Towne Family Association, Inc.

Regional Meetings

2020 NW Regional Reunion

Northwest Regional 2021 Reunion has been canceled due to the continued virus restrictions.
We hope to continue our reunions in the future.

Please come and join us when we meet again!

Interested in hosting a meeting with people from your area? Contact Tamara Roberts, who will get you started!

Previous Regional Meetings

A good time was had by all at the July 20, 2019 Towne NW Regional Reunion.

Pictured: Forrest Towne, Rick Towne, Virginia Towne, Cheryl Towne, Donna Pangburn, Cecilia Maskell, Charles Beck, Jon Larson (not pictured: Shirley Towne)
Photograph courtesy of Cecilia Maskell

The group met for breakfast at a local restaurant and then headed to the Tacoma Public Library main branch to meet.

Librarian Rhonda Kristoff talked to the group about genealogy and the library resources. Former Tacoma Mayor Bill Baarsma did a presentation about former Tacoma Mayor, Ira Town (1887-1888), and his contributions to the city of Tacoma. The group had lunch at the library and was given a tour of the Northwest Room’s local history and genealogy collections at the library by Library Supervisor Brian Kamens.

We then toured the Washington History Museum in downtown Tacoma. It was a day full of fun and family history.

2018 Northwest Regional Meeting

Virginia, Cheryl, John, Georgia Bell, Tom Bell, Donna Pangburn in front of her son tall and skinny Jon Larson, Tyler being held by Chastity, Rick's White hair in back, Charles Beck in red shirt Cecilia in front of Forrest hiding his beard, Laura and Stephanie in front of Ivan
All photographs courtesy of Virginia Towne

On a lovely day, July 21, 2018, eighteen descendants of William and Joanna Towne gathered at Fort Borst Park in Centralia, Washington. Seven were descendants of Jacob, Cecilia Maskell, Forrest Towne and his wife Shirley, Donna Pangburn and her son John, Richard Towne and his sister Virginia Towne. Rebecca was represented by Ivon Young and his daughters Laura Peterson & Stephanie Young, Georgia Bell and her husband Tom, and John and Jonnie Russell who are also descendant of Mary. Edmund was the ancestor of Cheryl Towne and Charles Beck.

First thirteen cousins turned up for breakfast at Country Cousins, a popular family restaurant in Centralia across the street from the park. Everyone enjoyed the fun of greeting each other and having a good breakfast.

After repairing to the park at 10 AM a brief meeting was held where Cecilia Maskell, Cheryl Towne, and Chastity Towne agreed to put together the next meeting in Tacoma. Working together this should be a wonderful meeting, with hopefully a lecture on the history of the area by an expert and the Towne connection to good government there. Cheryl works at the library system and believes she can get a venue at the library. Chastity will help with other chores and the three spent time setting up their plans for next year. Chastity is in the process of joining the TFA.

Virginia handed out the budget of this year's meeting so everyone could see where the money went, each participant paid in $15. At the end of the meeting Virginia handed the left over money of over $80 for next year's reunion. This total was increased because three people didn't go on to the museum.


Jonnie Russell, Forrest Towne, Tom & Georgia Bell,,,,,Charles Beck, Forrest Towne listening during the meeting

Next a talk on the local history was given. George Washington settled Centralia and platted the town. Not that George Washington, this one was born in 1817 to a slave man and a woman, probably free, who gave George to be raised by a white couple. In the early 1850s they all three migrated to Oregon Territory, where George could not own land but his adoptive parents could. They took land in what later was Washington Territory and George was given full ownership of the land on the change of governance as here a person with dark skin could own land.

George worked hard and earned a good living, and when the railroad came through he platted the town. What he called Centerville was half the distance between Portland, Oregon and Tacoma, Washington. He sold many lots and became known for his charity as well as founding the town. During times of financial troubles he not only delayed payments of mortgages, but would buy food from Portland and have it shipped up and gave support from his own farm.

The Borst farm was just outside the park and Borst had bought the block house after the war with the natives. Apparently he used the blockhouse as both housing and storage on his farm. It is said the first Borst baby was actually born in the block house.

Family sharing came next and different people gave their family stories. Our new cousin Chastity has been wondering about her family from childhood and has found a letter which helps her understand why her family has multiple last names, a generation suffered early deaths and the children were taken in, some retaining the Towne last name, others changing to the names of guardians or some hyphenated new name.

Lunch was served by Donovan Richart, Virginia Towne's son-in-law. Presents of cards and paper weights were also given to all the attendees. Jon Larson set up a game and also played Frisbee with Tyler who is 8 years old.

Donovan Richart, Virginia's son-in-law, who brought the food..... Donna Pangburn, Chastity Towne, Cheryl Towne, Cecilia Maskell, Charles Beck, Rick Towne in blue plaid on right

After the area was cleaned up, the family went to the Lewis Country Museum in Chehalis, Washington. We were given a tour and also a quantity discount. We saw many things, but the star of the tour was a miniature train display showing the trains in Lewis County with the towns all displayed. Winlock city has The largest egg displayed down town, even it was shown in the display.

At the museum Donna Pangburn& Jonnie looking at a miniature train exhibit

The best things about the reunion is making new friends and reconnecting with our friends from other reunions. The chatter can last as long as the people can.

Laura Peterson, Cheryl Towne, Ivon Young, Cecilia Maskell

2016 First Midwest Regional Meeting

Dianna Emerson, Chairperson

Most of the midwest regional group in Sunfield, Michigan

A Towne Family, Cousins and Friends Reunion was held on July 30, 2016, in Sunfield, Michigan, at the Welch Museum, which is also the home of the Sunfield Historical Society. The building used to be the Welch Hardware and it was donated to the Society. The museum has been open for five years and along with several rooms of antiques, the Society has their genealogy room and newspaper archives housed there. The museum even houses Sunfield's original jail and a 1927 fire engine.

The co-hostesses were Dianna Emerson and Sue Curtis. Approximately 50 people attended the event with 7 attending from out of State: Arizona - 2, Iowa - 2, and 3 from Indiana. (It wouldn't be a party without Barb Cole and Trudie Hovarter in attendance.) Former TFA President (1992-1998) Myrtle Tisdel attended with her family.

After registration and a bit of social time, the first speaker was Shirley Gage Hodges and everyone was pleased with her topic - Preservation of Our Histories. She discussed the role of a family historian and preservationist, setting goals with realistic deadlines, passing on items in a person's possession that might tell wonderful stories, and things to consider when choosing a storage area.

After lunch, the group listened to a Rebecca descendant, Brenton C. Kemmer. He spoke how his hobby as a historical reenactor has shaped his life and genealogy. He is an author, novelist, retired public school history educator, and a professional researcher. Brent's home will be featured in the Early American Life magazine this Fall. What is amazing is he has built a 1/2 scale of Fort Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City, Michigan. That fort was originally built by the French in 1714 - 1715 to control the fur trade and European development of the upper Great Lakes. Brent says he can sleep 28 people in his barracks and he is an active member of the Massachusetts Provincial Battalion. The group reenacts in the French and Indian War as British soldiers and allies.

Several door prizes were given during the day including books authored by Brent Kemmer. The buffet was great from a local caterer. People were eager to meet and speak to each other and several shared information. The day was a great success!

2011 Tennessee Regional Meeting

Debbie Towne Atchley, Chairperson

Pictured L-R: Dan Fuller, Debbie Towne Atchley, Tom Allen, Riley Atchley, Terri Lambing,
Anne MacDonald, Mike MacDonald
Photography courtesy of Jeff Atchley

TFA members in the surrounding states (MO, AR, KY, AL, TN, MS)have been trying to get together about every six months in the Tennessee Genealogical Society's room at the Regional History and Genealogy Center in Germantown TN. We meet at 10AM and finish by 3PM on a Saturday. Love to hear from any of our new folks too.

Keep posted for information about the next gathering.

For more information, contact:

Debbie Towne Atchley

2013 Colorado Regional Meeting

Charles Towne, Chairperson

TFA Mini-Reunion in Colorado May 18, 2013

It all started with a map. I found it among my collection of documents while at the TFA reunion in England. The map showed the number of TFA members who resided in each state; in Colorado there are nine members. By the time I got home from England, I had made up my mind to contact each family suggesting a reunion I selected a date and contacted a restaurant in a central location.

On the big day five families met around a cluster of tables in a quiet section of the restaurant in downtown Littleton, Colorado. There we shared our lineage from William. It happened that all five families descended from William's son, Jacob. Four of the families descended from Jacob's son, John. And two families have a common ancestor six generations from William. I had personally hoped to find commonality more recent in William's descendants primarily to see if I could pin down where my one DNA mutation of 67 markers occurred.

I was impressed with the Towne family genealogical knowledge that the attendees had. One lady had a copy of Edwin E. Towne's book that was literally filled with notations of additional and corrected data jotted in the blank areas on almost each and every page. In summary, I think everyone had a good time, gained some knowledge of their "cousins" and we all agreed to do it again next year.

Charles (Chuck) Towne
Littleton, Colorado