Over 100 Towndrows and relatives attended the first formal Towndrow global family reunion in August 1998 in Raton, New Mexico, USA.
The unique setting of the natural surroundings and the warm weather, complemented by the detailed arrangements of the organising team, made the event a memorable occasion for the Towndrows who travelled many miles.
Those arriving on Friday were able to explore the history of Raton and its relationship with the 19th Century Towndrow settlers, ancestors of the event’s hosts. John Henry and James T left England in the 1880s and settled in the coal mining and cattle ranching locale of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Many U.S. Towndrows of today are direct descendants of these pioneers. Attendees visited older parts of the town including a mining museum, before gathering for dinner.
Saturday’s main meeting took place in the Holiday Classic Inn and members of the family separated by huge distances met for the first time and introduced themselves to the group. Available for all to see was Robert ‘Art’ Towndrow’s burgeoning Towndrow database and huge family tree chart, to which those present could add details and look up their lineage.
The early August weekend date for the reunion coincided with the Johnson Mesa Families Picnic – an annual event where descendents of the original settlers of the Mesa gather. The Sunday Picnic took place in the shadow of Towndrow Peak in the grounds of the old Stone Church, and many Towndrows from many walks of life met, ate and interacted and had a wonderful time.
Towndrow Peak, once part of the Towndrow land claim, is a volcanically formed hill rising above Johnson Mesa to an altitude of 8624 feet. From the summit, the scattered ranch holdings can be picked out on the windswept plains of the Mesa, their borders outlined by post and wire fences. Stone Church and cemetery can be seen, resting place of many of the early Towndrow settlers.