Swank family gathers for 100th reunion
ELYSBURG - Ralpho Township Community Park was the scene Saturday afternoon for the 100th anniversary of the Swank family reunion, believed to be one of the oldest and continuous gatherings of descendents of one family in Northumberland County and possibly in the state. Nearly 100 family members attended.
Swank family pioneers, who contributed to the founding of Ralpho Township, have been meeting at the "All Homes Day" park location for about 50 years, but the reunion was once held at Ash Grove Church, along Route 61
just west of Paxinos. There was a time during those years that a horse and buggy would be sent to the train station in Paxinos to pick up family members coming in from out of town and take them to the church.
The earliest reunions were organized by Allen and Percy Swank, and their descendants continue to faithfully gather.
While Saturday's event is regarded as the 100th consecutive reunion, the family notes that a reunion was not held for three years during World War II because the family felt it wasn't an appropriate time to celebrate.
Attendance has dwindled in recent years, but organizers used letters and emails to push for a larger attendance for the 100th year. Attendees came from across the country and represented a number of states. Prizes were awarded in many categories to descendants who came the farthest, those who were the oldest and youngest and many other categories.
Officers in charge of planning the reunion included Wayne Swank, director; Calvin Swank, director; Paul Swank, director; Pearl Swank, secretary and treasurer, Barry Swank, president, and Mark Swank, vice president.