Dickinson

Family Association

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research and Publications Committee

 

MONOGRAPH NO. 2

________________________________________________________________

 

 

A HISTORY OF THE ANNUAL REUNIONS

OF THE DICKINSON FAMILY ASSOCIATION

 

by

 

ALAN C. DICKINSON

 

October, 2011

 

_________________________________________________________________

 

 

scan0014

 

Group photo of the great 1883 reunion

College Hall, Amherst, MA

 

 

DSCN0993c

 

Group photo of the 2011 reunion.

Emily Dickinson Museum, Amherst, MA

 

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CONTENTS

 

 

 

I           INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

 

II         THE FIRST REUNION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

 

III        LISTING OF ANNUAL REUNIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

                       

IV        DOCUMENTS FROM FILES OF THE ASSOCIATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

 

            A.        Steps that led to organization of DICKINSON ASSOCIATION

                                    OF CONNECTICUT

            B.        Further development of the formal organization

            C.        Dickinson Coat of Arms

 

V         THE NUMBERING OF ANNUAL MEETINGS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

 

VI        SOURCES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

 

___________________________________________________________

 

 

I.   INTRODUCTION

 

            It is probably safe to say that the Dickinson Family Association has been built on family reunions.   It was a family gathering that initiated our organization although the formal structure of the association took several years to materialize.  Through the years, the DFA has been propagated by nearly annual family reunions.

 

            The nature of the gatherings has evolved, and gradually other important areas of concern were added to the duties of the association, such as recording of genealogy and awarding of scholarships.  Many significant milestones, however, were associated with annual reunions.  Therefore, the history of DFA reunions is, in a sense, the history of the DFA.

 

            This monograph is the result of a search for information on all the reunions, from that first family gathering in 1859 up to the most recent one, 152 years later.  It starts with a description of the first reunion, and then lists all the reunions, grouping them by the President elected at each.  Basic information, where available, is given in the list in section III.  Additional information for milestones of the organization are given in section IV together with some documents of particular interest.  Section V discusses some of the controversies over the numbering of the reunions and explains the convention now used.  The reunion number, according to this convention, is given in the Section III list for every tenth reunion starting in 1960.  Finally, section VI lists the sources of the information.

 

            As a personal note, I have been aware of the existence of this organization for several decades.  However, I first saw some physical evidence of the DFA in the 1990s, and only became actively involved in 2002.  I was honored to be elected president in 2005 and started this project fairly soon after that.  The establishment of the Research and Publications Committee at the 2008 annual meeting, and the publication of its first monograph for the 2009 meeting spurred me to accelerate the pace of my research.  It has been an enlightening and exciting project and has heightened my appreciation of the importance of family history.

 

Alan Dickinson

2011

 

___________________________________________________________________

 

 

II. THE FIRST REUNION

 

 

            The first meeting that is generally agreed to represent the beginning, though informal, of the Dickinson Family Association, was held on August 17, 1859.  It was a surprise party to honor Abner and Abigail Dickinson at their home in Glastonbury, Connecticut.  A total of 37 people gathered, including their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  Abner was 77 and Abilgail 79.  Using the former genealogical numbering, Abner, 125-435, was son of Nathan125-43, son of David125-4, son of Thomas125, son of Joseph12, son of Nathaniel1.

 

            A record compiled later states that it was “the first Dickinson Reunion and was followed by yearly reunions.  Then they organized… 25 Aug. 1910.”  [Probably 26 August 1910.  See sections III & IV.]

 

______________________________________________________________

 

 

III. LISTING OF ANNUAL REUNIONS

 

 

 

1859, August 17         “A Surprise Party” was held for Abner and Abigail Dickinson at their home in Glastonbury, CT, by their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren –

 in all 37 persons.

 

 

1883, August 8           “The Great Reunion.”  Over 400 Dickinsons, from many branches

                                    and from around the country, gathered at College Hall on the Amherst

                                    College campus for a long and illustrious program, with many notable

                                    speakers.  The president for the reunion was M. F. Dickinson of Boston,

                                    the secretary and treasurer was Franke W. Dickinson of Springfield, Mass.,

                                    the recording secretary was Edward B. Dickinson of New York, and there

                                    were 32 vice presidents.

 

 

Charles L. Brown

Springfield, MA

President, 1908-1909

 

1908, August 27         Home of Timothy Dickinson, South Glastonbury, CT

49th Reunion.  It was VOTED to form a permanent organization and the first minutes of the Association are recorded.  Charles L. Brown of Springfield, MA,

                                    was elected the first president.

 

 

Albert W. Post

Vernon Center, CT

President, 1909-1910

 

1909, August 25         Home of Mr. Albert W. Post, Vernon Center, CT

                                    50th Reunion

 

 

Timothy D. Dickinson

President, 1910-1912

 

1910, August 26         Forest Park, Springfield, MA

                                    By-Laws proposed and voted on.

 

1911                            Forest Park, Springfield, MA

 

 

 

 

Elmer N. Dickinson

President, 1912-1921

 

1912, August 24         Forest Park, Springfield, MA

 

1913                            No Reunion held.

 

1914, August 8           Hill Top Farm, Mr. Charles L. Brown, East Longmeadow, MA

 

1915, August 14         Elizabeth Park, Hartford, CT

 

1916, August 19         Elizabeth Park, Hartford, CT

                                    Attendance small due to contagion of paralysis.

 

1917, August 14,        Elizabeth Park, Hartford, CT

                                    Some met although no reunion was called due to Infantile Paralysis.

 

1918                            No Reunion due to war time.

 

1919, August 14         Home of Mr. and Mrs. Isaac M. Quin, Manchester Green, CT

 

1920, August 12         Elizabeth Park, Hartford, CT

 

 

Arthur W. Dickinson

President, 1921-1926

 

1921, August 13         Elizabeth Park, Hartford, CT

 

1922 – 1925                No Reunions held.

 

 

Charles J. Strickland

Manchester, CT

President, 1926-1934

 

1926, August 28         Mayview”, Mrs. Etta Goff Rodgers, Higganum, CT

 

1927, August 27         Mayview”, Mrs. Etta Goff Rodgers, Higganum, CT

 

1928, August 25         Home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles J. Strickland, Manchester, CT

 

1929, August 31         Elizabeth Park, Hartford, CT

 

1930, August 30         Elizabeth Park, Hartford, CT

 

 

 

1931, August 29         Elizabeth Park, Hartford, CT

First time that the “Abner” and “Seth” branches of the family united for a reunion.  (Seth was Abner’s brother and also his brother-in-law.)   30 were in attendance.  This was the first meeting for which the notes are on record; they contain the first recorded mention of succotash at a reunion.  One of the “Seth” branch, Addie Maria Dickinson was elected genealogist at this meeting.  Her work would result in the first published genealogy of the Dickinson Family, in 1955.  The oldest attendee, Albert Post, 82, had attended the original reunion at the age of 10.

 

1932, August 27         Elizabeth Park, Hartford, CT        

                                    65 attended.  It was announced that Albert Post had died in January.

 

1933, August 26         Elizabeth Park, Hartford, CT

First time roll call by descendants of children of Nathaniel was held.  Addie Dickinson gave an account of the dedication of the Dickinson boulder in Old Hadley Cemetery, held on July 16.  Martha Dickinson Bianchi gave a speech at the dedication.  Both Conn. and Mass. Dickinsons attended the ceremony.

                       

 

Merton F. Dickinson

Windsor, CT

President, 1934-1955

 

1934, August 18         Elizabeth Park, Hartford, CT

Two who attended original reunion were present: Timothy Dickinson, 90, and Emma Brown.

 

1935, August 24         Elizabeth Park, Hartford, CT

 

1936, August 29         Elizabeth Park, Hartford, CT

                                    Addie Dickinson gave a short history of Dickinson Reunions.

 

1937, August 28         Elizabeth Park, Hartford, CT

It was decided to call the organization The Dickinson Family Association of America.   It was announced that the Hadley Cemetery, badly damaged by the 1936 flood had been restored             by the WPA to better condition than before the flood.  Mrs. Merton Dickinson gave an account of their travels to several national parks out west.

 

1938, August 27         Elizabeth Park, Hartford, CT

Ruth Bishop reported on the coat of arms.  She had learned that no Dickinson is entitled to a coat of arms.

 

1939, August 26         Elizabeth Park, Hartford, CT

A basket lunch was enjoyed as at all reunions from 1931 – present.  A tribute was given to Rev. Anton Temple Gesner, author of the book: Dickinson Families of Milton and Litchfield Counties.

 

1940, August 31         Elizabeth Park, Hartford, CT

Edward Ellis, 86, told about some early reunions.  He was 4 years old at the original 1859 surprise party.

 

1941, August 23         Elizabeth Park, Hartford, CT

                                    48 present.

 

1942 – 1945                No Reunions held due to war time.

The Duck Pond House, where reunions had been held, was used by the American Red Cross as the blood bank center.  Letters were sent to all Dickinsons in the field.

 

1946, August 24         Elizabeth Park, Hartford, CT

Addie Dickinson requested help putting her genealogy together.  Discussion of Edward Dickinson’s book, “A New England Epic.”

 

1947, August 23         Elizabeth Park, Hartford, CT

Speakers, Louise Dickinson Rich, author of “We Took to the Woods” and Edward Dickinson (see 1946).

 

1948, August 21         Home of Mr. and Mrs. Merton F. Dickinson, Windsor, CT

 

1949, August 27         Home of Mr. and Mrs. Merton F. Dickinson, Windsor, CT

 

1950, August 26         Home of Mr. and Mrs. Merton F. Dickinson, Windsor, CT

                                    Entertainment: An Antique Fashion Show, directed by Mrs. Merton

                                    Dickinson.  Also, an exhibit of her glass collection.

 

1951 through 1952    No reunion held due to illness of President, Merton F. Dickinson

 

1953, August 29         Home of Mr. and Mrs. Merton F. Dickinson, Windsor, CT

                                    83rd Reunion

 

1954, August 28         First Congregational Church, Amherst, MA

                                    “Emily Dickinson Day”

 

 

Ralph R. Mason, Sr.

Williamsburg, MA

President, 1955-1957

 

1955, August 27         S. White Dickinson Library, Whately, MA

Genealogy of Nathaniel Dickinson by Addie Dickinson is completed and available.

 

1956, August 26         First Congregational Church, Hadley, MA

                                   

 

Amherst, MA

President, 1957-1959

 

1957, August 24         Congregational Church, Agawam, MA

Announcement that the Prentiss (Dickinson) House had opened at the museum at Shelburne, Vermont.

 

1958, August 23         Hatfield Congregational Church, Hatfield, MA

 

 

Frank G. Reynolds

Hadley, MA

President, 1959-1961

 

1959, August 29         Congregational Church, Agawam, MA

 

1960, August 27         Wyben Chapel, Westfield, MA

                                    90th Reunion

Program by Mr. & Mrs. Charles Ross:  Illustrated lecture on their trip to Mexico.

 

 

Edward L. Dickinson

Amherst, MA

President, 1961-1962

 

1961, July 29              First Congregational Church, Windsor, CT

Connecticut and Massachusetts gathered and continued as a single group called the Dickinson Family Association with by-laws and officers.

 

 

Marshall Pease

Whately, MA

President, 1962-1963

 

1962, July 28              Congregational Church, Whately, MA

 

 

Eleanor V. Smith

Hadley, MA

President, 1963-1964

 

1963, July 27              Congregational Church, Old Deerfield, MA

 

Lindsay Brown

Southampton, MA

President, 1964-1965

 

1964, July 25              Hatfield Congregational Church, Hatfield, MA

                                    Speaker: Alfred Mueller, slide show entitled “The Valley As I See It”

 

 

Philip B. Dickinson

Granville, MA

President, 1965-1968

 

1965, July 31              First Congregational Church, Southampton, MA

                                    Speakers: Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Bruns, “Motor trip through the British Isles

 

1966, July 30              Public Library, Granville, MA

Speaker: Ralph Hiers, curator of Historical Room: “History of the Noble and Cooley Drum Factory”

 

1967                            United Church of Christ (First Congregational), Thomaston, CT

                                    Program:  A movie, “African Holiday” by Ethel Dickinson Cross

 

 

Walter C. Dickinson

Thomaston, CT

President, 1968-1971

 

1968                            Congregational Church, Westhampton, MA

                                    Speaker: Richard Tracey, “Colorful Facts in Westhampton History”

 

1969                            Second Congregational Church, Amherst, MA

                                    “An Afternoon with Emily Dickinson”

                                    Speaker: Polly Longsworth, “Emily Dickinson, Her Letter to the World”

                                    Tour of the Dickinson Homestead

 

1970    100th                Congregational Church, Hatfield, MA

                                    Hatfield Tercentenary Week

Paper by Mary Cutter: “The Dickinsons in Hatfield History” read by Elinor Smith.

 

 

Charles Burt

Westhampton, MA

President, 1971-1973

 

1971                            Congregational Church, Whately, MA

                                    Whately Tercentenary Week

1972                            Congregational Church, Granby, MA

                                    Mrs. Raymond Dickinson read her paper on the Granby Dickinsons.

                                    Speaker: Rev. Samuel Young: “History of the Granby Church

 

 

Mrs. Harry Dickinson

President, 1973-1975

 

1973                            First Congregational Church, Hadley, MA

Speaker: Mrs. Doheny Sessions, curator of Porter Phelps Huntington House: “History and Present-day Activities”

 

1974                            First Congregational Church, West Springfield, MA

 

 

Raymond S. Dickinson

President, 1975-1978

 

1975                            Congregational Church, Agawam, MA

                                    Speaker: Paul Toelken,A Brief History of the Agawam Church

 

1976                            Mt. Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA

                                    Music: Helen Scott, violin with E. Porter Dickinson, piano.

Speaker: Dr. Marjorie Kaufmann, “Emily Dickinson and Mount Holyoke College

 

1977                            First Congregational Church, Plymouth, CT

                                    Music:  Nancy MacGreggor & son, Douglas, recorder duets

Speaker: Thomas Hennessy, curator of the Lock Museum of America, Terryville.

 

 

Philip B. Dickinson

Granville, MA

President, 1978-1982

 

1978                            Congregational Church, North Amherst, MA

                                    Music: Amherst Senior Citizens Choral Group

                                    Speaker: Harold Cary, “History of the North Amherst Church

 

1979                            Federated Church, Granville, MA

                                    Music:  presented by the Church Choir

                                    Speaker:  Helena Duris & Mae Dickinson, “Early Granville History”

 

1980    110th                Congregational Church, Granby, MA

                                    Speaker:   Mrs. Robert Berkey, slide show – “Egypt         

 

1981                            Trinitarian Church, Northfield, MA

                                    Speaker:  Elsie Scott, “Dickinsons in and Around Northfield

Harry Dickinson

President 1982- 1991

 

1982                            Congregational Church, Whately, MA

                                    Special guests:  Belles of Amherst – Barber Shop

                        Main Speaker:  Ruth Masso,  Peru

 

1983                            First Baptist Church, Amherst, MA

Theme speaker:  Margaret Bock, genealogist – “100th Anniversary of 1883 Reunion

                                    Main Speaker:  Ruth Jones, Slides on Emily Dickinson and Amherst

 

1984                            First Church of Christ, Wethersfield, CT

                                    125th Anniversary of Founding of the Dickinson Family Association

Announcement:  Bequest of $10,000 by Arlene Crangle Rosner, initiates scholarship fund.

                                    Theme speaker:  Bob Magovern, “Religious aspects of the move to Hadley”

Main Speaker: Douglas Alves, “Slides and History of Wethersfield (350th anniversary)

 

1985                            Prospect Hall, Mt. Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA

                                    Speaker:  Jeff Babar, “Swift River Valley and Quabbin Reservoir”

 

1986                            Congregational Church, Hatfield, MA

                                    Speakers:  Bob Magovern, etc.: “Hatfield in the 17th Century”

 

1987                            Congregational Church, Hatfield, MA

                                    Speaker:  Richard Garvey,  “History of Dickinsons

 

1988                            Congregational Church, Hatfield, MA

                                    Re-enactor:  Connie Clark as Emily Dickinson

 

1989                            Congregational Church, Hatfield, MA

                                    Speaker:  Daniel Lombardo, “Amherst Dickinsons

 

1990    120th                Congregational Church, Hatfield, MA

                                    Speaker:  Richard Garvey, “Dickinsons Then and Now”

 

 

Robert Magovern

Agawam, Mass.

President 1991 – 1997

 

1991                            Congregational Church, Hatfield, MA

                                    Speaker:  Donald Friary, “Dickinsons of Deerfield

 

1992                            Congregational Church, Hatfield, MA

                                    Speaker:  Bill Schoeffler, “Researching Family Roots”

 

1993                            Congregational Church, North Hadley, MA

                                    Speaker:  Gregory Farmer, “The Evergreens and Austin Dickinson”

 

1994                            Congregational Church, North Hadley, MA

                                    Re-enactor:  Dennis Picard as Nathaniel Dickinson

 

1995                            Lord Jeffery Inn, Amherst, MA

                                    Speaker:  Dr. Georgia Nugent, “Rev. Jonathan Dickinson”

 

1996                            Lord Jeffery Inn, Amherst, MA

                                    Speaker:  Daria D’Arienzo, “Samuel Fowler Dickinson”

 

1997                            Lord Jeffery Inn, Amherst, MA

                                    Main Speaker:  June Cook, “Women in Nathaniel Dickinson’s Day”

 

 

Ron Ravenscroft

Lyndeboro, NH

President 1998 – 2001

 

1998                            Old First Church, Springfield, MA

                                    Main Speaker:  Bob Magovern, “Pilgrims”

 

1999                            Yankee Pedlar, Holyoke, MA

                                    Main Speaker:  Cindy Dickinson, “The Dickinson Home and Cemetery”

 

2000    130th                Yankee Pedlar, Holyoke, MA

                                    Main Speaker:  Polly Longsworth, “The Evergreens”

 

 

Robert Magovern

Acting President, 2001 – 2002

 

2001                            Yankee Pedlar, Holyoke, MA

                                    Main Speaker:  Robert Aborn, “Broom Making”

 

 

Robert Magovern

President, 2002 – 2005

 

2002                            Congregational Church, Hatfield, MA

                                    Main Speaker:  Joe Carvalho, “Family Association”

 

2003                            Dickinson Homestead, Amherst, MA

                                    Re-enactor:  Belinda West as Emily Dickinson

Special Program:   Cindy Dickinson, Jane Wald and staff, “Customs and Events             at Dickinson Family Homes in the 19th Century”

 

 

2004                            Bement School, Old Deerfield, MA

                                    Main Speaker:  Donald Friary, “Dickinsons of Deerfield

 

 

Alan C. Dickinson

Wilbraham, Massachusetts

President, 2005-2010

 

2005                            Hopkins Academy, Hadley, MA

                                    Reenactor:   Dennis Picard as Nathaniel Dickinson

                                    Main Speaker:  Dr. Marla Miller, “Rebecca Dickinson”

 

2006                            South Congregational Church, South Amherst, MA

                                    Special Presentation:   Doris Dickinson, “Memoirs of Harvey Dickinson”

                                    Main Speaker:  Clif Read, “History of the Quabbin

 

2007                            Westfield State College, Westfield, MA

                                    Special Theme:  Dickinsons in Education

                                    Special Presentation:   Ken Haar, “The Dickinson School of Southwick”

Main Speaker:   Bob Brown, “John Woodbridge Dickinson, Educational Innovator”

 

2008                            Amherst College, Amherst, MA

                                    125th Anniversary of the Great Reunion of 1883

                                    Main Speaker:  Polly Longsworth, “Those Old Grounds of Memory”

 

2009                            First Church of Christ, Wethersfield, CT

                                    150th Anniversary of the founding of the Dickinson Family Association

                                    [Main Speaker:   Melissa Josefiak, “From Adventurers to Establishment: Early

                                    Wethersfield” – Cancelled due to tornado Friday night and power outage.]

 

 

Andrew W. Dickinson

Cummington, MA

President 2010-

 

2010    140th               Willits-Hallowell Center, Mt. Holyoke College, So. Hadley, MA

                                    Special Presentation:  Melissa Josefiak, “From Adventurers to Establishment:

                                    Early Wethersfield

                                    Main Speaker:  Martha Ackmann, “Emily Dickinson and Mary Lyon:

                                    Lessons in Independence

 

2011   141st                Emily Dickinson Museum, Amherst, MA

                                    Special Presentation:  “The Dickinsons of Amherst, In Their Own Words”

                                    Readings with photographic masks.

                                    Main Speaker:  Jane Wald, “The News, like Squirrels, ran”

                                    The Emily Dickinson Museum from 2003 to the present.

 

_________________________________________________________________

 

 

IV.  DOCUMENTS FROM FILES OF THE ASSOCIATION

 

 

A.        Steps that led to organization of DICKINSON ASSOCIATION OF CONNECTICUT

 

                                    August 17, 1859 “A Surprise Party” was held on Abner and

                                    Abigail Curtis Dickinson at their home Glastonbury, Conn.,

                                    by their children, grand-children and great-grandchildren,

                                    in all 37 persons.  Each year thereafter the family got

                                    together.  It wasn’t until 1908 that there is record of

                                    vote being taken to form a permanent organization and the

                                    following are excerpts from the Secretary’s Record Book.

 

            At the annual reunion of the Dickinson family held at the home of Timothy Dickinson

            in South Glastonbury, Conn., August 27th, 1908, it was VOTED a permanent organiza-

            tion be made and the following officers were elected and committees appointed.

 

                                    President         Charles L. Brown of West Springfield, Mass.

                                    Secretary         D. W. Brown of Springfield, Mass.

                                    Treasurer         Albert W. Post of Vernon Center, Conn.

 

            Mr. Northend moved that a committee of three (of the Dickinson) family be appointed

            by the President to draft By-laws, etc. for the organization.  The following were

            appointed:

                                                                        David Hollister

                                                                        Albert Post

                                                                        Serilla Dickinson

 

            Mr. Post moved that a vote of thanks be tendered to Timothy Dickinson and family

            for the use of their home and grounds for this reunion, which was given heartily.

 

            Mrs. Brown moved that a collection be taken for the expenses of today, and for

            future use, which was VOTED.

 

            A committee of one, Serilla Dickinson was appointed to prepare a badge.

 

            Committee of arrangements, Julia Ellis, Julius Strickland and Almeria Dickinson.

 

            A letter from Mrs. Serilla Ellis was read, she being the only surviving member of

            the original Dickinson family, being 85 years of age.

 

            Mr. John Northend gave an entertaining reading.

 

            Sixty-five persons present.

                                                                                                            D. W. Brown, Secretary

 

                                                            --------------------

 

            The Fiftieth Annual Reunion of the Dickinson family (of the Dickinson Association,

            the second,) was held at the home of Mr. Albert Post of Vernon Center, Conn.,

            August 25th, 1909.

 

            There were twelve present who had attended the first of the Dickinson reunions.

 

                                                                                                Annette I. McGee, Secretary

 

 

B.        Further development of the formal organization.

 

1.         July 16, 1933. At the dedication ceremony of the Dickinson Boulder in the Old             Hadley Cemetery, both Connecticut and Massachusetts Dickinsons gathered             together.

 

2.         August 28, 1937.  At the 1937 reunion it was decided to call the organization THE DICKINSON ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA to reflect the fact that the Connecticut and Massachusetts Dickinsons were meeting together.

 

3.         July 29, 1961.  The union of Conn. and Mass. Dickinsons was formalized with new             by-laws, officers and the name, DICKINSON FAMILY ASSOCIATION.

 

 

C.        Dickinson Coat of Arms

 

            From time to time there is mention of a “Dickinson Coat of Arms” in connection with a DFA reunion.  The most famous image is that which appears in the 2nd edition of our genealogy.  It also appears in the 1883 Reunion book and has been used in a variety of ways, including badges, bookmarks and brochures.

            In the November 2004 issue of the DFA Newsletter, Margaret Bock, then the genealogist, shed some light on the legitimacy of a coat of arms for the DFA.  She stated that “there is no such thing as a coat of arms for a family name.”  Coats of arms may be awarded to an individual but should not be construed to belong to all who bear the same surname.  Nevertheless, in the past it has been a common practice for family associations to display coats of arms in their genealogical publications.  More recently published genealogies rarely do this.

            The coat of arms with the hinds’ heads was evidently a Dickinson coat of arms, granted in 1625.  It is not known to whom it was granted, but there is no record of Nathaniel ever receiving a coat of arms.  In 1698, Nathaniel’s son Obadiah used an imprint of this coat of arms in sealing his will.  Since he was born in Wethersfield Connecticut and was not a British subject it would not have been officially granted to him.1

            A communication from Lynn Betlock of the New England Historical Genealogical Society states that the use of a coat of arms as in the 1993 DFA Genealogy is not improper as long as its source is clearly stated and perhaps a description is given in heraldic terms.  She said that this seal “is an authentic decorative and historic device, no more and no less.”2

            In conclusion, we can continue to enjoy displaying this coat of arms, but we must understand that it is “a Dickinson Coat of Arms,” and not “the Dickinson Coat of Arms.”

 

1“Shedding Light on Some Dickinson Controversies,” Margaret (Bucky) Bock, DFA Newlsetter,

   vol. 1, no. 3, November 2004; E-mails from Margaret Bock, May, 2010.

2E-mail from Lynn Betlock, NEHGS, June 4, 2003.

 

 

______________________________________________________________

 

 

V.                THE NUMBERING OF ANNUAL MEETINGS

 

      Although a formal organization as we now know it was not present initially and actually took many years to develop, the original “surprise party” for Abner and Abigail Dickinson in 1859 has long been considered the first meeting.  A subsequent record stated that it was “the first Dickinson Reunion and was followed by yearly reunions”.

      As noted in section III of this monograph, the first existing mention of officers and committees was at the 1908 meeting, also in South Glastonbury, CT.  That gathering was recorded as the 49th reunion and the 1909 event was recorded as the 50th annual meeting.  If there had been a gathering each year, 1909 would have been the 51st meeting.  This may imply that there was one year without a meeting, but we have no record of that.  There also seems to have been an attempt to distinguish between what was considered a “reunion” and what was a “meeting.”

      Serious errors in numbering occurred in 1931.  That year’s reunion was referred to in one place as the 61st, later as the 65th, and in the minutes, the 67th.  This was a source of confusion for decades.

      From 1908 on, the reunions/meetings occurred annually except for 13 years in which there was supposedly no meeting.  Those years were: 1913, 1917, 1918, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1951 and 1952.  To complicate matters further, even though no formal meeting was called for 1917, some records in our archives report that a few people did gather.  The prevalence of “infantile paralysis” (poliomyelitis) seriously affected attendance in both 1916 and 1917.

      Discrepancies in numbering continued until the mid-1990s when a convention was adopted which has been followed to the present time.  It is based on the following statements:

      1.  The “surprise party” is taken as the first reunion.

2.  It is assumed that there were reunions held each year thereafter except for 12 of the 13 years

     listed above as “no-meeting” years.  The small 1917 gathering is considered a reunion.

      3.  All years in which there was a gathering are counted, regardless of whether it included

           onlyConnecticut” Dickinson or both “Connecticut and MassachusettsDickinsons.

Using this convention, the 2011 reunion was the 141st.  It is also now common to refer to the whole gathering, usually two days, as the (numbered) “Reunion” and the business meeting which takes place at the reunion as the (same numbered) “Annual Meeting.”  This tacitly acknowledges that those early reunions which did not have formal business meetings may still be regarded as meetings.

      The age of electronic communications has made it possible for Dickinson cousins and other interested parties to be in touch despite the fact that we are spread around the globe.  And yet it is good that our annual reunions continue to occur giving us an opportunity to meet face to face, and continuing the long tradition documented in this monograph.

 

 

 

Alan C. Dickinson, historian

Dickinson Family Association

October 16, 2011

 

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VI.  SOURCES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

 

Andrew Dickinson – material from the files stored at the Hatfield Library.

 

John Steneinformation on reunions from 1980 through 2005.

 

Nancy Payne – secretary’s notes from 1997-2006.

 

The book:  Reunion of the Dickinson Family, 1883, published in 1884.

 

Margaret Bock – information on the coat of arms issue and general help.

 

Robert Magovernhistorian’s archives collected from many sources.

 

 

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DSCN0955

 

DFA Board elected at the 2008 Reunion, Amherst College, MA

125th Anniversary of the Great 1883 Reunion

 

 

Left to right:  Robert Magovern, Historian; Dale Williams, Hospitality Chair and Newsletter Editor;

                      Roger and Mary Zimmerman, Chaplains; Alan Dickinson, President and Webmaster;

                      Karen Sims, Secretary; Virginia Allis, Treasurer; Adrienne Weible, Genealogist;

                      Jean Blackmer, Scholarship Chair; Betsy Dickinson, Registrar; Andrew Dickinson,

                      Vice President and Publications Treasurer; Beth Landolina, Membership Clerk;

                      Richard Mallalieu, Member at Large; Nancy and Robert Payne, Members at Large;

                      Peggy Mallalieu, Member at Large

 

 

 

 

 

DSCN0534

 

2009 Reunion, Wethersfield, CT

 

President Alan Dickinson accepts a copy of Monograph No. 1

from author, Elizabeth Haydon Keithcart

 

Title:  DICKINSON TRIBUTARIES IN THE

WATERSHED OF MUSIC EDUCATION:

MARTHA DICKINSON BOND (1856-1936) AND

CLARENCE DICKINSON (1873-1969)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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