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"Family discussions with old and young alike taking part,
can be as stimulating as sparks that ignite a fire." - Spanish saying

The 2005 Ferree Family Reunion was held in Lancaster and Paradise, PA, on July 28th, 29th, and 30th. The following contributed by David Bamberger describes the experience he and wife, Nancy, had during their stay in Lancaster while attending the reunion. Nancy Ferree Bamberger is a 7th great granddaughter of Madame Ferree.

David writes . . .
We missed the 2004 Descendants of Marie Ferree Family Reunion. When we heard about the 2005 Ferree reunion, we signed up for everything. With no (well a little) trepidation, we went. After all, these are relatives even though we might not (indeed, did not) know any of them. But, what were we to do?

Lancaster has much to do. The Reunion Committee had sent us the magazine "Lancaster County, The Heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country". It shows just about everything to do and includes an "official map" which was really useful. They showed Honey Brook as the easternmost town in Lancaster County - don't believe it. I grew up in Honey Brook and it is the westernmost town in Chester County.

Since we arrived on Monday, Nancy Kosman, Reunion Committee President, helped us with Tuesday and Wednesday by recruiting Bob Denlinger, Paradise's noted historian and editor of "Paradise, Our Heritage, Our Home". He suggested a drive around Paradise to see Ferree heritage and a trip into Lancaster to the Central Market. He also suggested visits to the 1781 David Witmer, grandson of Madame Ferree, home (now Creekside Inn); the 1730 Philip Ferree, son of Madame Ferree, home (now Ferree house Antiques); the 1767 LeFevre London Vale Mill that is still owned by Ferree descendant, Dr. S. Ken Eshleman, 6th great grandson of Madame Ferree; the 1719 John Ferree, son of Madam Ferree, home and of course the Carpenter-Ferree Cemetery. Regrettably, the Joel Ferree, grandson of Madame Ferree, gun shop is gone.

Planned events for the reunion began on Thursday with a tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield. Our guide took us over the battlefield as the battle unfolded over its three days. Even I began to understand it. One historical note from Ken Eshleman - General John Fulton Reynolds chose the battle site to be at Gettysburg and he was a Ferree descendant, a 3rd great grandson of Madame Ferree.

Early Friday morning we were off to the Lancaster County Historical Society to see the LeFevre Bible. It was reputedly smuggled out of France in a loaf of bread. After seeing the bible's size, I am skeptical; it had to be a really big loaf of bread. They also have other Ferree genealogy. After our visit there we had a tour of Paradise. It is certainly better to have a knowledgeable tour guide then to do it yourself. Friday afternoon we went on a "Witness"/Amish tour. Friday evening was our reunion banquet.

On Saturday morning, Dr. Charles Heisterkamp conducted a class on genealogy basics. He is compiling what may be the definitive Ferree genealogy - and he is not even a Ferree. We finished the day with a "pot luck" picnic and Chinese auction at the Paradise Community Park. One of the items auctioned was "Just Like Mama" by Beverly Lewis. That brought Nancy Kosman to tell a story:

While at a book signing, Nancy met Beverly Lewis.
Nancy told Beverly how much she enjoyed her books about the Amish.
"In fact, we're having a reunion in Paradise which our ancestors founded."
"What family is that?" Beverly asked. "Marie Ferree" said Nancy.
"We're related!" said Beverly who is also a Marie Ferree descendant.
(They seem to be everywhere.)

And there you have it. We learned some history and some genealogy. We had a lot of fun. And, of course, we ate a lot. I didn't want to dwell on that, but we appear to be good at eating.

We'll be back to the next Ferree reunion. We hope to see you there.

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