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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:
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.
The plaques on the picnic grounds gate
Below are two plaques which can be seen at the picnic grounds gate.
(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
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.
Some Collett Family History
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