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The Collett-McKay Picnic


Collett-McKay Picnic grounds


Saturday 11th August 2018
at 12:00 noon (Dayton, OH time)
@collettmckaypicnic


@collettmckaypicnic

Moses McKay (a great-grandson of Robert Mackay Sr.) & wife Abigail Shinn, moved with their family except for one son, Robert S. McKay, from what is now Warren County, Virginia to Chester Township, Clinton County, Ohio along with some other Quaker families. His last two children were born in Ohio. Many of his descendants still live in the area. Moses also owned some land in Warren Co. Ohio where he built his house. This house was used during the Underground Railroad to hide runaway slaves. A photo of it is on a different page in this website.

In 1866 some of his descendants gathered together for the first Collett-McKay picnic partly to see who returned from the Civil War. The reason it is called the Collett-McKay picnic is because four of Moses's children -- Sarah, Francis, Virginia & Maria -- intermarried with four members of the family of Daniel Collett & Mary Haines (Their family record will be added later.)

The Collett-McKay picnic is held annually every 2nd Saturday in August starting at 12 noon on a portion of the original Moses McKay tract of land in Clinton Co. Ohio which was set aside many years ago and is held in trust by some of the descendants as a permanent site for the gathering.

Quote from the book 'New Burlington: The Life and Death of an American Village' page 203

Tradition says that it does not rain for the Collett-McKay picnic. Rain has fallen on the second Saturday in August several times since 1866 but there has always been dinner. For over a hundred years the two families have met in the picnic woods of Buck Run. There are no programs, no election of officers, no invitations. The men meet on the afternoon before the picnic and set up the 50-foot tables made of boards bought in 1879. For many years water was brought in a large hogshead, and coffee is still brewed in a huge iron kettle over a wood fire. The record of attendance is kept in large registers. The number attending has varied from the 111 people at the first picnic to 542 in 1888. The four-acre grounds, in an oak and sugar maple grove, is owned by the families who say it will always be a picnic ground for them.

The Collett-McKay Picnic Association

The picnic grounds are maintained and cared for by the Collett-McKay Picnic Association which is made up of the trustees appointed to oversee the grounds. A treasury is maintained for the purpose of caring for the grounds. If you would like to send a donation to help with the upkeep of the Picnic Grounds you may do so by making cheques payable to The Collett-McKay Picnic Fund and mail them to this address:

The Collett-McKay Picnic
c/o Steve Collett
3603 Center Road
Wilmington, OH, 45177

You may also make a memorial gift or a will bequest to the picnic fund if you wish. The interest collected from such a fund will be used to cover annual expenses.

Map, satellite & current weather conditions at the Collett-McKay Picnic grounds

The picnic grounds are located at the corner of Inwood and Gurneyville Roads in Chester Township, Clinton County, Ohio.

View Larger Map
The picnic grounds are bounded on top by Inwood Road and on the right
by Gurneyville Road. Use your 'back' button to return.

The Collett-McKay picnic grounds now have a street address to help visitors find the location.

You can find the picnic grounds at:

5353 Gurneyville Rd.
Wilmington, OH 45177

The plaques on the picnic grounds gate

Below are two plaques which can be seen at the picnic grounds gate.


Plaque on left side of gate

The inscription reads:

COLLETT McKAY
PICNIC GROUNDS

THESE FAMILIES WERE UNITED
BY
FOUR MARRIAGES
BETWEEN
1823 1830
THE FIRST PICNIC WAS HELD
IN
1866
GATEWAY ERECTED
IN
1934


Plaque on right side of gate

The inscription reads:

IN MEMORY OF

OUR IMMIGRANT AND PIONEER
ANCESTORS:
STEPHEN COLLETT
FROM
FRANCE
ROBERT
AND
MARGARET McKAY
FROM
SCOTLAND
DANIEL AND MARY HAINES COLLETT
EMIGRATED FROM
JEFFERSON CO. VA.
TO CLINTON CO. OHIO
IN 1812
MOSES AND ABIGAIL SHINN McKAY
EMIGRATED FROM
FREDERICK CO. VA.
TO WARREN CO. OHIO
IN 1818.

(Webmaster's note: Please note that it hasn't been proven that Robert Mackay Sr. came from Scotland. The information on this plaque is based on 'family tale'. Also, we do know from the marriage records of some of Robert's children and Robert's will that Margaret was Robert's 3rd wife. It's likely they were married while Robert was in Cecil County, MD although we do not have details on when or where Robert married any of his three wives. Moses & Abigail emigrated from the section of Frederick County, VA that later became Warren County, VA as mentioned above. MLM)

The utility building on the picnic grounds


Utility building
This building is used as a combination restroom and storage building for the long tables. It was constructed in 1974. Previously, the boards used to make the long tables were kept at one of the nearby cousins' house. Note the water supply wagon next to the building due to the fact that there is no running water on the picnic grounds, nor electricity. The wagon is removed sometime after the picnic is over.

Memorial Trees on the Picnic Grounds

The Collett-McKay Picnic Newsletter

At their 137th gathering on 10th August 2002, the beginnings of a family newsletter, Collett-McKay Stories, was started by Cousin Howard Doster. The on-line version of this newsletter is available below. Please be aware that if you want to have a copy of this document you will need to either save the page to a disk or print it as this page will likely be updated periodically as time passes.

Collett-McKay Stories
Published by D. Howard Doster
Issue No. 1, 10 August 2002

Some Collett Family History
An account of the origins of the Collett Family which intermarried with some of Moses McKay's children.

Newspaper articles about the picnic

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