2016 Reunion

Did you hear? We HAD a reunion this summer! Our Reunion for 2016 was held July 26-30th in both Hartford and Stonington and was attended by almost 100 cousins.

We had a great time in Hartford on Wednesday visiting the Connecticut Historical Society Museum where the staff were so gracious. We were given private tours of the museum and shown items in the archives of period pieces and a wonderful candlewick quilt made by Thankful Stanton.

Candlewick quilt made by Thankful Stanton

They also pulled items from their research library for all to see and laid them all out on their tables. Most notable to me were the portraits of the Lord children, Mary and Elias.

Portrait of Mary Lord
Portrait of Elias Lord

It was the first time I had seen a picture of one of our ancestors dating back that far and it was so fantastic to see what they looked like! Seeing the Lord children, gave me an idea of what our Ann may have looked like. Dr. Walter Woodward, State Historian and Professor of History at the University of Connecticut, also spoke to us and enlightened us to the fact of just how important a role Thomas had played in those early days as Indian Interpreter.

Dr. Walter Woodward giving a presentation at the reunion

He flat out bottom lined it, that if Thomas had not been there to intercede between the English and Indians, all would have been lost in their new lives in New England. And, he emphasized, that if it had not been for Thomas, the United States of America probably would not be as it is today. It was a bold statement, but one that had all of us riveted upon his presentation.

After we left the museum, we visited the First Church of Christ and the Ancient Burial Ground where founding members of Hartford are buried, including the Lord family.

Ancient burial ground at the First Church of Christ
Group viewing gravestones at the burial ground

Ruth Shapleigh-Brown was a fantastic host! The Ancient Burial Ground is the oldest historical site in Hartford and the only one surviving from the 1600’s. We also had historical maps that identified the locations of the Lord and Stanton original home sites. It was neat to physically be in the same place as our ancestors! The Holiday Inn served to be a great location and we cousins were able to visit with each other during breakfast and dinner.

The next morning (Thursday) many of us took the opportunity to visit the Mark Twain Home and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum founded in 1842. The oldest public art museum in the country. Then we drove south to Stonington and met at the Breakwater Seafood Restaurant in Stonington. We had a blast on the dock at sunset making new friends with our cuzin’s!

Dinner at Breakwater Seafood Restaurant in Stonington

Friday morning, we met at the Road Church to set up presentations, tables and chairs under the BIG tent, and our check in tables to prepare our welcome station for the formal reunion opening. Many thanks to Steve Hill, Rick Stanton, Mark Fletcher, Rene Cadieux and many others who pitched in! Donna Amentt handled check-in along with Carol Costello who prepared our nametags and cousins who handed out t-shirts. Louise Hawley was our reunion photographer and was busy taking everyone’s picture and continued to do so throughout our entire reunion.

We kicked off the afternoon with a yummy lasagna dinner catered by McQuades and an ‘ice breaker’ activity put together by Sharon Morgan. Our formal welcome in the Road Church after dinner identified cousins who are related to four of Thomas and Anna’s children, Paul Stanton, Meg Sawyer, and Pat Taylor (Robert, Samuel, Hannah, and Thomas). Dean Dechert from Temecula, California, was the cousin who traveled the furthest. We asked everyone to stand as their sibling was called out, so they could see each other and visit with each other later. There was a “siblings” list and another idea that proved interesting was a list of occupations.

After our welcome, presentations were given by cousins Mark Fletcher entitled “Edgar William Stanton and Iowa State University”; by Lynn Alexander entitled “Wolverton Manor House: Is this where the family lived in Wolverton?”; and by Robert Stanton entitled “Trapped in Time”.

Saturday morning, we continued presentations by Carol Dorsey entitled “A 1920’s Sampler”; by Brian Bonner entitled “Genealogy Research and Data”; by Louise Hawley entitled “British History: Hervy de Staunton”; by Betty Speicher entitled “Thomas Lord’s Medical License in the New England Colonies”; and by Robert Stanton, entitled “Sarah Kimbal Stanton. ” We were also honored with special guest speaker Stephanie Fielding from the Mohegan Tribe. Stephanie has been rebuilding the Mohegan language and shared speaking a prayer in Mohegan for us.

Iwásh: Manto tápáyaw wámi cáqansh wáwápi wámi cáqansh, qa mucáq ayômi kisuquk asu áhkik wipi Manto tápáyat. Wáyômwáti isuw wahakák Wáhtôwin, Kákônuwin, Mihkikut wuci wámi.

Say: God sufficieth all things above all things, and nothing in the heavens or on the earth but God sufficeth. Verily, He is in Himself the Knower, the Sustainer, the Omnipotent.

We only had a few children attend, but those that did visited the Old School House on the west end of the Road Church property and created rubbings.

We would have been remiss if we did not honor our late Cousin, Whit Davis. President Dave Stanton did us proud by preparing a special power point of pictures with cousins and giving a brief synopsis in honor of Whit. Velora was able to be present with us which was very special indeed.

John Whitman Davis tombstone

According to our By Laws, President Dave Stanton opened our annual reunion business meeting. Nancy Bivens gave both the Treasury and Secretary’s report, in Gerald Cole’s absence. The new election of officers was opened and Rick Stanton was voted President, Nancy Ryan re-elected as Vice President, Tom Mennillo as Secretary, and Donna Amentt as Treasurer. It was agreed that the next Reunion will be held in 2020.

After lunch, we were treated to a tour at the Stanton-Davis Homestead.

Group photo of the Thomas Stanton Society Reunion 2016

We also toured the Pawcatuck Rock, site of Thomas’s trading post

The Pawcatuck Rock
Site of Thomas' first home

and the Wequetequock Cemetery, where Thomas and Anna are buried.

Wequetequock Burial Ground
Stanton Lord tombstone

Many cousins also ventured over to Capt. John’s grave to see the newly erected stone in Elm Grove Cemetery, too.

Saturday night we were treated to the Mystic Seaport Boat Yard’s ambience by the water for our dinner and guest speaker, Linda Frank. Linda has published her findings about Henry and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in her new book, “An Uncommon Union: Henry B. Stanton and the Emancipation of Elizabeth Cady”. She was a fantastic speaker and many bought her book. She was elated to be able to speak to so many Stanton relation, too! Not something you get to do every day!

Sunday morning, we attended service at the Road Church where the Stantons attended in the 1600s. Thomas Stanton was a founding member of this fine old church and his daughter, Dorothy, became the wife of its first pastor, The Rev. James Noyes. Rev. Ron Lake, who has been “over the top” in assisting us in using the church facilities in order to host our last two reunions, was presented with an honorary Thomas Stanton Society membership. He was quite honored and proud.

Road Church sign
Road church

Our reunion officially closed and goodbyes and left over goodies were had in the Fellowship Hall. Afterwards, those interested toured the Denison Homestead (Pequotsepos Manor) where this 1717 historic house museum was opened just for Stanton cousins. It was very generous of the Denison Homestead Society to greet us with lemonade and cookies.

The reunion ended for many of us who gathered for dinner at Abbots for fresh lobster and maritime scenery. We had very hot weather throughout, but that day it became windy and cloudy. We ended up inside, but had a great time chatting just the same. And, best of all, cemented our friendships and hope to meet together again before the next reunion. The contact sheets shared of all attendees are to assist in your doing so. As you travel about, do not forget to check who lives nearby so that you may be able to connect again.

A special shout out and huge THANK YOU to all our helpers: Brian Bonner who handled all our computer presentations; Jess Brown and Julie Soto, who hosted the Denison Homestead tours for us; Susan Hart who brought her mother’s books for sale; Coline Jenkins; Joan Jenks; Bill Langdon; Elaine Thomas; Dave and Pat Stanton who reached out to the Pawcatuck Rock landowners and conducted the tours; and many folks that jumped in along the way.

I hope the reunion proved to be a wonderful learning experience for many, something different for those that had attended before, and most of all a great time connecting and becoming friends with your fellow cousins. It was a lot of work, but many helped along the way. I would like to send special thanks to: Janet Jenkins, Elaine, Bill Langley, …Brown, Julie Soto.

If you are interested in being on the next Reunion Committee, please let me know now. Also, we are already in the research phase of possibly traveling together to England. We estimate this trip to take place in 2018. If you are interested in attending or volunteering to help, please send me a note at [email protected]. Be on the lookout for news in upcoming newsletters.

All the best, your cuz’n,

Nancy Ryan

Reunion Chairperson and Vice President, The Thomas Stanton Society