DJS 75th Diamond Jubilee SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

DJS Friday Fest Activities at Natchez Grand Hotel

9:00 am – 3:30 pm                     Registration

Genealogy Sharing Room – Displays, Polly Scott’s Genealogy Charts, Sale of DJS Merchandise and Books.  You are invited to bring and share your materials as well! 

 Children's Room for kids with fun activities

10:00- 10:45 am                                   Opening Session

Opening Remarks, Greetings from the President, Introduction of Special Guests

10:45--11:00 am                                 BREAK

11:00-11:25 am                                  Session 1:  From Jersey to the Wilderness:  Black River, New Jersey to Kingston, 1773

Presenter: Lee Smith, wife of Stephen Smith and daughter-in-law of Minnie Swayze Smith, descendants of Reverend Samuel Swayze.    Lee is a lifelong resident of Baton Rouge and holds a Ph.D. in U.S. History from Tulane University, specializing in the Colonial Era.

Description:  Lee will discuss life in Chester, New Jersey, prior to the migration to Mississippi; explore possible motivations for leaving New Jersey; and the Jersey Settlers role in the development of religion in Mississippi.

11:25--11:50 am                                Session 2:  Descendants of Mary Swayze Seward

Presenter:      William L. (Bill) Costley, descendant from Reverend Samuel Swayze through daughter Hannah who married Jeremiah Coleman.  Bill lives in El Dorado, Ark. and is married to the former Elizabeth Dilworth.  They have two sons and eight grandchildren.

Description:  Mary Swayze, the youngest child of Judge Samuel Swayze married into a prominent N.Y. family, the Sewards.  This talk will primarily cover her grandson, William Henry Seward, prominent politician who was responsible for the acquisition of Alaska from Russia while U.S. Secretary of State. 

Noon -1:30 pm                                  Lunch on your own

1:30-1:55 pm                                      Session 3:  Swayzes in Early America: Reassessing History

Presenter:  Jim M. Swayze, Utopia, Texas, descendant of Reverend Samuel Swayze.  Jim has two daughters and one grandchild.  He was president of DJS from 200-2006.

Description:  DJS books tell us a John Swayze came to America, likely around 1629, along with his two sons, Joseph and John.  Where does this information originate?  Is it substantiated or even likely accurate?  Jim will take a look back at history beginning in England in the 14th century in an attempt to establish a reasonable scenario for Swayzes in Americ

1:55-2:20 pm                                      Session 4:  The Movers and Shakers of DJS:  Those that Shaped our History

Presenter:  Patricia Swayze Larsen, San Antonio, Texas, descendant of original Jersey Settlers Rev. Samuel Swayze, his brother Richard Swayze, Job Cory and David Hopkins.  Pat served as President of DJS from 1986-1990 and presided over the 50th Anniversary Celebration. 

Description:  Pat will share the highlights of the organization’s history and her personal reflections on the personalities she came to know from when she began attending the reunions, during her presidency, and beyond.  While too many to name all here, her talk will include  Frances Mills, William Aubrey (Billy) Sojourner, Louisa Drane, Dot Sojourner, Annis Laird, Ruth Latham, the McCraines, and the Swayze Sisters (Betty Jo, Alyne, and Minnie). 

2:45 -3:30 pm                                     General Assembly

Description:  Learn about the activities of the organization and elect officers and a cemetery trustee.

5:30 – 8:00 pm      Friday Night Social at Commencement Plantation in Kingston 

                                                hosted by Billy and Bobbie Aguillard


Settlers Saturday Activities in Kingston


10:15 am                                              Re-dedication of the Reverend Samuel Swayze Memorial Marker by the Samuel Swayze Chapter of the Colonial Dames of XVII Century, Kingston United Methodist Church, 1090 Hutchins Landing Road.

11:00 am                                              History of the Kingston United Methodist Church followed by a light lunch, Kingston United Methodist Church, 1090 Hutchins Landing Road.

Presenter:  Webbie Eidt, Kingston, MS.  Webbie was born in Puckett, MS.  Her father was a photographer and showman who traveled throughout the South with a tent showing motion pictures.  After graduating from high school she moved to Natchez where she met her husband of 63 years and moved to Kingston.    She discovered a lovely church (KUMC) and her intense interest in the church history and Kingston began.  As Webbie writes:  The more I learned the more I wanted to know.  I came to know those wonderful people and their adventures in this wild and dangerous place.” 

1:00—3:00 pm                                  Tour of Kingston Plantations Three plantations in the Kingston area will open their doors for us:  Cedar Grove, Magnolia Hill, and Oakwood (Oakwood will be open from 11 am to 4 pm).  Cedar Grove possesses architectural treasures not found elsewhere in southwest Mississippi plantations.  Magnolia Hill is a planter home with architectural details of both the Federal and Greek Revival styles.  Oakwood, the Hardy Sojourner home of Jersey Settlers descent, still remains in the family.  All three of these Kingston homes share a common thread – each was built for one of the Thomas sisters. 

Throughout the day                        Visit the burial grounds of our ancestors in Kingston

Settlers Saturday Activities in Natchez

Throughout the Day                       Explore Historic Natchez on your own

1:00-3:30 pm                                      Genealogy Research at Judge George W. Armstrong Library, 200 S. Commerce St.

DJS Genealogy VP Polly Tarver Scott and Armstrong Reference Librarian Marianne Raley will be available during these special hours to allow you to conduct research and help you locate sources in the library’s DJS collection.  Please use the rear entrance near Washington Street to enter the library during these times. 

6:00 -10:00 pm           Saturday Night Social, Natchez Community Center 

Cousins and friends gather for a casual evening of fun and fellowship as we celebrate 75 years of our organization with Southern food, entertainment, music and dancing!    


DJS Sunday Activities – Kingston United Methodist Church

Beg. at 10:00 am       Opening Session

Greetings from the President

Opening Remarks

Introduction of Special Guests


                                                                Annual Memorial Service

Remembering cousins who have left this life since the last reunion

Program:  Readings from the Civil War Diary of Alice Phipps, wife of Daniel Smith Farrar and daughter-in-law of Daniel Farrar and Eliza King

Presenters: The Trums, children of Carla Scharnberg Trum, grandchildren of Sydney Todd Scharnberg, great grandchildren of Ruth Anna Phipps Thistle Todd, great-great grandchildren of Caroline Ireson Phipps, great-great-great grandchildren of Hannah Swayze Ireson, and great-great-great-great grandchildren of Rev. Samuel Swayze.  Alice Phipps Farrar was Hildegarde, Sydney, and Carla’s great-great aunt. 

Hildegarde Trum Ballard is an owner of Houston City Personnel, a prominent staffing service in Houston, Texas.  A graduate of the University of Texas, she grew up in Beaumont.   Hildegarde is married to Barry Ballard; they have a daughter, Sydney Ballard Cruise. She is active in several organizations to improve the lives of children and was recently honored as the 2013 Child Advocate Angel of Hope.  Hildegarde loves to travel, cook and plan the next family gathering.

Sydney Trum Busch, a native of Beaumont and graduate of Lamar University, now makes her home on Cedar Creek Lake outside of Dallas, with husband Ed Busch. After a successful career in home and garden publishing, Sydney pursued her dream of helping animals by founding Friends of the Animals, a low-cost spay/neuter clinic.  The clinic provides much-needed services to lower income families, shelters and stray animals thus improving the lives of felines, canines and humans alike. 

Living in New York City, Carla Trum Mercado grew up in Beaumont, attended the University of Texas and American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) and pursued a career in advertising and marketing; she currently serves as President of an advertising agency focused on the U.S. Hispanic market.  Married to Juan Carlos Mercado, a native of Argentina, they have a son, William.  When not tending to her garden or planning her next trip, Carla avidly works on genealogy, a life-long passion; she is the author of two family-history books.

Mary Yust Trum grew up in Batson, Texas and attained her bachelor’s and master’s degree from Lamar University.  Music has always been a focal point in her life; she has served as band director for several middle and high schools over the years, bringing the joy of music to young people.  Mary was married for 30 years to Charles Trum, who died in 2010.  She makes her home in Spring, Texas and is the mother of Caroline, Charlie and Hannah.  Most weekends, Mary can be found on her bike.

Born in Beaumont and raised in Spring, Texas, Caroline Trum graduated from Texas Christian University and recently was awarded a JD from South Texas College of Law.  She has launched her law career at North American Energy Standards Board, which serves the North American energy markets.  Caroline lives in Houston, loves to cook and enjoys discovering all the latest spots around town.


Remaining Business and Closing Remarks

75th Reunion Portrait outside the Church

Picnic on the Grounds From the earliest meetings of the organization, one of the highlights was the “basket lunch” following the annual meeting where members brought their lawn chairs, some even setting up a card table.  This year we encourage you to bring your chairs and sit outside (there are folding chairs in the church fellowship hall for those of you whose travel plans won’t allow you to bring a chair).  THIS YEAR THE ORGANIZATION WILL BE SUPPLYING THE MAIN ENTREES FOR THE EVENT.  Some suggestions on what you can contribute:  vegetables, salads, desserts, bread, beverages (soft drinks, tea, bottled water) eating utensils, and paper goods (napkins, paper towels, toilet paper).  We encourage families to join together and provide large pans of food and for those traveling from out of town, we can contact a caterer and order a dish for you.  If interested, contact Ann Severance at or 225-767-9625. 

After the Picnic                       Explore the land of our forefathers, visit the burial grounds of our ancestors, exchange contact information with your new found friends and cousins, and make plans to attend next year!