It's hard to believe that it has been almost ten years since we started this great undetaking of having a celebration commemorating the arrival of Edward and Eleanor Foulke and their nine children in America 300 years ago. Very few families have the opportunity to boast about their families being in America for 300 years, enjoying the fruits of its freedom.
Over the past 10 years I have had the privilege and great pleasure of working with a fantastic committee, the members of which are responsible for making the Reunion the tremendous success that it was. We had more than 800 family members in attendance over the course of the weekend. This goes beyond my wildest dreams of how many people were going to show up. I have personally had letters, phone calls, and e-mails from many family members who read about the excitement of the reunion in local papers. We did get excellent press coverage in three local newspapers and also on TV. We found new cousins in different parts of the country after the reunion because of those articles.
Going back, as you read in the Foulke Herald about the events that occurred, you will see that the committee put on a first-class program, and all who attended enjoyed it tremendously. The Committee is to be commended for its unflagging diligence and hard work. As Chairman, I tend to be given a lot of credit for things I did not do, simply because of the position. But I must acknowledge that none of it could have happened without the wonderful committee members and their families (listed below) who did a great job putting it all together. I'd also like to thank Foulkeways, the Gwynedd Meeting, the Burgess Foulke House group and the Richland meeting, for their support. We did have a small episode with the Sheraton overbooking rooms for another convention, and some of our cousins had to stay at another hotel, but they seemed satisfied with the arrangements that were made to accomodate them.
I must admit the biggest thrill was just to meet my cousins from all over the country and all over the world. Those who were there know how the tears came to my eyes at Saturday night's banquet and the picnic on Sunday. It was great to hear how people had been eagerly awaiting this event fo many, many years, and how it added another chapter to their lives. I was very touched to see cousins get together who hadn't seen each other in 10, 20 or 30 years. Even though we are all related, some of us were still strangers to each other ... but not anymore! One remarkable story involves a cousin who did not know her great aunt would be there, and she had not seen in her in almost 40 years.
The picnic was a great time of family fun. We sold out almost everything in the Family Market, which was very gratifying because it shows that family members are truly interested in their heritage. We also commissioned a special throw depicting different historical sites of the Foulke family, which we are now selling. These beautifully crafted heirlooms make great gifts to be passed on to future generations.
Another tremendous pleasure was seeing family members attending the various educational seminars we presented. The level of exuberance and excitement on the part of cousins as they learned about their family history and background was heartwarming. It was fascinating to learn how our family was involved in the Underground Railroad, the 100 Years War, and other historic events.
We had greetings from all over the world, including one from Robin Price, who owns the land of Coed y Foel, and had tremendous pleasure of having the current residents of that original Foulke farmstead, Tom and Morfydd Thomas and their son, Bryn, with us to help bring Wales to life for us. This was the very first airplane flight for Morfydd and Bryn, and what a great first experience, going across the Big Pond. We were ecstatic to see them again and to experience the warmth brought to us from their home country.
Numerous unnamed cousins also helped out. Anyone who was asked gave generously of their time and resources to make this reunion a success. We have been asked if we intend to hold another reunion. We do hope that our descendants will arrange a 400th year reunion, but in the meantime our goal is to help set up regional reunions. At this time their are no official reunions being planned, but if you want to work on organizaing a 310th reunon, please feel free to contact me and I'll be glad to give you all the information you need to set up a committee. We do have a committee meeting scheduled for [June 2000], and any cousins who may want to see some slides and photos from the reunion are invited to attend the presentation.
It's great to know that we belong to a family rich in historical culture and heritage, and that is something to be proud of.
Bruce K. Foulke, Chairman
Section last updated February 01, 2001