There are actually several towns with this name, and it has a special, very personal, meaning to us. We were not too far from Missouri’s Summersville a few weeks ago when Ruth & I went back home for that 100th birthday celebration. The woman who had the birthday is Ruth’s only living aunt. She lived in Summersville for many years. She was living there, in fact, when Ruth & I married many years ago.
Kathleen, the woman who made it to 100, was Ruth’s aunt. She was Ruth’s mother’s sister. Kathleen had 2 daughters. Her younger daughter and Ruth were like sisters growing up. Ruth still misses her. Judy loved to travel, and we took many trips together before she died. We are still close to her husband Bob, and we saw him for the birthday celebration. He and Kathleen have always been close and now live in the same town called West Plains. The birthday party was held there.
Summersville, MO is not one of the larger towns with this name even though it’s growing. Its 2020 population, according to one estimate, was 487. One other estimate said it now has 515 people living in it. It has not been quite the same since its biggest employer, Angelica uniforms, closed. Ruth and I have not been back to Summersville for many years.
Newly married, we were in this town a lot visiting Ruth’s grandparents. We have not been back since Ruth’s cousin Don ran one of the 2 Summersville grocery stores. We had a special relationship with Ruth’s grandparents because they stood up for us when we decided to get married. Her mother was not in favor of Ruth marrying me, but her grandparents supported us and came to the wedding. We will never forget that her Grandfather walked Ruth down the aisle, and her dear grandmother was at our wedding in support of it. We will never get over their unstinting buttressing of our decision to marry and be a part of their family.
The Summersvilles that exist tend to be much larger communities than the one in Missouri. There are larger Summersvilles in Georgia not too far from Atlanta, South Carolina on the outskirts of Charleston (the largest Summerville), and in West Virginia. The ones in Illinois and Tennessee are apparently so small that neither is on any maps that I own. There are Summervilles scattered about and towns named Somerville in some states. I assume they all have similar derivations. There’s a Summersville in Ohio not too far from Columbus. There are towns close enough to the name Summersville in Iowa and Mississippi to count.
There are even several towns named Sumner in the United States. There are Sumner Counties in Kansas and Tennessee. If you add them all up, there are Somervilles or Summersvilles or Summervilles or Sumners in Kentucky, Alabama, Indiana, Maine, Washington, Massachusetts, and New Jersey plus the states listed above to bring the grand total to 15 or so.
There will always be a special place in my heart for towns named Summersville and the like.