Nearly 400 attend McCall Family Reunion

By William K. McCall

Family members from thirteen states converged on Florence and Darlington counties for a four-day reunion that will long be remembered as one of the largest and most meaningful.

Descendants of their Society Hill ancestors, William and Henrietta McCall, came from California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, Washington, DC, and from all over South Carolina. One family member even travelled from the country of Qatar located on the continent of Asia.

They came united under a theme of “All In!” This was the first all McCall Reunion held. Previously, there had been several branches of the family to unite under varying name combinations. This reunion welcomed all McCalls who are direct descendants of 1855 Texas born William McCall who married Henrietta Samuel, and raised their family in the historic Society Hill area of Darlington County, South Carolina.

The reunion kicked-off Thursday, June 28 at the Florence Civic Center (Florence Center). The following members of the core planning committee greeted participants: Willie Mae Cannon, Jimmy Covington, Michell Davis, Stephany Delaine, Janice Green, Bill McCall, Gregory McCall, Marie McPhail, and Perry Mills EdD. Other members of the core committee in attendance included: Barbara Ashley, Smity Davis, B. B. Lowe, Earl Patterson, Vanessa Robinson, and Angela Walker JD.

Family members wore all-white with the official red reunion lanyard that was monogrammed with McCall Reunion 2018. Five generations of McCalls gathered for an evening of food, music, and discovery. This was the first time many relatives had come to know their family or had been in the “homestate.” Janice Green presided over the evening’s activities after prayer and grace by Willie Mae Cannon. Gregory McCall took the lead on organizing the lively evening that set the tone for the three days that would ensue.

On Friday, June 29, the family travelled a few miles to Lynches River State Park in Coward, SC for what was coined as FamilyFest. Wearing neon green t-shirts, the McCall throng filled the 400-person community building at the park. Smity Davis spearheaded the day. The park was complete with endless activities including a splash pad, ball game fields, scenic tours, canoeing, and hiking trails. The family took advantage of these organic opportunities. Music was provided by DJ Ernest McCall.

Optional events were organized for young adults throughout the reunion. On Friday evening, the group went to Locked Inn in Florence. It is a venue with escape rooms and live adventure games in which players are “locked in” a room and have to use elements of the room, as a team, to escape. Stanley Moore suggested the activity and led the McCall contingency.

Saturday morning, June 30th, family members came back to the Florence Center for three enlightening and informative events. The first, at 9:00 am, was a coaching and mentoring session designed for family youth and parents. Dr. Perry Mills and Dr. William McCall led the session that kept participants on the edges of the seats.

Michell Davis, LPN worked with her colleagues at Hope Health Inc. in Florence to coordinate a Health and Wellness Expo also at the Florence Center. They were on-site from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Family members took advantage of the free health screenings and received valuable information.

At the 10 o’clock hour, the family brunch and production began. Morgan Malloy was the narrator for the presentation. After prayer and grace by Preston Hamm, Sr., and a delicious meal, young McCalls took the stage to showcase what was termed, “Our History in Music and Speech”. Kylee McPhail-Jones was first to take the stage with an inspiring recitation of Countee Cullen’s poem, “Hey Black Child”. She was followed by professional dancer William Burden of the Philadanco dance troupe. Other college-bound McCalls presented generational orations on the family history including Alex Ash-Green, Clintonio Hunter, Jemyrah Speller, and Morgan Malloy. Robert Burden, headed to performing arts college, performed a solo dance routine before joining his brother William in a show-stopping tap dance finale. Jason McCall summed up the morning’s presentation with the provocative, hypothetical question, “Where From Here?”

On Saturday evening, the semi-formal dinner-program-dance was held in the arena of the Florence Civic Center. William K. McCall was the master of ceremony for the evening. After a prayer and grace by minister Angela Pullom MDiv, dinner was served as music was played by DJ E-Class (Eric Henricks). Attorney Danyl Patterson was the keynote speaker immediately after dinner. The bulk of the program was devoted to formally identifying the descendants of the eleven branches of the family tree. The aforementioned ancestor, William McCall, married twice – first to Henrietta Samuel with whom he fathered 10 children: Spencer, Willie, Walter, Lucy Ann, Arthur, Catherine, Sam, Cary, Valmus, and Maggie. He later married Mary Pugh from whose union, one child was produced, Freddie.

Family members who shared in the introductions included; Nathan McCall, Patricia McCall, Horatio Douglas, Monica McCall PhD, Barbara Green, Harlise McCall-Watson, Kandice McPhail, Corinthia French, Dexter Jackson, Teresa Mease, Renaldo Patterson, and Zach White.

A tribute to the oldest known McCalls was done by Ralph Covington. Olivia Johnson (92) of Baltimore, Maryland and Dorothy Sloan (94) of Spring Garden, New York are the family’s two nonagenarians (age 90-plus). Neither could attend. There were three family members above the age of 80 who were present and specially recognized: Mary Williams, Bertha Jones, and Ernest McCall.

The youngest person in attendance was 4-weeks-old Rihanna McCall-Brown. Also recognized were Evelyn Davis and Albertina Green for being the first to register along with Ruth Davis and George Cannon for being the first female and male to arrive, respectively.

The last major presentation of the evening was the “McCall Rights of Passage”. This new concept was to embrace the large number of children in attendance and to start an endowment for McCall Children from the very start to help support and sustain them when entering college. Chantee Speller and Gloria Sumpter introduce the initial plan that will be further developed.

Sunday morning, July 1, in helping the family find its way to the Mount Rona Missionary Baptist Church in Society Hill, red and green balloons were placed by Jerline Lowry at designated areas on Highway 52 and the Old Society Hill Road. In case some readers saw them there, that is why. Since its founding in 1900, Mount Rona, has been home to generations of McCalls. The church’s pastor, Dr. Matthew Robinson, welcomed the family and preached an inspiring sermon. Deacon Jimmy Covington gave remarks and presented a donation on behalf of the family.

After church, the family headed to the Elks’ Ballroom in Darlington for the closing event. Stephany Delaine organized the activity with the help of a dedicated team. Vanessa Robinson and Dora Covington provided invaluable decorative resources. It was good that several family members had already began returning home. The elegantly decorated room was filled to capacity. Stephany presided over the program. After prayer and grace by Jerline Lowry, and dinner catered by Unique Taste of Catering from Bennettsville, SC, the program resumed. Olivia Jones presided over the In Memoriam candle lighting ceremony; Contina Lowe-Avery led the responsively read family pledge; Keyonce Green unveiled the official family crest; and Minister Harlise McCall gave the closing family charge.

The several hundred McCalls departed with great anticipation of the next reunion in 2020. For information about the McCall Family Reunion, or to be added to the mailing list, email,

Author: Stephan Drew

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