REUNION MEMORIES: History of the Reunion

“The Reunion” by Elma Hewitt, President Emeritus

Elma Hewitt at the 2008 HMC Family Reunion

Elma Hewitt at the 2008 HMC Family Reunion

The Children of Henry Hewitt and Elizabeth Matheny Hewitt decided twenty years after the deaths of their parents in 1899 they should keep in touch.  They decided to meet each year.  Since Henry Harrison Hewitt (the third child) was a lawyer and the oldest living child, an organization was formed which made the reunion an organized group which has lasted ninety years.

The Henry and Elizabeth Matheny Hewitt Monument

The Henry and Elizabeth Matheny Hewitt Monument

When the reunion started, it was held at the old family home of Henry and Elizabeth, and then at Adam Hewitt’s home which was part of the Henry Hewitt donation land claim and a little north of Henry and Elizabeth’s home.  (There is a monument on Wallace Road where the house was located.)  Now there are a few oak trees left around Adam’s house and a couple of other houses have been built in the area.

When I was a child in the thirties, the reunion was held in what was referred to as the Antrim’s Grove, across the Grand Island Road from George and Rada Antrim’s house (but was actually LaDru Thornton’s grove).  It had tall fir trees and picnic tables.  It must also have had an outhouse someplace, but I don’t remember where it was.

What remains of Antrim's Grove

What remains of Antrim’s Grove

I think the reunion was held the Fourth of July.  I know it was before watermelon season since my dad would go to the Pacific Fruit Company in Albany and get a watermelon to take to the reunion.

Jasper Hewitt (a dentist in Portland) was the first president I remember and he was it for a long time.  The next president that I remember was Roy Hewitt, a son of James Andrew and Mary Jane (Rose) Hewitt.  In his tenure the reunion had to find a different site.  From 1939 to 1941, they tried the city park in Dayton and later Champoeg State Park but neither of them were suitable.  When Maud Williamson State Park opened, the reunion moved there and has been meeting there ever since. It is on the Adam Matheny donation land claim so it is part of the family roots.  During Roy Hewitt’s tenure, the date of the reunion changed to the first Sunday in August.

The next big change was the Matheny and Cooper descendants officially joining the group which brought about the change of the name of the group to Hewitt-Matheny-Cooper Family Association.  This organization has a council of six elected members, which handles most of the business of the group and they elect the president, secretary, and treasurer of the group.  In 1996, the first council consisted of Meda Johnson and Elma Hewitt (Hewitts), Dennis Matheny and Brian Hewitt (Mathenys)(Elizabeth Matheny Hewitt descendants are also Mathenys.), and Don Rivara and Gary Burlingame (Coopers) .

At the reunion in 1991, Eleeta Hilderbrand suggested the group have a newsletter and volunteered Julie Jones, Olive Merry Johnson and Elma Hewitt (all James Andrew Hewitt descendants) to write the newsletter.  The first few newsletters were the cut-and-paste kind.  Then Walt Davies (Mathew Hewitt descendant) offered his computer skills and joined the group.  Dennis Matheny and Don Rivara published the newsletter for a few years.  Royse Kerr, our President Barbara Kerr, her brother Bryan, and Nancy Matheny Nasim have been bringing us into the computer age.

[Henry & Elizabeth Matheny Hewitt >James Andrew Hewitt > Elmer Hewitt > Elma Hewitt]

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