The 2003 Lett Settlement Families Reunion in Zanesville, Ohio was well attended (450 strong) with Lett family from; Maryland, New York and North Carolina representing the east as far south as Florida and from California in the west and mid east and mid western folks galore. There were Lett family members of all ethnic backgrounds. We without a doubt represented the "best" of not only the Lett family but in my "biased" opinion represented America as it looks and appeals to the world in this new millenium. "Lett" me tell you a bit about us! The following, which I have attempted to edit, appeared as a press release forwarded to many Ohio papers and the Ohio BiCentennial Committee. The reunion was included as an offical Ohio BiCentennial event.
Thanks to the Lett Family Forum. many of the Lett and other families from the Meigs Township families and other connected families; Betts, Brown, Caliman,Clifford, Earley, Flowers, Goins, Green, Guy, Harper, Holbert, Jackson, Jones, Lucas, Meyer, Newman, Norman, Pointer, Reynolds, Simpson, Stevens, Stewart, Tate, Quarles, etc. are planning a three day historical reunion.
This Lett line comes from Maryland and comes from the union of Samuel Delaney Lett and Jemima Banneker (See The Gene Tree and The Lett Settlement - Lett Family Forum).
From all records Samuel Delaney Lett may not have been a true Lett but rather the step son of Zachariah Lett. Zachariah(identified as Mulatto and/or black) and Mary Lett his wife (English) who appears in several census as white. Mary's son Samuel appears on census as white and yet others as mulatto. This giving the debate as to the question of Samuel's "Lett" authenticity.
Jemima's family history can be traced to that of Molly Welsh/Walsh who has been identified as an English Dairymaid who had been falsely accused of the crime of theft. Due to her ability to read and write she was spared the sentence of death and sent to Maryland as an indentured servant.
After 7 years of work she was freed and evetually purchased her own small farm in Maryland. While she prospered she new that she would need more help. While she was opposed to slavery her own survival left her with few options she eventually purchased two slaves and thereafter freed them. She eventually married one of the former slaves named Banaka, and took her husbands name as her own surname. (Bannaka has since been identified as a slave taken from the Walof Kingdom. His name identifying him as a prince from what was Walo now called Senegal see book, Benjamin Banneker, American First Black Man of Science written by Silvio Bedini). Bannaka and Molly had four daughters.
Jemima Banneker, was the grand daughter of Banaka and Molly Banneker and the sister of Benjamin Banneker. Benjamin assisted Thomas Jeffereson in surveying Washington D.C., wrote and published an Almanac, built one of the earliest clocks made in America, and is on record for exchanging correspondence with subsequently President Thomas Jefferson asking for the abolishment of slavery.
Samuel Delaney Lett and Jemima married in Frederick, Maryland and thereafter had eight children. Seven of the eight children migrated to southeast, Ohio settling in Meigs Township. A section of which, was later to become known as "The Lett Settlement". The settlement was a self sustaining community of mixed race families consisting of the Caliman, Guy families forming ties with one another through marriages and business while living in Maryland and Virginia. Additionallly, it has been documented that the Tate and Norman families also resided in Maryland and had a log history of interactions with the Lett, Guy, Caliman and Norman families. These families were pioneers in the area of civil rights in regards to education and voting long before the civil war.
The Settlement itself was settled by the Brown. Calilman, Clifford, Earley, Green, Guy, Harper, Lett, Lucas, Simpson, Pointer, Stevens and Tate families.
The Zanesville reunion represented the connection of uncommon bonds of heritage and history of these families who were early pioneers in Ohio with their families spreading into the counties of; Muskingum, Guernsey, Athens, Washington, and Hocking in the state of Ohio. t Thereafter they could first be found in the states of,Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Michgan and West Virginia and Missouri and thereafter in California,Iowa Oklahoma,Louisiana, Nebraska, and Wyoming.
Many of our Lett and other families family members are known (owing to the strict racial codes which evolved in America which severly limited these people of mixed race in callous disregard to their education, talent, skills and character )to have crossed the rigid lines of racial barriers being presumed white (passing)in pursuit of a better life. In still other cases, couples chose to disregarded the conventions of that day and era and married. Many descended from these family members joined with us in celebrating this 197th year of Lett families in Ohio as Ohio celebrated its BiCentennial.
Further the Lett Settlement Reunion Committee was happy to host those from the Old Settler Reunion which is held annually in Remus, Mecosta County Michigan. In many cases the last names were identical to those found in the Meigs Township.
As genealogist and historians our Lett family has traced itself family throughout the United States and know and welcome you to come join with us on July 16, 17 and 18 in 2004 as we celebrate the Lett Settlement Reunion once again in Zanesville, Ohio - If you have any questions please feel free to comment. Robert Lett