DVHSS 29th Annual Reunion

2022 - Winchester, Virginia

For the first time in three years, after two cancelled reunions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DVHSS members were once again able to gather in Winchester, Virginia for our annual reunion. The site of the very first reunion of the Descendants of Valentine Hollingsworth Senior Society, Winchester is rich in Hollingsworth history, and Abram’s Delight, one of our reunion stops, is the oldest standing home in the city.

Day 1: Registration & Genealogy Session – Wednesday, June 8th

Our Registration Desk, staffed by Dewey and Donna Hollingsworth,  was open starting Wednesday noon to welcome members to the Reunion and to provide Reunion notebooks and to issue name tags.

We gathered later that afternoon in a “Meet and Greet” room at the Hilton and shared our Hollingsworth ancestral lines. Several of our members posted their ancestors back to Valentine, Sr.1 on poster boards. Genealogist Randy Hollingsworth assisted several members with questions regarding their Hollingsworth ancestors.

Day 2: Annual Business Meeting & Hopewell Meeting House - Thursday, June 9th

In a change from prior reunions, this year’s Annual Business Meeting was held first thing, rather than at the end of our final day.

  • President John P. Hollingsworth led off the meeting with thanks from the 2022 Reunion Committee (Susan Webber, Barbara Suhay, and himself) to those members that staffed the opening day activities.
  • Past-President Jo Hollingsworth announced that plans are being made for the 2023 DVHSS Reunion to be held the second weekend of June in Newark, Del. The headquarters hotel will be Newark’s Embassy Suites. During the reunion, the Newark Union Cemetery will be the site for the unearthing of the original gravestone of Valentine Hollingsworth, Sr. The Annual DVHSS Meeting will be held in the newly renovated church building.
  • Treasurer’s Report – submitted by Kathy Hutchison and approved.
  • DNA Report - sent by DNA Administrator John R. Hollingsworth who was unable to attend. John reported that we have 548 total project members, representing well over 100 project members who are descendants of Valentine Hollingsworth Sr. He also detailed an exciting new DNA connection found to the French Cauchon and Lamothe families.
  • Genealogist Report & Webmaster Report – Randy Hollingsworth reported that the DVHSS on-line genealogy “family tree” database now has over 59,000 Valentine descendants and spouses. The Virtual Vault built into the database, is up and running and ready to add member genealogy data, including documents, pictures and other media. He also reported that our Facebook Page has 626 followers and sees many non-DVHSS visitors, some who have joined the organization as a result of the Facebook page interaction. The web site sees about 37 unique visitors daily, but is still in need of more new content.
  • Officer & Director Changes: John P. Hollingsworth is retiring as president, and Randy Hollingsworth will move from vice president to president. Cathy Copeland will replace Sandra Profant as Journal Editor. All other officers and board members will remain.

Box lunches were served after the Business Meeting and the after-lunch speaker was Rebecca Eberly, Winchester’s Handley Regional Library archivist, who spoke on genealogy research at the archives.

Thursday afternoon we carpooled to Hopewell Centre Meeting in Clear Brook, Va., where DVHSS member Jim Riley gave a presentation on the history of the meeting and adjacent cemetery, established in 1734, and on the Hollingsworth-Parkins Cemetery in Winchester.

Displayed at Hopewell were Hollingsworth quilts. Among them were the Baltimore Album quilt purchased by DVHSS in 2009 and loaned to Elk Landing, one from the Waterford Foundation, and one from the Loudoun Co. Museum. Mary Holton Robare, an independent researcher, author, and lecturer with a special interest in historical textiles made by members of the Religious Society of Friends, discussed the importance of quilts. Among the historic quilts displayed was a “Current Hollingsworth Quilt,” made by Barbara Hollingsworth Copeland, featuring the Hollingsworth crest, an Apple Pie Ridge Star block, and signatures of Hollingsworth descendants who attended several past DVHSS reunions. Sheryl Sims also displayed several of her quilts.

Day 3: Antietam – Friday, June 10th

At 8:30 Friday morning, we boarded a motor coach for a one-hour ride to Antietam Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md., visited the Visitor Center, and then saw a 30-minute film on the bloodiest day in American history. We reboarded our bus to begin a three-hour Park Ranger guided tour of the battlefield.

On 17 Sep 1862, after 12 hours of savage combat, 22,717 soldiers were killed, wounded, or missing. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia's first invasion into the North and led Abraham Lincoln to issue the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

Lunch was enjoyed at Blue Moon Café in Shepherdstown, W.Va., and time was allotted for shopping in the nearby shops. We arrived back at the Hilton about 4:30.

Day 4: Abram’s Delight & Reunion Dinner – Saturday, June 11

Saturday began with our visit to “Abram’s Delight.” Guided tours of the house and reconstructed log cabin began at 9:30 and were conducted by members of the Winchester-Frederick Co. Historical Society. Lunch was at the Piccadilly Public House.

The final event of the reunion was dinner at the Garden Room at the historic and iconic George Washington Hotel in downtown Winchester. We met on the outdoor patio for cocktail hour before the 6:00 dinner. The room was elegant with white linen covering the tables. We had chosen the Tuscany Hillside Buffet, which included a choice of entrees (Chicken Milanese, Swordfish Piccata Style, Cheese Tortellini, and Tuscan Grilled Vegetables). Besides choice of salads and bread, multiple desserts were offered.

After dinner, Barbara Suhay gave a background speech on the apple industry in the Winchester area before introducing our keynote speaker, Sharon Gromling, chair of the 2022 Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival. Sharon led our group through the history of the festival, one of the longest running festivals in America. She noted the celebrities that had served as the Grand Marshall including Terry Bradshaw (2022), Elle Macpherson (2019), Dan Marino (2018), Debbie Reynolds (2011), Val Kilmer (2010), and Wayne Newton (2007). Sharon used a slide projector and gave an entertaining talk.