Powers Centennial, Dedication, and Reunion

   On the 8th of July, 1837, the Powers brothers and their families completed their journey from New York State to establish their homes in York Township, Steuben County, IN.  On July 11, 1937, their descendants observed the centennial by the dedication of a memorial boulder erected on the site of the original log shanty.
   The occasion was also the 53rd annual reunion. Nearly two hundred members of the family assembled before noon in the grove back of the Powers Church and the usual bountiful dinner was spread on tables under the tent.  An enjoyable feature was an informal musical program before and after the dinner which included singing by Gloria Aldrich and Phyllis Creel, and several numbers by an orchestra composed mostly of members of the family.  The large attendance and unusually large number of cousins present from a distance added to the enthusiasm of the visiting.
   Emry Powers rang the old bell to call the family into the church for the afternoon program.  Dr. Raymond J. Luse presided.  The business session included financial reports by committees in charge of the erection of the boulder, and of improvements on the church grounds.  Four trustees of the memorial boulder were chosen, representing the four lines of the family: descendant of Stephen - Stephen Powers of Montpelier, Ohio; of Clark - Weir Wood, of Rudolph, Ohio;  of Winn - Elmo Powers of Angola; and of Calvin - Theodore T. Wood, of Angola.  Officers for the ensuing year were elected:  President, Will E. Rose, Chicago;  Vice President, Powers Luse, Columbia City, Ind.;  Secretary, Mrs. Rose Carver, Angola.
   A family history begun years ago by Mrs. Viola Posers Amidon and her husband, the late Lee E. Amidon, was another project which was virtually complete, to mark the centennial anniversary.  They did much painstaking research into old records in Massachusetts and assembled data from the time of Walter Power, the first American ancestor, who was born in England in 1639, down to and including the families of the four Powers brothers of Steuben County.  During the past year Mr. Will Rose has given almost his entire time to bringing this record down to date, and has completed a manuscript which covers almost every descendant.  Plans for the publication of this manuscript were discussed, and it is hoped it may soon be in book form.
   The program of the afternoon featured especially the reading of some of the old letters which are a treasured possession of the family.  Mrs. Viola Amidon, read a letter written by her grandfather, Stephen, to his mother, Mrs. Joanna Jenks, in Farmington, New York.  It was written only a few days after arrival in Steuben County, and recounted events of the journey, and expressed his great satisfaction with the new location.  Clark Powers was represented by a letter which he wrote to his mother, while he was in Indianapolis as a member of the state legislature.  This letter was read by Powers Luse.  Mrs. Winifred Waugh read two letters: one from Josiah Powers, the bachelor brother of the family, a dentist, who started to the west at the time of the California gold rush.  This letter was the last positive news of him, and was written from Joliet, Ill, in 1850.  The other letter was one written by her grandfather, Calvin, October 8, 1837, to his brother, Clark.  He reported that they were well satisfied with the prospects in the new home.
   A highlight of the program was the reading of Riley’s “Back to Griggsby’s Station,”  by Mrs. Lydia Powers Hamer, of Montpelier, Ohio.  Mrs. Hamer, in her 90’s is the only living member of the family of her generation.  She is a daughter of Stephen.  Her sympathetic rendition of this tenderly beautiful poem is something the family has come to feel is a necessary part of the annual reunion.  She also contributed an unexpected feature to the program.  She had heard that Ellen, little daughter of Ora and Emily Waugh Harman, is having made for her a collection of dolls, and she brought to add to this collection a pair of dolls of her own making.  Mrs. Hamer has won a reputation, especially around Ray, her former home, for the charm of her originally designed and hand made cotton wadding dolls.  This particular couple she introduced as “The Jenkinses of Griggsby’s Station.”  They are a gentile old couple who sit in their easy chairs, she knitting and he reading his newspaper, Mrs. Harman acknowledged the gift in behalf of her daughter.
   Two births were reported: to Powers and Willodene Luse, a son, David.  To Victor and Pauline Brooks Julian, June 28, a son.
   There were two deaths;  Mrs. Willa Wood Spilman, and Emily Ruth Carver.
   A cablegram of greeting from Clyde and Oliver Powers in the Philippine Islands was read by their sister, Viola Amidon.
   The church program was concluded with the singing of the doxology.  The company reassembled later around the memorial boulder.  The dedicatory service was impressive in its simplicity and dignity.  Walter E. Frazee, of Long Beach California, husband of Margaret Mitchell Frazee, great granddaughter of Winn, spoke briefly, and a prayer was offered by J. O. Rose, grandson of Winn.  The stone is a large one of red granite, triangular in shape.  It stands on what was formerly the grounds of the Powers school, a few rods north of road 20, and very close to the site of the shanty that was the first shelter of the Powers families.  There is no question of the exact location, for the stones of the original chimney lie in a heap where they fell.  The bronze tablet bears the following inscription; “Powers Memorial in honor of the Powers Brothers, Stephen, Clark, Winn, Josiah, Calvin and their families, marking the site of the first Powers home in the wilderness, July 8, 1837.  Placed by Descendants, July 8, 1937.”

Powers Reunion Notes
   From the new history of the family it was learned that the Powers Church was erected in 1875 and 1876 by the combined efforts of Winn and Calvin Powers.  There were 102 subscriptions, which together with contributions of labor and material amounted to $1827.  The M. E. Class of York supplied the furniture.
   Mr. V. Courtney, present owner of the land on which the boulder is erected, is to be thanked for the flowers that are growing among the stones of the old chimney.  He says he expects to continue to give it this attention.
   Photographs of the boulder are available.  Inquires may be made of Mrs. Edna Wood Creel.
   Persons present from a distance were too numerous for individual mention.  There were more than fifty, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and the Philippine Islands.

Source: Steuben Republican Newspaper 21 Jul 1937 
Submitted by Kay Lash