FRANKLIN, Va (WAVY) - Some say family traditions are one of the great casualties of modern times, that busy and fragmented families can't even sit down and watch the same television show together let alone take time out for a family reunion.
So, it really is a wonder the Whitley family of Franklin has been meeting up every year since the Civil War.
Thursday, family members from all over the country came back for the 149th annual family reunion. They are all descendants of Elisha and Mary Whitely.
Elisha and Mary's great great grandson Carter Whitley explained how the whole thing got started in 1865.
"[Elisha's] birthday was July fourth. When he returned from the Civil War, he was captured. When he made it home, his sisters decided to have a birthday party for him because they were just glad he survived, and it's been going on ever since."
Elisha requested they do it every year, and so they have.
Family members admit it's a bit smaller now than in the past, but with a few new faces there this year, they hope the tradition will continue far into the future.
About 150 people were there this year, and the family hopes to see an even bigger turnout for the 150th reunion next July Fourth.
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