The 2018 Reunion:

Descendants of Elisha Everette Whitley


The Elisha Everette and Mary Eliza Barnes Whitley family reunion will be held at noon on Wednesday, July 4, 2018 at the American Legion Building on Armory Drive in Franklin, Virginia.

Relatives, friends and guests are invited to come and bring a covered dish for a 12-noon luncheon. Plates, cups, utensils and beverages will be provided. This will be the 154th annual reunion held on the birthday of Elisha Everette Whitley.

Whitley was born in Hertford County, North Carolina on July 4, 1829 to Joseph Elisha Whitley and Sarah “Sally” Lane. He married Mary Eliza Barnes, a daughter of John Elias Barnes, II and Talitha Buxton, on January 7, 1855.

Nine children were born to the couple. Whitley was a miller and farmer by trade and spent most of his life in the New Hope Church-Winborne’s Mill community.

Whitley enlisted in Company G, 31st North Carolina Troops on September 12, 1861 and was paroled on May 2, 1865 after the surrender of General Joseph E. Johnston to Gen. William T. Sherman on April 26, 1865 at Bush Hill in Randolph County, N.C.

This annual reunion has been a family tradition for 154 years and is thought to be one of the longest continuous family reunions in America.

Tradition goes that when Elisha Whitley returned from the War Between the States, his sisters gave him a dinner on his birthday, July 4, 1865, and he asked that this be continued. Since that time, there has been an annual reunion carried on by his children until their deaths and now by their descendants.

Whitley and his wife are buried in the Blackjack Oak Cemetery on the VA-NC state line near Winborne’s Mill.

The descendants of Talitha “Tidy” Frances Whitley Edwards have the honor of serving as hosts for this year’s reunion.