The many branches of the Freeman family of Berks County will be gathering again this year for a reunion planned for July 28th at the Old Bellemanís Church and Fellowship Hall. If you attended last year you know how quickly time passed and a number of things that we planned on doing were never carried out. We learned a lot about the process of co-ordinating such an undertaking and this year things should run much smoother. Attendance was very good considering this was the first Reunion of itís type since 1958. Between 110 and 120 people attended, most from Berks and
Schuylkill Counties but also from Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio as well as other parts of Pennsylvania. It was great to get so many representatives of the various branches of the Freeman family together for the first time in many years. Weíre hoping to build upon what we started and increase attendance by attracting some of the many who couldnít attend last year because of prior commitments and those we recently added to our mailing list.
With this reunion we will commemorate the 250th wedding anniversary of Henrich Freyman and the widow Anna Catharine Gesell who were united in marriage on September 24, 1752, the same year that Berks County was formed. Henrich owned land in the vicinity which was then willed to his son Casper, who later became a Trustee of Bellemanís Church. Casper helped to raise monies for the construction of the church built in 1815. Casper fathered 12 children, including George Freeman, h/o Elizabeth Gerhart, the original Freeman couple who settled into the area later to become known as Freemansville, in Cumru Twp. Elizabeth is buried in the old cemetery at Bellemanís. We plan to have the old church opened again this year, with John Rausch explaining the history and an organist to play the original 1815 pump organ for us. If you missed that last year, you have another opportunity to experience a real treat. The organ sounds incredible.
Several fundamental changes are planned for this Reunion. Last year we had hoped that all expenses associated with the Reunion would be covered by donations and cash raised from the Chinese Auction. That didnít quite happen. To make sure that expenses are covered this time, there will be a charge of $5.00 per person over 12 years of age, $3.00 for children between the ages of 6 and 12, and children under 6 will be free. This should go a long way towards covering the costs of mailings, hall rental & other expenses. In addition, this year, some of the food will be provided instead of using the Concession stand.
At this point the menu will include:
Hot Dogs with home made sauerkraut
Home made soup
Potato & macaroni salads
Sodas, ice tea & water will be available as well
No alcoholic beverages are allowed to be served on the church property.
We want this Reunion to be more of a family picnic type event so feel free to bring along additional snacks and covered dish specialties to show off the talents of the great PA Dutch cooks in the family.
We will have some additional games set up this time. Volley Ball, quoits, horseshoes, Bingo,Chess, Checkers, card games and more for those who arenít caught up in just plain talking about old times and comparing notes. Genealogy will also have itís place again this year. Donít forget to bring along old pictures and other ďfamily historyĒ related items for show & tell. We plan a Chinese Auction like we had last year. Please help with the Reunion expenses by donating an item to auction off & make sure to buy lots of tickets. Last yearís big winners loaded the bags with tickets and it paid off for them.
Check in beginning at 10:00 AM. At Noon we will have a short business meeting to discus the possible formation of a Freeman Family Association to take over the financial responsibilities of organizing future Reunions. Immediately after the meeting, food will be served. About 1:00 PM, weather permitting, a group photo of all attendees will be taken next to the old church, followed by John Rauschís church history presentation. The agenda for the rest of the day will be available at the check in table on the day of the reunion. We look forward to the opportunity to meet and bond again with our extended family tree, and surely hope that you can make it. Feel free to pass the word to anyone we missed sending an invitation to.
If you have any questions, or to RSVP by July 20th, please contact: