1997 Reunion


June 21, 1997
Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
by Sandra Vermilyea Todd
Excerpt from Reunion Newsletter

According to reunion invitations displayed by John R. Vermilya the descendants of William and Phebe Vermilya of Delaware County, New York had a least three reunions in Erie County, Pennsylvania in 1902, 1903 and 1904. So ours was not the first Vermilyea Family Reunion to be held in Pennsylvania, in fact there were probably several others. However, when the family started arriving on Thursday evening the anticipation of meeting cousins for the first time was as exciting as it must have been back then. Thursday evening Joe Vermilye from Oregon and Dayl and Jennie Stout arrived followed by John and I on Friday starting the precession of family coming to enjoy the get together. We were greeted by WELCOME VERMILYEA FAMILY displayed on the hotel billboard. By Friday dinner time 13 family members enjoyed dining together as others continued to arrive through the evening. Saturday morning a large group gathered in the hotel dining room for breakfast. By 2:00pm when the reunion festivities began there were 59 adults and 6 children attending. Six large display tables held pictures, memorabilia and genealogical information that was enjoyed by all.
Everyone had name tags – picked from the Family Reunion Tree, and souvenir programs were given to each family. After time was spent visiting and enjoying the displays we had introductions and discussed the possibility of having another reunion in the future. It was decided to meet again next year, and several locations were discussed. We decided to consider returning to Williamsport and also check out facilities at Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. Since Wellsboro celebrates their Laurel Festival the third weekend in June it was decided that we would check for the fourth weekend there. Ed Vermilya volunteered to check hotels in Wellsboro, and Dennis Vermilya will assist.
Many wore their red Family Reunion T-shirts that were designed special for the occasion as we assembled in front of the hotel for a group photo. The dinner buffet which included a nice selection and was deemed delicious by all was served at 6:00pm. Following dinner we were entertained by Dennis Vermilya who sang several Christian music selections as many of us joined in. The excitement ran high as we anticipated the door prize drawing. But first we had the opportunity to view family tree pictures that were colored by several of the youngsters. Gary and Michael Burkholder and Chris Griswold assisted in drawing the numbers for the door prizes. Glenda Avery won the beautiful red sweater designed and hand knit by Jennie Stout. Jennie artfully reproduced the Reunion Tree logo on the front of the sweater. Lynn Vermilyea won the tray that was made by my husband John, with the filet crochet piece proclaiming the VERMILYEA FAMILY REUION JUNE 21, 1997 that I crocheted. The collapsible heart shaped basket also made by John was won by Cheryl Vermilyea.
A number of family members enjoyed visiting after dinner, while others rested or spent time with their immediate families. Again on Sunday morning we gathered for breakfast in the hotel dinning room before preparing to leave for home or continue vacation travels. Many were taking last minute pictures as we bid our farewells and plans were made to share pictures, write, visit by phone or meet at other locations before we get together again in Pennsylvania in 1998.
I enjoyed meeting cousins for the first time, discovering a picture of your Great Grandfather, Great Grandmother or some other ancestor and relating family stories to someone else who was REALLY interested. I came home with not only wonderful copies of pictures, thanks to Dayl for providing a way to make that possible, but a warm happy FAMILY FEELING that I hope was shared by all.

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