When the Stasey family had its large four-day reunion once again on its B-Bar-S Ranch near Chalk Mountain in eastern Erath County, some of the family’s distant roots got reconnected for the first time since the Civil War era.
Greg Trachta, whose mother’s maiden name was Stasey, drove in from Austin for the June 7-10 reunion weekend festivities with his wife Rita Schindeler-Trachta. But Trachta wasn’t one of the familiar faces among the dozens who show up each year for the Stasey’s reunion. He was joining in for the first time ever.
“As far as I know, it was the first time his branch of the family and our branch has gotten together since the Civil War,” said Chris Stasey, who now lives in Benbrook. “It was interesting. It was really neat. I think he had a great time.”
Shortly after arriving in Glen Rose on June 9, Trachta said, “It has been since some time in the 1870s that the two branches have met — the William Anderson Stasey branch and the Thomas Hart Stasey branch.”
Trachta said the Staseys moved to northern Missouri near Hannibal from Tennessee in 1830. He made a trip to Hannibal last year after he began research for a family history book.
While there, Trachta made an amazing discovery — the discarded gravestone of Thomas John Stasey, the ancestor shared by the two branches of the family. The marking shows that he died in 1854.
“Thomas Stasey is the common ancestor for Greg Trachta and the rest of us,” Chris Stasey said, adding that Thomas was the father of William Anderson Stasey and Thomas Hart Benton Stasey.
Trachta brought the gravestone with him and posed to take a photo with it along with Chris’s brother Chad and their father, Gary.
Trachta found the gravestone while visiting the former Stasey family farm and contacting a relative of the current resident.
“His headstone became separated from the grave at some time in the past, and was stored for many years in the barn of the current owner of the old Stasey homestead. It is now in the possession of the Stasey family,” Trachta stated in an email.
Thomas John Stasey, Trachta’s great-great-great grandfather, had three sons and three daughters. Two of his sons fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. One of them, Thomas Hart Benton Stasey, was killed on a battlefield in Missouri.
“His son is my great-grandfather,” Trachta said. “His name was also Thomas Hart Benton Stasey.”
One of the brothers, William Anderson Stasey, moved to Texas to the Kopperl area in about 1875.
“He was the patriarch of the only living descendants,” Trachta said, noting that now, “There are no Staseys in Hannibal, but there are other family members, not related to the Stasey branch.
“I was surprised when I first learned. I didn’t know there was any surviving branch. My grandfather believed that when he died, he was the last person named Stasey. So I was pleasantly surprised.”
The majority of the Stasey family members in Texas now live in the San Angelo area and the DFW Metroplex, according to Chris Stacey.
Trachta said he first learned about the Stasey connection in Texas via an online conversation with another family member.
“I had been doing geneaology and I met a cousin online who is related,” Trachta explained.
Before he headed to the reunion, Trachta said it was going to be “very meaningful” to meet members of the Texas group.
“I’m looking forward to meeting them and I think it will feel like family,” Trachta said. “I feel like I’m stepping into history and reconnecting something that got broken … was killed. In a way, I feel kind of like an ambassador.”
Chris Stasey said he found out about the family book online before ever speaking to Trachta.
“I stumbled across a book he wrote about his second great-grandfather and my third great-grandfather,” Chris Stasey said. “My third great-grandfather (William Anderson Stasey) moved to Texas in about 1875. His son bought this place (B-Bar-S Ranch).
“I said, wow, this is incredible. I emailed (Trachta) back and forth, and this year he decided he’d brave the waters.”
Trachta said the family history, written by him and his siblings a few years ago, is available as an ebook online (http:www.thbstasey.com).
The Staseys do their reunion in style, including a fish fry, golf tournament, trap shooting, domino tournament and even a fireworks display. On average, about 100 people attend, but some years that number has grown to 150 or more.
The highlight for many of the family members is the Stasey Classic — a softball game played on the family-built Stasey Field. There are bleachers on the third-base side and a public address system.
In 2012, the Glen Rose Reporter published an article highlighting the 20th anniversary of Stasey Field. It was carved out of a pasture on the working cattle ranch in 1992. That article included a photo of five Stasey men — Chance, Gary, Billy Joe (aka B.J.), Chris and Chad. Gary is the father of Chance, Chris and Chad. He is also a son of B.J., who passed away in 2013.
The games match teams from B.J.’s family (B.J.’s Bombers) versus those of Pat’s (Pat’s Slammers).
“It’s a baseball-rich and softball-rich family,” said Chris, 43. “My granddad’s brother played in the minor leagues in the late 30s and 40s. He founded the Longhorn League, and was a player, owner and manager. My granddad chose to stay on the farm. He played semipro baseball.”