Descendants of Henry Hayes gathered in Chester County, Pennsylvania on August 5th, 6th, and 7th, 2005 to commemorate his settlement there in 1705. A bus tour, several workshops, displays of memorabilia, and a formal convocation marked this milestone in the life of the Hayes family.

Over one hundred people participated in the event. They were from all across the United States as well as local residents. Many participants had learned about the reunion through the World Wide Web and the Internet - a sign of the power and influence of the computer age. (Unimagined at the 1905 reunion, our experience with the computer will probably seem quaint several generations from now.) Through detective work, persistence, luck, and the interest of this generation of Hayes family historians, the Tri-Centennial included documented descendants from seven of the sixteen children of Henry Hayes.

The first day featured a bus tour of the area surrounding the original Hayes land purchase. It included several Quaker meeting-houses that figured in Hayes family history, the site of the 1905 Hayes Bi-Centennial (now a private home), the open field that once was the site of the original cabin, and a walking tour along Doe Run creek to the old wooden Hayes-Clark covered bridge. A highlight of the bus trip was refreshments and a guided tour through the "Little House" at Green Lawn Farm, built in 1774 and still in the Hayes family. The area is still beautiful, a rural setting of open fields and gentle rolling hills crossed by rushing streams.

On Saturday, there were three speakers in the morning session of the Tri-Centennial. Kathy Hayes Head discussed "The Quaker Dilemma", a reference to the experiences of her ancestor William Mordecai Hayes during the Civil War. Lois Gardiner Clark, who recently traveled to the Hayes "motherland" in Epwell, England, presented her thoughts on the conditions of Henry Hayes' world in 1705 and why he risked life and fortune to settle in the new world. Finally, Allan Cornelius gave a report about the Captain Joseph Hayes branch of the family and the 100 years of Hayes Reunions in Indiana and Ohio.

Saturday afternoon we met as a family to commemorate our 300 years of shared history. Participants were welcomed by the three organizers, Kathy Hayes Head, Carol Moore, and Robert Stevens. The meeting was called to order by the James Stoddard Hayes family, descendants of one of the organizers of the 1905 Bi-Centennial. Greetings were read from President George W. Bush, Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, and Dawn Castle, Church Warden, Epwell, England. Each participant introduced him/herself, there were several musical selections by Mark Oppenlander and a group of Hayes children attending with their parents, and we had light refreshments. The afternoon included "reports" on several family lines, including the line of Mordecai (Chester County, PA) by Patience Durand (John Russell Hayes family), Barbara Heather (Jacob Carroll Hayes), and Mary Lee Fowler (Gawthrop family); the William / Mordecai, Jr. line (Meigs County, OH), Craig Dugan; and the Captain Joseph branch (Hamilton Co., OH & Dearborn Co., IN), by Allan Cornelius and Robert Stevens.

Using a cellular telephone and the podium microphone, greetings from Eleanor Gawthrop Hayes Livengood were shared with all in attendance. Eleanor, the youngest daughter of John Russell Hayes, at 97 years of age, had gone swimming that morning in the pool at her assisted living facility in Portland, Oregon. She expressed her pride in her Hayes heritage and her regret that she was unable to attend the reunion in person!

The day concluded with the creation of an official photograph outside on the front steps of the Chester County Historical Society, where the event was held.

The last day of the Tri-Centennial celebration was a Sunday, and we attended the monthly meeting at the Romansville Society of Friends (Quaker) worship service. Built in 1846, this has been the religious home of the Mordecai Hayes line for the last nine generations. It was poignant to sit in the silent meeting house and experience the search for the "inner light" as our cousins have done for 150 years before us. After the meeting, the Tri-Centennial participants strolled in the old cemetery and meeting house grounds, shared stories, and then said long good-byes to their Hayes cousins.

While the Hayes roots are deep in Chester County, the branches have spread all across America. The Hayes Family Tri-Centennial brought people together from all over the country - some had grown up together and heard the family legends, while many others never even knew these other Hayes lines existed. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore our Hayes family history, share stories and information about our ancestors, and celebrate our shared legacy within the American experience. We looked back at the faces in the Bi-Centennial photograph from 1905 and wondered about their lives. Perhaps in a century hence our descendents will look through the records of the Tri-Centennial as they gather yet again to remember and celebrate our common heritage.

H3C Hayes Tri-Centennial Schedule

Friday, 5 August 2005

9:30 am CCHS open, CCHS Genealogy library & museum to 4:30 pm
H3C registration desk in lobby, sign in book
H3C classroom open for displays until 4:30 pm
10:30 - noon "Researching Your Hayes Ancestor", Presented by Diane Rofini, CCHS librarian
Video Presentation: "100th Annual Captain Joseph Hayes Family Reunion", Presented by Robert Stevens
noon - 1 pm Lunch
1:30 pm Bus Tour Check-in
2:00 pm Bus leaves CCHS
6:15 pm Bus returns to CCHS

Saturday, 6 August 2005

9:30 am CCHS open, Genealogy library & museum to 4:30 pm
"William Mordecai Hayes and the Quaker Dilemma", Presented by Kathy Head Hayes, H3C classroom
10:30 am "Leaving Epwell: Why Henry Hayes Immigrated in 1705", Presented by Lois Gardiner Clark
11:30 am "Captain Joseph Hayes & 100 years of Reunions", Presented by Allan Cornelius, President, Hayes Family Association of Indiana / Ohio
12:30 pm Lunch
1:30 pm H3C Convenes, CCHS Auditorium
4:00 pm Closing Remarks, Reunion Adjourns until the year 2105
4:30 pm H3C official photograph, CCHS front steps

Sunday, 7 August 2005

10:30 am Memorial Service, Romansville Society of Friends Monthly Meeting, Strasburg Road. Introduction by Kathy Hayes Head
12:00 - noon H3C dismissal
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