Bio: Shelley - Family Reunion (2006)

Contact:  Lani Bartelt


----Sources: LANI BARTELT

Shelley Family Reunion

On July 1,2006 at the park at Dorchester, Clark Co., WI the annual Shelley Family Reunion was hosted by the family of Anthony (Tony) and Geraldine (Gerry) (Shelley) Schuh .

This family reunion has been held annually since the 1960’s and began as a birthday party get-together for matriarch, Jessie Violet (Rogers) Shelley, the mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother of the current Shelley family members.

Invitations are sent out in the spring of the year asking for a $5 - $10 donation and for everyone to bring a dish to pass. Hosts of the reunion provide the refreshments.

The reunion begins about 10-11 am and lasts till? This year we were cleaning up about 9 pm. We also try to find a reunion site that offers camping facilities as many of our family elect to camp out for the weekend. Others stay in nearby motels or with family members who live in the area.

In the 1960’s and 70’s our reunion was usually held in the Clark Co., WI area as a lot of our family members were farmers and had herds to milk so they would come at the beginning of the day and then leave at supper time to milk their cows and then come back afterwards.

In the last twenty years we have had the reunion in Token Creek, near Madison, WI.; in Campellsport, WI.; in the Milwaukee area at Lannon, WI.; at Phillips, WI.; various sites in Clark Co., WI.; and in Marshfield, WI.

At this year’s reunion I drove up from Milwaukee with cousins, Pete & Sandy (Shelley) Craven on Friday June 30th. We got settled in at our motel in Abbotsford (about ten minutes from the reunion site) and then we went over to the reunion area to visit with cousins who were camping for the weekend. We went out for the traditional Friday night fish fry and then returned to the park to visit again with cousins. I finally left the park about 9:30 p.m. that night after sharing pictures with one of the cousins who said she would scan and make copies for other cousins to purchase the next day. Saturday morning we arrived at the reunion about 10 a.m. and for me the day was a whirlwind of visiting with cousins; sharing two photo albums I’d brought along; sharing 63 files of family history with family members and getting them to update information on their individual files; getting email addresses for various family members; taking pictures: and just generally having fun!

About 1 p.m. a wonderful meal with an array of meats, pasta dished, salads, desserts and everything in between was served. Yum Yum Good!

In the afternoon we had our "meeting" where everyone attending this year’s reunion was welcomed by Tom Schuh and his sister, Lois; a volunteer was recruited to host next year’s reunion; and a raffle was held which raised over $200 for use in next year’s reunion and to help pay for costs of this year’s reunion.

I gave a little presentation about the status of the Brothertown Indian Nation’s quest for federal re-recognition and encouraged family member to get their enrollment packets for themselves or children or grandchildren in to the tribe as soon as possible!

Note - Our Shelley ancestors were full blood Brothertown Indians who belonged to this tribe who came to WI in the early 1800’s with the Stockbridge and Oneida Indians from New York. The current tribe is in the final process of petitioning for federal re-recognition and our case is in review with the government. Many of our Shelley clan are already enrolled with the tribe but the tribal rolls were just opened this winter so I was encouraging family members to get themselves, children or grandchildren enrolled while the rolls are open.

Later in the day a karaoke machine was set up and various cousins sang along. Some of our cousins have wonderful voices, others not so good, haha!

I left the site about 10 p.m. that night

Grandma Shelley, as she was called by most family members, was born to John and Sidney (Coleman) Rogers on June 14,1883. Her mother would die of TB when she was under a year old and she would be raised by a paternal aunt and uncle, Joe and Dorothy (Elmendorf) Chapman of Unity, WI. Violet married George Bertrum Shelley on June 10,1900 in Perkinstown, Marathon Co., WI. They would have the following children: Dorothy, Olive, William, Sidney, Herbert, Leon, Mildred, Leslie, Dwight, Lyle and Geraldine. Dorothy would marry John Neumann Olive would marry Emmet McCarthy William would marry Rose Kaske Herbert would marry Lucille Dallman Leon would marry Alma Hilderbrant Mildred would marry Rhinehardt Gripentrog Leslie would marry Julia Fenney Geraldine would marry Anthony Schuh

George Bertrum Shelley was born Sept 23,1878 in Unity, Clark Co., WI. to Simon and Ruth (Johnson) Shelley. His mother too died when he was very young and he would be raised by family in Clark Co., WI named Colby and Cook. George died July 28,1936 in Unity, Clark Co., WI. Violet would live in a little house in Riplinger, WI till March 15,1968 when she died.

Most of our Shelley family members are buried at the Unity Township Cemetery, Unity, Marathon Co., WI (sometimes called Brighton by the locals).

Our family reunions are held around the state of Wisconsin by various members of our Shelley Family every year.



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