Family gathers in Richfield park that bears its name
RICHFIELD — It’s been a summer of milestones in Richfield this year — the town turned 200, Dutch Days turned 50, and, on June 30, the Basom family held its 90th reunion at the park that bears its name.
One hundred sixteen family members attended. Relatives came from all over Pennsylvania as well as New Jersey, Maryland, New Hampshire and Australia gathered.
Tammy Barner, president of Basom Reunion 2018, wrote about the reunion:
“Times have really changed over the years … None of the original 10 “Barner” children are alive anymore, but we keep the reunion going, cousins meeting cousins, family meeting family, near and far. It’s such a wonderful tradition “Grandma” Blanche L. Basom Barner created. It would be such a shame not to carry on the tradition.”
Barner provided the following report of the reunion.
In keeping with tradition, everyone brought their favorite covered dish to share with family members. Fried chicken and hot dogs were also served. Kids enjoyed pizza delivered from a local restaurant.
An ice cream sundae buffet and special 90th cake was set up after lunch.
The kids enjoyed Uncle Herm’s Treasure Hunt, a brand new 7-foot high water slide, and their very own candy buffet.
Family members shared stories from the past, reconnected with relatives they haven’t seen in some time, and met someone new. A Chinese Auction and 50/50 drawing were also held.
The Basom reunion was started by Blanche Ludella “Basom” Barner in 1928, in her own back yard, in the “orchards” of Richfield. It was reported that chicken noodle soup was served as the main course, and bananas were served as the dessert.
Blanche was 39 years old when she started the reunion. She had nine children at the time, ranging in age from 1 to 20 years old.
Blanche would have one more child the following year, bearing 10 in total. They were:
≤ Bertha Naomi, born in 1908;
≤ Amanda Grace, born in 1911;
≤ Mary Faith, born in 1913;
≤ Victor Wilheim, born in 1915;
≤ Almeda Hope, born in 1918;
≤ Malvern John, born in 1921;
≤ Palmer Elmer, born in 1923;
≤ Charles Wilhelm, born in 1925;
≤ Herman Wayne, born in 1927;
≤ Robert Eugene, born in 1929.
Blanche was born Dec. 7, 1889, in Landisville, the daughter of Sarah Matilda (Inch) and John M. Basom. She was the eldest of 11 children. She died Jan. 9, 1973, at the age of 83, in Richfield.
Her father, John Basom, was one of 16 children; he was the 14th child out of 16. Her great-great-great-grandfather was Peter Basom, who was born about 1731; he died about 1806.
Blanche married Elmer Newton Barner on Aug. 18, 1907. They both were 17 years old.
The Basom reunion has changed its location over the years. It was held in Crows Ferry, Liverpool, Port Treverton, Fireman Carnival Grounds, Elysburg, and back to its final location, Basom Memorial Park, located in Richfield since 1989. It should be noted that in 1968 Pearl Basom donated the park in memory of her husband, O.B. Basom, to Richfield.
At the end of the reunion, a group of relatives drove to Union Cemetery, located not far up the road, to place a wreath on Blanche L. Basom Barner’s grave, a very bittersweet celebration.