Old Settlers’ Assn. to gather Sept. 17 for 103rd reunion

Old Settlers' Assn. to gather Sept. 17 for 103rd reunion The Old Settlers' Association will meet for its 103rd reunion on Sept. 17 at the Vermillion Senior Citizens Center.

This is the oldest continuous organization in Clay County, beginning in 1897.

Descendants of early Clay County residents have continued holding an annual get-together and it is hoped that the younger families will continue to keep organization going. President of the organization this year is Mrs. Norman (Betty) Jensen.

The first meeting, organized in 1886, was held in the grove of the Hans Lyman Burgess farm near the Fairview schoolhouse. For a few years the group was called The Pioneers, meeting in the Waldorf Hotel and later in the Pioneer Room at the University museum and then in the Vermillion High School auditorium.

In 1948, the association met in Prentis Park with a band concert and programs by barbershop choruses from Wakonda and Vermillion. The name of the organization was changed to the Clay County Old Setters and they continued to meet in Prentis Park with band concerts by the Vermillion High School. These annual picnics were held near the band shell in Prentis Park.

In 1950, Irene O'Connor of Burbank was presented as Miss South Dakota and USD President I.D. Weeks and Gov. George Mickelson gave addresses. In 1951, the Honorable Sigurd Anderson was the speaker.

Meetings began to be held in the Eagle's Club room the next years where noted speakers were introduced.

The year 1959 was the centennial year for the city of Vermillion and a parade was planned and many events were included by this organization. Dinners were prepared for the large groups of older residents and their families and short business meetings and special programs followed with the presentation of awards.

In 1982, the Old Setters' organization began to meet at the Vermillion Senior Citizens Center with a dinner, programs and awards. Each year, former Clay County residents have returned, bringing with them newer members of their families.

The year 1997 began the 100th anniversary meeting at Pro's in Vermillion with a dinner, program and awards to honored guests. Awards are given to the oldest man and woman present, oldest man and woman living longest in Clay County, all couples married more than 50 years, the person coming the farthest and the couple married most recently.

Clay County residents and guests are encouraged to come to this 103rd reunion for the noon dinner, program and special awards.

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