Archive for Thursday, October 11, 2007

Founding families return

October 11, 2007

In unison, the hands of Leota Burnett and Sherryl Marable traced lines in the air.

The two lifted their arms to the sky and brought them back to their chest.

Sherryl Marable and Leota Burnett perform "The Lords Prayer"
Saturday before the unveiling of the Eudora and Paschal Fish
statue. Marable and Burnett are Paschal Fish's direct descendants.

Sherryl Marable and Leota Burnett perform "The Lords Prayer" Saturday before the unveiling of the Eudora and Paschal Fish statue. Marable and Burnett are Paschal Fish's direct descendants.

Phrase by phrase, the duo recited "The Lord's Prayer" in a Native American sign language.

It was their offering in a dedication ceremony for a statue depicting their ancestor Paschal Fish and his daughter, Eudora.

"It blends both the Shawnee side and the white side of me," Marable said.

Burnett and Marable performed for the citizens of Eudora and also their own family members ------ some of whom they hadn't met until this weekend. Burnett is from Miami, Okla., and Marable is from Chelsea, Okla.

"It's kind of like an unplanned family reunion," Sesquicentennial Committee member Tom Tucker said.

Tucker brought in descendants of both Fish and Charles Durr to the city's both Fish and Charles Durr to the city's 150th anniversary ceremonies. The two men, along with Louis Pfieff, signed the deed that transferred 774-1/2 acres from Paschal Fish to the German Settlement Society in 1857.

All but one of the members Tucker contacted from the Fish family arrived, as well as one he didn't know existed. Oklahoma native DeAnn Carver found out about the ceremony from a friend and decided to make the trip, she said.

Once in Eudora, the resemblance of the other Fish family members surprised her.

"Some of the ladies looked like my great aunts," she said.

Tucker found descendants from three of Paschal Fish's children, Eudora, Mary Ann and Leander.

Jeanne Mercedes Reynolds, the great-granddaughter of Eudora Fish, came to the city from Eureka, Calif.

She brought a medallion presented to her grandmother, Eudora Emmons Reed, by the city in 1957 at its centennial celebration.

She caught an early glimpse of the statue as it was lowered on the pedestal Thursday. By Saturday, the impression didn't fade.

"Awesome doesn't begin to do it," Reynolds said.

Lawrence artist Jim Brothers depicted Eudora Fish as a 9-year-old girl hugging her father. Brothers researched Shawnee heritage and clothing styles to create a picture of how the father and daughter might have looked at the time of the city's founding.

"He captured the past and the future," Reynolds said.

The descendants of Charles Durr also experienced the sesquicentennial spirit.

Massachusetts native Judith Hogalander visited the city many times in the past. But the celebration marked the first time she had returned in several years, she said.

"Eudora has grown and the community spirit that existed years and years ago is still here," Hogalander said.

Local resident Bob Durr didn't travel near as far, but he also said he appreciated the celebration.

"There's been some good times and some bad times in Eudora," Durr said. "This is one of the better ones."

Other Fish descendants attending included were: Ramona Sue Allums, Henderson, Texas; Jerry Emmons, Fort Gibson, Okla.; Wynona Fish Howser and Dorothy Fish Hall, both of, Muskogee, Okla.; Claire Eudora Fish Warner, Los Angeles, Calif.; and Leota McKim, Bluejacket, Okla.

Other Durr descendants attending were: Brent and Brenda Durr, Eudora; and Clayton Durr, Arlington, Va.

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