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Newspaper article from 2013

by D. Howard Doster, a Family Recorder

Interview with Howard Doster at the 2013 Collett-McKay Picnic about the forthcoming 150th anniversary of the picnic.
     On Saturday, August 10, 2013, 135 cousins and friends from nine states again gathered at the 4-acre picnic site at 5353 Gurneyville Road, northwest of Wilmington, Ohio, for the 148th annual picnic. I missed the opening announcements and prayer by Trustee Steve Collett, the minister at nearby New Burlington Quaker Meeting. I arrived just in time to note there wasn't much food, and NO hickory nut cake, on the south end of the Collett table. Why?

     I had just attended Memorial Services for McKay Collett at Jonah's Run Baptist Church, the church that Mac shepherded so well for the last thirty years, located on the north-west edge of the 2356 acres Collett's bought 200 years ago! The following was written on August 3 by my grandson, Jim Doster. His brother, Bill-whose first home was the Sugar Camp Cottage near Mac's house- read it at Mac's service.

     Today I learned of the death of my Captain. United States Army Veteran McKay Collett--known affectionately as "Mac"--has passed away.

     His bed and breakfast "The Hole in the Woods" served as the cottage for my childhood Doster-family Christmas reunions and annual Cousin Camps. In his barn all the cousins performed in the "Doster Vaudeville", a fun-filled evening of silly theatrical acts and laughing. Mac demonstrated that it is always good to laugh at jokes, even when they are not funny--be joyful always. Mac taught us how to never fear to just volunteer, for it may just save your life (During WWII he raised his hand first when his captain needed a personal French-speaking interpreter as the Allied forces were storming Normandy. Therefore, he fell back from the first wave of attack and came ashore the day after all the beach bloodshed--likely saving his life. Mac was only high school-level proficient at French). In the latter years of his life he became Captain Mac on the sailing ship named Sound of Silence--my first of many sailing adventures.

     During family reunions and time with cousins, his memory will be with us. When we tell jokes and always laugh, we will carry on his joy. When it is time to serve and be bold, we will be first to raise our hand. And when the wind dies down and all is still, we will hear him in the sound of silence.

     Rest easy Mac, your ship has safely docked.

     Was Mac's first name "Daniel" or was the Daniel McKay Collett, from NY, NY, who attended the 1976 picnic his son? Although he was born in NY in 1925, I think then red-faced Mac attended the picnic the summer he was a HS student living with his Uncle Bud and Aunt Cassie at the Hole-in-the-woods farmhouse, where Ann Collett McCune, my g-grandmother, was born in 1824. She was the first child of the four marriages between the Collett's and McKay's in the 1820's. In 1840, Robert, Ann's younger brother and Mac's grandfather, was born in the same house. After retiring early from DuPont 33 years ago, Mac moved back to that farmhouse, where his widow, Diane, still lives. Our son, Dan, married them in the woods there 30 years ago. After the picnic, I went there and found my family and many Collett kids. Then, I went to, now, our Moses McKay house, and hosted our Doster picnic supper.

     Was Mac the last of the "Big-Nose" Colletts? Do you remember seeing perhaps the 1896 picnic picture? You know the one. There is a ruddy-faced blond Collett man, with a BIG nose, standing in front of a tree at the left side of the photo. Mac looked like him, though that's probably "Uncle Dan", the bachelor who inherited the picnic site from Moses McKay, his other grandfather. Picnic Dan's mother, Virginia McKay, from the house where I'm now sitting, died in child birth in 1827, a year before her father, Moses.

     My dad had a big nose. Howard Shambaugh, a McKay with a big nose, once said lots of Collett's had big noses. But I didn't see any there this year. Dan Collett, Mac's son, who spoke so well at his father's service, has refined features.

     Oh, I call Picnic Dan Collett's father, "Founder Dan", because he was one of the founders of Jonah's Run Baptist Church in 1838, one hundred seventy-five years ago. I call founder Dan's father, "Revolutionary Dan", because he was a private in the Revolutionary War. He was an Episcopalian, never a Quaker, but his five Quaker daughter-in-laws buried his bones in near-by Caesar Creek Quaker cemetery in 1835, where his former northern Virginia Quaker wife, Mary Haines Collett, had been a member. Oh, oh, my first name is Dan. Our son, Dan, has a son named Dan. Jimmy, that last Dan, wrote the tribute above to Mac.

     During the picnic, Katherine Hackney Luby solved a mystery by identifying Levi Duffy. She said he was a real estate business partner of Andrew McKay, Moses McKay's father, in Virginia. I just knew he had witnessed an 1818 contract between Moses and Arvinia Gaston, a free woman of color, when he brought her here to help build now, our house. Also, Moses named his youngest son, Levi Duffy McKay.

     Katherine also told me Levi Duffy's daughter, Anne, married Joseph Shambaugh. They named a son, Levi Duffy Shambaugh. He married Abigail Jane McKay, the daughter of George and Mary Ferguson and, thus, the granddaughter of Moses and Abigail McKay. But, George McKay was a brother of his siblings in the four Collett-McKay marriages; thus, I don't find Howard Shambaugh's name on Howard Collett's blueprint, but we're still McKay cousins. What fun.

     Trustee Steve reported the picnic site entrance was being moved, right after the picnic. He was getting estimates for replacing the entrance posts with the McKay and Collett plaques.

     Evan Makar, born March 8, 2013, was the youngest person present. Other first-timers were Christopher Billingsley and Natalie Puckett. Caroline Edwards Wengler, 85, of the Daniel/Mariah Collett line; Jeanette McKay Musser, 85, of the Francis/Mary McKay line; and me, 80, of the Jonathan/Sarah Collett line, were the oldest persons I met of our lines.

     Cousins attending from out of state included Fred, Robin, and Evan Makar, Elk Grove Illinois; Karen, Chuck and Chad Fabian, Des Plaines, Illinois; Susan Doster and Rick Mertens, West Lafayette, Indiana; Patricia and James Giesting, Glenwood, Iowa; Dave, Cindi, and Adam Doster, Novi, Michigan; Dan, Melody, William, and Lizzie Doster, Raleigh, North Carolina; Marilyn Talmage, Nashville, Tennessee; Michael McKay, Winchester, Virginia; Ellen Magee and Guy Fields, Madison, Wisconsin.

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Photos of the entire gate
This gate will be taken down and moved a short distance to the left as part of a road leveling project at the expense of Clinton County. The details on the construction of the new gate has yet to be decided but the plaques will be put back in their proper place.

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Last photos before road work began
Here are 11 photos of the area around the picnic grounds right before road work began on Monday 19 Aug 2013.
Photos courtesy of John F. Becker III.

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