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The 1901 Plank Reunion
Go to Plank Reunions:
by David H. Plank, great grand son of Dr. David Heber Plank of
The Saturday Call
LaGrange, LaGrange County Indiana
September 7, 1901
The Plank Family Reunion
A Notable Gathering of a Notable Family
MORE THAN THREE HUNDRED PRESENT
The Fourth Annual Plank Reunion was held at the residence of A. Coopes
at Topeka, Ind., Aug. 28, 1901. The meeting was called to order by the
President at 10:30 a. m. and the following is the program of the day.
Prayer by Rev. Will Schrock of Spencerville, Ind..
Song, “Loving Kindness,”
Welcome address, Miss. Edna Coopes , Topeka, Ind.
Response, G. G. Grady, Leesburg, Ind.
Song, “Never Alone”
Address, Reunions,” D. J. Troyer.
Song, “Jesus Lover of My Soul,”
Called to order at 2 p. m.
Male quartette, “Sweet Hour of Prayer,”
Business, Report read and approved as read.
A motion was made and carried that a committee be appointed by the
chair to look up a location and have the authority to elect officers in
said place. The following committee was appointed: C. J. Plank, Isaac
Grady, C. P. Yoder.
Declamation, Miss Ina Nehl.
Essay, Mrs. S. S. Lantz.
Anthem, “Seek ye the Lord.”
Declamation, Minnie Yoder.
“Plank’s Relation to His Country,” by D. J. Johns.
“Plank’s Relation to Society,” by Christian Nofsinger.
“Plank’s Relation to the church,” by C. P. Yoder
Anthem, “O, be Joyful in the Lord,”
Closing song, “Launching on Life’s Tide,”
Benediction, Rev. D. J. Johns.
As near as could be ascertained there were about 300 persons in
attendance at the Reunion.
It gives me great pleasure to extend greetings of welcome to the
friends and relatives of this noted family, whose fame we celebrate
today. How many generations are represented today, I am not able to
tell, but the company is represented by planks of various descriptions;
some long ones, some short ones, some thin ones, some young ones, some
old ones; and casting my eye around would say there are polished planks
The plank is an indispensable article in any structure. What the plank
is to the structure, our Planks are to the community. They are an
essential part of it; they are the strong durable ones, who can always
be depended upon, and are willing to bear their share of the burden of
life. What would this platform upon which we stand be if it were not
for the planks.
In this vast company we find representatives of various vocations in
life - grangers, mechanics, merchants, doctors, lawyers, teachers and
to be sure preachers.
The purpose of a reunion of this kind is to promote spirit of
generosity, love, affection and sociability. We, as a family are
interested in each others welfare. Today we see those whom we would not
have seen for years, perhaps, were it not for this reunion. Here we
meet, renew our acquaintance with a friendly handshake, exchange ideas
and become closer united as a family.
Since our last meeting the land of Providence has kindly dealt with all
of us. We all have enjoyed Heaven’s greatest blessing - health - in a
greater or less degree. We all have been prosperous to a certain extent
and all have had hardships to endure. Let us forget the hardships of
the past and think only of the pleasures and blessings of the day which
come from the bountiful hand of our Creator.
Gradually our number has been diminished by those who have left our
ranks to join the innumerable throng above. May we realize thereby a
greater responsibility resting upon each of us and take up the work and
carry it on to completion.
While a number have left to join the hosts above, some little blossoms
have come to gladden and brighten the homes of others. Some have
realized the truth of the Scriptural injunction, “It is not good that
man should be alone,” and have taken unto themselves a helpmate.
As we have met to commemorate this our Fourth Anniversary, we hope this
may be the best and happiest reunion ever attended and that each and
every one present may be permitted to enjoy many more happy returns of
We heartily welcome you in the name of the Plank here assembled.
To detain you longer would be unjust, for I know you are all anxiously
awaiting the good things in store for you at the noon hour, when the
table made of planks and supported by planks will be surrounded by the
May the same kind Hand that has guided you thus far in life continue to
guide you in the future until we will meet in that grand Reunion above.
It has been stated by some good author that “Society is the Balm of
Life,” Should we be excluded from all human associations, we would be
wretched indeed. We are fully convinced that some, if not all of the
highest enjoyments of life are derive from fellowship with each other.
Here is where the true sphere of humane virtue is found. It is, we
might say, a school of human virtues and trials.
Today we have gathered together, a large circle of friends connected by
family ties, the most sacred. In the relationship we find a society
which extends its influence on the community around and wherein, as in
all societies, each one by his association with the other exerts his
influence, and it is, we hope, an influence for the greatest enjoyments
of life and afford us the greatest of pleasures.
No man was made solely for himself and no man is capable of
living in the world totally independent of others. It is a most
interesting fact that every individual member of society is
responsible, to some degree, for the common good. We are linked
together with a thousand intersecting chains, many of which connect
with each one of us, and by means of these our influence is continually
flowing out in every direction, thus we are influencing each others
conduct and molding each others character.
The wants and weaknesses of mankind render society necessary for their
convenience, safety and support. God has formed men with different
powers and faculties, and placed them under different circumstances
that they might be able to promote each others good.
The whole frame and texture of mankind make it appear that we were
designed to live in fellowship with each other, and the longer we live
in it the more terrible is the thought of living excluded from it. What
glorious and lasting opportunities are afforded us by this sociability
and this companionship with or fellow men.
Our obligations to society in the matter of influence is very
comprehensive and vital. It does not appear on promissory note, written
on paper, but in the human hearts impressed for good or ill by our
example. This influence works in ways that are totaly unexplainable, we
neither see or hear it, yet, consciously or unconsciously we exert it.
This influence is not confined to ourselves or to the scenes of our
immediate actions, it extends to others and will reach to succeeding
ages. Future generations will feel the influence of our conduct. When
we recall the language of the poet we have the effects of this
influence in a nutshell:
I shot an arrow in the air,
It fell to earth, I know not where.
I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I know not where.
Long, long afterwards in an oak
I found the arrow still unbroken
And the song from beginning to end,
I found in the heart of a friend.
The let us not under-rate it nor take to limited a view of its extent.
There is no one who does not possess it and exercise it, and there is
no one who is not effected by it in others. And if desirable its amount
may always be increased by cultivating those qualities and expanding
upon which it is based.
Great possibilities lie coiled up in little actualities. The world is
full of secret springs; we know not where they are; but we touch them
every day; every step is on an unseen spring.
There are various distinct spheres of life where this influence is
peculiarly exerted, and wherein providence seems to afford an
opportunity for benefiting each other. One of those spheres is the
family. By ordaining these kindred ties and collecting us in family
groups a foundation has been laid for much delightful and imposing
The relations into which we are thus brought to each other, give us a
reciprocal power, which, if rightly improved, secure the most
Next to the family comes the social circle of friends. In such a circle
drawn together by the attractive power of coincident tastes and
feelings, where heart mingles with heart and thoughts unbidden flow
freely forth, there is such a blending of spirits and such a trustful
abandonment of self to the guidance of others as always results in a
mental assimilation of character. Even the local circumstances of a
neighborhood provides another sphere of influence, by no means of
little account, for it is impossible even for the most dissimilar
persons to be near each other, to be daily seen, and brought into
contact in the business of life, without insensibly producing deep
impressions and working changes of feeling and character.
There are various spheres of social influence, all of which are
interesting; that are all important, they are all attended with very
weighty responsibility. In the family the social circle, the
neighborhood, the state and the church God has assigned to us the most
important trusts and given us the means that we cannot avoid being
instrumental in the accomplishment of much, either good or evil. Mrs.
S. S. Lantz
THE PLANK IN HIS RELATIONS TO THE CHURCH
His relation to the church depends on the life he leads. His life is a
trust, not a treasure. There is a vital relationship between man and
God. The person who [sic] recognizes this relationship to the church
will surely find his life a failure. The physical life should be
strong, but the spiritual life should be stronger and should control
the whole life. If we strictly live up to this injunction it will be
the inward working of man to promote a higher spiritual life that will
bring us to a closer relationship to God and man.
There is a marked change when a life in sin is changed to a life in
Christ. The difference can be seem. The world and his former associates
who are leading a sinful life will see it and will be benefited by the
change. If our life is under the control of the flesh, our life is very
weak, but if on the other hand, led by the spirit, we will be strong,
we will be led by the spirit.
When I took over this Plank reunion today, I can readily see that no
one of us can live even a moral life without Christ, but with Him our
life may tell for God and his glory. Some people who are doing
distinctly Christian work are thought to have an easier time of it than
those who have to do secular work. This is a mistake. We can serve Him
at the plow as well as in the pulpit. Let us take our thought back 50
years and see the Plank’s relationship to the church and then compare
it with his relationship to the church today. Is it the same?
The Planks as a rule are religious people and in former years strongly
showed their loyalty to the church. I can well remember in my boyhood
days how sincere the aged fathers and mothers were in the service of
the church. They came on horseback, in two horse wagons without spring
seats, over corduroy roads, through woods and mud, sometimes on foot
for eight or ten miles to be fed with the bread of life and the manna
of Heaven. Oh, the spirit of enthusiasm to make the proper preparation
to meet the far beyond. We have reason to believe the aged saints are
at rest, for their untiring labor and their works will follow them.
It is worthy of note, when we are all privileged at this Plank reunion
to learn of our ancestors and their relation and loyalty to the church,
that they endured hardships, trials, difficulties, stood for right and
justice, fought life’s battles to gain the crown of peace and glory
that we are traveling on the same land of [sic] Caanan. Sure ah! Sure
will the harvest be.
There is no abiding city here. We to must work and see in what relation
we are to the church. When I look over this reunion I can only see a
few of the original Planks who have thus far been spared to look upon
the young and rising generations. Daniel Webster was once asked, “What
is the most important thought you ever entertained?” The answer of the
great orator and statesman was, “The thought of my individual
responsibility to God.” Wisely said, for the fear of the Lord is the
beginning of wisdom.
Solomon chose his work realizing his position and his capabilities. He
knew in part what was before him and realized his dependence on God.
“Commit thy ways unto the Lord and He shall direct thy path.” the
spiritual life is a spirit led life. It has new impulses, new
sensations, new deeds. It is a life which no longer goes its own way
but has surrendered its way to the spirit. By submission to the
spirit’s direction, it escapes the dominion of the flesh. The spiritual
life is a life yielded wholly to the mighty spirit of God. Christian
fidelity calls for stalwart courage. In every day religious life there
comes to every follower of Christ frequent tests of courage to do
right. No doubt many of the modern, have failed in this respect. No one
can pass through a defeat like that without suffering the loss of
Courage of convictions in all matters of importance as touching
ourselves and other is essential to force character and personal
influence in the affairs of men and the church. We have the undaunted
faith that the Plank’s relation to the church was strictly to obey this
command, “He that loveth Me will keep My commandments.” Unless we do
so, we do not show forth the death of Christ, have no relation with the
church of God.
In looking at the various fields and considering our ability to work,
we may find what God desires us to do. We are placed on this earth for
a purpose and we need to be in full harmony with Him in order to find
our work. We have Bible characters who tried to get away from God -
Adam, Moses, Jonah, David and others. Their lives were failures until
they surrendered to God. Oh, how many lives are getting away from God
today? And why is it so? It is the spirit of deception. To much of our
lives is planned for selfish ends. This has no relation to the church.
Life is a great board with holes of various shapes and sizes and there
is only one place that we will fit into. I wonder how many are here
today that know in what part of this great board they would fit best.
It is a mistake to put a square peg into a round hole. We are all
placed in this world for a purpose and let us be true to that purpose
whatever it may be. This is a world of system and order. Not one of us
stands alone. This is a great unity and you and I are a part of it. If
we are in the right relation to the great Master mind, our minds will
be influenced by it. God has farms and churches and He needs some one
to carry on his work in each of them. I am glad to know that at this
reunion today there are a number who are willing to lend a helping hand
to carry on the Master’s work and to become true laborers in the
vineyard of the Lord. No Christian will make a failure and in showing
forth such a bright life will prove his truest relation to the church.
It is sometimes a question whether half of the people who profess
Christianity are really living. I believe they only exist or they would
live up to Paul’s instruction. Show me your faith and I will show you
my works, or show me your works and I will show you my faith. If we
were at all times sensible of what Christianity means, many of our
lives would be quite different from what they now are.
The story is told of an old man who lived on corn dodgers and sour
molasses. A wealthy neighbor offered him a good home with the best
food. The old man refused the offer because he was so use to his old
way of life that he could not leave it. We would call him a foolish old
man. But was he not wise as compared to the man who may have all the
joys of Christianity but does not accept them because he does not like
to leave sin? This world is full of such examples that can not forsake
evil habits and shun bad associates. We have as good a time at this
reunion as at any other time to decide what life is and then to live
accordingly. This world is not our home. We are pilgrims here. But
after all, if this earth were not the best place for us now we would
not be here. We are here to develop and to make the most of every
opportunity for doing good.
C. P. Yoder, Goshen, Ind.
The following, not residents of LaGrange County, were present:
From Goshen: Levi Hartzler, Mrs. David Blough, D. J. Troyer, A.
J. Mehl, C. P. Yoder, J. C. Carlson, H. H. Hastzler, S. P. Blough,
Isaac Shrock, J. M. Kauffman, Manasses Yoder, A, J, Yoder, C. E.
Blough, Elizabeth Yoder, Emma Weaver, John G. Shrock, John F. Kauffman,
D. J. Johns, Ina Mehl, Ira Weaver, Nora Berkey, Maria Shrock, H.
Pfeifer and wife, Ora Kauffman, Nancy Johns.
Elkhart: Bessie Mast, Menno Plank, Lydia Shantz, Ira Mast, Alas Plank,
Mrs. L. A. Paulus, W. J. Plank and wife, Sarah Yoder, Mrs. Carrie
Kindy, J. A. Plank, E. D. Mast.
Ligonier: Isaac King, Mary A. Lepird, C. W. King, Alva Lantz.
Middlebury: Truman Blough, Amos V. Blough, A. F. Gripe, M. M. Kauffman,
Mrs. S. Blough, Eli Shrock, S. M. Kauffman, Willis Shrock and wife, J.
L. Kauffman, Joseph Shrock, Henry H. Yoder, Mama Shrock, Clarence
Weaver, Nora Blough, Emma Kauffman, Cora Kauffman, Edson Shrock, James
Roann: J. H. Haztzler.
Milford: G. G. Grady
Spencerville: W. H. Shrock.
Fawn River, Mich.: Ella Mayma, Jesse and Mrs. Mattie Kime, Bettie
Burr Oak, Mich.: Christian Lucinda, Vernon and Frankie Nofsinger.
Union, Mo.: Mary A. Plank
Carlock, Ill.: M. P. Lantz.
Syracuse: I. S. Grady.
Belleville, Pa.: Mrs. Barbara Zook.