Calling All Gaithers to Contribute Your Stories


Calling all Gaithers to contribute to the new “Did You Know?“ postings on the Society of John Gaither Descendants web site. We’re looking for tidbits, facts, findings . . . anything you’d like to share about our Gaither heritage and history. Sharing is what the Society is all about.  Just describe what you wish published, along with your contact information, in the Contact Form below and we’ll be in touch!  We’re all looking forward to hearing from you!

Dysons Celebrate 60th Wedding Anniversary

Robert and Patricia Dyson of Poneto, Indiana recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Robert is the great grandson of Martha Ann Gaither, daughter of Eli and Nancy Comer Gaither of Davie County, North Carolina.

Dyson 2Dyson 1

The Gaithers and Dysons moved to Madison County, Indiana prior to 1850. Patricia is currently serving on the SJGD Board of Directors. Robert and Patricia have five children, six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

Deadline is less than 1 week for Discounted Hotel Rates

32nd Annual Meeting – Charlotte, North Carolina – June 19 – 22, 2014

The DEADLINE for receiving the special discounted room rate expires in less than 1 week.  Please ACT NOW!

To make your hotel reservations CLICK HERE or call the Embassy Suites Charlotte  at 1-704-527-8400 and be sure to refer to Group Code DJG to get your discount.

To register for the Reunion and Annual Meeting and the various activities that will be offered, please CLICK HERE to download the registration form.  Once completed, mail the form to Jonell Lewis, along with your payment.  Her address is at the bottom of the form.

We have a lot of great activities planned and we look forward to seeing you there.

Best Regards,

Arleen McGinn & Jo Ann Bondurant
2014 Meeting Hosts

Read all about it!! Gaither Connection Past Issues Are Available

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Arleen McGinn all but one of the past issues of The Gaither Connection have been added to the Gaither website.  We are searching high and low for the Spring 1988 edition.  If you have it, we’d like to borrow it.  This brings the number of issues posted on the website to over 60 that have been continuously published since the Society was founded in 1984.  There is a treasure trove of information and interesting stories in the newsletters.  Past issues of The Gaither Connection are available only to paid members of the Society.

Interesting tidbits from past issues include:

  • Biographical sketches, histories, and photographs of prominent Gaithers
  • A listing of the 70 Gaithers that served during the Revolutionary War
  • Read about the report filed by Pat Garrett, Customs Agent and the alleged killer of Billy the Kid, about engaging in “fisticuffs” with George M. Gaither in 1903 on the streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • Net membership increased by 14% to 293 in 1985, with a whopping 73 in North Carolina, followed by 29 in Indiana, 19 each in California and Texas.  Find out when membership topped over 400.
  • Incoming SGJD president Rowan Gaither, an attorney with the U.S. Department of State, implored members to “obtain as much information from your elders as possible” and to “record it in a format that can be preserved.”
  •  Touring the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and hearing from gospel music legends Bill and Gloria Gaither during the 1989 Reunion
  • How the efforts of Benjamin Gaither changed the named of Log Town (c. 1765) to Gaithersburg in Maryland after he arrived in 1802, surveyed his tract of land he called “Self Preservation” and built his home, tavern-store, and blacksmith shop
  • The unpublished papers of George Riggs Gaither regaling stories of Ralph de Gader from 11th-century England.

To read the past issues, click on The Gaither Connection in the black band at the top of any page.

2014 Reunion and Annual Meeting Registration Now Open

32nd Annual Meeting – Charlotte, North Carolina – June 19 – 22, 2014

Close-in photo of Charlotte NC skyline at sunsetThe 2014 Annual Meeting of the Society of John Gaither Descendants, hosted by Jo Ann Bondurant and Arleen McGinn, will be held in the “Queen City”, Charlotte, North Carolina. Charlotte is the perfect place for a family reunion. With indoor and outdoor activities for family members of all ages – and hundred of restaurants to please any palate – you’ll never run out of memories to make. Let’s all use this opportunity to encourage every Gaither you know, from all four-corners of the country and beyond, to join us.

Jo Ann and Arleen have worked hard to create a fun-filled gathering. There will be bus tours, carriage rides, and visits to the Billy Graham Library. There are plenty of social options for visiting cousins, meeting new ones, and sharing Gaither stories and information! During the three days there will be opportunities to attend professional educational sessions and informal round-table discussions. This is sure to be one of the most exciting and fun packed annual meetings ever.

There are a limited number of hotel rooms at the special Gaither rate. Click here to read more and register.

Also, leave a Reply below and let us know that you’re attending and what you hope to do at this year’s reunion.  We look forward to seeing you in June.

Obituary – Anita Joan York

Anita-York-109x150Anita Joan York, 49, of Statesville, passed away Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at Iredell Memorial Hospital. She was born in Iredell County on August 17, 1964 to Duke Lincoln York and Martha Ann Gaither York, both of Statesville.

Anita was a graduate of Starmount High School and was a member of Horizon Church. She was loved and cared for by her parents and sisters. Her life was difficult at times but she was always surrounded by love. Her smile will be missed by all that knew her. Continue reading

Obituary – Jerry Stephen Swiggett


Jerry Stephen Swiggett, 57, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, March 30, 2014.

Jerry was born on May 27, 1956 in Kinston, NC, the son of Henry G. and Alice Marie Whitehurst Swiggett. He grew up in Danville, VA with his family and graduated from George Washington High School with the class of 1974. He graduated from Guilford College with a BA in Accounting and later graduated with a BS Degree in Nursing from Winston Salem State University.
Continue reading

2014 National Genealogical Society Conference

Genealogists of all skill levels will meet at the NGS 2014 Family History Conference in Richmond,Virginia,7‒10 May 2014. The program features ten tracks per day covering a broad array of topics including records for Virginia and its neighboring states; migration into and out of the region; military records; state and federal records; ethnic groups including African Americans, Germans, Irish, and Ulster Scots; methodology; analysis and problem solving; and the use of technology including genetics, mobile devices, and apps useful in genealogical research.

For more information, visit

Obituary – Fannie Lillian Gaither, née Frick

Mrs. Fannie Lillian Frick Gaither, 107, of Granite Quarry, passed away Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, at the Lutheran Home at Trinity Oaks in Salisbury. She was born Oct. 25, 1906, in Rowan County to the late Jones and Emma Eagle Frick.Fannie Gaither

She was married to Jehu Gaither, the son of William Henry Gaither, Grandson of Elijah Gaither, great-grandson of Zacariah, and great-great grandson of Benjamin.

Mrs. Gaither attended Rowan County Schools and Misenheimer Missionary College, now Pfeiffer University, where she had the distinct honor of being the eldest surviving alumnus. A member of Shiloh United Methodist Church, she taught Sunday School and was a member of the women’s group. Mrs. Gaither was a faithful Christian woman, who loved people and was extremely devoted to her Lord and family. She enjoyed vacationing with her family, fishing, gardening and flowers. Continue reading

Obituary – Belle Cox, née Stroud

Mrs. Belle Stroud Cox, age 95, passed away Tuesday, January 2nd, 2013. She was born in High Point, North Carolina to Jenny Gaither and W.D. Stroud on November 22, 1918. Mrs. Cox worked at Western Electric for 30 years and was a member of Maple Springs United Methodist church for over 70 years.Belle Cox

Belle was the daughter of Jenny Gaither Stroud, who was the daughter of William Henry Gaither,who was the son of Elijah Gaither. Her father was W.D. Stroud, who was the son of Sarah Gaither Stroud, who was the daughter of Wiley Gaither.

Belle had been a resident at Arbor Acres for the last 25 years. Mrs. Cox especially enjoyed working in her garden and wintering in Fort Myers with her late husband, Mr. C.C. Cox who passed away in 2002. In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her son-in-law Mr. Marty Bell. Mrs. Cox is survived by her two daughters, Jeanette Bell, of Raleigh, NC and Dee Petersen and husband Walt of West Jefferson, one grandson Chris Petersen and wife Amy, and three great-grandchildren, Ben, Sam, and Hannah, three special nieces and nephews, Ann Rhoades, Jim Stroud, and Linda Eriksson. The family would like to thank Mrs. Cox’s caregiver Phyllis Curry for the special and loving care that she gave her.

Memorials may be made to Maple Springs UMC Capital Fund, 2569 Reynolda Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27106.