Montgomery Advertiser Lifestyle Section - July 11, 2004   (Contributed by Joan Clemons

McDade family sponsors first reunion

Martha Washington arrived from South Carolina in
the mid-1800s and began a new life with her husband,
Archie McDade, on a plantation in Montgomery County.
They raised their six sons, Phil, Dock, John, Lymus,
Mitch and Charles McDade, nearby, though they all
eventually spread out to live between the Capital
City, Waugh, Mount Meigs and Pike Road areas.

Their descendants gathered in Montgomery last
weekend for a series of activities to celebrate
their family's heritage and to hold their first
family reunion ever.

The reunion had been a longtime dream of Phil's
granddaughter, Laura McDade Chalk, and she
called more than 120 of her relatives home to attend
the festivities. They arrived in summertime casual
attire for a get-acquainted night on Friday, and
enjoyed a bountiful array of heavy hors d'oeuvres at
their initial gathering at the Governors House Hotel
and Conference Center.

Fourteen states were represented in the roll call
of family members attending, with more than half of
them having called Montgomery home at one time or
another. The Alabama residents acted as organizers
for the event, which included a Sunday morning
worship service at St. James Baptist Church in
Waugh, the original church home of many of the
McDade ancestors.
Later that evening, Alma and Jessie
Clark entertained by hosting an old-fashioned
Fourth of July picnic at their Regency Park home.
Reds, whites and blues decorated the tent
constructed for the occasion. Guests dined on
barbecue ribs and chicken, and all the fixings.
Birthday cake was served for dessert to honor all
relatives born during the month of July.

Attendees visited the Rosa Parks Museum, the
Civil Rights Monument and Dexter Avenue King
Memorial Baptist Church, among other sites. And
later, they enjoyed a scrumptious buffet dinner of
Southern family favorites at a dress-up affair.

Alma Watson Clark of Montgomery, Thelma
Burke Geeter of Selma and Ishmel McDade Jr.
were among those who helped plan the activities
for the group's first gathering. They put the
spotlight on Robin Geeter's poetry,
Leonard Chalk's music, and 2-year-old Kailyn
Monford of Detroit, who gave a vocal

The first McDade family reunion was deemed a huge
success, and plans for a subsequent one are already
under way for 2006