Detwiler Family celebrates 118 years of history at reunion

The Detwiler family celebrates together at the 118th Detwiler Family Reunion. "Family Homesteads" was the theme for the day. Pictured from left to right are (front) Mary Ann Stringer and Eric Fetters, and (back) Sandy Detwiler Lusch, Cecile Fetters and Dick Lusch. Photo by Barry Taglieber

Detwiler Family members met together at Camp Innabah in Pughtown, Pa., to celebrate their 118th family reunion on a beautiful summer day on Aug. 16.

'Family Homesteads' was the theme for the day. An artist's sketch of a family homestead, and a large milk can with the Rapp Family Homestead photo painted on it, was brought for display by Mary Ann Springer.

A large center poster pictured a photo of the over 200 family members attending the 100th reunion in the front of the original homestead, located in Cedar, Pa., of Henry and Catherine Detwiler. They began the first reunion in 1897, and raised six sons and six daughters. Current President Sandy Detwiler Lusch is the granddaughter of the first elected president of the reunion, Harry L. Detwiler, who served from Aug. 20, 1910, the year they officially became the Detwiler Family Reunion, until Aug. 16, 1947.

Historian Dick Lusch presented a notebook he compiled of 30 enhanced copies of hand-written letters from Abraham Detwiler, John Detwiler, George Jacobs and William Jacobs from Aug. 17, 1857, to July 17, 1865, to parents and siblings, during the Civil War. John Sullivan, third cousin of the reunion president, contacted him in the fall of 2013 and presented him with the original letters.

Zachary Zern, grandson of Historian Dick Lusch, read a letter from John Sullivan regarding this gift of history for the family records. The originals are housed at the Historical Society of Phoenixville along with the family time capsule. A photo was displayed of Abraham Detwiler and those serving with him in Company C, 175th Infantry Regiment, during the Civil War. The family website,, is updated as information is received.

Prior to grace, offered by Henry Peterson, was the singing of the Doxology, accompanied by Cecile Fetters on the piano.

Centerpieces were created by Megan Roussey and Amy Roussey. Frances Detwiler Espenship helped with the creative posters, and Kevin Roussey assisted with photography for the event. After the buffet meal, a group photo was taken with the backdrop of the heirloom quilt, which is kept in a different family's home each year. It was created by Martha Weed and signed by each attendee at the 100th reunion. The quilt and the family crest will be kept in a family member's home until the next reunion.

Cecile Fetters, secretary, reported on last year's minutes and Eric Fetters, treasurer, gave his report. Door prizes were given out prior to the closing of the business meeting.

The many children attending were excused to enjoy crafts and games prepared by Jean Schwartz and Dorothy Mackey while the business meeting took place. The family descendant line of John had the most attendees this year. The oldest man in attendance was Kerwin Springer and the oldest woman attending was Jean Riley Williams. Planning will begin toward the 120th reunion to be held in 2016.

President Sandy Lusch closed with the following remarks: 'Another year has passed, and we continue to value our past heritage and the traditions which continue to this day. Each family member values the importance of family, and together we plan for future generations.'

The next reunion will be held on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015.

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