REVISED May 2008










The next TULL-HICKS reunion is scheduled to be held at noon on June 21, 2008 at the Fire Station, Chilton, Texas.    Family members are to bring their favorite pot luck dish plus one desert.    Paper, plasticware and drinks will be furnished by the Reunion Association from member donations from previous reunions.  



History of the TULL & HICKS Reunions:


From Clayton Hicks:

I put this together after talking to Helen, Mutt, Olan, Hubert and Bob Hicks.


According to H.P. Hicks the Tull reunion began as a fish fry at George Primrose (son of Thomas Marion Tull) and Chester Jane Green Tull's place near the Brazos River.    As best as can be determined this was likely between 1930 & 1935.    George & Chester lived adjacent to the Brazos River not too far from Satin, Texas.   H.P. Hicks said George had his crops laid by and decided to set out some trot lines on the river.  His house was so close to the river that when a fish got caught on one of the trot lines, he could hear the cow bell ring up at his house.    He would get up during the night and go run the trot line, take the fish off and go back to bed.  He caught so many fish that he decided to invite all of the Hicks & Tull families to come down to the river and help him clean the fish and have a fish fry.    Several of the Hicks & Tull families came down for the fish fry.   They all liked it so well, they decided to make it an annual affair and stay a week or so on the river.

Each said they remember the Hicks & Tull families getting together at Willow Bend down on the Brazos River as far back as the early 1930’s.    It was not called a reunion at that time.    It was usually referred to as a fish fry on the river.    Most were farmers and had their crops “laid by” in early July.     So, the week of July 4, they would load up their wagons pulled by a team of mules and head for the river.     They brought live chickens, slabs of bacon, ham, potatoes, fresh vegetables, coffee, tea and other necessities such as quilts, extra clothes etc., for staying on the river at least a week.     Some had automobiles but could not get the automobile down to the river bank and back up without being pulled out with a team of mules.     So, they came in wagons and staked the mules out along the river bank.     Later, some would come in their automobiles and park them on the top of the river bank and walk down the river bank bringing the food, vitals, etc. with them.

The Hicks family was mostly descendents of John Willis & Sara Jane Tull Hicks.     She had twelve children and all twelve were alive at that time.     Four was living away from Falls Co.     Sometimes those living away would come to the reunion.     Some of the Tull families were George and Marvin Tull, Gibson & Julie Tull Vasser, Evert & Bertha Tull Steed.     Of course, the children and grandchildren of all of these came along.     The men would take care of the animals, set up camp, set out trot lines to catch fish, gather wood for the fire to cook on, etc.     The women would make provisions for eating and watch out for the children, etc.     The men would clean the fish they caught and the women would fry them.     Blankets and quilts were usually laid out on the sand bar near the river and we all slept on either a blanket or a quilt.

Cow bells were tied to the trot lines.     When a fish got on one of the trot lines, the cow bell would ring alerting everyone that a fish was on the line and needed to be taken off before it got loose.     Different cowbells had different rings to them.     This way, you could tell which line to tend to and not disturb the others.     Sometimes musical instruments were brought along and we would have music around the campfire.

Seems as though when WWII came along, (1941) the trend was dropped.     It was picked up again in 1954.     Several of the Hicks & Tull families were living in and around Webster, Texas at the time.    Earl Hershal Hicks, (son of John Willis Hicks & Sarah Jane Tull) son, Hershal Lee Hicks was killed in an accident July 4, 1953.      So, on the first anniversary of his death, several of the Hicks and Tull families decided to get together in Webster so Earl Hershal and Myrtle Hughes Hicks would not feel so depressed because of the loss of their son Hershal Lee.     It went over so well, they decided to have it again the following year.

After the second get-together, Lydia Jane Hicks Bailey Allen (daughter of John Willis Hicks & Sarah Jane Tull) invited the group to Angleton, TX, where she was living, for the next year’s meeting.     At that meeting, someone suggested that they move the meeting to Chilton.    Therefore, in 1957, the Tulls and Hicks families started meeting once again in Falls County.  At various times they met at the Old Settlers Reunion grounds, H. P. Hicks’ farm, (not far from the Old Settlers Reunion grounds), Allen House in Marlin, Saddle Club in Marlin and lately at the Chilton Fire Station.

Not for sure at this point in time exactly when officers were elected and not for sure why or when it was changed to the Tull/Hicks Family Reunion.     We are all descendents of Thomas Marion Tull.





          President              Maryanne Cohn Hayes

          Vice President     Tina Vavra

          Secretary              Nancy Davis

          Treasurer             Maryanne Cohn Hayes



            Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer Terry Tull


Donations, Contributions and Support:

            Two Associations (Reunion and Cemetery) are supported solely by the generosity of the family member.   The Fire Station at Chilton is not free and is an excellent, comfortable location for the reunions.   The cost of the Fire Station rental, paperware, plasticware and drinks are provided by the Reunion Association from the donations.    The Powell-Tull Cemetery Association is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the one acre property, perimeter fence, gate and road right-of-way to access the property.  Donations for the cemetery upkeep may be sent to:


                                        Terry Tull

                                        3962 Highway 14 North

                                        Mexia, TX 76667





Minutes of Tull/Hicks Reunion

Saturday, June 18, 2005


Ned Walton opened with a prayer.


Mike Hicks called the reunion meeting to order and read the minutes of the 2004 meeting.  Motion was made to accept the minutes, seconded.  Motion carried.


Maryann Cohn gave the treasurer’s report of $454.18.  In addition, Maryann read a card she received from Dorothy Jane Hicks of Sequin, Washington;  whereas Dorothy Jane donated $100.00 toward the Tull/Hicks Reunion fund.  A motion to accept the treasurer’s report was made, seconded.  Motion carried.


Doug McKee opened the floor to discuss hiring someone to maintain the Powell/Tull cemetery.  Cody Stein will summit a bid for the job.   Hubert McKee was elected to take over the cemetery committee.  A motion was made, seconded, motion carried.  Maryann reported that the cemetery fund has $1,434.14.  Hubert will now manage that account.  Any and all donations are to be mailed to:

H. A. McKee

148 CR 4012

Chilton, TX 76632


Ned Walton asked to read a story of our own Dennis Birkes.  It was his account of being captured during WW II.  It was an inspiring story that moved each and everyone to a standing ovation.   His story follows:


Dennis Birkes


                                    WITH THREE SECONDS TO SPARE ---


The date:  September 20, 1944

The target:  Railroad marshalling yards at Budapest, Hungary


Our mission:  To do as much damage as we could to the railroads at Budapest in order to slow the movement of troops and material of the German war machine, using 500 pound bombs dropped from the B-17s of the 97th Bombardment group stationed near Foggia in southern Italy.


(This account written from the perspective of the plane’s co-pilot 2nd Lt. Dennis L. Birkes of Chilton, Texas)


            For me, this was mission #10.  Previous missions had been a mixture of easy milk runs to the dreaded kind with heavy flak and at high altitude.  My first mission was sure enough a milk run, bombing for troop support.  (Marshall Tito)  The worst one was a mission to Blechhammer, Germany – mission #6,  bombing from 31,500 feet and flak was very heavy and very accurate.  Our plane had one engine that had lost considerable power, and we couldn’t keep up, so we were a couple of miles behind over the target.  Ahead of us, we were able to see several planes exploding and scattering debris all over the place.  In all, four planes exploded almost simultaneously, and another one damaged so much the crew had to bail out.  On that day, out of 71 men who left with the squadron

that morning, 34 were killed, 17 were captured, and 20 made it back that evening.  Some of us survivors later thought there must have been a protecting hand over us, maybe even manipulating the circumstances just a bit.

            On this mission, the flak was moderate but very accurate.  Our plane was hit pretty heavily, knocking out both engines on the left side, and we could not maintain altitude or level flight.  So, we were going down at a very steady descent.  Actually, we did manage to get about halfway back to base.  Along the way, the crew members in the back were throwing out anything with any appreciable weight.  This included the ball-turret, which when unbolted, not only had quite substantial weight, but also left a neat round hole through which to exit the plane.  Then the pilot gave the order to “bail out”.  Crew members in the back were the first to go, and right on up to the front.  Finally, only the pilot, navigator and myself (the co-pilot) were left.  The navigator wanted to go after me, so I made my way back to the hole to exit, and I decided to check my chute.  Well, I FOUND MY CHEST PACK CHUTE upside down.  So, I turned it over and jumped out.  But I was holding onto the carrying handle.  After a couple of yanks on that handle, with nothing happening, I reached for the ripcord handle, and one pull did what it was suppose to do.  The chute opened and I hit the ground.  I did not have a whole lot of altitude to waste when leaving the plane, and I used a lot of it getting to the ripcord.  Thus, I hit the ground hard enough to break my left ankle.  So, this is where the title of my story comes in.  No way could it have been more than three seconds from pulling the ripcord to hitting the ground.  It was probably less than that.  So, I’ll ask the question, “Were circumstances changed or manipulated?”

            Soon after, I was scrambling to my feet to look for possible observers to what was happening to me.  My ankle was hurting pretty sharply, as I began to gather my chute.  Uniformed soldiers were coming toward me from all directions, and seeing right quickly that I was certainly outnumbered, I lifted my hands to surrender.  The soldiers just as quickly let me know that they were my friend, not my captors.  They were quick to point out the red stars on their caps identifying them as members of Marshall Tito’s forces.  When they saw I was having trouble moving about, they brought up a white horse for me to ride.  Then they led me down a ravine with a high bank on the right side.  Soldiers were lining the bank as though they were ready to ward off the enemy with their riffles.  As we passed by, each soldier rose and saluted me.  This made me feel like a celebrity.

            They took me to a first aid station where there was a  doctor who had received his medical education in part of the U.S. and interned at a hospital in Chicago.  This doctor could speak very good English.  He told me that I would be put in contact with a British liaison group (3 Limeys) who would bring in a C-47 at night to fly me back to Italy.  It was a distance of about 12 miles over to where the British were, and these Partisans would carry me to their place after dark that night.

            While waiting for them we watched some night skirmishing between the Partisans and the Germans.  We were on a ridge overlooking a valley with opposing forces on opposite sides, and they were firing machines and a few mortars at each other.  Their tracer bullets were making a pretty picture, going back and forth.  We  could also hear the “whomp” of some mortars intermingled with the other sounds.  This was all very interesting to a country boy.

            My night ride was also very interesting.  The mode of transportation for the 12 miles to the British was a two-wheeled ox cart, pulled by a pair of oxen.  The cart was about half filled with freshly killed hog carcasses, still warm.  This was covered with a tarp, and there was still some body warmth present to make it more comfortable for me on this chilly autumn night.  Also, on our little journey a young woman was in charge, and she flirted quite a bit with me.  (After all, I was a young, six-foot, three-inch, good looking American airman who needed some help.)

            When we arrived at our destination, the British had a small room with a feather mattress.  It was thought that I would be picked up soon, but it did not work out that way.  The weather did not cooperate, turning wet, rainy and disagreeable.  We waited for 18 days until that plane was able to come in to pick us up on a short, dirt runway that was lit with smudge pots.  During my stay with the British, we had hot tea in the morning, and then we had to go about 300 yards to another house for two meals a day.  The meals were usually a stew served with black bread.  During my stay there I had no change of clothes nor a razor, so I was really ready for a clean-up when I got into the hospital.

            My hospital stay took up the next five weeks, and I was finally returned back to the squadron.  I was not immediately scheduled to fly on a mission until December 27th.  On many of the subsequent missions I saw a lot of flak, but we did not have any really close calls, for which I was grateful.  I flew 10 more missions as a co-pilot, and then I was moved over into the pilot’s seat for my last 10 missions.  Then the war was over, the peace treaty was signed, and we came home as fast as we could.




A motion was made, to have the 2006 reunion at the Chilton Fire Station.    The date of Sunday, June 25th, 2006.

Motion was seconded, motion passed.


There were 64 of us in attendance. 



Recognition of our recently deceased family member was mentioned and those unable to attend.


The eldest family member present  - Clara Mae Miller 



The youngest family member present  -  Desera Myron (Guy and Sandy Pettis’ granddaughter)


The family member(s) who traveled the farthest  - for the 4th year in a row was, Guy & Sandra Pettis and family from Florida, 835 miles.


Most family members present:  - Jim Hicks family with 15 family members in attendance.


The floor was opened for nominations of officers for the coming year.  


A motion was made to have the present board members remain active.  Seconded.  Motion carried.


A drawing was held for door prizes.  There were so many choices, most everyone left with something.





Help is always needed to set up the tables & chairs prior to noon.    Help is also needed to take down the tables and chairs, mop the floor and remove the trash.    So come early and stay late to help the Vice President fulfill their duties.



Minutes of Tull/Hicks Reunion


We had about 58 in attendance this year.  We missed a lot of our usual attendee, as well as those family members we haven't seen in a while.

In case you haven't heard, Olan Hicks had gall bladder surgery a couple of weeks ago.  He is back at St. Catherine's Nursing Home at the Providence, room 249.  He would love to hear from us and would enjoy a call, his phone number is 254-761-8249.

The new officers are President: Maryanne Cohn Hayes

                         V. President:  Tina Vavra

                             Secretary: Nancy Davis

                             Treasurer:  Maryanne Cohn Hayes


Terry Tull will head the Powell/Tull cemetery committee.  If you have any donations you may send them to Terry at:  3962 Hwy 14 North

                                  Mexia, TX 76667


This year the oldest family member present :was Zelda Reed  (Mavis Tull Copeland family)

the youngest  :was Apollo,  (son of Tina and Lawrence Vavra)

the family that traveled the farthest  :was Darrell and Pat Hicks of Groves, TX (250 miles)

we missed Guy and Sandy Petit and family from Florida, the past winner for 4 years.

and the family with the most member present  :was Jim and Opal Hicks family with 22 member and the Jesse and Mavis Tull Copeland family with 21 present.

We have given away door prizes for the past 3 or 4 years.  The amount of gifts are growing each year.  This year we had to draw names 2 or 3 times to give everything away.  You may want to come see what you're missing. 

Next years reunion is scheduled for Saturday, June 16th, 2007 at the Chilton Volunteer Fire Station. 

If you haven't already done so, check out the family web site maintained by Roy Juch.

www.juch.net/hicks.htm       and        www.juch.net/tull.htm


Let Roy know if you want anything added or changed on the web site.


And let Nancy Davis know if there is an address or email change and any news you want to get out to everyone.  Her email address:



Thank you.


Becky Hicks and Nancy Davis




            If you are interested in your Tull or Hicks family roots please visit the web sites below.    If you want additional information on families that are related please contact Roy Juch via email.


LINK TO TULL WEB PAGE  AT http://www.juch.net/tull.htm


LINK TO CHILTON TULL WEB PAGE AT http://www.juch.net/mytull.htm


LINK TO THE POWELL-TULL CEMETERY WEB PAGE AT http://www.juch.net/ptull.htm