By Ralphine Major
They moved from Union County to Knox County in 1912 and joined Fairview Baptist Church in Corryton, Tennessee. The Knisley family began a long association with the church and community. Since that time, there have been children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren who have continuously attended Fairview Baptist. Today, the Knisley family numbers into the thousands; and many live across the country far from East Tennessee.
It is a well-known tradition for the entire Knisley family to worship together at Fairview Baptist Church during their annual family reunion, which has been held the second weekend in August for 76 years! Though the original Knisley siblings have passed on, the younger generations continue the reunions that emphasize family, faith, food, and fun! The familiar fish fries have been modernized, according to Carroll Bales. “But we still have the iron kettles that were used for over 50 years,” Carroll said.
Last year marked a milestone with the Knisley Family’s 75th reunion at the Corryton Senior Center where over 200 families were represented! Deloris Bales shared that the service at Fairview was truly special with over four pews filled with the Knisley Family. Victory in Jesus, a beloved hymn and favorite of many family members was sung in their honor. This year the tradition continued with a gathering for Reunion No. 76!!
What a wonderful way to celebrate another year of life—getting together on a beautiful summer evening with family, remembering those family members who have passed on, and attending church together on a Sunday morning. Those original family members would be so proud of the legacy they have left. Family reunions — they are truly the American way of life! (To be continued.)