On Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, we saw the 65th gathering of descendants of the Heston and Danner families at the Woodburn Community Center.
In 1949, Roland Heston and the Virgil Thrashers started the dinner get-together for the 11 children and many grandchildren of Lewis G. Heston and Rosanna “Jane” Schnebly.
As two Heston girls had married Danner brothers and a Danner sister had married a Heston brother, it was deemed logical to have one reunion instead of two later on.
Both families were well grounded in Iowa with pioneer roots. David Newton Danner and Hester Ann Sherwood came to Iowa in a covered wagon with baby Amanda.
Lafayette Sherwood, a Methodist circuit rider traveling with the Mormons, was injured when an ox team pulled a cart over him during a thunderstorm at Goshen. He died before the next campsite and was buried on the prairie, a place that became known as Last Chance.
Jesse Sherwood (father of Hester Ann), Methodist circuit rider, helped establish churches in our area, and Union chaplain Civil War, is buried at Attica.
John Schnebly came by rail to Mt. Pleasant (the tracks were not laid any further west), then stagecoach to Chariton, and by horse to his homestead. His wife died, leaving him with little girls to raise, so he married his neighbor’s daughter Mary Ann Pim — one of the first school teachers in the area.
Associated names Cochran, Reid, Spencer, Wondery, Zopka, Kent.
Mary Ann’s folks (Sam and Mary Jane Pim) came here from Ohio in the covered wagon. The Heston family had the honor of hosting the national Heston reunion at the Clarke County fairgrounds in the early 1960s.
These thoughts that I write to you came to me as I traveled by the old homesteads, remembered the old tales told.
I’m sure your families have histories as interesting as mine, so write it down, don’t let it be forgotten. We can use the past as our inspiration for our future.
Our families are still here and still remembered with the oldest member present Twyla James Cooper, 91, of Carlisle (daughter of longtime Osceola resident Jessie James, not the outlaw) and the youngest Jessalyn Pollitt.
The family thanks the Woodburn Community Center for the use of their facility and the help provided by Herman and Lois Danner.