Bateman Family reunion cancelled

Published 10:32 am Tuesday, July 28, 2020

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The Bateman Family reunion, set for Sept. 6 in Tyrrell County, has been cancelled on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, announced Alberta Swain Elliott and Eve Elliott Ellis of West Hartford, Connecticut.

Event organizers are planning a family newsletter and requesting input from 168 Bateman-connected households.

The annual gatherings started in 1927, and the only other one called off was in 1948 when the polio epidemic raged and President Franklin Roosevelt, himself a polio victim,  asked that there be no crowds.

The polio virus arrived each summer, striking without warning, especially children. In fact, the contagion was known locally as infantile paralysis. There was no known cure or vaccine.

Swimming pools and movie theaters closed during polio season, and parents stopped sending their children to playgrounds or birthday parties for fear they would “catch polio.”

To support the search for a cure, children solicited contributions each year on Roosevelt’s birthday, Jan. 30, in what as known as the March of Dimes.

The first Bateman Family reunion was organized by Henry Seaton Swain and Herbert L. Swain, both Tyrrell natives.