Melvin Gilreath – A Walking Encyclopedia

Greenness, trees,  and mountains surround the people who visit Amicalola Falls.  They gather to enjoy nature or be with friends and family.  Some might hike the start of the Appalachian Trail. It was at this place a group of near and distant kin gathered August 12th, 2017 for the 39th annual Gilreath Family Reunion.  Visiting and eating potluck lunch after a beautiful prayer of thanks have always been the mainstays of the reunion.  Pictures and records of ancestors grace the welcome table.  That’s a Gilreath reunion. Continue reading


A GILREATH Family Renunion

Family Reunion food table

A few years ago I was happily searching (again) on the internet for information about William GILREATH, the same one from the Revolutionary War period.   What I found was an invitation to a GILREATH family reunion at Amicalola Falls, the southern start of the Appalachian Trail.  What was amazing was that the information wasn’t already 5 years old and the event hadn’t even passed.  So, I went.

A happy bunch of kindred were gathered at the shelter, staging their crock pots and cakes on the folding tables.  One table was dedicated to pictures of all sorts of GILREATHS mostly from the  north Georgia area.  A blessing was offered on the food and the line formed.

There are a few things you can really look forward to at a reunion of southerners, besides the fascination of mingling with folks you share DNA with. One of them is a big pot of field peas hiding in their own murky gray waters; you know, the kind easily caught by a large slotted spoon.  Another thing is a platter of thickly sliced, homegrown tomatoes; lots of them. Hopefully cornbread will be within reach to push it all in the right direction and sop up the juices.

Well, they’re up to it again.  This Saturday in fact.  The invitation reads:

‘Gathering about 10:00 a.m. . . . . . lunch shortly after Noon’

I’m counting on the ‘shortly after Noon’ part.

The invitation notes the potential of Kenneth and Melvin GILREATH being in attendance.  This is a really cool thing because Kenneth and Melvin have compiled and written an extensive history of the GILREATH family going back to William GILREATH in Wilkes County, NC in the 1700’s.  It is believed that all GILREATHs in the USA are his descendants and that he most likely immigrated from Aberdeen, Scotland.

Kenneth and Melvin are cousins who spent hours, days, and years researching this family line. They are like walking encyclopedias when it comes to the GILREATH clan.  In the preface to their body of research they state, “The enclosed papers are being freely donated to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints . . . We are certain the church archives will always maintain, and make available to the public, copies of all our efforts in the same generous manner as they have all other family related material in the past.”

The title of the record is ” Descendants of William GILREATH” and can be ordered on microfiche at LDS Family History Libraries located all over the world.

So, if I don’t see you on saturday, keep the first weekend in August open on next year’s calendar.