East Texas family celebrates 70 years of history - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

East Texas family celebrates 70 years of history

Baxter and Viola Wilson of Huntington had 10 kids together.  The couple knew with 10 kids, that their family would be big someday and somewhat challenging to track down. So in 1944, they did something to ensure that their family would stay together. The two started an annual reunion. 

Seventy years later, the family tradition is still taking place. Sunday, about 200 family members gathered at Chambers Park in Lufkin. 91- year-old Estelle Utsey is the youngest of the Wilson's 10 kids.  She said growing up in a big family has had its moments.

"On my first date, I told them not to call me baby because they would do that sometimes," Utsey said.

She is now ironically the matriarch of the family. The family legacy has definitely grown.  Utsey said the family offspring's included 35 grandkids, 70 great-grandkids and 200 great-great grandkids. The family has managed to trace their linage a thousand years back to France. Darrell Wilson said knowing your history can be very important.

"From a genetic standpoint its good thing because when you need something you can get it," Wilson said.

Grandson Doug Halpern drove 20 hours from Arizona for some good old home cooking.

"This is my first trip in 30 years and the reason why this is important to me is because it might be the last one,"   Halpern said.

His Cousin Glen Edwards said he is not going to let that happen.

"You don't turn your back on your blood, " Edwards said.

Edwards has been to all but four reunions, which he said he feels guilty about. 

"I was in Vietnam for four of them. When I came back in 1968,for me that year  was really personal," Edwards said. 

Copyright 2014 KTRE. All rights reserved.

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