Gather Together In My Name... The Bowers 100th Family Reunion
Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending my father's annual family reunion it was wonderful to see ally my family from Alabama come visit us in Louisville, Kentucky. I was reading Ebony magazine online and I came across the story about the Bowers Family; the Bowers Family is a Black family from Florida that just celebrated their 100th Family Reunion. I wanted to share this story because it brought me to tears and I hope and pray my family will be able to host their 100th reunion on my father and mother's side. In the past preserving the family unit has been important to the African American community and I believe in recent years many people have lost the message, and have not been taught the importance of family. With divorce on the rise and more single parent homes I believe we have lost our way.
The Bowers Family is a southern family compromised of successful preachers, teachers, politicians, professionals, gifted singers and musicians. Noylar Bowers (1867-1939) was the forefather of this family.
Brief History of the Bowers Family: According to a family legend and some parts oral history Andrew Hunter was a native of Bascom, Florida and he was the son of an enslaved African, and the plantation owner's daughter a white woman. Andrew was raised in the plantation house also known as "the big house." The plantation owner died, and his grandson Andrew was left personal inventory on October 6, 1884.
Andrew was left with 20 heads of cattle, a horse, 10 chickens, 100 bushels of corn, 10 hogs, a sugar mill, 50 bushels of potatoes, tomatoes, a wagon, along with household furnishings. The net worth of this inventory was $382, although he was granted an inheritance in the late 1800s which made him a wealthy man.
Initial Inception of the Bowers Family: Andrew Hunter married a woman named Mary and they had 2 daughters, one of their daughters named Basha Hunter married Edd Bowers. Edd Bowers was an enslaved African descendant from VA ( Virginia). Edd and Basha Hunter had 9 children and one of those children was Noylar Bowers.
The Family Reunion: Noylar Bowers began the tradition of the family reunion at his home. Noylar slaughtered a cow for this occasion, he asked his cousin Hettie Bowers to help prepare a meal for the family. All 9 of his children, 8 siblings and their spouses gathered their children. He emphasized that all of his family receive an education, work hard, and be honest people. Every second Saturday in July he ( Noylar) commanded that they meet as a family. The first reunion was located in Bascom, Florida the cuisine was traditional southern food fried chicken, potato salad, pound cakes, etc.
More Facts About the Bowers Family: The family college alma mater is FAMU ( Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University) also Noylar owned 610 acres of land, that land remains in the family today.
Toni's Thoughts: I found this story to be fascinating and I respect Noylar Bowers for having a vision. Slavery diminished the African American family unit therefore all efforts made to restore and preserve the family dynamnic need to be recorded and shared with the next generation.
Source: Ebony Magaine
Writer: Joicelyn Dingle "Bowers 100th Family Reunion"