Hill Family Reunions

      The Hill family reunions were held every year from 1917 until 2002 for the descendants of William Hill (1827-1911). He is a younger brother of my Collins Hill (1823-1908). One of his sons, William Collins Hill (1868-1928), and an unknown cousin felt that it was very important to collect as much of the family information as possible. They did not know why but they knew that it was important. The spirit of Elijah was working with them. This tradition was continued by his (William Collins) daughter Blanche until her death in 1983. Although incomplete and with few updates since 1983, this valuable resource had about 600 family group sheets including as many of the descendants of William's grandfather, Collins who immigrated from Scotland in the 1700s, that they could find.

      William Hill married Alice E. LEE (1824-1865) about 1846 and they had 13 children, the last being Allie O. who was born 28 May 1865. Her mother died two days later from complications of childbirth.

      William then married Jane Emeline SLOCUM (1830-1873) about 1866. They had four children with William Collins being the first and John Slocum Hill being the last. John was born 5 April 1873, the same day that his mother died in childbirth.

      William then married Jerusha Parmenter Oyer (1825-1892) sometime between 1873 and 1880 and they did not have any children.

      As a whole, this was a very religious family with several ministers and many active participants. Each reunion included blessing of the food and singing the hymn Faith of Our Fathers which is also being played in the background.

      Another activity was to count the number attending from each of the seven children with living descendants. These include Emily (1846-1912), Minerva (1848-1933), Sylvia (1856-1941), Effie (1860-1920) and Fannie (1862-1912) who were born to Alice LEE. William Collins (1868-1928) and John Slocum (1873-1943)were born to Jane SLOCUM.

      At one time, these reunions had such a large attendance that John Slocum's group, which had almost 50%of the membership, separated and had their own reunion. In time their attendance dropped and they stopped getting together. The main group's attendance has declined in recent years and there have been times that our family, which is really not a part of the group, made up more than 50% of those that attended.

      Why have these reunions failed when the Stryker and Bulmore reunions generally have about 50 who attend? There needs to be a strong sense of family. They also need at least a few people such as Blanche (Hill) Watson that motivate others to come. Also there needs to be family attractions such as memorabelia with scrapbooks, old photos and biographies and planned activities for children who would be attending, i.e.: playground, some sports areas such as tennis courts, baseball diamonds, volleyball nets, or horseshoe courts, etc.. A planned mix and mingle game or two is good especially for the teens who will feel more comfortable and have fun while getting reacquainted with their cousins.

COPYRIGHT © 2004 Bob & Betty Hales