everyone who was in Elk City caravaning to Adamo's Italian Bistro for dinner together.  There was good food and good conversation as everyone got to know each other.  After dinner Debbie, Robert, Jean and others set up the meeting room with table decorations, maps, charts, and exhibits about Thomas Benjamin Gleaves, also known as TB or Blunt.

Bright and early Friday morning the registration table opened.  Everyone got a name tag, a schedule of events, a booklet with TB's information, both printed and on a CD, a packet of information about Elk City and the surrounding area and a blank form for Gleaves Family Bingo.  After signing each of the certificates of appreciation that would be presented later to people who made the reunion possible and paying for Saturday's lunch, we worked to fill up our Bingo cards.

Finally the reunion officially began with Debbie Gleaves welcoming everybody.  After drawing for a few quick door prizes, we played Gleaves Bingo and introduced ourselves.  Then Judy Tracy arrived to take us back to school 100 years ago.  We began with the Pledge of Allegience to the flag, minus the words 'under God' (as that phrase was not added until the 1950s).  Next was spelling, ciphering, and Oklahoma history concentrating on the land rushes and how it might have felt to be there.  To see this presentation, click the play button below. .

After a break and a return to present day Oklahoma, Debbie introduced our featured speaker, Robert Gleaves.  Robert began with TB's birth and traced his life through the years using historical documents to show his activities and travels about the United States.   To see TB's timeline and its associated documents, click here.  To see Robert's presentation, click the play button below.

After Robert's presentation, we broke for a family picture and then lunch on our own.

(click on the picture for a larger view)

The afternoon was spent at the Old Town Museum learning about life during Oklahoma's Pioneer Days.  While there the historic Carousel was opened for family members to enjoy.

Later we caravaned to Simon's Catch for dinner.  Afterwards we spent the evening sharing pictures, documents, tall tales and memories.

Early Saturday morning, we again formed a caravan to visit the Oklahoma country side where TB lived and is buried.  First stop was Brookside Cemetery.  There we saw the hand made grave markers of TB, Nancy Ann, Neal and an unnamed baby Gleaves along with Atha and Coffey family graves.  Then it was picture taking time again.  (you know the drill - click on any picture for a larger view)
First the great grandchildren of TB,

next the great-great children,

followed by the great-great-great grandchildren

and finally the TB in-laws. 

Robert asked for the oldest TB descendant present, Jerry Gleaves, to read TB's obituary. 

That reminded Mike Gleaves of the family story that he had been told about TB's burial how it was March and the ground was frozen and it was so difficult to dig the grave.


Leaving there, we continued on our trip past Boot Hill which was once part of the land that TB owned.  (You will need to explore the pictures in the Gallery to see why this place is named Boot Hill.)  Next stop, the Tucker Farm.  Here we saw where TB built his home that is today contained within the existing house.  The original home was 14 feet by 16 feet.  We were told how well it was built, how square the window frames and doors were and we were even shown part of the original red shale foundation.  After viewing the log cabin that was built by the Tuckers as a place to hold their reunions and display their antiques, Debbie presented a certificate of appreciation to Mrs. Tucker for allowing us to visit.  Another group picture including Mrs. Tucker and her family was taken.


(click on the picture for a larger view)

Heading down the road again, we came to a field grown up with hay.  Lee cut a path through the hay with his pickup and we followed him to a spot where we could park.  It was then a walk over the hill and down to the site of the half dugout where Lee and Wayne lived with their parents in the early 1950s.  Many stories were shared of the hard times growing up there. 

Finally lunch time, after driving to the historic Dempsey one-room school house.  We began with the raising of the flag on the school flag pole followed by a solemn playing of taps on the bugle by Jonathan Gleaves.  After a blessing it was time for lunch, catered by that unstoppable Debbie Gleaves.  Now there was time again for a Gleaves' favorite things - good food and good conversation!  After lunch, family members cleaned up, swept the floor and left the school house as we found it.  Back on the road to town, we passed the Grimes school house where Lee, Wayne, and Glenda's father and his siblings went to school.

The afternoon session met back in the hotel meeting room with a presentation by Alice Hix.  She told about TB's ancestors, how they came from England and settled in Virginia and Tennessee and she showed how this web site could be used to learn more about the Gleaves family.  Alice segued into the reunion auction by explaining how the Gleaves Family Association supported the GleavesFamily.com web site from its funds.  

The auction is always one of the most fun aspects of the reunion and this one did not fail to please.  First there were the wonderful items to bid on with many being made and donated by the reunion attendees.  There was home made pepper jelly in a number of heat catagories, Oh So Mild, So So Hot and Mucho Hot; home grown green beans put up using Mrs. Fuqua's recipe from a cookbook bought at a previous reunion; hand turned wood ball point pen; hand made lariat bowls; hand made tote bags; lovely hair bows for the little girls; eyeglass cases and a Gleaves class model boat kit.  But it was the friendly and competitive bidding among family members, urged on by the auctioneer, Lee Gleaves, that was the most fun.  Even young Mara got into the spirit of the bidding.  However, Lee would not accept her bids, saying she did not work.  Mara countered with the statement that her parents didn't work either.  Then Don McDermott slipped Mara some cash so she could buy something.  When all of the items had been auctioned, $1016 was raised for the Gleaves Family Association.

The reunion was quickly drawing to a close.  Jean Gleaves asked to speak.  She began by thanking Debbie and Lee for all of their hard work and efforts to give us such a fantastic reunion and she presented them with a card which everyone had signed.  After a standing ovation for Debbie and Lee, Jean said there was one more thing she wanted to talk about.  Every reunion seems to have one special, magical moment and this would be the one for this reunion.  Jean talked about the visit that morning to Brookside Cemetery and seeing the hand made stones on the Gleaves graves.  After the visit, Jean talked with Glenda Gleaves Whinery, whose family is in the funeral business, about acquiring an additional marker for the Gleaves graves.  It would be a stone about 4 feet high with GLEAVES on it and TB's and Nancy's names and date.  Underneath it would list their children.  On the back side of the stone, it would list the children of TB and Lucinda. The cost for this stone would be $1200 and Jean began with a contribution from she and Jerry.  Her contribution was quickly followed by others from TB's descendants and within 5 minutes the entire amount was raised!  Soon when Gleaves visit Brookside Cemetery, they will be able to quickly find the graves of their ancestors and know that they are remembered and loved.

As everyone hugged goodbye,  they all said, "See you in Nashville in 2012!"