Statesboro 2019 Adventure Statesboro 2019 Adventure

Marguerite and Betsy's Statesboro Adventure, May 2019

In May of 2019, Marguerite went to Asheville, North Carolina, to meet up with Betsy for a "Neville Family Cousins Reunion" in Statesboro, Georgia. Marguerite is the oldest (75) of 12 first cousins. Two have passed away. Seven attended the reunion, hosted by Missy and Lovett Bennett at their newly-remodeled home. Lovett was recently appointed to a 10-year term as Superior Court Judge.

This reunion was similar to the reunion in March of 2016 which can be reviewed at 2016 Reunion. This webpage explains the family lands in Statesboro.

BILTMORE HOUSE "Vanderbilt House Party: The Gilded Age"

While in Asheville, we visited the Biltmore House and Gardens for a special exhibit. The Estate was completed in 1895 and is the largest privately-owned home in the United States. It took 6 years to build and was initially a family home for George Vanderbilt, his wife Edith, and their only child Cornelia. In 1924 Cornelia married the Honorable John Francis Amherst Cecil, a British aristocrat. The Cecils opened Biltmore to the public in 1930, responding to requests to increase area tourism during the Great Depression, and to generate income to preserve the estate. Today the Biltmore remains a family business with the fourth and fifth generations of Mr. Vanderbilt's descendents involved in day-to-day operations.

A special exhibit was going on when we were there. It included many mannequins dressed in beautiful clothing reminiscent of Downton Abbey! The principal designer for Downton Abbey was also the main designer of the beautiful clothes on display. Betsy also got out her "parasol" to be in the sprit!!


It was about a seven hour drive to Statesboro and we checked into a Hampton Inn for the night. The next morning we got together at Lovett's house and began our marathon of catching up with family. Our only remaining aunt, Sara Bennett (now 88) was with us along with several children and grandchildren belonging to our cousins. Sunday we all went to The Lodge at Bethany where our Aunt Sara is now living. The Bethany company purchased 69 acres for the Lodge from the Neville family in 2006 but it took many years to develop. Most of the cousins were at the Dedication for the Bethany Lodge in 2016. It was very nice to see that it is a thriving Assisted Living and Memory Care center. The temperature got up to 108 one afternoon and we were very grateful for excellent Air Conditioning everywhere!!

Cousins in attendance: Marguerite Jackson Dill, PhD (retired healthcare administrator), William Josiah Neville, Jr (semi-retired attorney), Betsy McMillan McCaghren (retired marriage and family therapist with 2 master's degrees), Carolyn Bennett Broucek, EdD (retired school administrator), Peggy Ray Guin, PhD (retired advanced practice nurse), Lovett Bennett, Jr. (attorney and judge), and Jeffrey Neville (retired aviation expert). We are very proud of our educations as that has always been a Neville family priority. Our grandmother, Marguerite Nunnally Neville, graduated from Shorter College in 1908 with a bachelor's degree. This was most unusual for women in those days, especially in the South. Our grandfather was a country lawyer educated at Mercer University in Rome, Georgia. Our Great Great Grandfather Alonzo Nunnally, was president of Mercer University 1889-1893!!


On Memorial Day Marguerite and Betsy went to Douglas, Georgia to visit with Nedra Mathis, Marguerite's travel buddy and dear friend for 65 years. We had an excellent visit. Nedra's husband, Clayton, was an internationally recognized camellia grower and judge. Nedra has lots of beautiful foliage and hundreds of camellias around her home that is on several acres. Nedra and Clayton designed the home and it is very comfortable. The main floor is upstairs and it feels like one is in a tree house! Clayton died in 2016 and has been remembered in several community tributes. He and Nedra moved to Dougias in 1970 and have many friends there. Clayton's students from 1988 commissioned a beautiful bench near the welcome center. The county is also building a very large arts center next to the high school that is being named for him.


The next day we drove to Winter Park, Florida to see Betsy's three Florida grand kids. Before they came, we spent the day in the little town of Mount Dora where we had lunch in an old hotel with many art deco designs. We also did some serious shopping!!

Betsy's Florida grand kids are Cary (age 10), Cannon (age 7), and Henderson (almost 4). They are very busy active boys! We went to see the movie, Alladin, and fed the ducks at "McCaghren Island" as they call a tiny island in the middle of a small pond! The temperature hovered around 100 most of the day.


Marguerite got a United flight to Newark and then on to San Diego on Saturday, June 1. In the Newark airport they have a new food system where you sit at a table and use the touch-operated iPad to order food and drink. It is then delivered to you! There are dozens of these stations all over the airport. I got a sandwich (it came with fries) and a diet coke -- bill was $24!!

Trip home was uneventful and Marguerite was glad to be back in COOL Southern California!!

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