Archive for the ‘From Our President’ Category

Presidents’ Letter: August 2016

Saturday, August 6th, 2016

Just a few notes to bring us up-to date.

As you will see on the Website-Newsletter info page, we are trying to meet the challenge of not being able to find someone with enough time to be our webmaster, by dividing up the process.  We are incorporating our HMC Family page on, that John Carlisle started a few years ago, into being the interactive part.  The articles, comments, discussion, etc. that family write and contribute will happen on the Facebook page and from there be included on the website.   That will keep the website easier to manage and make it easy for family to join in.  Those that do not do Facebook can email their contributions to  We are looking for volunteers to help post their entries onto Facebook and the website.

On the Family Books for Sale page, you will see another process we are trying to simplify is the book sales.  All requests can be sent to, where you can leave the names and numbers of books you want and your contact information with Bill McKinney.

At the Reunion we have started what we hope to be an ongoing tradition of having Donna and Mark Hines perform their interpretative dramatizations of Daniel and Mary Matheny, as they do at historic Champoeg State Park.  They will not be able to attend this year, but we look forward to seeing them in 2017.

Another new tradition is what is tentatively called Family Out Standing in Their Field. 🙂  With great family cooperation and increasing coordination, we line ourselves up in a giant family tree in the field at the park.  Laying out signs for our ancestors and then our own places, we can virtually see how close or distant our relationships are, while we have a good time sorting it all out.  We should have it down by the centennial of our Reunion in 2019.

The first Reunion where minutes of a formal meeting were taken was in 1919.  The family had been meeting prior to that and did not meet for a couple years during WWII, so 2019 will be approximately 100 years of Reunions.  If you have not come before or not for a while, please come and join in the fun and bring your ideas and suggestions.

And join us on the website and Facebook throughout the year.

Your co-presidents,

Barbara Kerr and Merrilee Johnson

President’s Letter: July 2010

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Dear Family,

I’m in Ohio attending a Montessori training for teachers of adolescents this summer. While researching for a project on the U.S. Western Migration, I opened up the book Women’s Diaries of the Westward Journey by Lilian Schlissel.  The purpose of the research was to find information we could use to act out roles of people who migrated to the West.  We were practicing how if our students imagine themselves as people in the history they are studying, they will not only learn the history better but will gain a sense of themselves in the progression of mankind.

Here is a passage I came across:

Marriages on the frontier were often made before a girl was half through her adolescent years, and some diaries record a casualness in the manner in which such decisions were reached.  Mrs. John Kirkwood recounts that her brother Jasper decided to get married Christmas Day but was unable to find a minister or justice of the peace to marry him:

“The night before Xmas, John Kirkwood … the path finder stayed at our house overnight.  I had met him before and when he heard the discussion about my brother’s Jasper’s wedding, he suggested that he and I also get married. I was nearly fifteen years old and I thought it was high time that I got married so I consented.  Jack Kirkwood volunteered to go to Bethel and get Rev. Glenn Burnett … He came back with Elder Burnett early in the afternoon.  Shortly after he arrived, my brother Jasper and his girl, Mary Ring, who had just come from Missouri, stood up and were married.  Immediately after the ceremony had been performed, Jack and I stepped out and Elder Burnett married us.  No one knew that we were going to be married and they all were very much surprised.  I remember that we had a mighty fine wedding dinner and a big celebration.  One of the things I remembered best about the wedding dinner was a pie my mother had made from dried tomatoes.  You need not turn your nose up at it either for it was mighty good.”

Marriages arose out of a sense of mutual congeniality and the conviction that a man and woman together were necessary to do the work of living on the frontier.  Both young men and young women were free to follow their inclinations, and weddings were made expeditiously.  The young couple was expected to set off on their own, sometimes with a ‘chivaree’ or communal celebration, and sometimes with only a tomato pie.

Women’s Diaries of the Westward Journey, Lillian Schlissel, Schocken Books NY c.1982 pg. 45

My first thought was, “I know these people!”  Of course, these were the memories of Charlotte Matheny Kirkwood.  That certainly made it easier for me to role play and relate to the history we were studying and my connection to Charlotte’s family also brought my colleagues a little closer to it.  Even without a personal connection, though, this passage offers a chance for adolescents to more clearly examine their own present day identities and responsibilities by reflecting on the past.  Connecting with our past improves our future.

Does anybody have the recipe for dried tomato pie?!

I’m looking forward to seeing you all at the Reunion when I get back to Oregon.

Thank you to all who helped out at last year’s anniversary celebration.  This year the council has made one change and we have a treat for the kids:


This year instead of the raffle, the Family Council has decided to have a good, old-fashioned, country store.  Preserves or fresh bounty from your garden, hand crafts, plants and seeds, books, and items that would have been raffled off will be sold in the Country Store all during the Reunion in the interest of allowing more time for visiting.  So bring your “egg money” to spend on treats and treasures.  And bring your items to donate to the store.  If you were the lucky winner of one of the many books in the raffle last year and want a new volume to grace your coffee table, consider donating back last years’ copy and buying a new one at the store. Or do you have books, cd’s, or dvd’s that might be of interest to family members that you’d like to find a good home for while helping out the Family Association?


Arnie Young’s family, William S. Cooper descendants, will be bringing a piñata for the kids in recognition of Jasper Matheny’s life on the plantation in Mexico.

See you there,


From Our President – July 2009

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

In this fast-paced life where change happens more often than we can keep track of, it’s impressive to think that our family has been gathering for 90 years. It’s reassuring to be part of something that has gone on for so long and will be there for our next generations to feel part of and look forward to each year.   So let’s celebrate!

As you read through the list of celebration activities, plan on bringing photocopied or digital copies of family pictures showing generations that are no longer with us to add to the Photo Wall or help to bring back one of our most cherished traditions by dusting off that ice cream maker. Practice your two-hops-and-a-jump and your stories for the Storytelling Area and Memory Books.  And don’t forget to fill out your family record sheet to send in or bring to the Reunion and bring a donation for the auction or raffle.

Note that we are back in our regular spot at the park, thanks to Mike Layman.

Please share the Children’s Corner articles with your young family members and let them know that they can contribute to this section of the newsletter and website to be by and for their generation, including renaming the column.

Read the heartfelt descriptions of loved ones written by family at last year’s Reunion in the Memory Books Joanne Shipley put together.  Making sure the younger generations know the role in history our families played is important.  But capturing the history we have made in large and small ways since then is important as well. We are more than just the pioneers.  Send in your stories to Joanne or bring them to the Reunion. You probably know someone who was, or is, a pioneer of a different era.

Strong heritage can makes a great family; but it’s the hands-on demonstration of that strength that makes a family association last for 90 years. Thank you ahead of time to volunteers for reserving the park, setting up, organizing food, taking pictures, doing readings, leading songs, auctioneering, keeping records and minutes, manning the storytelling and computer tables, setting up children’s activities, organizing  the  Daniel Matheny Hewitt Challenge, and cleaning up.