Etcetera - 08/03/10

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The Gerking family can trace its roots to this area when it was still part of Washington Territory. Descendants of the Jonathan Rice Gerking, Solomon Myers Gerking and Lynden Gerking families will commune during a reunion Aug. 8 at Rooks Park, said Kelly Gerking Gabel.

In 1862, Jonathan Gerking and family came west by ox train from Missouri to Howell Prairie near Silverton, Ore.

"Travel was hazardous at that time, and the federal government dispatched soldiers from Fort Walla Walla to Idaho to provide a military escort for immigrants as they passed through Indian territory," Kelly said.

Lynden Gerking's ancestor, Solomon Myers Gerking, chose to live near Scio, Ore.

Later on, most of the large Gerking family moved to Umatilla County. But Solomon moved his family to about 12 miles north of Walla Walla in the Spring Valley district. The exact date of the move is not known, but the 1870 federal census shows him in Walla Walla.

The first three children of Solomon Myers and Sarah F. Gilbert Gerking were Jonathan Gilbert, Ida and Mary Etta, all born in Oregon. Three more children were born in Washington Territory, Emma Jane in 1871, Alfred Otis in 1874, and Clara Belle in 1878 in Waitsburg, Walla Walla County. Solomon died Jan. 21, 1880, in Waitsburg.

Those with Gerking ancestors are encouraged to join the family for a picnic potluck hosted by the Lynden (and the late Nancy Gerking family and starting around 11 a.m. Food will be served at about 12:30 p.m. The shelter has picnic tables, but bring chairs, an interest in family history and genealogy. A silent auction will be held to raise funds for future reunions. For more information, e-mail Dan Hebert at dan@danhebert.com.

Details are also available on Facebook at Gerking Family Reunion 2010"

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Walla Walla High School's Class of 1970 will launch its 40-year reunion with a no-host mixer Aug. 20 at Olive Marketplace and Cafe, 21 E. Main St.

Classmates can also participate in a no-host social hour at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. on Aug. 21 at the Walla Walla Country Club. In addition, there will be opportunities to golf and go on winery tours on Aug. 21

"We look forward to seeing classmates during this upcoming weekend," organizers said. Additional details are available from Don Hanson at dphllc@charter.net or Mary Peterson at mary@lifeswheat.com.

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