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Boise Cato was born on September  12, 1881 to Mr. Mack Cato and Mrs. Dolphus Minor Cato in Sandersville, GA.  Mack was born in January, 1846 and Dolphus was born  July, 1852.  His brothers were Warren Cato, Willie Cato, and Mack Cato.  His sister was Minnie Lee Cato.  


Julia Miller was born around 1881 in Sandersville, GA.  


Boise Cato and Julia Miller were united in Holy Matrimony on September 16, 1899 in Sandersville, GA. While eighteen beautiful children were born to this union, only fourteen survived.  Boise and Julia settled in Sandersville where they raised their family. In 1918, Boise completed his military registration card along with his brother Mack.  Boise was a farmer and Julia was a housewife.  The Cato's farmed in areas throughout Washington County until they relocated to Milledgeville and later to Macon in the early 1940's. 

Boise Cato Draft Card.jpg
Boise Cato Draft Card.jpg
Cato Family Children.jpg

Standing L-R : Ella Jackson, Juanita Brown, Louise Nealy,

Seated L-R: Lula White, Matilda Collins, Lizzie Gilchrist, Rev. Fred Cato

In Macon, Boise worked at Maxwell Box Factory.  Boise died on July 28, 1944 while living in Macon, Georgia.  Julia remained in Macon until her son Robert moved her back to Sandersville, where she stayed until her death in 1949.  Both Boise and Julia are buried at the Robin Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Sandersville, GA.  

The kids were raised with spiritual values and moral principles. We continue to embrace those values as we journey through life.

As the children became adults and had children of their own, one of the siblings started discussing the possibility of a family reunion. A time for the family to get together, fellowship, get to know each other and grow closer as a family.

Aunt Lizzie, as she was affectionately known, always visited her brothers and sisters, kept in touch, and concerned about how they were doing. She loved her family and always had their best interest at heart. She noticed in her travels that the family was growing apart and not keeping in touch as often as they should. It worried Aunt Lizzie that most times when the family came together to see each other was at a funeral.   So she sought out to do something about it. This vision grew and grew and in May of 1978 after she retired, it was time to put that vision into action. She had a goal and a mission to host a family reunion for her brothers and sisters and their families.

Cato Family Reunion

Lizzie Cato Gilchrist

She galvanized her immediate family into action sitting at dining room table making plans. She wanted to host the first Cato Reunion on the 4th of July. Those present at the meeting were her children and grandchildren making plans and arrangements. After the meeting, letters were mailed, menus were planned and hotel accommodations were made. Her nephew, Glenn Collins was pressed into action and was in charge of recreation and helped out in so many other ways.

She was determined for this to happen and her family was committed to her and it did happen. At that time most of the family still resided in the southern states so the 4th of July was a good time to have this event. It was her vision so we must not let the vision fade or die. With each passing year the attendance grew and the places change from location to location. Many family members live up north, down south and some even out in the mid-west. Great changes are being made as we continue on.


Pictured L-R: Matilda Collins, Ethel Cato, Louise Nealy, Lizzie Gilchrist, Juanita Brown, Lula White, Ella Jackson

Cato Family Educational & Burial Fund

In 1987, the Cato Family Educational and Burial Fund (CFE&BF) was incorporated after Robert White, son of Lula White,  envisioned a way that the family could help members pay for burials if there was a need.    Not only would  this help fund  burials, but  it  would also lessen the financial strain of young adults entering into college.    The CFE&BF is facilitated by a Board of Directors which are representatives of each immediate descendent of Boise and Julia Cato. Adult membership requires $60/year for dues, while children 17 and under are $12/year. Upon graduation from high school, those young adult members will receive a scholarship to help finance their education.


A Family Reunion is a gathering of generations to family members who come together in unity to honor the past, celebrate the present, and prepare for the future. It is reconnecting with relatives and friends for the purpose of fun, food, fellowship, and the strengthening of ties that bind us one to another. Our unconditional love for one another is reason enough to celebrate; for this love and our blood unite us forever one with the other. A loving and joyous reunion allows us to renew friendships with family and friends whom we seldom see and some we may never see again. We come to honor the legacy of those ancestors who sacrificed so much for our benefit and who have finished their journey here on earth. We come to show gratitude and humility for our blessings and all that we have achieved and continue to enjoy; and we come to present our hopes and dreams for future generations so that our family legacy continues.


Over the years, we have honored many family members for their sacrifices and dedication to our family.  As we strive to preserve the family genealogy, encourage everyone to be a part of the legacy that was started by Aunt Lizzie and Robert White. We look forward each year to the opportunity to learn more about our roots, as it helps us see where we originated. Exploring family history can be fun, exciting, and very informative to reunion attendees. Although we have seen a decline in reunion participation over time, it is our prayer that one day, others will realize the importance of family and remember the initial vision. Boise and Julia instilled love in their children that has passed down six generations. It is our responsibility to keep the vision alive.


Watch Cynetra Tolen Read Family History at the 2013 Reunion in Sandersville, GA.

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