More than 200 family and friends joined in the festivities of the Byrd Reunion. History of the Byrd family begins in the clay hills of South Carolina and moved to the community of what is known as Midway near the City of Sanford.
As far as the Byrds can recall, life began with Craven Lastin Byrd, Sr. and Candance Bryd. They were the parents of Craven, Jr., Rev. John Byrd, Hendrix, Alfred, Doe, Rebecca Byrd Lunn, Martha and Bert Ann Byrd-Boston. In 1922, John and Craven and their wives Rachael and Annie Byrd migrated from Lydia, S.C., near Darlington, S.C, also called the “Gully” and settled in what is called Midway.
Craven and Annie were the parents of three sons and four daughters. Property was purchased by the Byrds and was divided among the children and what is now known as the compound, their children built homes.
The Byrds being a religious family, chose the Methodist faith. Daddy Byrd, as he was affectionately called, was a good person. He took care of the hungry and he often clothed the naked. Craven, Sr. and Rev. John constructed a church in the midst of the compound where the family worshipped over the years.
Even though the membership included others; the church was still called the Byrd Church. The Byrd family stressed education of excellence and as a result the success included teachers, counselors, accountants, designers, principals, ministers, correction officers, managers, supervisors, nurses, secretaries and those with military careers.
On Friday evening, the family gathered at the Rosen Hotel where the setting was the “Kentucky Derby” held on the grounds of the Byrds’ track. Reunion ladies were all attired in their most beautiful dresses and hats that are always worn at the Byrd’s Kentucky Derby Race.
Mistress of Ceremony for the evening was the dynamic announcer, Cynthia Byrd Butler. The track opened with Wanda Byrd extending a great big welcome. The Rev. Henry Byrd gave the prayer and scripture and the memorial for the deceased was given by Deacon Edwin Johnson. Johnny Max, on the saxophone, entertained the audience as they enjoyed a delicious dinner. Praise dancers for the evening were the “Angels” who danced to the tune “Encourage Yourself.” Those young ladies were daughters and grands of the Byrds.
The evening was filled with music by the DJ and the guest artist, the National Renown, Don Brown, all the way from the big city of Sanford. The soloist gave the family and guest an evening of love favorites such as, “Love has Shown me Love,” “Amazing to be Loved,” “Rainy Night in Georgia,” “It’s Been a Long Time Coming” and Don’s ever enjoyable, “One in a Million.”
The latest in dances were enjoyed as the Byrds took the floor and danced the night away. Saturday’s mid-day, Family Picnic saw that the family gathered for plenty of food, games and fun. On Sunday morning, the Byrd family gathered in the hotel for the morning worship service. Guest speakers were, Rev. Henry Byrd and their own Pastor, the Rev. Tyrone Green.
This spirit-filled worship service was the closing of the 2012 Family Reunion and the Byrds returned to many states in the U.S. Special thanks to the host and hostesses in the Sanford area. “We will see you next year.”
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